What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
After Winter Dark Campaign Setting

Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekend R&R: Thieves' World - Pt.2

The heat is pounding a lot of regions in North America pretty hard and the trend seems to be continuing.  The past few days have brought me to the point of declaring the conditions too hot to get any extended work done on any of the projects I am currently engaged in.  Progress was made this past weekend but the heat has also gotten worse since.  Tomorrow will be hitting 38 degrees Celsius which would be 100 Fahrenheit.  The study is presently warmer than that due to sun exposure and computer equipment.  The heat is not good for me... nor is it good for that powerhouse of a computer I use.  Instead, I do basic stuff on my tablet (and keyboard dock) and a bit of blogging -- like tonight's Part 2 post.  :)

In the first part, I basically talked about the classic Chaosium box set they released for Thieves' World designed with multiple systems in mind.  There would be no real treatment beyond Chaosium's efforts in the early 80s for over two decades.  In 2005, Green Ronin Publishing released the "Thieves' World Players Manual".  Unlike its gaming predecessor, this book was made for only one system in mind: the d20 system (and thus, Third Edition).  The good thing to keep in mind is that the book is still full of material which will be of value to anyone who wants information on the setting regardless of the system it was written for.  That said, there is plenty of material and game mechanics to help bring a d20 D&D type game a step closer to Sanctuary but, there just seems to be too much of it at times.  I guess you can say that it had all that was deemed 'necessary' to run a d20 Thieves World campaign and, like Third Edition, a lot was deemed necessary judging by the countless books and rule supplements WOTC released for Third Edition.  ;)

Green Ronin followed up with other books which add to the setting material made available in the Players Manual.  These are the "Shadow Spawn's Guide to Sanctuary" as well as the "Thieves' World Gazetteer".  Arguably, the best book for Thieves' World which Green Ronin released was the Shadow Spawn's Guide to Sanctuary and, between this book and the Player's Manual, you essentially cover the same sort of material which the classic box set does.  The Gazetteer just expands the setting beyond the scope of the city.  Green Ronin's treatment of the setting was generally well received and does a fantastic job at presenting Thieves' World well beyond the scope that Chaosium did but that doesn't necessarily mean it's better.  It certainly is worth a look though.  Unlike the Chaosium material, it is easier to track down the Green Ronin material with the books running between $10 and $15 depending on the book and condition.  Some places may still also have these in 'new' condition though pricing will vary.  For those who prefer PDF, these remain available but the prices are more expensive than the physical books -- an unfortunate pricing decision.

It is unfortunate to see the value of these books have decreased as much as they have though -- this happened due to the original announcement of 4th Edition.  Green Ronin decided to liquidate the majority of their older d20 material but that didn't mean it was crap.  I know many people who don't play d20-based games that generally avoid the still prevalent abundance of all these d20 books out in the market but I find that those that do so may miss out on an occasional gem.

Should these Thieves' World books be considered gaming gems?  Truthfully, I don't know.  Personally, I prefer the older Chaosium material but Green Ronin did an excellent job all around and, despite my preference, I wouldn't call the box set 'better' than the Green Ronin books.  Either version would be a great addition to the gaming shelf if you're looking for a particular city with a certain special charm and it could be that Sanctuary could fit the bill.


1 comment:

  1. I'm a Thieves' World nut, and have all the books. They are some of the only books I've read more than once.

    FWIW, I've got the Green Ronin Thieves' World boxed set and I love it. IMO, it makes good use of feats (no small feat!) by focusing them into specific choices that make sense and to my limited knowledge, don't employ some of the too powerful ones.
    Example: Since all the PCs are human, they have a list of 3 feats to choose from at 1st level based on the nation they hail from. I'm not a 3rd ed expert, but IIRC the class feats mesh well with the themes of TW and several other changes to the rules make it grittier and less power-bloaty (e.g. Healing spells grant subdual healing, casting spells requires a casting check, and some areas may be thin in mana where magic doesn't work well or takes longer to cast). Though, as far as the number of rules, yeah, it's no S&W White Box.

    Never actually played it, but I found the books to be a good read, if nothing else.

    Aside: Stay hydrated, Pat! :-)