The Read ‘Em ‘Cause You Got ‘Em series charts my attempt to read all the books in my gaming library that crept in over the years and went overlooked for too long.
I have to confess to a certain deficiency. When it comes to some campaign concepts and settings, I really need my hand held as I go through the mental process of figuring out what to do with it. I need, for lack of a better term, worked examples.
So texts like Phil Masters’ Age of Gold, a companion setting to the magic system toolkit GURPS Thaumatology, drive me nuts. As a setting, it’s an mystical take on the pulp adventure genre and the mystery men like the Shadow who preceded full-on super heroes, as magic undergoes a resurgence in the 1930s and alchemy literally transmutes people into something more. Age of Gold has amazing brain-tickling passages like this:
India also can be used as an avenue for supernaturally themed pulp adventures, including any number of temples of doom and resurgent thuggee cults, as well as attempts by Nazi occult researchers to infiltrate the Himalayas, or efforts by mad scientist Theosophists to “salvage ancient Lemurian devices” from the treasure vaults of maharajahs.
It sounds totally awesome and I have no idea what to do with it. Even with sample characters like the Secret Pharaoh and Madame Jasmine to guide me on what sort of happenings go on in this world, my reaction is, “These are great. I wish there were more material here to really walk me through the steps.”
While Age of Gold is a mini-setting, I wish there were more to it in terms of showing what PCs could get up to, even with the opening vignettes that kick off every chapter, rather than talking about it, as in the above quoted passage. Leave them wanting more is a good way to go out, I guess.