Disclaiming preamble: I know the author, we’ve worked together and I consider him a friend. I still proudly bought this product; it was not a promo copy.
The product page has a description, so you already know you’re getting a monster book with hundreds of NPCs, dozens of intersecting plotlines and a sandbox campaign area to explore. What you need to know is it for you and your group. I can help with that.
Let me start by saying I didn’t know I wanted this, or that it even existed. I went trolling social media for a big, meaty campaign to run D&D 5e through, as there was little official material at the time (note this campaign is system-neutral with no rules). As 5e is more about story then rules, I loosened my restrictions and was eventually lead to King for a Day. When I got it, it appeared overwhelming. It is a huge volume or work, and contains a ton of useful, entertaining information.
And that’s the key. Once I started reading (and I didn’t right away) I couldn’t stop. Even when comparing the best adventures some can play well but not all read well. There is so much mystery and juicy bits to process I always had a notepad and pen with me while reading because I would have questions, sometimes write my own answers, and just jot down encounters that came it me. The writing is inspirational, and never preachy. So, like a good book, I always wanted to know more.
Do you want a challenge as a DM? This is it. It’s not for the weak of heart but for those that aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and do some work to make it their own. I needed to make encounter tables, cross-reference the NPCs to ensure I knew which ones were connected to others, and pick out the monster and NPC stats I wished to use (there are cheat-sheets included with the campaign grouping the NPCs by group and region with a space for notes). I’m on my 12th session, and it is easily worth all the time I invested. You’ll get out of it what you put in. The players, all gaming veterans, admit this is one of the creepiest, unique campaigns they’ve ever played.
Do you want to REALLY challenge you players, a dedicated lot who’ve come to expect the best from you? Those types of players deserve this. It doesn’t hand –hold them through it. It doesn’t lead them by the nose, and for the love of Pete it is NOT an “adventure path”. It’s all sandbox. It gives you all the tools you need (the ingredients if you will) to play out a big, detailed campaign with horrifying foes, then gives some suggestions on how to cook and serve it, but it never gives you the actual recipe, that’s up to you.
Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a very strong and compelling story to the campaign, it’s up to you and your players how it plays out. There are dozens and dozens of specific locations detailed and yet there is still plenty of room to drop in your own encounters so you can run it with monsters or just orcs and goblins and the like. Want to run it low-magic and gritty? Great. Want to allow magic and play more traditional? There’s advice for that too. Anything the players want to do is allowed, any NPC they want to interact with, befriend or kill, it’s their game.
The best part is I recall the genesis for this entire work. The author had asked me years before to suggest to him a campaign to run old-school D&D players through. I suggested “The Night Below” by TSR, a huge campaign that gave good memories. The author here has reimagined it, reworked the horror and social consequences, and turned up the creepy factor through the roof. In short, if you liked The Night Below, you’ll be very pleased to see it done, in my opinion, way more justice in King for a Day.
[5 of 5 Stars!]