Tabletop RPG Review: The Sobayid Atlas

The Sobayid Atlas cover

Skyrealms of Jorune is one of the most fascinating games I’ve never played.  The setting is deeply realized in the books, in spite of not being based on a previous property.  It feels like a game that would have supported some epic novel sequence, or a series of films. But no.  Jorune begins and ends with the RPG.


The Sobayid Atlas takes us to a new region of the world and an alternate place to start your game.  The book gives plenty of detailed information about local cities and towns, plants and animals, history and politics.  You could easily spend an epic campaign in just this one region, telling grand stories.

Like most of the Jorune books, the art is excellent.  Though I have to admit, the cover art is weirdly cheesy, and doesn’t really feel right.  The bathing beauty looks more like something out of a Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Issue than a piece for Jorune.  It might have been better as an interior illustration, as opposed to the cover. A full color version of the image on page 5 might have been less off-putting and more evocative of the content, for example.

Like other Jorune books, this book is way too packed with game-specific jargon for my tastes.  The one major flaw with Jorune is its over reliance on ‘in world’ vocabulary. I believe the idea is to immerse the reader in the world, but it has the opposite effect on me.  It pulls me right out. When every noun in a sentence is an unfamiliar (or vaguely familiar) made-up word, it becomes more difficult to anchor my mind in what’s happening. “Tauther are able to gain a few copra for their challisks by providing skilled labor to the dharlerrin as smiths, Iscin or farm managers.”  There’s a glossary in the back of the book, but come on. This is the third Jorune book I’ve read, and that sentence still doesn’t make any sense to me.

For those hoping to run Skyrealms of Jorune, this book is a definite get.  The Sobayid region seems like a pretty interesting area to play in, and much more my speed than the basic book’s default starting point.

 

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