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Red and Pleasant Land is AWESOME!

wrathofzombie

New member
Yesterday Zak Smith's Red and Pleasant Land was released by the James Raggi on the Lamentations of the Flame Princess website.

I'm only about 25 pages in, but it is fucking awesome. A) his art is all through the book and Jez Gordon did a killer job with the layout and design. B) Zak's descriptive text is evocative, but short and to the point... He doesn't ramble on needlessly. C) He successfully captures the whimsy, strangeness, and unknown of Lewis Caroll's Alice and Wonderland. D) It is just an awesome and mysterious place to run for your players.. They'll never know what to expect and the randomness and bizarre etiquette and customs will keep the players on their toes.

I really do recommend this book and I can't wait to finish it and run my players through it. I plan to do a full review for my blog soon.

Here is a small snippet from the description of the Land Now (RPL, pg 12).

“Imagine you are looking down at a map, or at the land with a satellite eye. Imagine a grid or lattice laid over the land. The graph paper lines are rivers and hedgerows, narrow as alleyways, running at angles, defining squares the size of city blocks. Now build, in your mind, tall buildings of different heights up from these neighboring square foundations: one big skyscraper in each— in stone and in a medieval style, some ten, some twenty stories high. Give them gardens on their roofs and across their terraced balconies. Now link them with bridges. Now destroy them with time.

Some tumble, some crumble, some rot, some have four stories or five, some are half-left, some are squat, some are flat, some are holes in the ground, exposing the corridors under the Earth’s surface. The remnants of the gardens spread over it all like a moss— or the icing on a cake the day after the party— coating the land’s rainward face in a mask of friendly green, with the occasional window, door or rabbit-hole poking through, allowing access to the dungeon layers of the interior.”
 

wirecrossing

illegal jokes
Validated User
Looks good. However, the link doesn't tell me a great deal about what I can do with this.

Is it a stand-alone, or is it a supplement?
 

Sosthenes

Oiled Greek Wrestler
Validated User
B) Zak's descriptive text is evocative, but short and to the point... He doesn't ramble on needlessly.
[...]

“Imagine you are looking down at a map, or at the land with a satellite eye. Imagine a grid or lattice laid over the land. The graph paper lines are rivers and hedgerows, narrow as alleyways, running at angles, defining squares the size of city blocks. Now build, in your mind, tall buildings of different heights up from these neighboring square foundations: one big skyscraper in each— in stone and in a medieval style, some ten, some twenty stories high. Give them gardens on their roofs and across their terraced balconies. Now link them with bridges. Now destroy them with time.
[...]
Erm, it seems we have different thresholds here.
 

wrathofzombie

New member
Looks good. However, the link doesn't tell me a great deal about what I can do with this.

Is it a stand-alone, or is it a supplement?
You can use it as either. Zak outlines how to just cannibalize it and use the parts you want as agents for your own game or just insert the parts you like into your own campaign (he does this lightly, but with enough suggestions).

Or you can play it as a whole setting book...

System-wise it is compatible with nearly any D&D variant/retro-clone. He leaves much of the mechanics out, but will say things like "AC as plate" or "attack bonus as fighter" so you know what you're looking at for your own preferred system.

I plan on using this for my players.... They are about to go into an abandoned wizard's laboratory and I figured that's a great place to put a looking-glass that will take them over to the War World and enjoy some whimsy.
 

revdoctoredj

Retired User
I've had some time to check out the PDF. It's a really gorgeous book. Lots of art, everywhere, which I like quite a bit. The layout is pretty intuitive, and doesn't attempt to crowd the content onto the pages. The interior copy is not, as wrathofzombie suggested, concise; it reads more like literature. I'm a voracious reader, anyway, so it's always nice to find a game book/supplement that isn't just stat block and rules/mechanics. Zak's a decent writer, too, so he pulls it off well. I understand that he's got a bit of a reputation here, but don't let that deter you from checking out his work. It's good, really, really good.

I'm also looking forward to seeing the physical product. Apparently they pulled out all the stops on this one. It's luxe. If you're a bibliophile, like me, that's just more gravy to make it savory. I, for one, am incredibly pleased that the "death of print" never really happened. Lots of publishers are taking the physical product very seriously these days (e.g., Goodman Games, Lesser Gnome, WOTC, etc.). Raggi's Lamentations of the Flame Princess publishing house, though, really, really takes these products seriously. He even went so far as to reject the first printing because the end papers of a revised adventure didn't match the specs. Love or hate his work, you've got to admire that he's focused on bringing the best product to market that he possibly can.

Short version: Alice in Wonderland, Dracula, beautiful and useful physical copy (or PDF only if you don't care about the book itself). This product is worth your time. Check it out.
 

Paul Watson

Active member
Validated User
I was going to hold off on buying this until the new year so as not to squeeze my budget too much during the holiday season. Then I saw how fast it was disappearing (down to 551 of 1000 as of now), saw the endorsements from China Miéville, Kenneth Hite and others, and changed my mind. It'll be on it's way on a slow boat from Finland, leaving me to make do with the PDF.

I've only had a chance to give it a quick skim, but it's amazing. At a glance, it's like Alice in Wonderland meets Dracula, viewed through the author's particular lens (if you've read Vornheim, you're familiar with that lens). There's an Alice character class (aka: Alistair or Fool, depending on gender). There's the Cheshire Cat. There's the Great Grub, Carrion Caterpillar. There's four factions each lead by a royal vampire, with various people and creatures aligned with one of the factions (or unaligned).

There's a large set of locations, which I've very quickly skimmed, but when I stop to actually read an entry I find something very atmospheric and interesting; no d6 rats with 1000 cp here. Optional rules, including rank, duels, large battles. Tons of random tables; one section has 29 pages of random tables (and location templates), and that's in addition tot he tables that appear here and there in the main body of the book. There's player handouts (always appreciate props like that).

As for the art, again if you've read Vornheim, you know what to expect in terms of art. It's the same style, but seems refined; personally, I quite like it and it very much suits and enhances the material.
 

Giblet Blizzard

You Humans are Funny
Validated User
Zak did all the art in it. Jez Gordon did the layout and I think he did the red map on page 6.
No, that's not me. My maps are the two sample location maps "The Shoe Thief" p134-135 and "Your Worst Halves" p138-139.

As the only person involved with the production of Red and Pleasant Land who isn't banned from rpg.net I'll happily answer any questions anyone has about it.
 

studmuffin

Retired User
No, that's not me. My maps are the two sample location maps "The Shoe Thief" p134-135 and "Your Worst Halves" p138-139.

As the only person involved with the production of Red and Pleasant Land who isn't banned from rpg.net I'll happily answer any questions anyone has about it.
Dude, I want a print of your map the size of a big poster. You should sell that.
 
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