Back before I got into gaming, I had The Lord of the Rings to fulfill my weekly recommended serving of geekery. I bring it up because, every time I’d watch The Two TowersI’d find myself sitting there like, “Why the crap would you piss off the ents?” I mean, if you’re Saruman and you’re dealing with a bunch of nature-loving arboreal behemoths, why wouldn’t you take some preventative measures before you started torching their forest? I always figured that, if I were Isengard’s resident white wizard, I’d drop by Fangorn to borrow a cup of acorns or whatever and go all Voice of Saruman on the disagreeable topiary.  Ent problem solved.  Probably I’d just send ’em off in search of the Entwives and be done with it. It was only later in life that I learned plant creatures are immune to mind-affecting effects. Clearly Saruman has a higher Knolwedge (nature) than I do.

Anywho, one of the things I love about complicated fantasy games is the sheer breadth of setting information. You can never be sure that you’re dealing with fact or fiction. Meet a dirt farming peasant who tells you that there’s a horrible dragon in the hills and you might be in for a grapple-lizard surprise. Rumors of a strange aquatic monster capsizing ships? It could be damn near any thing. This sort of unreliable info can be frustrating for setting savants, but for my money I love that element of the eternal unknown. The rumor table might spit out useful information, false leads, or half-truths in any given session. That sort of thing keeps my adventurer senses tingling. More importantly, it keeps me invested, and that’s what you want out of your players.

Question of the day then. Have you ever come across some dubious piece of setting information that turned out to be unexpectedly true? What was it? Let’s hear it in the comments!


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Twice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.