Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twilight Falling

Twilight Falling is Book I in the Erevis Cale Trilogy by Paul S. Kemp. I read a previous book by Paul called Shadow's Witness. That book also featured Erevis Cale. In addition, it seems that after this trilogy, there was another, also with the same character so some odd seven books with the same character. If you're not into spoilers, best to look away. Below I'll point out a few things that made my 'gaming' brain work while reading.

"He had finally concluded that serving Mask was different than serving other gods. The priests of Faerun's other faiths proselytized ministered, preached, and in that way won converts and served their gods. Mask's priests did no such thing. There were no Maskarran preachers, no street ministers, no pilgrims. Mask did not require his priests to win converts. Either the darkness spoke to you of it didn't. If it did, you were already Mask's. If it didn't you never would be." (p. 11)

What role do the gods play in your campaign? More importantly, at least from the player's side of things, what role do the priests of the gods play in your campaign. Do they have temple quarters? Do they have special weapons? Do they pray at a special time? Do they have a special ritual that needs to be enacted at certain times? A useful thing about answering some of these questions is that later on, you can find exceptions to the cause. Things like lost branches of the religion or faithful who aren't actually priests, 'merely' worshippers of the cause.

"I knew a psionicist once. Little different than an ordinary wizard." (p.126)

"I told you I once knew a mind mage." (p.272)

Foreshadowing is a useful tool. Try to give the players ideas of what may be coming down the road. Sometimes this may be failry easy when tales of war and war refuges start steaming into town. Othertimes it may be as mysterous or unknowable as a dream or a different way of looking at things. If the players can 'crack the code', they may have a leg up on things.

"Before long, the two-story brick and wood buildings of the Foreign Quarter gave way to the more elegant and architecturally varied worked-stone residences near the Temple District." (p.147)

What does the architechture of the city say about it? Is it one unified style? Are there several styles to it? How old is the city? Are there foreign quarters? Are there parts of the city that are unsafe to go?

Twilight Falling does a nice job of showcasing how three rogues, two of them multi-classed into rogue priests, work together with a rogue whose more assassin than rogue. It's a nice example of how players who are of similiar talents might work together and showcases some of the strengths and weaknessess of such an approach. For example, with no wizard, things aren't as always easy to... to take a 4e term "control" as they might be.

The book showcases a lot of action in several locations. A good indication that a Game Master should never become too comfortable in one region for too long. For example, I generally tend to love city based adventurers. Waterdeep, with it's various incarnations, is one of the most detailed cities in the market for long time gamers. Ptolus, with one massive sourcebook is another.

However, sometimes the party needs to get on the road. The characters here travel by boat. They travel overland. They travel to another city with a much different guise than their starting point. Showcase the breadth and wide of the world when the game calls for it.

More importantly though, you have an opportunity to do so for free. The Wizards of the Coast site has a free PDF of this novel here.