Thursday, December 18, 2014

A little light reading.

I'm NOT dead, but there will be a Holiday Hiatus for the blog. Good news is the Exalted 3E books is out of editing and is in final approvals and layout. Soooo...the pdf might, just might be out early next year.

That said, I expect to be back after the first of the year. But I have a new job so my posts might be a tad slower. Just FYI.

I'm going to take a Exalted break today to talk about reading material for a modern GM. There is a LOT of good books out there games but I'm going to try and focus on a few newer ones that hit my radar.

Malazan Book of the Fallen - Gardens of the Moon: Steven Erikson

I'm just getting into this series and boy is it a doozie. I may have mentioned it before but it was inspired by a D&D campaign that shifted systems 2 times (or more?) and eventually the author collected the details and wrote it up as this massive 10 book series. There are even tie in series that flesh out the history of the world and characters. It's got detailed magic, great gritty action the likes I haven't ready since the Black Company. It has oodles of characters, murder, back stabbing, and D&D style immortals. What is not to like?

Why it inspires me: This book is a weird mix of what I'd run in GURPS or D&D style settings with the squad based mentality, party back stabbing, godly interference, and general bad assery on the part of PCs. Mind you there is something about the whole take on undead, old gods vs new gods, and well the warrens of magic itself that just get to me. And frankly, the setting is so deep it is as close to a Elder Scroll like setting as you can get.

The Stormlight Archive - The Way of Kings: Brandon Sanderson

I'm into book 2 of this series. If you enjoyed the Mistborn series by Sanderson then Stormlight is much of the same awesomeness. The setting has a multitude of magic systems but Sanderson isn't overwhelming the reader. As the characters re-learn the magic we learn the rules of the setting. Sanderson does some amazing world building here and it has loads of epic fights and heavy drama. Lots of flawed characters coming to terms with their issues. It's tied into his greater Cosmere universe with books like Mistborn, Elantris, and Warbreaker so keep an eye out for setting migrants form the other books! They are not obvious!

Why it inspires me: Shardblades and Plate are basically artifact Daiklaves and Armor from Exalted. Hell the world filled with spren is much like the animistic universe Exalted lives in. And the idea of oaths, honor, and power by being chosen by the spren as a method of magic. It's basically Exalted the setting if ALL the Exalted disappeared ages ago and are just now coming back. In many ways the main characters are rediscovering their powers, learning about a world consuming 'god' and the horrors it is about the unleash. I can't wait for the next novel in the series as it will deal with a Skybreaker and in intelligent artifact as main characters. 

The First Law - The Blade Itself : Joe Ambercrombie\

The First Law series is as grim and bloody as The Song of Fire and Ice but with a bit more character focus in my opinion. I find the novel very engaging and a fast read. I love how Ambercrombie does a great job of world building his factions, including the main characters as their own meta faction (starting out). Magic there but plays a secondary role to politics and loads and loads of combat! Do you like Dragon Age for all the backroom deals and weirdness going on in a setting where magic is dangerous? This series reminds me of it.

Why it inspires me: Much like "The Black Company" by Glen Cook this is a magic low setting. It's perfect fodder for a Runquest game where mages are rare and magic is useable but with strict requirements. Many of Runequests magic systems play very much like how The First Law universe works. 3 primary schools with a 4th forbidden rite. Etc. I'd say more but I don't want to spoil the books.

Later after the break I'll expand on this list, but I think these books should keep you busy for quite a long time.

Happy Holidays everyone!