by Ramanan Sivaranjan on April 11, 2019
Do you feel like one of your things with your adventures is not really explaining what’s up till the end? And even then maybe not really. — Me!
I have been reading Silent Titans. I am so hyped for the physical book, but I have the PDF right here right now and I’m not made of stone. I love Patrick’s work. He has made some of my favourite RPG books. So, I started reading. I have so much I want to say about this book, so I’ll start with something simple.
Patrick’s books all have this element of the mysterious to them. One thing I found particularly interesting about Deep Carbon Observatory is that it just begins with a bang. There isn’t any attempt to orient the reader with the larger picture. There is no overview of the adventure. There isn’t even an introduction! You are in Carrowmore and everything is shitty. As you read the adventure you learn more about what’s going on. The adventure reveals itself to the reader in a way that mirrors how it reveals itself to the players. The very end of Deep Carbon Observatory has the closet thing you’ll find to an overview of the module.
Silent Titans is very similar. The book’s opening is as dramatic as that of Deep Carbon Observatory. The players and the reader are both dropped right into the action. What the fuck is even happening? If you are the player, you play to find out. If you’re the GM, you read. There isn’t a summary or a quick start guide. There is just this book full of Patrick’s writing. Terse—for a change—but still evocative.
The book moves on to describe a town, what will likely be the PCs home base. Then some different locations and people the PCs might encounter. And then he’s talking about a Titan. I know it’s a Titan because the book is called Silent Titans. But that’s really it. There isn’t some detour to discuss Titans, the history of Titans, nothing. You are now on a Titan and it’s go time.
You must read this book carefully. It’s so terse it feels incredibly dense. So much is packed into each sentence. It’s an engaging read because as the reader you don’t know what’s coming. (And because Patrick writes well, of course.) There is a mystery to everything that’s going on, and just like the players the reader can enjoy discovering that mystery as well.
Patrick manages to make books that are engaging on and off the table.
Is this the best way to make a module? It can’t be, right? I feel like common wisdom is overviews and repeating information and cheat sheets and this and that. This book is so intense and takes real effort to process compared to other modules I’ve bought.
But it’s also intensely creative and interesting. Would the book lose some of that if Patrick had a big flow chart at the front of the book mapping everything out?
I like to introduce stuff at the same rate that players find it out. Really that’s all the DM needs to know anyway. — Patrick!