Tuesday 20 March 2018

Now on Sale - The Gardens of Ynn

I've been blogging about it, but now here it is: the Gardens of Ynn.

I wrote this to get out of a creative rut, liked what I’d produced, and made it pretty. I think it’s
easy for games to push in darker directions, and to match the unpredictable lethality of old-school
games with a particular grim and gritty aesthetic. I wanted to move away from that, into something
that, while not blandly pleasant, had a lightness of tone to it. A setting where sunshine is the default
I still have fond memories of myself at about 10, sitting up on September nights when I should be
sleeping but it wasn’t quite dark, and devouring Alice, D&D books, Narnia, The Hobbit. My life
was a bit shitty, but those books and the invented worlds within were delightful. They’re probably
what kept ten-year-old me sane.
I wanted a game that book that tried to capture that feeling, rather than the cynicism and grime of
adulthood. Here’s my attempt.

My playtesting was done with a horrible bastardization of S&W, LotFP, my own homebrew, and
bits taken from b/x.
Things should be fairly easy to adapt to your system of choice if it follows the rough old-school
model. For more modern games, you’ve got some work ahead of you as far as specific mechanics
go, but maybe you’ll like my ideas. Even if you don’t run this as it’s own adventure, some of the
individual encounters, tables and monsters can produce a session of shenanigans by themselves.

In structure, this is a little bigger than a dungeon you breeze through in a few sessions, but not
really big or settled enough to be the whole setting for an extensive campaign. Bolt Ynn onto your
setting and it forms an adventure site that PCs can venture into whenever they want.
Each time they go in, you procedurally generate a point-crawl for them to explore, with stuff
getting weirder the deeper they go. You build up a network of interesting sites and the links between
them. Each journey is different.
Intended for lower level parties. Rather lethal for 1st level PCs. Groups of about level 9 and up are
likely to have enough tricks at their disposal to trivialise a lot of what’s in here. Level 3-5 is probably
your sweet-spot but honestly balance isn’t that important.

I hope you'll like it.

79 pages of weird whimsical adventure in the gardens.

Generate a point-crawl exploration adventure as you go, rolling up locations and encounters as you explore.

Weird creatures tailored to the setting.

Surreal locations.

And other fun stuff

Go buy a pdf here. It's a few bucks and you'll probably like it. Print version coming shortly.


  1. Just purchased it. Will dive into it later this eve.

  2. Pages 7 and 25 have a bunch of placeholders left in (XX instead of page numbers and table references). Other than that and general lack of bookmarks this looks really good (especially for the price). Will certainly use something from this!

  3. What a lovely little piece of madness! I have been looking for alternative planes of a bit more creative construction than the D&D standard and this will join the Menagerie at the side of Carcosa, Vornheim, Blue Medusa and Red and Pleasant land.

  4. Replies
    1. Garamond for the body, Harrington for titles.

  5. Gardens of Ynn is definitely one of the things I'm going to use for home games. Simple exploration.

  6. (Cross-posted from Ten Foot Pole comments)

    We played five sessions in the Gardens over the course of the summer. My players ran there to escape the town that had been their on-again, off-again base of operations right up until they tried to assassinate the Kybernetes while haggling over bail.

    I didn't find rolling on the main tables too interruptive of play, especially once my players got into that rhythm. Though when extra tables were involved, the ground could get a little down-boggier. Though I also think we ended up encountering an anomalously high number of Towers!

    Our playing in the Gardens was a little complicated by the fact that they could not go out the way they came in; they had to find another way. I would have liked some notes in the product on how Emmy Allen envisioned handling specific quests: a little bit both on what information might be available from the denizens and on a procedure for homing in on the object of a search. I threw something together at the table, as one does, but I remember thinking that a little more insight would have raised my confidence level.

    On that note, I think that if you delve into the monster descriptions a little, there are some factions in the garden--it's just a matter of teasing that out given the randomness of the matrix of encounters + setting. For example, in the course of play, we established that the Rose Maidens had managed to establish a permanent area more or less fixed in position and nature *someplace* ; it never came up again, though after a pretty tense animal-vegetable-mineral standoff, the characters actually got a gene-spliced safe-conduct pheromone from the RMs. And they eventually found a Door Out after finally making some Empty Robed Ones pay attention enough to communicate with them. The EROs teleported them to a location with a gate, which an insane Sidhe (the dice said) was using as an energy siphon. I figured the EROs -- given their role as gatekeepers and guardians -- would view this as solving at least one if not two problems in one teleport.

    So there are connections to be drawn in the stochasm, but they are not brought out super clearly by the presentation. I think just a small section, even relating some gameplay stories as examples, might have gone a long way.

    That said, my players, hard-bitten murderhobos all, had a great time here. I have picked up Dying Stylishly's newest, procedurally similar product in case my players once again try to assassinate one of their only allies. What're the odds?

  7. Just picked this up because I've had good luck with Questing Beast's recommendations/reviews on YT. Looks beautiful and full -o-old-school-flavour. Can't wait to dig in. Cheers-