Monday, April 2, 2012

The Jewel of Turmish by Mel Odom

I've recently mentioned the perils of shared settings. That sometimes the setting can work against the author and that I try not to take such books as more than popcorn reading. Even with that in mind, Mel Odom's The Jewel of Turmish, unless you find it in the bargain bin for $1 like I did, is probably better off skipped.

In terms of things I didn't like as a book, some of those may work in a game as a prelude or a highlight of an upcoming menance.

For example, we are introduced to a group of young thieves and given a run down of their various hardships and how they stick together. They are horribly murdered. We are introduced to a group of priests where their leader is granted a vision by his goddess. These priests are horribly murdered. In killing off such groups well after numerous little bits have been introduced, the author was in my opinion, wasting time. In terms of a role playing game though, where you as the Game Master want to showcase a powerful villain, giving the players some premade characters and having them struggle against some unknown horror can bring out some anticipation for the players.

Another bit is misdirecting the audience. Don't label your campaign as a heroic high end super hero campaign and then have the players run into Wolverine, the Punisher, and other gun totting murderous villains and heroes whose only goal is to increase their body count. Don't talk about running a high magic and epic campaign and then force players to keep meticulous track of their rations and arrows and copper pieces. In that vein, this book called the Jewel of Turmish and part of a series called The Cities, failed, to me at least, to bring to light anything about the city itself.

Another aspect is beware of overusing old cliches that you've already used. In Mel's previous work that I've read in the Forgotten Realms, the one about the old sea monster coming back after many years of imprisonment, why is Mel's next book bringing out a villain who is coming back after many years of imprisonment? It's a common enough theme but don't be the same author bringing the same plot where gods themselves couldn't kill the villain but some dumb kid can.

Another bit is know where your action lies. If you know that the main thrust of the campaign is going to involve demons and undead and betrayal by once loyal allies, don't bog the players down in long drawn out fights against such mundane foes as man eating wolves and the difficult decesions they must make in terms of balancing the right and wrong of their actions.

Mel can do better than this and I've say this book is actually worse then Revan which makes it, the worst book I've read in 2012. Here's hoping the next one brings up the averages a little.