Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review : Lesserton and Mor II (One Player’s Perspective on Mor)

This is a continuation of my previous post on the “Lesserton” portion of the Lesserton and Mor product. Lesserton is the town where adventurers may base themselves in between expeditions to the ruins of Mor.

Perhaps the best testament to the interest of Lesserton is the fact that our party has spent little game time in Mor. There’s enough going on in town that we’ve only ventured out on a few narrowly-defined missions. It’s also because while Mor itself probably contains dungeons, we haven’t been looking find them, and have experienced Mor as a “wilderness.” In some ways, Mor is not so different from Lesserton—some of our most interesting encounters have been with the Orkin tribes, who are of the type that put the “human” back into humanoid. We have not fought any of them (although there are rumors of more warlike tribes who might attack on sight) and have instead engaged them in trade.

Whether Mor is a “dungeon” or a “wilderness,” it is an expansive ruins and this type of setting is popular for good reason. The mirror image of the dirty little town of Lesserton, the ruined capital of Mor juxtaposes the grander of towers, temples, palaces, and fountains with weedy swamps and lots of beasties. Although the Mor Book includes a “dungeon crawl,” I expect that our adventures have been generated by random tables supported by concise descriptions of notable locations.

A glance at the Mor map shows that much of Mor is left for the referee to fill in. It seems that there is enough background description and random tables for the referee to run a few sessions as a way of introducing the setting and gauging player interest. I think my group has reached the point where we’re hoping for something meatier. Again, leafing through the Mor book, I don’t know that there’s anything ready-made. But as a player, I am curious about all those supposedly empty building, and I know that we haven’t even seen more than a small portion of the ruins. There’s a lot of “emptiness,” but the it doesn’t feel empty; I’m engaged enough to believe that there’s a lot more to discover.

What makes Mor most engaging are the constant subtle reminders of its connections to Lesserton. These connections are probably most evident in Lesserton. Many of the townsfolk will speak openly of their distrust or dislike of elves, and their “reason” (something about the elves failure to prevent the destruction of Mor) is so well-know that it doesn’t need to be said. Likewise, anyone who shows strong Orkin traits is regarded, with a mixture of fear and condescension, as being “from the ruins.” Then, when you’re in the ruins, those residents (the Orkin tribes) speak of Lesserton with their own mixture of wonder and disdain.

I should state directly, if it’s not obvious, that I’ve been playing D&D a long time and so have the other players. Less experienced players might have some frustrations with the PC's poverty, the slow level advancement, and the lack of signs saying, “This way to the Dungeon.” These issues could be “corrected.” For instance, there are a couple adventures included, including a mini-dungeon set in Mor. A referee could get this one going in the typical way (“you’re hanging out in the tavern and a stranger comes up to your table.”) To be successful, the referee might have to allow more standard character collection, so that thief characters could not only afford lockpicks but also know where to buy them. Some value would be lost—the way we got to know Lesserton was by, for instance, checking in at various potential purveyors of lockpicks. And likewise, when we entered Mor, we knew that we couldn’t survive more than one or two fights and were thus forced to negotiate with the Orkin. But maybe there are other ways to balance competing values.
In summary, I’ve very much enjoyed playing in both Lesserton & Mor, and having a hard time restraining myself from delving into the “DM-only” books more deeply so that I might start planning a session with my own group of players.

No comments:

Post a Comment