First, I must note that this is not an affiliate marketing strategy or a way to help a friend or family member to launch their writing career. This is just me seeing an independent author (Greg Webster) publishing a book on DriveThruRPG.com, getting in touch with the author and giving both a public and private review of the published work. With that being said, let us dive and see what Fantasy Game Town Hooks has to offer, and how you can use it in your campaign.
The book is a collection of 300 different game hooks, spanning from typical fantasy realm stuff to cyberpunk to the just plain weird. While some of the hooks are filled with very traditional story concepts, there are plenty that catch your interest, and get your mind racing in anticipation of creating a world around this idea.
A few of my favorite ideas in the collection include a crazed wizard obsessed with shrinking heroes and having them venture into a microscopic dungeon, in order to capture a disease-causing bacterium. An intelligent scepter that is a symbol of the right to rule, while it also speaks to the holder, convince them of their own divine right. A kuo-toa worshipping village, and a poor soul who has fallen in love with a ghost who then protects said ghost regardless of the mayhem and destruction it causes.
These ideas are clever and intriguing, born from the mind of a bored pandemic sequestered gamer. While I love the concept and certainly enjoyed reading the different hooks, I do have a few respectful criticisms.
An example is that I wish the book would have a foreword, with the author explaining how the ideas came about and how these hooks can be used to generate fully scoped fantasy worlds and adventures. Instead, the text jumps right into the first hook, leaving the reader wondering if this is a book or just a jumbled list. As the ideas roll on and a few catch your eye, you forgive the awkward opening and begin trying to integrate the ideas into your own campaigns. I imagine this is due to a lack of experience in publishing works, and probably because the book is self-published, without an editor or experienced author giving feedback.
I also wish the hooks were separated into categories, or chapters. Fantasy, cyberpunk, modern era, etc.… And a table of contents listing the chapters and hook names along with the page numbers would be a nice touch. Again, this would help to give the text a more polished look.
Finally, while some of the hooks are fantastic, there are a handful that feel half-baked and could be fleshed out a little more.
Overall, these are minor critiques, mostly on the structure and polish of the book, and not the substance. I would still recommend the author, and his published works, to anyone who enjoys the RPG life.