This installment of the evocative Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So what is dragonhearth? Well, if the name wasn’t ample clue for you, let me fill you in: It is a world of DRAGONS…yeah, I’m proud of my astute observation as well. kidding aside, everything on this world is draconic to some extent – from serpentine waves of light to myriad forms of draconic life, there are a lot of supreme serpents inhabiting this place. So attuned to the very notion of dragons is this world, that even plants and most predatory animals share some component of lethal grace with the serpentine masters…oh, and paltry little squishy creatures from other realities, i.e. neither dragons nor the two draconic humanoid races, tend to suffer from a disease as the reality of the very world wastes them away – unless they enter a dragonbond. This can be pictured as an abstract relationship of friendship, love or simple subjugation – various strengths exist, some of which can transcend even the boundaries of gossamer realities. And yes, they have rules-relevant repercussions.
Now so far, so common – at this point, dragonhearth may not seem too impressive -I mean, apart from the continent-sized dracoliches and the system of reincarnation that governs life. Wait, what? Yes, concise rules for dracoliches are provided and hoards etc. are rationalized by a metaphysical reality that acts as a ruthless karmic meritocracy – which is cool on its own – but the whole thing becomes interesting with the existence of the golden wyrm Khemezatron (fully statted, btw.), a dragon awakened to the existence of the Grand Stairs and recently returned. beyond a gorgeous illustration, Khemezatron also introduced a nanite-based psychoactive virus to dragonhearth, courtesy of some highly-developed world she visited. Styling herself as a benevolent messiah, she infects draconic life, severing dragonbonds and rendering those subject to her dread disease thralls to her will, bonded to her technological assault on the very metaphysical powerstructures that govern life on Dragonhearth…for now, unopposed, but sooner or later, the world itself will take out the big, big guns and we have adventure potential galore.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s beautiful 2-column full-color standard for LoGaS and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artwork consists of glorious full-color pieces that are absolutely gorgeous to behold.
Matt Banach provides a setting that could theoretically be reduced to dragonsploitation – with draconic themes everywhere, I can well imagine a certain fatigue setting in sooner or later, so for my part, I’m not that blown away by the basic premise, no matter how good it is executed. However, the introduction of the alternate bond and the obvious theme of changing times that echoes the central conflict of umbra vs. eidolon makes this a rather unique and awesome set-up: If not for a whole campaign, then at least for a sojourn of one or more adventures – Khemezatron is a damn cool villain that provides a truly unique imagery. My final verdict, hence, will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.
You can get this evocative, cool supplement here on OBS!
Coincidentally, if you intend to use this as an idea-mine, there is some cool synergy with Rite Publishing’s current kickstarter, which deals with all kinds of playable dragons! You can check it out here!