A Castle of Thread

Okay, I'm getting a Robert E. Howard vibe from this. There's been some sort of cataclysm in the past, and the world is re-ordering itself into a collection of city-states. It's not a post-apocalyptic story, mind you: it's about that sense of ancient empires and civilisations gone to dust. Our hero is a translator from one backwater, summoned to a translation job somewhere. But it turns out there are people who want to stop this from happening....

I'm afraid I got frustrated rather early on. We're presented with a goal in the first part of the story, but there doesn't seem to be much clueing going on to nudge us in the right direction. As the story goes on, more holes show up in the fabric: our minder continues to fidget idly even as he's supposed to be caught up in a desperate swordfight, for instance; and when we speak to a barmaid character near the end, when we're traversing a frozen lake, she responds as though we were still at the bar we'd left ages ago ... things like that. And I have to confess that the proliferation of fantasy names and fantasy characters seemed a bit much: there were characters, I thought, that we didn't need to see and didn't need to have named.

Also, I'm not sure I get why anyone's trying to stop us. It doesn't seem like our translation job should be seen as a big deal to anybody. The issue here, I think, is that we've got a lot of set pieces for a rollicking Wierd Tales adventure, but they just haven't been properly strung together.

The worldbuilding is thorough, though, and absorbing. Like I said, I got a bit of a Robert E. Howard vibe from that sense of ancient empires and fallen civilisations. One almost expects a sequel involving Conan the Barbarian. What the game needs is to think about why things happen, and what the ramifications should be once they do happen ... beyond the things that the author wants to have happen.

It's like an omelette with bits of eggshell in it, and a side of sausages not quite cooked through to the middle ... black campfire coffee with grounds gathered in the bottom of the mug. Once the game's been given the time it needs to cook, and the requisite care to the preparation of ingredients, it could be pretty good stuff. For the moment, though, it needs work.