Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Spider God's Bride (for Legend)

Morten Braten's The Spider God's Bride is a compilation of sword-and-sorcery mini-adventures for the Mongoose Legend role-playing game. Originally released as The Spider God's Bride and Other Tales of Sword and Sorcery for the d20 system, the new edition is available as a pdf (and presumably POD). It starts out with an explanation of the tropes associated with the sword-and-sorcery genre, noting in particular, how it differs from the high fantasy genre more typically associated with fantasy role-playing games. Next there are sections on player races (all various humans), magic and cults. There is only one type of magic in The Spider God's Bride (sorcery, of course) and in keeping with the style of sword-and-sorcery, the use of magic is subtle, sinister and self-destructive. Although players are allowed to employ sorcery, they must always be on guard to avoid becoming too tainted by it. Also, many spells we associate with fantasy rpgs are not permitted, although this restriction is probably more noticeable in the d20 version since sorcery in MRQII/Legend/RuneQuest 6 tends to be similar to sword-and-sorcery type magic anyway.

The adventures themselves are quite good, though some appear very challenging and potentially quite lethal if the players aren't extremely clever and at least a little bit lucky. All the tropes you would expect from a work inspired by Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith are present in abundance, palace intrigue, snake-worshipping cultists, ancient tombs and steaming jungles. There are muscle-bound barbarians and seductive sorceresses, and naked steel awaits in every alleyway. All of this takes place against the backdrop of the world of Xoth, the author's own campaign world. Additional information, including a map (unfortunately not provided in The Spider God's Bride) may be found on This additional online content greatly enhances the published material, allowing for more sandbox play.  I hope two later d20 Xoth products, Song of the Beast-Gods and The Citadel Beyond the North Wind will also be released in the future as Legend publications.


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