Goodreads Review – Dune

Dune by Frank Herbert

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Reading Dune for the first time over 50 years after its publication is a weird experience. On the one hand I can easily trace the evolution of its now classic storytelling components in so many modern stories. The slain king. The deposed prince. The hero’s journey. The evil rulers. The mind powers. The natives. The rebellion.

It’s the original (maybe?) white savior story, where Paul Atreides is forced to flee into the arms of the native population of Arrakis, the volatile desert planet. Paul is easily able to exploit their religion, becoming their messianic figure and leading them to a revolution over the entire planet.

Frank Herbert supposedly demonizes Paul’s actions and calls them into question. Maybe that’s true of the sequels, but in the original Paul is absolutely the protagonist who can do no wrong. Literally he succeeds at everything he does, whether he’s dueling hostile Fremen, leading armies across the desert, or finding love and marrying a princess. We’re supposed to root for him the entire time as he takes his vengeance against the invading Harkonnens, even when the climax includes a duel against a character whom he’s never even met before.

With little drama in Paul’s journey from deposed prince to leader of the native Fremen, the entire middle of the book drags. Thankfully Herbert crafts an intriguing sci-fi setting that’s as much medieval and alien as it is futuristic. Fighting with knives and shields, riding monstrously gigantic sand worms, and taking drugs to gain prophetic powers are all hallmarks of a fantasy series, not a science fiction one. The blending of the two genres is Dune‘s greatest success, and most recognizable in the Star Wars series.

But setting alone does not a great story make. Ultimately Dune lacks interesting characters, dramatic stakes, and exciting moments. Without the benefit of nostalgia, I can’t see Dune as anything other than an important foundation from which other stories improved upon.



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DMs Guild Review – The Book of Seidr

Three new Norse-themed magic subclasses, along with spells, invocations, and magic items.

A review copy of “The Book of Seidr” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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Designed by: Thieves’ Cant Games (Evan Jackson)

When I think Norse, I’m usually thinking of Viking warriors, barbarians, or skalds (hello, Bard College of Valor). The Book of Seidr (from the designer of the Norse monster book The Book of Monstrous Kennings) offers a different take on Norse-themed player content,  with new subclasses, spells, companions, and feats based around the fate-weaving Norse magic.

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DMs Guild Review – The Yeast Heist Fiasco Getaway

After a botched heist, the PC must escape a city in lockdown in this unique adventure designed for a solo player at level 5.

A review copy of “The Yeast Heist Fiasco Getaway” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Leonardo Andrade

Inspired by the cool-crime thriller genre (aka Tarantino-like), The Yeast Heist Fiasco Getaway is a unique adventure designed for a solo player character at fifth level. The PC must escape a city in lockdown after a heist-gone-wrong, leading to several meaningful choices in how the sole survivor escapes with the McGuffin.

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Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden Session 27 Recap

On their way to Sunblight, the Marshals are given a quest to root out a cave of Auril-worshipping Goliaths.

Live streamed and uploaded every week on YouTube. Join us live on Fridays at 7:30 pm Pacific/10:30 pm Eastern!

Original character art by Jimmy McClure.
Music by Kevin MacLeod.
Chat with us in the Official Discord Server.
Support the channel via Patreon!

Previously on Rime of the Frostmaiden

Starring:
Valravn, level 5 Eladrin Bard of Eloquence
Fray, level 5 Halfling Barbarian of the Beast
Celeste, level 5 Half-orc Sun Soul Monk
Edmond, Level 5 Human Alchemist Artificer
Thimbleweed, level 5 Gnome Swarmkeeper Ranger

No D&D next week – Happy Thanksgiving!

The Marshals leave Karkolohk and head east, finally stopping to Long Rest near the Ten Trail road. Spellix begs them to drop him off at the nearest town, but the Marshals are insist on checking up on his supposed pirate treasure location first.

Unfortunately for Spellix, they’re not abandoning their current plans of heading toward the duergar fortress of Sunblight.

But what kind of DM would I be if they travel 30 miles across the tundra unscathed?

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DMs Guild Review – Van Richten’s Guide to Korvidas

Korvidas is a new domain of dread filled with undead and were-creatures, and ruled by an overzealous hunter.

A review copy of “Van Richten’s Guide to Korvidas” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: David McDonough

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft detailed 17 domains of dread. Think of Van Richten’s Guide to Korvidas as a mini-expansion (or DLC), focusing entirely on the lycanthropy-cursed domain of Korvidas.

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DMs Guild Review – Veratrem’s Tribal Siege

Save a village from a green dragon’s kobold army in this level 6 drop-in adventure.

This review has been sponsored by the publisher. Find more reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: T.M. van Dalen

Storm King’s Thunder‘s infamous third chapter is an open-world adventure encompassing a relatively large chunk of the Forgotten Realms. It doesn’t take much to slot any adventure into that framework, yet Veratrem’s Tribal Siege, a mini-adventure for level 6, works especially well as a bridge between the Triboar siege in Chapter two and the rest of the campaign.

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Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden Session 26 Recap

The Marshals devise a plan to get Spellix out of Karkolohk; Thimbleweed agrees to a dangerous duel.

Live streamed and uploaded every week on YouTube. Join us live on Fridays at 7:30 pm Pacific/10:30 pm Eastern!

Original character art by Jimmy McClure.
Music by Kevin MacLeod.
Chat with us in the Official Discord Server.
Support the channel via Patreon!

Previously on Rime of the Frostmaiden

Starring:
Valravn, level 5 Eladrin Bard of Eloquence
Fray, level 5 Halfling Barbarian of the Beast
Celeste, level 5 Half-orc Sun Soul Monk
Edmond, Level 5 Human Alchemist Artificer
Thimbleweed, level 5 Gnome Swarmkeeper Ranger

The goblin chieftain of Karkolohk is really Spellix Romwod, a crafty gnome sorcerer. When his adventuring companions were captured by goblins, he donned a disguise in a rescue attempt. But upon seeing the goblins’ plight and squalor, he abandoned his companions in favor of helping the goblins through magic and technology.

While his former companions (whom he never really liked) were eaten, Spellix helped design tools, vehicles, and weapons for the goblins, culminating in an entire new home, a grand fortress in the mountains. When their old chieftain died, Spellix was quickly given the position by the impressed goblins, and he loved basking in their adoration.

But the everlasting winter has hit them hard. Food is becoming scarce, and the freezing weather isn’t letting up. Many goblins look to their chief for answers, or for blame.

Worried, he sent word out to ten towns looking for a “diplomatic envoy.” In truth he wanted them to send someone to help him escape from the goblins. Thankfully the Marshals answered the summons!

Continue reading “Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden Session 26 Recap”

DnD 5e Review – The Gunslinger Class

This review has been sponsored by the publisher. Find more reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Heavyarms

Few class concepts get DMs (or GMs) as riled up as the Gunslinger, for a variety of reasons. The Gunslinger Class by Heavyarms simplifies the concept of a pure ranged attacker by focusing on critical hits rather than trick shots.

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DMs Guild Review – Grimbuckle’s Guide to Smithing

Over 50 crafting recipes with unique ingredients for weapons and armor in the DMG.

A review copy of “Grimbuckle’s Guide to Smithing” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Dave Albin

As a Monster Hunter fan, I crave a worthy crafting system for magic weapons and armor. Unfortunately, Grimbuckle’s Guide to Smithing is disappointingly bare, with much of its content pasted from the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

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DMs Guild Review – The Dancer Class

A new martial support class, with over 20 unique dance moves and seven subclasses.

A review copy of “The Dancer Class” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Taron PoundsNate Butler

D&D Fifth Edition prefers subclasses over completely new classes, and rarely is there a third party class that wouldn’t fit better as a simpler subclass. But Pounds has proven to be an excellent full class designer (see the Merchant Class), and The Dancer Class is no exception, offering a unique style of supportive gameplay in a class that’s frankly a much better realization of the Bard.

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