First Impressions: The Midderlands

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The Midderlands
The Midderlands is an OSR fantasy RPG setting that draws upon a weird alternative history version of the Midlands in the United Kingdom around the 15th and 16th centuries. Gunpowder weapons exist but are rare. The world is dominated by green; a pathway is open the underworld below and many strange creatures exist. Many different goblin types exist and even work for the human populace.

The book presents a gazetteer of towns and villages, forests, lakes and other points of interest, all with hooks for the GM to build upon. There is a section on artefacts that could be found and the flora of the area. The creatures section is delightful; it presents the creature as a monster, and then playable rules under Swords and Wizardry to use them as a character class. The real inspiration comes from the description of an individual that could be used as a non-player character or an opponent, or the heart of a plotline. The end of the book rounds out with an example scenario and plot hooks followed by useful random tables to support the game.

The feel of the setting is very British, with shades of White Dwarf in its glory days, and more than a hint of Warhammer FRP. I'm pretty certain you could use this with some work with that game as well as D&D variants.

The book is presented beautifully; a small hardcover with high-quality full-colour printing, fantastic maps and excellent illustrations, including a size chart with silhouettes somewhat reminiscent of early editions of Call of Cthulhu.

I've rated this four-stars; it's borderline five stars but didn't quite push my buttons enough to make me want to go and prepare a scenario to run straight away. A gorgeous book and well worth the investment. Definitely get the maps as well as they are beautiful. I have the next two books in the series and am looking forward to reading them.

19 August 2019

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