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Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Jewels in the Forest

Fritz Leiber's story "The Jewels in the Forest" was the first Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser story I read as a teenager,  the beginning of the Gnome Press hardback "Two Sought Adventure", a 50s collection that I was lucky enough to find in a library in the 70s. Apparently it's also the first he published in Unknown magazine around 1940.  I just re-read it today in the Ace "Swords Against Death" 70s reprint. It is still the quintessence of a "weird fantasy" adventure suitable for translation as a one-shot RPG for a small adventuring group with a complete set of tropes:  tactical skirmishes with a villain's minions, a variety of NPCs providing portentious hints and backstory, a marvelous treasure, and a very weird small "dungeon" with clues left by a mad artificer to lure in adventurers. It is such a template short adventure that as a gamer, I caught myself mentally sketch mapping the settings, and seeing how it could play out in game mechanics as I read. It could be replayed in many systems, but I think DCC would be a perfect match.

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