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Thread: Midgard Campaign Setting
Monday, 15th October, 2012, 07:03 AM #1
Guide (Lvl 11)
Midgard Campaign Setting
I went to the Midgard Campaign Setting book launch on Saturday at AFK Tavern (the gamer tavern in Everett, WA). It was open to anyone who wanted to wander in, and luckily I live just down the highway.
AFK is always a fun place, with lots of gamers playing all sorts of games (and eating and drinking to keep the place in business), but I'd never been to an event there. They had themed drinks and food based on the book, waitstaff in costumes, and some customers in costumes too (one guy came in wearing chainmail, awesome!).
Oh, and I got to talk briefly to Wolfgang Baur and Jeff Grubb, and got a free extra glass of mead they happened to have sitting around (how often does THAT happen!).
Anyhow, I haven't had more than a couple of hours to read the book, but it's pretty awesome from what I've seen. Stuff I like best:
-- As Wolfgang said last night, their design philosophy is like a raven. They pick up shining bits from all over, and weave it into a coherent nest. I'm a huge history buff, so I love looking at places like "Illyria" and "Magdar" and getting what they mean (coastal former Yugoslavia and Hungary), except that they are D&Dified in interesting ways.
-- Seems totally edition neutral (Kobold Press being the "Switzerland of the Edition Wars"), so probably a darn good 5e setting. It's officially written for Pathfinder and AGE, but it weaves in "Dragonkin" (kinda like Dragonborn, but different) and Gearforged (kinda like those mechanical folks in late 3rd Edition, Warforged, I think) and some Tieflings, without them feeling weirdly artificially to me. Of course they are Dragonkin in the east -- why not? Their armor looks Middle Eastern, it all makes sense. (And I'm a grognard, not a fan of 4e-like stuff.)
-- It's also original. A setting where Kobolds and Minotaurs are important races? Interesting. A European-based setting missing the UK, France, and Spain (where they'd be on the map are mostly uninhabited wastelands)? Fascinating. And oh yeah, there's an Empire of the Ghouls.
-- Lots of little extras. Horse breeds. Ley line magic. The Shadow Court. Even though I don't plan to end my "forever" Greyhawk campaign (remember, I'm a grognard), there's lots of cool stuff to "raven away" to your own campaign here. Where can I fit in the City of Zobeck -- gotta find a place.
-- The art is gorgeous. I was surprised at its quality, but I guess I shouldn't have been.
Yes, a gaming tavern! | AFK Tavern
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Monday, 15th October, 2012, 10:51 PM #2
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Thanks for that review! And yeah, good party at AFK Tavern.
And yes, the design philosophy is very much "plunder at will". Midgard seems to be one of those settings that winds up being eminently useful to gamers who brew their own material.
That seems totally fitting to me, as the Kobold crew has always been about making it useful first and foremost. That the setting is also beautiful this time is just a bonus.
"Small but Fierce"
Monday, 15th October, 2012, 11:22 PM #3
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
I am handicapped in reading the PDF, as my old Nook just cannot handle the size. But, the first 46 pages are great. And, as a 4e DM, it is very, very usable. Hopefully I read more on my computer tomorrow night. Probably should have also bought the physical copy.....
Monday, 15th October, 2012, 11:31 PM #4
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
BTW, I also highly recommend the 4e monster book, ans the 4e specific adventures. I ran parts of the first two to support my house campaign. They are very well written, though perhaps a bit long.
Tuesday, 16th October, 2012, 06:31 PM #5
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
When you say it's system neutral, do you mean it's pretty crunch-free? I'm really interested in this book, but I don't like campaign settings that have a lot of numbers.
Wednesday, 17th October, 2012, 05:24 AM #6
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
I've only really skimmed the book, and really have no experience with Midgard past the fact that I knew it had Zobeck, which was a free city and had something to do with gears and kobolds. Any "Pre-Knowledge" comes from my fairly quick read-through of the Midgard Bestiary for 4e, which I backed through Kickstarter; in fact, I picked up the campaign setting to provide some context for that book.
Anyways, given that I've only really skimmed the book It's still fairly nebulous to me. I like that it's taking a more "mythical" cast to various setting questions, though I'm personally having some difficulty pegging the "feel" of the setting as a whole. My two favorite settings - Eberron and Dark Sun - have very direct moods that helped to communicate the setting very early on (Pulp Noir and Dark Fantasy Sword-and-Planet Survivalism, respectively); I'm thinking Midgard would be Pseudo-Historical Mythic Fantasy (Larger-than-life fantasy tales with a grounding in real-world myths, legends, and actual histories), but without something to cement that in my mind it's kinda just floating there. Then there's things like the Gearforged, which just screams "Victorian Steampunk" at me and clashes (in my mind, of course) with this notion I have of something more Late Medieval / Early Renaissance. IOW, I'm getting a sort of kitchen sink fantasy Europe vibe that I always have trouble getting excited for. Are there any parts of the book I should read more thoroughly that might help the setting to "click"?
The book definitely delivers on the content and production, though; it's beautiful and great to read. While I've only skimmed it so far, I plan on giving it a solid read, and it certainly deserves that attention.
I'll probably end up using the book as an idea source for campaigns in settings I'm more familiar with - there's a lot story-wise I bet I could use for an Eberron game, for example - but I'm eagerly looking forward to the 4e Defenders of Midgard book that I'll be getting as a result of the Kickstarter. I'm hoping that it's like a "4e Appendix", just as there's an Age System appendix in the back of the settting book. If that's good enough - and I've managed to grok the setting - maybe I'll be looking to do a full-on Midgard campaign. Otherwise, it's at the very least high-quality minable setting material.
Will Thibault is a winged, feathered serpent rarely found anywhere except in warm, jungle-like regions or flying through the ether. Due to his intelligence and powers he is regarded with awe by the inhabitants of his homelands and is considered to be divine.
Wednesday, 17th October, 2012, 12:44 PM #7
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
It looks to be an excellent addition for anyone looking for a new campaign setting or looking to "borrow" ideas for the setting they are currently running in. I wrote up a review at The Iron Tavern that likely answers some of the questions posted here in regards to crunch and such. (Note: They have re-released the PDF in a less bulky size supposedly, but I have not had a chance to test and update my original review if necessary. I had noted the PDF was a bit slow on my iPad, that might be fixed now).
Review: Midgard Campaign Setting | The Iron Tavern
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