Friday, November 5, 2010

World Tree by Bard Bloom & Victoria Borah Bloom

NOTE: World Tree was a free review copy provided to Luke Reviews by Padwolf Publishing.

Normally, Luke Reviews only puts out reviews of novels, collections, anthologies, etc. However, Luke Reviews has been known to read a Role Playing Game book from time to time. When Padwolf Publishing sent me a copy of World Tree, along with Bard Bloom’s novel A Marriage of Insects, which is set in the World Tree game setting, I was quite curious to dive in.

World Tree presents players with a setting taking place entirely on a gigantic tree populated with anthropomorphic animals of all kinds. Players set out on adventures throughout the land, exploring cultures and dangers. Initially, I must admit I thought, anthropomorphic animals, this sounds like a kids game. However, when you read through the book, you find that, far from simply a children’s RPG, World Tree is a complex game. Complex not in its rules of play, which are actually quite easy to pick up, but in the complex, fully developed setting. Beyond just the world of the World Tree, the cultures, each generally simply the different species of anthropomorphized animal, are given a lot of space in the book to be fleshed out, and vignettes are thrown in throughout the volume that add to the cultural and historical setting immensely.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to the action junky looking for hard and fast, non-stop fights, although I think you could gear this game that way if you so chose. Instead, I would lead those who are looking for strongly story-driven games, that find their true richness outside of the fighting aspect, to World Tree. For those looking for a well developed fantasy setting that isn’t a D&D book, give World Tree a try.

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