So on, what? Thursday? Friday? I started and quickly finished an encounter table for Vor Rukoth. It was complete enough Thursday night that I could use it add a guide, and it was done-done Friday.

I haven’t transcribed or formatted it yet, so I probably won’t pay it here until later this week — in the meantime, I need to work on another table for Gloomwrought.

Over the last couple days, I’ve reviewed the content of the 4e Monster Manuals, on the off-chance there were some interesting updates to classic enemies, or any gaps in the lore filled.

For the most part, the 4e monster books are lore-free. It’s a shame.

I did find some of the lore I was looking for: some vague references to the inhabitants of Shom, a few altogether new critters designed to appear in the epic tier — but that was more or less it.

I think my real takeaway from the 4e monster books will probably be the level approximations that were made for certain monster types.

The Sorrowsworn for example, are all epic-tier, level twenty-plus. The Sorrowsworn may or may not be responsible for carrying entire cities of into the Shadowfell, like the Armageddon-equivalent of Nightgaunts.

Oh, and I’ve finally read bits of the Hammerfast book. It’s interesting in the ways this book is both similar to, and different from, the Gloomwrought and Vor Rukoth books.

I’m not sure if WotC was experimenting with different styles and formats with each of the books, because I don’t think the three books were different enough in CONTENT to justify some of the layout choices.

Hammerfast is a city book. Shadowfell is a region book. Vor Rukoth is a dungeon book. But all three books are based around cities.

Hammerfast reminded me a lot of the 3e Ghostwalk book: which was a confusing mishmash of campaign setting material. And it was about cities with large undead populations and other people who lived in tombs.

The deal with Hammerfast is the location of the settlement was coveted by both Moradin and Gruumsh. They reached a ‘settlement’ (see what I did there) where the followers of both could reside together in peace.

Moradin got to set the laws, but any of the dwarves who violated the selfsame laws got handed over to the orcs for torture and execution.

The legal system is a little borked.

I have to say, I’m disappointed. None of the other books that reference Hammerfast call it a “tomb town,” they just say it’s one of the most prosperous dwarf settlements — and one of the more prosperous settlements, period.

But I don’t believe it. How does a town of dwarves and orcs maintain anything like a stable economy? Dwarves make things and orcs break things. Dwarves trade and orcs raid.

It isn’t hard to see the problems!

And I don’t really see how the threat of divine intervention is supposed to make the two races cooperate any better!

Ugh. Anyway. Gloomwrought has a good faction structure in its book, Vor Rukoth does moderately well for itself, and Hammerfast is the weakest.

Maybe that’s the problem: I read the books in the wrong order? Hey, maybe they were published in the reverse order, and WotC was figuring it out as they went along?

I don’t know.

Bah. Encounter tables. Actual play. Etc.