Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Silver Wolf, Black Falcon

Before starting off on any quotes from Dennis L. McKiernan's book, Silver Wolf, Black Falcon, I'll take a moment to make a general observation.

Do not force the campaign setting down the throats of your players unless they are all intensely interested in the world you've set the story in. Do not be so in love with all of the characters, locations, and histories of the campaign world that instead of actually doing something, the characters spend all of their time learning new things about the campaign setting.

Now if the players are enjoying themselves and enjoy looking around, not a problem. Completely ignore that statement above.

Some of the things I found in Silver Wolf, Black Falcon to be most interesting, were unintended consequences. Much like the old artifacts from back in the day, something like the old Dragon Orbs, Mithgar (the setting of the book), also has an item, the Dragonstone, that can compel dragons to heel.

"Destroy!" shriekd the Kutsen Yong again, reeling back from Chale's red-eyed gaze...

"You unworthy fool, you did not tell me what to destroy, and so I destroyed that which I most hated as wel las that which I most loved." (p.441-443).

In some game systems, there are spells like Wish, or the divine equal, Miracle, that rely on the caster using a carefully worded desire in order to gain something. In other instances, such as with magic items that allow you to control someone or something else, by not being careful and noting what exactly you want the subject to do, the consequences can be tragic.

Further on, in the afterwords, it notes, "...all Dragons were compelled to comply, Fire-drakes and Cold-drakes alove, but at that time the Ban was in effect, and all Cold-drakes suffered the Ban...it is said that in remote fastness Ban-slain Drakes still lie, their treasures waiting to be found." (p.466)

In essence, a throw away line from the back of the book but a great campaign start up or idea. Something happens to a series of powerful creatures that empties the threat, or at least the original threat, from the monster lair and allows it to be open. But in inhospitable climes with danger just getting to said treasure, who would dare seek it out? Players of course.

In a setting like Forgotten Realms, the Game Master could use the Year of the Rogue Dragons and its events as a similiar cause and effect. Numerous lairs emptied out of dragons, but of treasure and danger? No.