Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lone Wolf Multiplayer #4 - Sommerlund Review

Sommerlund is the fourth book published for the Lone Wolf Multiplayer roleplaying system. It is an exploration of the nation of Sommerlund in the world of Magnamund.
Sommerlund is not an adventure - it is a setting. This book details the history of Sommerlund, geography, and than important regions and cities in Sommerlund such as Tyso, Holmgard, the Southlund Marches, and Kirlunain Isles. For each location, a history is given, significant features are given, government and law is described, economic conditions detailed, and a map is provided. Sometimes, notable figures are described as they relate to specific locations around the city. I just wish that stats and abilities for these notable figures were provided.

This book would be very helpful if a group of adventurers was to visit one of these locations or adventure there. The presentation of information is a little wordy so the book doesn't serve well as a quick-reference. I think if I knew one of my adventuring groups was visiting one of these locations I would carefully read and take notes on the section - that way I could reference the notes at a quick glance and get the information I needed.

Unfortunately, a large portion of this book was previously made available online in Mongoose's Signs and Portents magazine. The information from page 17 to page 102 (in a 142 page book) was available from Signs and Portents in a slightly modified version. Maps and some sections are actually identical. Sometimes the language is clarified a bit. Sometimes facts are changed. For example, on page 48 it says "King Braern I granted command" but in that same paragraph in Signs and Portents it says King Kian, not King Braern I. Whether or not this represents a correction or not is not stated so we're left to draw our own conclusions as to which is correct. Ultimately, this kind of leaves me feeling cheated a bit that I paid $20.00 for something that was mostly available for free already.

It's a good reference book but I wish the formatting was a little easier to quick reference and I wish a little more original work has gone into the product.

1LR Review - 13 out of 20 - It's a Glancing Hit!


  1. The only material in Sommerlund that has previously been published in S&P are parts of the descriptive text about the cities of Holmgard and Toran, and much of this has been revised and corrected. This constitutes less than 10% of the book. The remaining 90% is new material that has not been published before. 90% new material is hardly "something that was mostly available for free already".

  2. Thanks for the comment but I've got to disagree.

    While it is true that the word-for-word cut and pasting is done in a few sections both Tyso and Anshkavern were written up in S&P and the Sommerlund book as well. Certianly the material presented in the Sommerlund book is not a dramatic departure from what was already written. So in a 142 page book the content from page 17 to page 102 was available for free from S&P. While it's not 90% that's a healthy chunk of a twenty dollar book in my option. Still, I'll edit my original post to more accurately state the case.

  3. The Sommerlund book is the correct source, unless you'd like to argue with Joe Dever since he made all of the corrections in the sourcebook.

  4. Yes, of coure Joe is the ultimate, final word on all things LW. It's just hard from a "commoner's" POV to compare the two documents and pick out the alternations and corrections without their being a statement at the beginning saying, "This work is an update from previously released materials and should be viewed as the definitive source for all things Sommerlund," or something like that.

  5. I don't normally comment on reviews, however I feel in this case it's wise to clarify.

    Only the cities were ever published in Mongoose's Signs and Portents and those were changed in most part by Joe, re-written by me and revised/corrected by both Joe and me.

    The rest of Sommerlund is not an update from previously released materials, but material that was originally written for the d20 version of the RPG, never published since Mongoose cut the line not long after it was comissioned.

    When Mongoose came to me and asked me to re-write the Sommerlund book for the LWMGB line I was able to go back to the old document, completely re-work it and add new material with the help of Joe.

    So I'm afraid that 'This work is an update from previously released materials' wouldn't be accurate.

    However something like: This book represents the definitive source for all things Sommmerlund and contains revised city material that appeared in Signs and Portents, would work.

  6. Thanks for checking out my review. Remember, despite my giving both the pros and cons for this product, I did rate it as a "hit," even if it's just a glancing one. I understand that when a world is presented in a new format that in-world materials may need to be updated or reprinted to a degree. What I objected to was the fact that these materials were free the first time and then we were asked to pay for the "revised" material.