It has been a while since I have reviewed anything in the Lords of Gossamer and Shadow range, and that is largely I became disappointed that I could not maintain a game of it online. I had grand plans but the time zone issues of the players was too much to handle and they fell by the wayside. Beyond that I even had to give up my Kickstarter spot in a game run by Steve Russell because of my work and the time zone problems too. Of course, none of that is the games fault but it has made me a little sad to review, or even read, new material for the game. Today I drew a line in the sand and put all the past behind me and opened the virtual pages of Hollow Thune, the new Gossamer World supplement from Matt Banach’s pen.
Hollow Thune has a depressing story of destruction and excess. There is genocide and a power mad race that believed they were largely omnipotent from their actions, which in the end destroyed them. It leaves a bleak landscape inhabited by morlock like creatures and shadow that acts as though it is living creature, devouring the material plane, Eidolon and Umbra alike, dragging it back into Shadow. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised by the setting in this book as Matt Banach’s worlds are normally vibrant and full of life. In this though there is a bleak darkness that would challenge any level player.
The layout of the book is great and the artwork is awesome. I think this is probably the best of the World books for artwork, although I found the fact that there is a spot for page numbers on the page that has no page numbers in it. Probably an oversight that will be easily fixed. There are some special new rules in this world to handle the existence of these tears in reality (collectively known as the Erebi). There is a skeletal warrior who is the hero of the realm with an awesome glaive that battles the Shadow.
The final word on this World by the traveller reporting on it, Yaeger Zane, is an amusing one. It talks about how he believes that one day there will become a need for the Gossamer Lords to descend on this dangerous reality to save the Multiverse. If it were me as a character in a game that dealt with this realm, I would be more likely inclined to assist the Faceless Man (one of the Erebi) to erase the reality all together and let it be swallowed to Shadow. But then again, I am always for quick solutions.
In all reality I was hoping that this would be a much brighter return to the series. I can see how this has some ties back to some of the material in Amber, similar to the creatures that arose after Corwyn cursed his brother Eric and it will appeal to the traditionalists of Amber that now use LoGaS in much the same way. To me though the use of such a bleak world is something that I would only use to show the players that there are some realities that may be better lost to the Shadow. There is little, if anything, that redeems this world as a place that you would choose to go. I honestly thought that there was going to be one shining thing that drew travellers there but that thing never comes. None the less I can see that some bleak campaigns would love a jaunt to Hollow Thune and for that I have to give this three devolved morlocks out of five.