Exploring The Lost Kingdoms

Posted by on October 28, 2011

Michael Garcia’s The Lost Kingdoms is a GM aid, meant to provide a ready-to-use framework for a typical fantasy kingdom.

And that is its biggest problem.

On the one hand, The Lost Kingdoms may be useful for new GMs who want a generic fantasy town with the barest bones of backstory.┬áThe setting’s background–wild kingdoms locked away behind a gate, recently re-opened for adventurers–is a great idea. The document lists a few common locations–a tavern, a weapons shop, a general store, several temples, etc.–each with a paragraph or two of basic information.

On the other hand, who wants to adventure in a generic fantasy town?

However, there’s not enough detail in The Lost Kingdoms to raise any of its contents to life, and what does exist should be easily imagined by any GM. Do I need someone to tell me that my town has a weapons shop? If the players need one, I can just say “Yes, there’s a weapons shop.” The meager information provided in the shop’s description (that it’s run by “a very well-known pair of Dwarf brothers”) could just as easily be re-imagined.

Worse, the book’s naming hurt my brain. Most places in town have deliberately generic names, like Apothecary and Inn, but the town square is named Statdplatz. Areas of exploration are given names that sit uncomfortably between generic and specific, like Edge Mountains, Morning Mountains, Crystal Lake, and Wasted Sands.

And the emperor who unsealed the gate? Bob the Magnificent. It just jars.

To top it off, the last page refers to “the awesome random encounter chart which I also provide,” which I can’t find anywhere in the book.

Even at its current $0.99 price, I can’t recommend The Lost Kingdoms. What’s here is too generic and weirdly named to be useful.

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