The Cylcopedia Talislanta, Volume II: The Seven Kingdoms (1989)

Originally, The Cylcopedia Talislanta was intended to be a single volume, but folks kept asking for more, so Sechi eventually obliged. The Cylcopedia Talislanta, Volume II: The Seven Kingdoms (1989) focuses on one small section of the world (which is still dense with inhabitants, factions, cultures and general strangeness). Each of the kingdoms is profiled, as are four major cities and a number of regional magic systems. New critters and new kit round out gazetteer portion.

The player’s section has the requisite dozen new character classes. Up to this point, all the multitude of classes for Talislanta have been sort of like actions figures to toy lines you’ve never heard of before — they look cool but are essentially empty vessels, waiting to be filled. This book introduces notes for how to roleplay the many weirdos presented in this book, which is a big step in making the world feel comprehensible. Talislanta will always feel too big and too overstuffed — that is part of the charm — but these roleplaying notes help you get a handle on at least your character. That gives you a fighting chance for grokking the rest of the world.

The GM section has a bunch of culture specific new rules. I’ve not read these closely, but “Dual-encephaly” sure sounds promising. There are also three scenarios, which I also feel like is new territory for Talislanta — I don’t recall scenarios in other publications to this point, but they’re super important in helping to understand the world. Each is brief, but does a good job of introducing their corners of the world.

Again, a team of artists. I love P.D. Breeding’s cover here. It reinforces just how bizarre the world generally is. I also feel like I have seen a Sindaran-like character in a movie, portrayed with prosthetics and make-up. Masters of the Universe? Last Starfighter? Help me out here.

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