Lords of Gossamer and Shadow: Lucien’s Guide to the Grand Stair by Rob Donoghue

This is the first material to come out for Rite Publishing’s new RPG line, The Lords of Gossamer and Shadow written by Jason Durall.  It was created as a stretch goal to the final kickstarter for the game and was released early in January for sale as a PDF from DrivethruRPG.com for around $5 USD.  I managed to get a free copy from my Kickstarter involvement but for that price it is certainly an accessible supplement.

The cover of the PDF

The booklet is 24 pages of information that ranges between stylised letters from Lucien to one of his companions through to new rules and mechanics that will expand the game from the core rulebook in new ways.  For the most part though the book covers the letters and theories of Lucien that surround details of the Grand Stair.  I have to say that this is a welcome addition because the main rules set the stage of the Grand Stair but do not really talk much about it in specifics which can be daunting for a new GM.  How do you represent one of the largest portions of the game with little to go on.  It does dwarf a bit when you are making the jump from a dice heavy system to a diceless system so my first game was daunting for a different reason but this was certainly in the back of my mind as we played.

I really think that this is a valuable addition to the game.  There is one thing that I would have liked to have had included and that was a foreword.  Perhaps from Jason Durall giving his comment on the addition and giving a brief word on what to expect.  As it is you look at the credits and you leap straight into a letter from Lucien to a person by the name of Luke.  As I did not really know what to expect from this addition I actually had to read it twice to get much from the first few letters included in it.  Had I had a brief word of warning I think I would have been in a much better mind to soak in the bits and pieces of details that those letters contain.

The letters do contain some really interesting detail too.  What is even more impressive is that I am sure with some of the letters that some of the readers will take away different information that is interesting to them.  This will create interesting dynamics in play between GM and players as this book contains nothing in it that is illicit to the players (and I strongly suggest the players have a look at it) which is as it should be for this style of product.

There are several additions to the rules as they stand which is great.  Jason Durall has stated in several forums and locations that there were more rules that he would have liked to have added to the game but space in the book did not permit it.  I think this supplement will go some way to showing how this will be addressed.  Every new addition to the core rules may come with a few rules.  I have a player in my game who wanted to play someone completely new to the stair but the way the rules for character generation are it makes it hard to represent.  In this supplement we see some rules that offer us some abilities to traverse a door without being a warden.  Excellent addition.  It is an addition that shows me that Rite Publishing are not going to leave us hanging for intermediate, beginner and hopefully advanced powers and they want to grow the line in a sensible manner.

Make sure you have one of these!

Not only does this booklet offer us the new rules for walking the stair it offers us new cantrips and sorceries!  What is more, they are Grand Stair themed (of course) that make you think more about how the stair operates.  I love these so much I am already thinking about new NPC’s and also adjusting the thirty that I already have!  Along with these we also have some new powers for handling expanses (sections of the Grand Stair that you attune to) and Carta as equipment (think of an Atlas for doors and their connections.

Finally we also have two new NPC’s.  A young Lucien and a shield maiden if you will!  Gretchen is the most interesting of the two of these (trust me, I know my NPC’s) and the layered history of how she built up to become a warden of the stair makes me want to play her.  She is a great addition to the stable.  The smart alec Lucien NPC is kind of cool to compare to the Lucien of the main book but he is a bit of a novelty.  For me anyhow.  I am sure that it may be of interest to a GM to run a campaign that covers Lucien’s earlier travels and having the PC’s as his companions.

Overall I really like this little book.  It fleshes out my thinking on the stair and gives me new, solid rules to play with.  It also is something that I can hand to new players to give them an idea on what the Grand Stair can be like.  It needs a little love and care so that it does not make you have to read it a couple of times to get the value but this little baby makes me a very happy boy.  It shows that one of my big investments on Kickstarter last year is ticking along nicely and that it is heading in a direction that I want to find out more.  I give this 4.5 Dwimmerlaik Folk Tales out of 5!  Whatever you do, do not keep rolling!

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