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Reviews of 'The Last Tower - The Legacy of Raistlin'

The Last Tower - The Legacy of Raistlin

by Skip Williams
Fifth Age, Volume 10

Reviews of 'The Last Tower - The Legacy of Raistlin'

Here are the visitor reviews we have of The Last Tower - The Legacy of Raistlin. For more information about this title, please visit the item detail page.

Reviewer: Morten Brattbakk

Rating: Stars

As you may have guessed, the subtitle is nothing but marketing hype, Raistlin is mentioned only in passing on several places. A friend of mine is a huge Raistlin fan, and almost bought the set because of the subtitle. Lucky for him, he had the sense to call me and ask about the box first.

The set consist of two 96-page books, and a poster map. One side of the poster map depicts the environs of the Tower of Wayreth, from Tarsis to Northern Abanasinia, and a portion of Southern Ergoth. Not much new, but it's fine with a close-up map of the region in the Fifth Age, now that Beryl has changed the landscape so much. On the other side of the map there are floor plans of selected parts of the Tower, as well as a drawing of how it looks. Pretty much like the map in Atlas, except it adds a bit more.

Book one starts off with a short section on the history of the tower, and also the other four Towers of High Sorcery. Nothing new, but it does collect in one place what has been spread out earlier.

The second chapter is also very brief, and in my opinion, is the one that should have been longer. It describes the environs of the tower, some sites and villages, and Beryl's relation to it. I would like more detailed descriptions of the area, each site and village only get a short paragraph each, and the whole chapter is only 6 pages long. I find the Qualinesti situation interesting, and here I got a taste of it. I hope there will be a Qualinesti box one day.

The most useful chapter is Chapter 3, A Visit to the Tower. It describes the tower and some areas of it in detail, very useful if you want to create an adventure set in the Tower, Fourth Age or Fifth Age. It also details the nature of the Tower, the Master and the Forest of Wayreth. Although the Master's identity has already been revealed in The Day of the Tempest, it is fleshed out here, with game information on his abilities.

Then there is Chapter 4, which consists of more than half of book 1. It describes magical items, lots of them. Those of you who are familiar with the magical treasures in the Dungeon Master's Guide, will see that you recognize most of these magical items, the only change is they are converted to the SAGA rules. Here is the familiar ring of invisibility, snake staff, and wand of ice storm (now called wand of cryomancy). Some familiar Dragonlance treasures, like the staff of Magius and the dragon orbs, are converted as well. There are some new items of course, the mirror of Belize and that magic-absorbing glove from the Defenders of Magic series are here.

Book two starts off with a page of description of the tower's most major characters, the Master, Palin, the copper dragon Clang, the Shadow Sorcerer (but his/her identity is not revealed) and a couple more.

Chapter 2 describes the dungeon.. and how to escape it. To do that you must enter a dreamscape, then going through test after test until the Master finds you worthy to leave.

Chapter 3 is much like Chapter 2. This chapter briefly describes what a test in the Fourth Age consisted of, and then uses the rest of the chapter to detail the tests held in the Fifth Age. There isn't much difference though, so this section should be useful to Fourth Age people as well. But I was a bit disappointed by this chapter. It is very fragmented, if one should believe it, a test consist of lots of challenges which have nothing to do with each other except being part of the same test. As soon as a candidate has cleared one area, he moves on to a very different area where a new challenge awaits. Several small challenges are described, all of them with one right answer. From the tests of Raistlin and Palin, I have a different impression. All small challenges were part of a larger whole. Also, was there really one right answer to a challenge? I think that different people can handle each challenge very differently, if one is good or evil, for example. The Last Tower – The Legacy of Raistlin should have given guidelines for how to tailor tests according to different types of candidates, and some hints on how to include some moral dilemmas, and how to integrate challenges into an overall arc, which is somehow connected to the candidate. Each test should be different on a more fundamental level than having slightly different challenges, and a re-shuffling of those challenges. But all in all, this chapter is at least a well of ideas for DMs who are creating a test for a player.

The second book concludes with an adventure, Quest for the Tower. It takes up the second half of the book, and is centered around the magic-absorbing artifact from Defenders of Magic. I do not like all of this adventure, I think it failed to capture the eerie feeling of the Wayreth Forest (instead it does, in one part, offer more right-or-wrong challenges like in Chapters 2 and 3) and do not think I will run it as it is, though I think I might include some of it in a Qualinesti campaign I'm planning. The adventure is also very short, I think, there are many pages of it, but that is because of the many paths the adventure could take.

All-in-all, I find this set quite average. To anybody playing in the Fifth Age using the SAGA rules it is very helpful, especially considering the magic items chapter. (It includes all sorts of magical items except for arms and armor.) For Fourth Age and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons gamers it is not as useful as Heroes of Defiance by a long shot, only the Visit to the Tower chapter and, possibly, the Tests of High Sorcery chapter is particularly useful.

But there is one thing I like: The set is very well researched. It has a list of novels which features the Tower, and any inconsistencies are hard to find. It even does comment that the tale in Hammer and Axe where wizards are locating a place to build a tower, is apocryphal. Many other authors would have swallowed that one.

Review made Tuesday January 6th, 1998 on the newsgroup.

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