Thursday, July 19, 2012

Night of Wolves by David Dalgish

A free book in a series called the Paladins available from Amazon at this link? Yes please.

Night of Wolves is the first book I've read by David Dalgish and it was good enough that I went back to Amazon and bought the other two books in the series. The second one is an easy sell as its only .99 cents while the third book soars in price to $2.99. Still, three books for under four bucks? Good deal.

The person who is going to like this book is one who likes a small cast that is always engaged in action. This isn't to say there isn't any character development or that the world isn't larger than what we see in the novel. However the focus is on action and on survival of man versus monster and of course some of that man versus man bits there. Its a relatively short novel and moves at a good clip and is a good way to see if you'd be interested in further books by David Dalgish.

Below I'll start hitting some of the spoilers of the book so if you don't like those, read no further!

1. Starting Small. One of the things that many early D&D adventurers have in common is that its up to the characters to save the small town or to explore the small town. Here that remains true as well. Events move up a little in the chain of importance but for the main characters in this book, saving the town and surviving the uprising of the wolves is the primary goal.

2. Paladins are more than just warriors. Several times during the novel the paladins provide encouragement and prayer to those under their care. They are there for more than just being knights and valiant warriors.

3. Players and their Orders: There are two paladins in the book, a 'light' one and a 'black' one. The former is more like the healing and beneficial style cleric we all know and love while the later is heavily militant based and focused on bringing order to the world. The two in this novel get along well to the point where when ordered to attack the 'white' paladin, the black one does not. This should be a model for player characters. While it can be fun to have betrayal and other backstabbing elements in the game, its often better to keep the player characters together and have the NPCs doing the dirty work. It's okay if the PCs are mad at the GM and not quite so good when they are against each other.

4. Paladins are fun. Dragon magazine once had an article along the lines of a plethora of paladins. Paladins often have unique mounts ranging from their horse to nightmares to pegasi to other beasts. Paladins often, regardless of their level, have unique weapons and armor suited for their mission. In older editions of the game, due to their high stat requirements, paladins were often some of the most powerful characters in the game.  When looking at the role of paladins in your own game, do they follow the Deeds of Paksenarrion? Are they well known? Do they have organizations? Do they war with one another along the lines of their gods?

5. Enemy with a Cause. While no one wants the wolf men of the novel to win, David does a good job of providing some rationale as to why they are acting the way they do. Why they are such fierce creatures. When looking at the main foe of your campaign, pepper them up a little so that they are more than just statistics for the players to burn through.

Night of Wolves is well worth a read at its price point and its page turning action should encourage some great werewolf battles in your campaign.