Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: Majestic Wilderlands (Conclusion)

I had begun a chapter-by-chapter review of The Majestic Wilderlands by Robert S. Conley in my previous two posts, but do not believe I can adequately capture all the detail that the product is immersed in. I finished reading the product today, all 140 pages of it. Though not as many pages as some tombs, the detail and depth is intense (for lack of a better word). You surely have to see to believe.

So, I will provide my overall opinion of the setting and rules, granted without having actually played in it, by providing the follow image:

The Good: Too much to capture in a simple review.
  • An expansive setting that provides ample background for a myriad of types of campaigns to be set in; from Oriental to Fantasy Western.
  • In depth social structures in the form of Orders, Cultures, Sects, and many others.
  • Well thought out and interesting character classes that do not coddle to balance, but rather are designed to support and reinforce the setting and locals. Classes are intriguing enough to garner even the most munchkin player's attention to select a class based on role-playing potential rather than any mechanical advantage.
  • Though the setting has a strong fantasy base, Rob has managed to bend traditional fantasy tropes just enough to make it not feel like a canned fantasy setting. This is where the life of the setting emerges in my opinion and is, as mentioned earlier, supported by the iconic character expansions.
  • Additional rules, for the most part, are not added just for the sake of adding something new. They appear to have been included to strengthen a certain feel. Where this is not the case, the rules have been identified as 'optional'. Such as a short entry on helms.
  • I really can not encapsulate the wealth of inspirational goodness that is shoe-horned into this book.
  • A small issue I normally have with PDF purchases, but that grates on me terribly, is executed with perfection within this release: hyperlinking. It may seem like a small thing, but when I read a PDF with hyperlinks that drop me at the wrong page, mid paragraph, etc. It grates on me. All tested hyperlinking took me straight to the top of the desired information. Bravo!
The Bad Unfortunate: Though minimal / trivial, there are some.
  • Some of the 'flow' of data could have been arranged differently for my personal tastes. For example, Setting geographical and history first, then characters. Or corresponding character types in said setting section. Example, "Character Classes, and Ability Bonuses" on page 65 might have worked better, for me, up in the "Character:" chapters.
  • Sparse instances of missing words or gramatical flow. Nothing that ruined the experience, but noticable.
  • Though designed, in my opinion, to be taylorable by a GM for their own campaign, I would have loved to have seen a small area of the "The Main Campaign Area" section drilled into with more detail. Perhaps displaying some of the author's legendary maps? In that vein, "Cultures and Religions" and "Regions" occasionally covered similar ground. Reducing the scope of the world, or its writeup, and expounding on the section that Rob's campaigns took place in would have made this product five stars for me. Basically, I believe he mentions having changed the scale of the setting map. I would have rather seen 5 mile regional hex description, than 12.5 mile world hex description. If that makes sense?
Over All Assessment: 4.5 of 5 stars with an expected 'Red' result on the 'Fun Meter' for actual play! Amazing setting with integrated rules. A little less in the expanse of the world and a tad more detail in the core campaign area, would have made it the best setting I have ever had the pleasure to read.

Cudos Rob Conley. Wish I would have purchased months ago!



  1. I just want to say it was a great and insightful review.


  2. I hope you really think so. I have never taken the time before to even try and write a review, so doing so for this product has to say something. I am looking forward to getting Points of Light and your Blackmarsh releases.



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