Back at the end of February, Zach Glazar quite generously sent me a PDF version of Lesser Gnome’s new module, Death & Taxes, as a try before you buy. The timing was rather unfortunate as that was right when I was about ready to start sending out copies of Cirsova #1 followed by the two month reading period for issues 2-4. I was worried that I wouldn’t have time to get to it!
Well, I still may not have time to get to it in any deep or meaningful way (that is, actually playing/running it), but the other day my friend snatched up a copy with Tenkar’s promo-code for me as an early birthday present! I’m just now getting to run B4, which he got me last year, so it could very well be a year before I get to Death & Taxes, but I at least wanted to comment on what I’ve had a chance to thumb through so far.
Components & Feelies
I love the sealed letter. The minis that come with it are great, and if I ever get some money to blow on a ton of minis, I still might get the version that has the boatload of them someday. All of the books and maps are high quality, and I’m thankful that they include the maps as separate sheets as well as being included in the booklets.
Layout & Looks
The books look very nice and have some stunning artwork to accompany many of the entries. I can see why, however, DMs are turning to tablets and PCs to run stuff off PDFs on the screen; as nice as these books are, the floppy saddle-stitches of the days of yore are much more table friendly than the (admittedly lovely) perfect bound books.
I don’t want to dig too deeply into this, because a part of me desperately hopes I can get someone else to run this and I can experience this on the player side of the table, but I couldn’t resist taking a few peeks. Death & Taxes looks dense; this is a module that looks like it would take some pretty intense study to run; certainly not a pick-up-and-play, at any rate. I feel like it would take weeks of going through the books, inside and out, over and over, to do justice to the vision that Lesser Gnome has put forward with this. Also, I’ll need a dictionary to look up a lot of words and pronunciations; I feel like I have a decent vocabulary, but I’ll admit, there are a lot of words I’m either unfamiliar with or at least have never had need to say aloud. I can see this as a potential stumbling block for both myself and players, should I need to look up or be asked to explain the meaning of this or that thing. It’s bad enough having to pronounce names like Usamigaras and Madarua.
I hope that at some point I’ll be able to give this a real review, either as a DM or a Player, but right now, I’ll say that this looks like a beautiful but incredibly challenging module to run. It’s not quite into the territory of Die, Vecna, Die! as a module to be read rather than run, but I think it comes a bit closer than I’d be comfortable attempting to run. What I want to know is what the hell the +1 Petticoat gives its +1 to!