Yoon Suin

Posted 21 Jul 2021 to Fantasy

A region of high adventure shrouded in ancient mysteries, opium smoke, great luxury and opulent cruelty.

 
 

What Is It

This 320 page book by Noisms Games is a system-neutral setting guide or campaign setting for a slightly weird and very wondrous land. There are five regions, each with their own flavour. The Yellow City is a fantasy metropolis at the mouth of a big river, ruled by slugmen, with castes of labourers and merchants and slaves. The Topaz Isles are small islands strung together and home to nomadic boat peoples. The Lahag is a haunted jungle. The Hundred Kingdoms is a plain of patchworked small domains frequently at war. The Mountains of the Moon are the fantasy Himalayas and steppes. Each region has a short guide for the GM on how to kick off a sandbox campaign in that area, with tables to randomly generate factions and interesting locations to explore. Each region also has a collection of good prepared situations or adventure locations, each described in a paragraph.

How I Used It

I ran a campaign here, using Shadow of the Demon Lord as the system. Any fantasy system will do, as long as it allows for weirdness and magic. I chose this system because the magic is potent and fun, and there are a variety of demons and horrific monsters which I felt suited the tone. We used the tables in the book to generate the factions the PCs were connected to, which launched our first adventures. I have also used many of the tables in the book in other campaigns, particularly those for generating factions, NPCs and random settlements. The random results are rich and colourful.

 
 

The Good

  • Landscape orientation. By laying the book out in this orientation, it works really well as a PDF when read on a computer screen. THere is little need to scroll up and down, and a whole page is readable without needing to zoom in or out.
  • Rich table results. The book is densely packed with tables. Tables galore. Roll to generate a random interesting location in the Yellow City, where the next scene takes place. Roll to find what broken-down ruin the players stumble upon. Random teas, with special effects. Roll up a random hermit, with their own goals. I am on board with tables like this, and this book is home to the best I have ever seen. I wish more setting books presented their worlds in this way.
  • Interesting monsters. There is a bestiary with dozens of quirky monsters and ghosts. There are animals and demons too. They are presented with universal OSR stats, in old BX D&D style, which works fine for me. I can happily convert the stats to whatever system I am using. The descriptions, motivations and special abilities of the monsters are something I cannot do easily myself, and these are provided nicely.
  • Varied locations and regions. Each of the regions have their own distinct flavour and I would like to run a campaign in each of them. I offered all regions to the players and we chose to start in the Yellow City. A solid choice. Later the campaign became an island-hopping sea adventure, and was one of the most memorable I have played.

The Not-So-Good

  • Adventure locations are very brief. The author made the right move. Rather provide a hundred interesting locations, each described in a short paragraph, than ten locations described in great detail. What you get is a wealth of rich ideas, which the GM can then jump off from to create their own content. However, I would have enjoyed one or two locations that were more fully detailed, with keyed locations, a map, etc.

Verdict

This book is the exemplar that other campaign guides and settings books should follow. It is dense with material, with hundreds of tables, and yet easy to get into. It doesn't require the GM or the players to read and absorb pages of lore and history. It jumps right in there with content that is immediately useful at the table, and which randomly generates a rich world that is unique to our game table.

 
 
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