This installment of the Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let’s take a step through the door and visit this world!
This time around, we’re getting gritty and apocalyptic, big time: Legends tell of this world being an Ourouboros, a Dyson ring (artificially created ring world, in short) that was crafted to act like a kind of petri-dish for civilizations. Unfortunately for this world a Crimson King-like traveller from the Grand Stair, the nefarious Man with Red Hands, a disembodied spirit capable of possession lesser life-forms, has taken over the world and is, laconically speaking, making the multi-verse’s biggest barbecue ever – roasting this world alive, slowly but steadily alive.
Similarly, preachermen spread his gospel of doom and defeat, while gunslingers are the last bastion of hope and force for good in a world, spiraling towards annihilation…and you thought the above Crimson king-analogue was resting on flimsy feet… 😉 Kidding aside, this world can be summed as “Dark Tower in a Dyson Ring, with less esoterica” – meaning, instead of the abstract beams of the tower, we have a system grounded, for the most part, in science – and from the brutal noonlands to the genius-AI-shielded doom of this world, there is a lot for lords and ladies to accomplish on this world – if no one stops the malevolent entity…there soon will be no world left to visit…
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf sports numerous nice pieces of full-color artwork as well.
Matt Banach’s Ring of Fire’s appeal very much rests on one question: Do you like the “Dark Tower”-saga. If you do, then you’ll love this take on the tale. If you don’t…well, then you probably won’t consider this Gossamer World interesting. Personally, I ADORE the Dark Tower, particularly for its brilliant end (everyone who’s read it knows what I’m talking about) and I sure would love to dance the Commala on the ring of fire…but then again, the leaning towards the original is a bit too close for me in this world: Beyond the Dyson ring and the slightly more scientific and less mystical tone, this could have used additional complications and twists on the theme to make it slightly more unique. That being said, if you ever wanted to play the Dark Tower…here’s your chance. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars. (And don’t forget to pop in Demons & Wizards: Touched by the Crimson King for the finale…)