Today, the review of Gods of the Fall continues with chapter 5, on the region known as the Verge. Let’s see what tropes we have awaiting us, shall we?
So first up we get a nice list of some of the nefar (goblins, orcs, trolls, ogres, and so on) that helps make absolutely certain that we know for sure that ‘nefar’ is a shortening of nefarious. This one has honestly been bugging me since I first realized what it was referring to, and while I generally love the things MCG produces, this just feels like a bit of lazy story design. I know that Gods of the Fall is an over-the-top epic fantasy setting, and that we’ve had similar naming happen already, but this one just grates on me. I’d probably have been happier if they’d just outright referred to them as ‘the vile races’ or something instead.
Anyhow, moving along, the first entry is the Kaskan tribe of goblins and orcs, known commonly as the Red Hands tribe after their method of marking their turf. They cover a wide range of turf, and answer to a young orc chieftan who inherited the role from her parents. It includes a segment on their territory, including a ruined city from times long past, a magnificent lake, a forest with some spooky blighted sections, and a creepy city with a malevolent psychic call.
Then we have the Shwalg tribe, who lead off with the information that they make the aggressive and mighty Red Hands look like peaceful hunter-gatherers. I guess this is where you look if you want a bunch of rampaging killer barbarians, then. They’re ruled by an ogre who calls himself Ironjaw who rules from a literal pile of skulls and has an artifact axe.
In their turf, they’ve got a ruined city that they faff about in, treating it like a big rubble heap to dig around and smear blood on, a giant who calls himself the Fire King, a moor haunted by the ghosts of a forgotten battle between two gods and their soldiers, a lost valley claiming to have a still-living god watching out for them, a vampire tomb, and an exciting, sounding thing called the Stairs of Oblivion which occasionally lets the Hellmaw go hunting in the Afterworld.
All in all, this is probably the shortest chapter, mostly full of tidbit sections; I’m fairly sure the ‘other locations’ part from the prior chapters got scrambled into the Shwalg Territory section, because that part’s rather long. The chapter ends on the story hooks, which are all tidbits built around the chapter. For a chapter that’s pretty clearly meant to be the “HERE BE MONSTERS” part of the map, it isn’t bad. I just would’ve liked a bit more – maybe flesh out the lost valley as a full location for PCs to be from, add the Fire King as a full NPC and provide some information around his area, that sort of thing.
And, y’know, come up with a different generic name for the Evil Races of Evil. (I’m sorry, I can’t let it go.)
I guess that wraps it up for today! Come back next time as I leave the surface of the Afterworld to go explore the Moon of Nod, which may or may not be ruled by the last of the First Gods and which may or may not be directly tied to the repeating series of Falls!
See you then!