Sunday, October 6, 2013

Review - City-State of the Sea Kings - Part The Last - Admitting Defeat

I know you, the fine readers of this blog, voted on City-State of the Sea Kings being moved to the top of the review pile.

I tried, really I did.

I just can't do it.

There is too much here for the little I want in a setting, and what is here is dry reading. Maybe not as dry as some of those history text books I had to slog through in my college days, but dry none the less.

Classic Judges Guild products were known for their brevity - they might have been dry as a cracker, but they got to the point and moved on. City-State of the Sea Kings is a box of saltines.

Isle of the Blest was less that 30 pages in the Necromancer release of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy (maybe one day I'll run that) whereas City-State of the Sea Kings comes in at nearly 380.

I don't need that much detail. Hell, I can't handle that much detail. It's not a product I would use at this point in my gaming life cycle, as I'll never find the time to read it all the way through, let alone know it well enough to run it.

There are folks out there that this book is certainly written for. Folks that can't get enough detail on a setting. That's not me, nor is it a fit for my group. Southland, from Points of Light comes in at 14 pages, including the map. That's our type of sandbox.

City-State of the Sea Kings is obviously a labor of life. It's detailed with excellent maps and suitable art. There is an audience for this book, and it deserves to find them. As for my copy? I'll probably put it on the shelf next to my copy of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.


  1. A box of Saltines . . . without sardines? :O

    Thanks for the effort, but I will not ask you to put yourself through that, since I feel much the same about that type of product as you do. :D

  2. Interesting. I'm curious to know how Razor Coast holds up as a contrast.

    1. Apples and Oranges for the most part.

      RC (for S&W) is a campaign with many moving parts and a large amount of flexibility for the PCs to move about the setting - events will take place due to PC actions (or inactions)

      CSotSK is a setting, pure and simple, for you to build your campaign upon.

  3. It's a great pity. One of the standout features of the original Wilderlands material by Judges Guild was the brevity that required creativity on the part of the DM.

  4. This book takes up the same space as most of the rest of the Wilderlands combined. What did you honestly expect?

    I think some of the best Wilderlands stuff was the center sections of each issue of the Pegasus magazine. Even the random crappy stuff was full of ideas.

  5. I am sorry you feel that the material is not worth the read. The book was published in the true JG style, and, while there is a wealth of information in the book, a great deal of it is area specific. Yes, there is a smorgasbord of info for the city, so was there for CSIO, CSWE, and CSoT in those products. If you would take the time to actually look over the CSSK book, you would find that each section could stand alone, were you to wish to use them as such.
    If you do not want to have to read the book, then my suggestion to you is that you probably should not have gotten it. I mean, it is not like the book is a 28 page supplement, hiding in an over-sized folder here. It quite literally says what it is by the shape of it alone; a wealth of information for someone willing to give it a chance.
    If you ever do get the opportunity to actually peruse the product, I am sure you will find it worth the time. If not, then I would appreciate a more telling review than that which you have provided, thanks.

  6. Still waiting for my last post to be applied.

  7. More than happy to buy it from you if you are unhappy with it! ;)


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition