The Saving Throw
Dresden Files Volume 2: Our World 2010
I put a spell on you, because you're mine.

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Overall Review
published by Evil Hat Productions reviewed by Scott Wachter
272 pages, 2010, $35.99 (print and pdf)
Game Setting 5
Core Book 4
Art 5
Content 4
Game Rules 5
Intelligibility 5
Review Scoring

If Your Story was your Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide, then Our World is your campaign setting and Monster Manual. It delves much deeper in to the setting of the novels than volume as well as statting out beasties, baddies and friendly characters from the books. It has all the depth, richness and humour of the first volume but with a different focus.

Our World does in fact literally present the entire world of the Dresden Files. It offers a complete guide to every major faction, global-scale event, and character from the first ten books of the series in detail. And I do mean every single character is present, profiled with as many stats as possible given the information present in those ten books. For example Larry Fowler, a talk show host who showed up briefly at the opening of Death Masks has the aspects of 'blowhard jerk', 'I have a [expletive deleted] talkshow' and 'Laughingstock of Chicago.' I'm not always big on seeing canon characters stated out in licensed games, but in a system that's outside the norm I find it very helpful for demonstrating what the designers had in mind for creating characters. Furthermore, the fact that the section is so complete in its listing makes it an amazing fan guide.

Also featured in this volume is the 'what goes bump' section: a complete detailing of any and all monsters seen in the books, as well as some basic ideas for designing new monsters or monsters within a certain template (like vampires or fae). This is the real meat and potatoes of the book for me; I love flipping through bestiaries just trawling for ideas for encounters, even whole plots have arisen from sections like this one. Our World does not disappoint, offering dozens of baddies both natural and supernatural to throw at your hapless PCs, and, like the NPC catalogue, is wonderfully complete. Every beastie from the books with a proper noun attached to it getting a complete write-up.

The book closes out with a thorough look at the city of Chicago. Not only is there a complete set of stats and information on the locations present in the novels, but there's also an occult history and travel guide of the city. It's one thing for a licensed product to go into details of locations already seen in the franchise. It is quite another to present the details on an entire city like this, not to mention that those details seem perfectly chosen not just to inform, but to inspire. The supernatural aspects of the city are just riddled with plot and character ideas for anyone who wants to run a game set in Harry's back yard.

Much like the first volume, the art and layout is superlative. Each image captures the character or creature amazingly well. Back again from the first volume are the margin notes from Harry, Bob and Billy. However, since most of the text is about characters, most of the commentary is joking dialogue between characters. For example, the stat block on a ghost librarian leads to a conversation about the merits of the thaumaturgy in Ghost Busters (quoth Harry: "Do you really want me running around with an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on my back?"). Another feature of this volume is a short story by Jim Butcher himself, which bounces back and forth between Harry instructing some newbie wardens on supernatural investigation methods and Harry going through an investigation. Iím not especially patient with fiction at the start of my game books, but (if you hadnít guessed) Iím a huge fan of Jim Butcher so any more fiction from him makes me happy. One more thing that carries over from volume one thatís totally awesome is the index. Five whole pages of cross-referencing, I love it!

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