Admiring Zzarchov Kowolski's Scenic Dunnsmouth, I reached out to him for a review copy of The Gnomes of Levnec. He was gracious to oblige.
I was curious for two reasons:
- Scenic Dunnsmouth is a masterful adventure toolkit.
- My partner is The Soapy Gnome, a soap maker
What Do We Have Here
Gnomes of Levnec provides a handful of locations. The village of Levnec is the “obvious” starting place.
The village is small and not bustling…something is amiss…there are a few clues. There are a handful of NPC descriptions along with possible responses to enquiry. And a few descriptions of buildings. Player interaction will be key.
Along with the village, Gnomes of Levnec describes a few other locations and creatures. Places to explore. Opposition to overcome. Creatures whose time is passing.
And a fantastic “so you are lost in the woods” table. Based on the map, and the awesomeness of the table, I would make sure that I roll on that table the first time they head into the woods. And at least one more time.
At its core, you roll a d8, d6, and a d4 consulting the corresponding table. If you roll triples, doubles, or max then you will apply a kicker to the results. There is a lot of information encoded in the tables.
As with many well written random tables, I appreciate the potentiality of the random table. Things that could happen, but won't. Early on, I would skim random tables. Now, I read them as they help to convey and reinforce the author's intent. They are like a baton hand-off from the writer to the GM…with the author saying “I've done my part, now you make sense of this.”
What about the Gnomes
Yes, there are gnomes, and their role is important to this adventure. It is unique and unexpected.
Picking Some Nits
Gnomes of Levnec has nice headers but its paragraphs are dense affairs; Scanning the text is difficult.
To Buy or Not to Buy?
Buy The Gnomes of Levnec if you are:
- Wanting an interesting take on gnomes
- Willing to fill in some blanks
- Fleshing out the edges of civilization, where the old and bizarre still live and breath
- Interested in things off kilter
- Looking to have your characters's crawling through the woods
Don't buy it if you are:
- Looking for a dungeon crawl
- Interested in lots of action (ie Combat!)
- Are not up for a mix of morbidity and whimsy
- Not wanting to come up with a hook for adventure
- If you are wanting explicit instructions on how to run this
- Certain your players won't talk with NPCs
- A strict believer in traditional gnomes
- Interested in adventures using “formal” language