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LIGHT WITHOUT SHADOW, BLADE WITHOUT EDGE - A Fantasy Adventure For BRP Heroes


Trifletraxor

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light-without-shadow.jpgLight without Shadow, Blade without Edge is a scenario, set in an unique fantasy setting in which an ancient curse once killed an obscure order of monks. Aeons later, the last island of human existence struggles against new masters of the world, the undead Vangfur. Blood from those long-dead monks is the key to human salvation - and the last vial belongs to a powerful vampire. The adventurers have to steal it.

By David Fitzgerald. 48 pages. Published by Chaosium August 2009.

Edited by Trifletraxor

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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I just bought it, and have skimmed through it. It is well written, with a pleasant layout, and nice, servicable maps.

It makes several references to what seems to be a well-developed, home-made fantasy setting(the vampires in the story are called "Vangfur", the calendercount is "year 114 after Deserata's founding", there are skyships, and several gods mentioned by name. Guards are found wearing lacquered armour and wielding katanas.

Unfortunately, the mono only gives us the adventure, and no background:(

I'll come back with a critique with the adventure itself, once I've digested it properly. If someone else beats me to it, I wouldn't mind:)

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Having read the scenario, I can't really recommend it as it stands.

The author might not be a professional, but he writes like one. The text is written in a clear, concise language, the layout is good, the included maps are good. Unfortunately, the writer doesn't think like a professional. Light without Shadow.. might be used as a convention-scenario, and will probably work well, but at the end the players will either be staring dumbfoundedly at the poor GM, or they'll become downright nasty.

I'd really wanted this to be good, because it has a lot of good points to it. There is a nice mix of roleplaying opportunities, investigation and fighting, and the setting that is hinted at throughout the scenario looks interesting. All well written.

The scenario starts the PC''s off as caravan guards, leading into a nice, investigative adventure. And this investigation leads to another, very good adventure, where the PC's are sent hunting for artifacts in a hostile land. Unfortunately, the author here decides to open his bag of stupid.(slightly spoilerish: time travel, deux ex machina etc).

The scenario is still salvagable, but what you get here for 8,95 is primarily an (a very good)example on how to write a scenario, and an equally good example on how to ruin(at least for me) a perfectly good story.

This is not me being nasty, I'm merely disappointed. This was not for me.

If there is another mono coming up from mr.Fitzgerald, fleshing out the setting in which Light.. is set, my opinion might change.

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The scenario starts the PC''s off as caravan guards, leading into a nice, investigative adventure. And this investigation leads to another, very good adventure, where the PC's are sent hunting for artifacts in a hostile land. Unfortunately, the author here decides to open his bag of stupid.(slightly spoilerish: time travel, deux ex machina etc).

Time travel might fit into the author's setting but might not fit into many of the settings this scenario would be ported to. Are we talking about the final revelations at the end of the book, or is a substantial amount of the book dedicated to this part? How much work to change fitting your own setting?

Would you consider adding your opinions as a review in the review section kaddawang?

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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Short review added.

Someone please disagree:o

You might port it to other setting. The plot is good, and a lot could be salvaged from it. But the story incorporates a little too many details of a world we know nothing about.

The time-travel is in no way extensive. But the plot hinges on it, and I think it is poor story-telling, as it is nothing but a wrench in an otherwise good plot.

And the time-travel still doesn't make any kind of sense. Even if it is sort-of explained at the grand finale.

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You're playing a fantasy roleplaying game...and you believe that using magic to travel in time is odd? Isn't the reason why these games are made is so we can escape reality? Everything applies and can be used in a fantasy setting thats why its called "fantasy".

Nick of Chaosium

Chaosium Inc. - Nick Nacario - Nick Nacario

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I don't mind timetravel. But timetravel can be a tricky storytelling mechanic.

And in this scenario, it rubs me the wrong way.

By all means, disagree. After all, I asked for it. But the fact still remains; I didn't like it(IMO the weakest BRP-mono so far). Others might like it, and if so, I do hope they make their opinion known.

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You're playing a fantasy roleplaying game...and you believe that using magic to travel in time is odd? Isn't the reason why these games are made is so we can escape reality? Everything applies and can be used in a fantasy setting thats why its called "fantasy".

Hi Nick,

Firstly, let me say welcome to the boards and that I am very glad to have someone from Chaosium make their presence known here!

Now, let me spoil that goodwill by disagreeing with you! :P

Just because it's 'Fantasy' and therefore 'imaginative' doesn't mean that anything goes in all fantasy. Fantasy, like all other forms of fiction, only works when it is somewhat believable. We expect our game worlds and works of fiction (and films) to have an internal logic to them - this allows us to interact with them in a reasonable manner. In fantasy we tend to remove some of the real-world logic that we already know (like physics) and replace it with a new logic (such a magic). As long as we the readers or players can suspend our disbelief in the new logic, it works. But when something too illogical is introduced, or if too many fantastic elements are introduced, our suspension of disbelief strains and eventually breaks. I'm sure we all have a different threshold for this, but at some point there will be something we don't accept - and at that point serious fantasy becomes farce, which is a different thing altogether.:)

The best Fantasy isn't good because everything goes. It's good because it's imaginary - but seems real.

Thalaba

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

__________________________________

 

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Ugh this is why i hate going to Gaming conventions. You people (fanboys) put way too much time into speculating whether or not something can or cannot work in a game. Its a game...you didn't complain when there was a butterfly in the patient for Operation, that wasnt realistic. You didn't complain when we created Broo, a race of goat people that could breed with ANYTHING. Yet you find time travel through magic UNBELIEVABLE? You all are ridiculous. KUDOS GUYS!! HERES A THUMBS UP :thumb:

Nick

My opinion does not reflect the opinion of Chaosium, just my own.

Edited by NickofChaosium
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Ugh this is why i hate going to Gaming conventions. You people (fanboys) put way too much time into speculating whether or not something can or cannot work in a game. Its a game...you didn't complain when there was a butterfly in the patient for Operation, that wasnt realistic. You didn't complain when we created Broo, a race of goat people that could breed with ANYTHING. Yet you find time travel through magic UNBELIEVABLE? You all are ridiculous. KUDOS GUYS!! HERES A THUMBS UP :thumb:

Nick

My opinion does not reflect the opinion of Chaosium, just my own.

Us people? :ohwell:

Nick I hope you are being sacrcastic, it is hard to tell.... :rolleyes:

Very slowly working towards completing my monograph.

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Ok..didn't see that one coming.

Good to know that Chaosium doesn't officially regard us as a bunch of raving loonies, at least:)

But in order to keep everyone happy, if someone has differing opinions about this mono(not the use of butterflies in boardgames or the races of one of the best developed fantasyworlds in circulation), speak freely.

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Because i am one of "the people" i understand how you could get so worked up over nothing (comics is my weakness). But goddang it how the hell can you think time travel...of all things...is irrelevant in fantasy? THATS WHY ITS CALLED FANTASY YOU ESCAPE YOUR CRAPPY REALITY. I dont think any of you are really capable of wielding a sword in real life so you play the game to do it. You play a game to escape reality, why are you trying to make the game realistic? Elves arent real, magic isnt either (at least european magic, read about vodoun).

Nick

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"oiracaN kciN"

Did it work? Is he still here? :)

Seriously, things like Time Travel are fine, if used well. I haven't seen the supplement, so I can't comment on how it is used there.

If you have a scenario where a dragon appears from nowhere, fries everything and disappears then that might make sense, in a fantasy world for example, but might not work in a modern setting.

Are you familiar with the phrase "deus ex machina"?

Roleplayers tend to be the people who watch a film and say "That bit's not right". We are geeky and nerdy to a certain extent (myself, of course, excluded). That's why we like things to hang together. Things need to be consistent otherwise they become unbelievable. For an off the cuff scenario it isn't too bad if things aren't that consistent, but for a published scenario that people pay for it can be unacceptable.

By the way, making inflammatory comments doesn't win any friends, it just makes the person making the comments sound obnoxious.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Is Nick really of Chaosium?

I'm fine with time travel/elves/magic beans/whatever in my fantasy fare as long as it's consistent with the setting and story... but it's bad storytelling to have time travel elements just to shore up a weak storyline or because the author couldn't think up another solution to the mystery...

It's the fantasy/science fiction equivalent to 'it was all just a dream!'

Not to say that the monograph in question does any of those things... but quality fantasy/SF needs its own internal logic just like any other story...

There's a difference between Tolkien and the stories my 4yr old friend likes to tell me.

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Spells are capable of doing anything where the hell is the problem with a spell doing time travel? Okay and yeah i apologize to the brp community for being outrageous and overreacting earlier but geez the monographs are there for a reason, we want you to be able to get your work published. Since when can fantasy not have powerful spells to be able to do whatever you want? Shoot i have a deus ex machina character (like everyone else)through accidental means (dont eat the ghoul goo) why cant there be magic that works to the means of the story?

Everyone has a deus ex machina character how many have you honestly died in BRP? I killed off one character for the sake of the group but has any of you made that sacrifice?

Nick

My opinions do not reflect those of the Chaosium.

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Spells are capable of doing anything where the hell is the problem with a spell doing time travel?

Time travel must be integrated well into the setting not to break it. I'm a fan of fantasy and sci-fi, but that doesn't mean I like all the books on the subject. It has to have an internal consistency, and it has to be "believable" within the parameters of the setting.

(by the way, you need to add a backslash to the last bracket to obtain your desired result)

Since when can fantasy not have powerful spells to be able to do whatever you want?

You can, but it must be done well. Now, as almost none of us have actually read the monograph, maybe we should take the discussion to the main forum, as we're cluttering up the monograph thread.

Everyone has a deus ex machina character how many have you honestly died in BRP?

Oh, they die all the time. I mostly GM, and all my players fear for their life. The longer they've had a character, the more carefull it gets. :P

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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It's the fantasy/science fiction equivalent to 'it was all just a dream!'

Not to say that the monograph in question does any of those things... but quality fantasy/SF needs its own internal logic just like any other story...

It doesn't. As I've said, the story in itself is good.

After the ruckus here, I reread it in case I might have skipped a crucial page, but alas no.

The mono is both too focused(so it cannot be easily ported into an existing setting), and too unfocused(being too lite to use as basis for a campaign).

As I said in the review-section, it's a bit between a rock and a hard place.

The details of timetravelling(which went a bit overboard..), deux's etc can be glossed over if one chooses to, but then you'd be left with a handful of NPCs, combat encounters and a skeletous plot.

If you have a fantasygame going(w/high magic, active gods and perhaps the kitchensink), and a big white spot on your map, you might use this. Otherwise, it is of limited value. In my opinion!

So, what if we start over, as I don't want to see Light.. left standing alone in the cold here? Anyone else have any input? And yes, you too, Nick;)

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Hey kaddawang and everyone else...

I want to thank you for your opinion(s) and your taking the time to buy Light Without Darkness, Blade Without Edge.

As the creator I have this urge to want to jump in and defend my "baby." As a writer I understand that it needs to stand on it's own feet and weather criticism good and bad without me making excuses and such.

I'll say this

I'm working on a prequel that will take place 10 years before LWDBWE and fill in more of the world as well as showing us how one of the monks came to be the master of the Jag Voc's of Myrhone. Also we'll visit Stand Town, as it's being built and Dymond Hold when it was a thriving town, before the comming of the vangfur...and I promise no more time traveling.

I want to show you the world but rather than give you just a bunch of maps and stats I want to give you adventures so you can play the world. Obviously I didn't balance world vs adventure well in LWDBWE but I will strive to do better in the future book "The Gold Road."

Once again thanks for your opinions

David Fitzgerald

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Good luck David. :thumb:

Is it worth considering an expanded work perhaps with a substantive adventure as planned, but much more background material included? Or did you hope it (LWDBWE) would be sufficiently generic to not require more background material?

I haven't yet purchased LWDBWE (it will be on my next order of print monographs :thumb:) so can't comment on that, but my questions are based on the thoughts posted here.

Edited by leonmallett

Very slowly working towards completing my monograph.

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Leonmallet

As someone mentioned earlier it is based on an ongoing world. I wanted to showcase some of it but still make it something that could be run on any world. I wanted to avoid the trap that many world based scenarios have where it's too alien to be run by most. However I seemed to have walked into a different trap...lol.

LWDBWE is kinda generic. Based on feedback "The Gold Road" will be less generic and be more of a tour through the world via a supply caravan. There will be sub adventures scattered through it and an overarching quest. There will also be more information on Deserata and the coming civil war. Since this will be a prequel we'll see some of the stuff that got the ball rolling for the Long Night depicted in LWDBWE.

I appreciate the feedback offered here and I know that it can only make me a better writer and story teller.

David

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Leonmallet

As someone mentioned earlier it is based on an ongoing world. I wanted to showcase some of it but still make it something that could be run on any world. I wanted to avoid the trap that many world based scenarios have where it's too alien to be run by most. However I seemed to have walked into a different trap...lol.

LWDBWE is kinda generic. Based on feedback "The Gold Road" will be less generic and be more of a tour through the world via a supply caravan. There will be sub adventures scattered through it and an overarching quest. There will also be more information on Deserata and the coming civil war. Since this will be a prequel we'll see some of the stuff that got the ball rolling for the Long Night depicted in LWDBWE.

I appreciate the feedback offered here and I know that it can only make me a better writer and story teller.

David

Welcome aboard David. I should have said that earlier... :o

:thumb:

Very slowly working towards completing my monograph.

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