Saturday, January 19, 2013

NOT a review: Dyson's Delves Limited Edition Hardcover IS...

Pronounceth Spawn:

I got my copy of Dyson's Delves, the limited edition hardcover version, the other day from Lulu. This isn't a review since I haven't used it in play yet. I've just been reading it and looking at it and walking around my house with it and enjoying the thing as a physical, non-computer-enslaved object.

Saying the work of Dyson Logos is awesome (or even AEWSUM!!!!1!!) is like saying water is wet, charcoal is black, bacon is delicious, and so on. The reader learns nothing new about the subject with such descriptions of the obvious. Hence this is not a review.

Why buy this book when you can just download many of his maps for free? you might ask. Aside from the new material he's added and the clean layout ... and the thing is handy-sized and lays flat, and there are so many sweet maps right there in your hand and you don't have to be looking at a fucking computer to use them ... well, perhaps in terms of a stunted marginal-utility theory there is no point in buying this book.

But seeing so much quality work in one small package rather than having it stretched out over years of blog posts is impressive to me. Much easier to flip through a book than flip through a blog. I'm so happy this book exists, because -- yes there's all the 'inspiration' you can get from it, and even multiple layers of nostalgia if you remember the original post or have played one of these dungeons -- you get to see one person's style and sense of the B/X paradigm concentrated in one object. And it's all The Goods and none of the BS: no polemic; no "The Way The Game Used to Be" essay; no "What's an RPG?" introduction; no "Rah! Rah! OSR!". Just balls-out quality stuff on its own terms. It makes me want to play B/X D&D because it's self-exemplary of all the best, most challenging and fun aspects of the system, while not being system-exclusive.

For me this book stands alongside other recent idiosyncratic works I'm stoked by, like The Dungeon Alphabet and Vornheim: The Complete City Kit. In the after-times when the e-media evaporate I may still have these books as I negotiate the post-apocalypse.



  1. From what I've seen of his maps though, they don't seem to have a scale or squares or anything. Also don't seem very even, but more freeform, which can make mapping difficult for players.

    They're pretty looking, but I'm not sure I'd want to use them in a game.

  2. I see what you mean, though they are scaled with the usual 10 foot wide passage, and from that I find pretty easy to estimate the size of rooms and so forth.