Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Quote of the Day/Micro-review

Nestled along the banks of the river known as "The Great Source", stands the mighty fortress City of Verbosh. Built ages ago by the great "Lord Verbosh I", who founded the great and noble, royal line of Verbosh. A line of great kings that lasted until the birth of Verbosh II, whose first great act was to lead his proud legion into "The Battle of Dead-end Canyon"; where they were overwhelmed by a host of Kobolds fully half their number. From there on, the line of Verbosh went steadily down hill. Verbosh XXI managed to lose the family castle and holdings in a game of dice. This proved to be the high point in Verboshian history.

-opening paragraph of Verbosh

Verbosh, by Paul Nevins and Bill Faust, is one of my favorite Judges Guild products, ranking right up there with Rat on a Stick and Unknown Gods. It's a mini-setting for OD&D, bigger than the Keep on the Borderlands and its environs, but smaller and less complete than a full-on D&D world. In 76 pages you get the eponymous city, a wilderness region of respectable size (maybe 2,000 x 2,000 km or so) with lots of encounters, several smallish dungeons, some ruins and another whole town. Though designed for the original boxed set and its supplements, the statblocks could pretty easily be used with most successor products with no real difficulty.

The humor in the opening paragraph shines through much of the rest of the product. I find Verbosh to be utterly charming. It's tone and mid-range scope (bigger than a standard 32 page TSR module, smaller than a complete setting) was one of Asteroid 1618's direct inspirations, along with the original Arduin trilogy and the aforementioned Rat on a Stick. If you wanted a ready-to-go set-up where you could pull a fantasy campaign out of a hat on a moment's notice, you could do a lot worse than Verbosh and your favorite version of D&D.