Zak Sabbath and Patrick Stuart
I just got this book in the mail the other day, and the pdf a few days before that.
I think it is pointless to repeat everything that every other reviewer is saying; it's gorgeous, unique, beautiful to look at, nice to hold, will make your dreams come true, gives a great blowjob, etc
It IS all those things, although I have yet to receive said blowjob.
I also am not posting pictures. It's a hassle to transfer photos from my iphone to my PC, and furthermore, it isn't likely this is the first review you've read of this book, as this blog gets zero traffic. So you've probably already seen pictures of it. Pictures don't do it justice, anyway.
As a collector, this thing is straight fire. This is a book you can be proud to display. It can sit on your coffee table and look pretty and non-gamers will not recoil in nerd-horror from it. Try showing off a WotC book to non-gamers. That shit don't fly, son.
It's also very heavy. Solidly, happily, heavy. You could knock a dude out with it, although you might scuff it up, so that would be stupid. Especially since it's 55 bucks. But knowing that you COULD is important.
"...the maze is in a pocket dimension; which means you can throw this adventure into just about any campaign with minimal effort."
The inside is full color, heavy paper. The binding seems robust and a million times stronger than any mainstream hardcover RPG books from major publishers.
It has a blue bookmark ribbon.
It lays pretty much flat, and more importantly, the pages stay down, so you won't lose your place if you forget to use the bookmark. There is also a nice Table of Contents, and an index of all the various maze monsters and characters.
The maze itself is 304 rooms, with no useless filler rooms - there is something interesting and creative in each of them. The maze is divided into 7 chapters, which are further divided into 3-7 sections. Each section has a color map and describes several rooms.
The first page of each section is a zoomed in map of a cluster of 3-5 rooms, numbered. On the opposite page is the same room numbers, with the first paragraph of each room's description. The next page contains the Random Encounter table and the Search the Body table. The next several pages have more detailed descriptions of what is in each room in the section.
It's fucking brilliant.
Every other supplement I've ever seen has a single big map at the beginning or the end. Tables printed once wherever. The rest of the book is descriptions. Meaning you have to flip back and forth constantly every time the characters move to a different room.
With Maze of the Blue Medusa, each section is like a miniature dungeon in itself, so at most you'll flip 4 or 5 pages.
The creatures are written up in basic dungeons and dragons format, easily adaptable to any edition or clone. Not one of the creatures I've seen so far is a standard Monster Manual type of monster. They are all unique and interesting.
There aren't random monsters in random rooms, which is one of the major things that turned me off to dungeon crawls for all of my gaming life. Every room has a purpose, and everything in that room has a purpose that relates to the rest of the maze.
Most of the monsters encountered are not necessarily hostile. Not at first, anyway. Most have long established rivalries and feuds with other creatures in the maze, and would be willing to use or ally with the PCs against those rivals.
If the medusa should be killed, there are major consequences. These consequences are described in 5 steps and include an all new, all different random encounter tables.
At the end of the book are 5 pages of lined note paper, 6 pages of graph paper, and 4 blank pages, all of which are labeled to use for notes while running the maze. With a book like this, I wonder if these will get much use, if any.
The front inside cover has a color coded and numbered map of the maze, followed by another overhead view of the maze that is coded by pictures of the major beasts encountered in each room. 304 unique illustrations.
The last page is a full page chart of the normal Random Encounter table, and the back cover has a reprint of the Loot the Body table.
And I just noticed that the cover hasn't made any cracking sounds at all. None. Nor is the spine creased or damaged. This book is built the way hardcover game books should be built.
I haven't had the opportunity to run the Maze yet, but I will. I've already decided where and when to introduce it into my own campaign. Which is rather awesomely simple to do, as the maze is in a pocket dimension; which means you can throw this adventure into just about any campaign with minimal effort.
Also, if you don't want to shell out the cash for the physical book, I highly recommend the deluxe pdf. It is honestly the best pdf rpg product I've ever seen. Links, GLORIOUS LINKS, everywhere! I fucking hate pdf's, and this was actually easy to read, easy to maneuver around, still not as great as an actual book, but better than any other pdf I've ever seen.
I honestly can't wait to play this.