Borderland Provinces: Player’s Guide (system-neutral)
This book clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So, what kind of player’s guide is this? The answer is simple: It’s the type of guide you read because you want to read it. The theme is relatively simple – instead of just confronting players with a dry synopsis of the respective regions, this pdf is written to emulate a collection of letters/correspondences and documents of characters that are traveling the borderland provinces that will be the adventuring location for the players. The intriguing component with this approach is that this approach actually not only manages to shine diverging focuses upon the things going on and thus highlight different aspects of the regions:
We can get a glimpse of intrigues and politics through the motivations of nobility; we can witness a character fall to the devil opium and slowly sink into the clutches of demon-worship; we can see clerics fighting the heresies that spring up and realize the truth behind the supposed commoner. Each of the characters has his/her own narrative voice, with the letters of a barely literate knight using a more phonetic writing style full of at times humorous glitches, showing that the character in question probably had one too many jousting lances to the head (or used Int as a dump stat).
Via the letters of these characters, we move through the borderlands and accompany their triumphs and tribulations, their fear of the untamed wilderness and the draconic doom lurking right out there sinking slowly to the reader. unlike the quasi-early modern period, a sense of medieval structures is conveyed in a believable manner. The city of Manas, capital of Suilley, does get a full-page map for the convenience of players and the final page provides a collection of no less 8 heraldic crests, which help players identify the knights and holdings – when the GM describes the crest of a tower with a crown above it, the players will know to expect the Exeter province’s holdings and retainers. Exeter? Yep, nomenclature is associated with central European nomenclature, with Aachen and Vourdon, as further examples, illustrating well the linguistic aesthetic.
In the hands of lesser authors, this could easily backfire, but t does not in this book. So yes, after reading this supplement, I sure as hell knew that I wanted to play in the Borderland Provinces.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Frog God Games’ two-column b/w-standard and the cartography and artwork in b/w are neat indeed. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with detailed bookmarks and the print copy is a qualitatively neat booklet with good paper – as we’ve come to expect from frog God Games.
I have become a big fan of Matthew J. Finch’s writing and he delivers herein, creating a tantalizing atmosphere. Furthermore, he highlights the different, interwoven leitmotifs of the region in a compelling manner and makes you excited to check out the region and unravel all the plots and options I have seen in such guides. This is a player’s guide well worth the asking price and a neat companion book for the big tome. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.
You can get this very evocative guide here on OBS!