[Review] Yoon-Suin – The Purple Land

The Purple Land offers a setting inspired by the Indian subcontinent for OSR style games, including a description, plenty random tables and in-game essays. It was published by Noisms Games and is available as PDF and as print on demand.

The book starts with a 20 page in-game essay about the setting, described by a local scribe who found the journal of an Arabian traveller who deceased recently. For the most part, the text offers good in-game information that can easily be given to players as setting background, and focusses on adventure related topic. Occasionally, the text started rambling though and in those cases the flowery writing style jarred on my nerves. The bestiary suffered from this problem as well, where I suspect that plenty monsters with strange sounding names are just carbon copies of standard monsters. Otherwise, the book uses rather concise English.

There are also some problems with the layout. There is nothing wrong with a sparse layout and the book uses it to great effect, but some tables break wrongly or are difficult to read, and the bestiary could be better arranged as well. There are several other slips of the pen, as well.

On the other hand, I do like the pictures—they have their own style and are well drawn. It is just a pity they were not used as part of the layout.

The content is a treasure trove, offering methods to create almost all information about the setting one might need. There are plenty, extensive and useful tables for almost all kind of NPC, location or relation one might need in a typical campaign. Regardless whether one needs some bandits or a fishing village, an insane cult or a disciplined mercenary company, a cities form of government or the content of a caravan, the book has it—including adventure hooks.

The entire setting consists of eight regions, with obviously different styles, and random tables specifically adapted to that styles. Furthermore, there are about fifteen sample hexes for each region, ready for immediate use.

Beside these basics, the setting also offers some nice additions. I specifically like the rules with mishaps for figuring out a magical item’s properties through trial and error, and simple bulk trading rules.

Therefore, I can only recommend the book to everyone who wants one extensive and still rather traditional OSR style setting. Despite the book’s rather substandard design, it offers an excellent toolkit and will greatly help everyone who either wants to fill his campaign world with life.

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