Blood over Gold

From: Chris Lemens <chrislemens_at_Y3xtdzLP507nB9kRCinPyXKqqgr9WQ_NIQdO5fJfxjk91Fyzns-EgniME9TPf0tR>
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2007 05:18:05 -0700 (PDT)

As those of you who attended Tentacles know, a preview edition of Blood over Gold, by the esteemed Jeff Kyer and friends, was available for purchase. (It was a preview edition in the sense that it had some formatting issues. The substance was complete.) I bought a copy, but real life interfered with me reading it until recently. I finally got to read it and . . .

What's in it? This book has everything you need, apart from the HeroQuest rules, to run a complete campaign. It has a description of the land of Wenelia, a home base for the characters (Fay Jee), homeland and magic keywords for every major group you could be or meet, and a cast of non-player characters to make life fun and difficult. Perhaps the only down-side of the entire book was that the two-page map went too far into the binding of the book to read easily. Fortunately, I bought the big, beautiful, color map, which I highly recommend if you like the book.

Where is it? When I bought it, I was unsure of the setting. I mean, come on, Wenelia? I was totally wrong. This is gritty, captivating setting with a lot of possibilities. While the core story arc is incredibly strong, if you decided to wander off the beaten track, your narrator could wing it for a long time from what's in the book. Personally, if I was narrating, Fay Jee itself has so many possibilities that a pure city campaign would finally be a real possibility for me.

What's the story? Jeff has done a masterful job of setting a scene that is big enough to allow the players to cut a heroic swath through life, but small and detailed enough that new characters can make an impact. I was particularly impressed with how Jeff arranged the scenario seeds and core story arc to allow the narrator to progress as quickly or as slowly as the players want. Each element of the story arc has different endings that change depending on what the characters do. As these progress, the possibilities multiply, but the structure Jeff creates contains these wonderfully. This isn't your father's Argrath campaign where the results are already known. The idea of capturing many of the effects in HeroQuest abilities like "Relationship to House" marvelously contains the problem for the narrator. The stories themselves are creative and don't boil down to one combat after another. I won't spoil the climax of it for you, in case you get to play in it, but it is really  great stuff.

Blood over Gold is a truly superb HeroQuest campaign. Rick Meints had compared it to Borderlands in RQ days and the analogy is right on target.

Chris Lemens            

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