Dead sea Review by TeilzeitHelden
Brave ways, old rivalries and secrets of the elves. The Phileasson saga has now appeared not only as a DSA adventure, but also as a novel series. With Dead Sea, the sixth volume has already been released. Do Hennen and Corvus rejoice with their story or should this band rather be sent to the Nameless?
The Phileasson saga is one of the most famous and popular campaigns in the world of The Black Eye. The adventure in the style of a journey around the world in 80 days accompanies two captains and their comrades to an epic race around the continent of Aventuria and delights in particular with varied scenarios. The original authors of the adventures Bernhard Hennen and Robert Corvus are responsible for the realization of the novel in its novel form.
The books published by Heyne Verlag can obviously enjoy growing popularity. According to Robert Corvus sales are increasing from band to band. The last published book Totenmeer succeeded in the publication week of November 12, 2018, the entry into # 11 on the fiction-paperback charts.
We took a closer look at the sixth volume of the Phileasson saga, as well as its predecessors. But can the excursion of the two captains into a stinking tang field inspire us just as much as the first five volumes of the Phileasson saga?
After the fight against the serpent in Schlangengrab, the race Asleif “Fogwolf” Phileasson and his rival Beorn “lead the Blender” into the Sargasso Sea. Here they are to recover a precious artifact of the elves. But the task is not so easy. Because the Sargasso Sea is a treacherous area full of tang fields, poisonous vapors and shipwrecks. In addition, the two opponents soon find that not only are they in search of the elven artifact. Unconsciously the two men get into a dangerous and lasting for years power struggle.
Like every band in the Phileasson saga, Dead Sea also has a prologue detached from the main storyline. In this the relevant characters for the further course Vermis and Vespertilio are introduced. Although spellbound spellbound, this first part of the band is sometimes lengthy. Only later will the importance of the approximately 100-page long section become clear. At the beginning you become impatient as a reader, because you are more interested in the further course of the race.
Beorn Asgrimmson – since losing his right eye in the fight against one of the black galleys, he no longer knows any mercy when slave slaves or city soldiers fall into his hands – hence his surnamethe Blender.
In general, one has the impression that the story unfolds slowly, almost lethargically. First of all, Beorn and his crew are accompanied on their arrival in the Sargasso Sea. Phileasson and his crew do not play a big role for a surprisingly long time. In fact, throughout the band, you have the feeling that you are learning more about the Blender’s actions than those of the eponymous hero.
But this creates a fun dynamic. As soon as the tough start is over and the competition is in full swing, the suspense curve also picks up. The use of both perspectives puts the reader in an interesting situation. By knowing the plans and actions of both captains, their reactions to each other are always exciting to watch.
A conflict of the last volumes is of particular importance in the Dead Sea. The relationship between the characters Tjorne, Tylstyr and Zidaine gets an emotional climax, which left a strong impact on me. Throughout the book, the scenes in this story arc were among the strongest for me.
Like the previous novels of the Phileasson saga, Dead Sea is written from the perspective of a personal narrator. In view of the changing perspectives, a good decision that helps to understand the motivations and train of thought. In particular, the arc of action mentioned in the last section takes advantage of this. Hennen and Corvus create in places very emotional snapshots through insights into the emotional and intellectual world of Zidaine, Tjore and Tylstyr. Especially one of the later interactions between Zidaine and Tjorne becomes a very intense reading experience.
On Tjorne Warulfson’s life lies a shadow from his youth.
In contrast to the previous volumes, however, the two authors do not have much leeway in the development of the landscape descriptions. Unfortunately, the Sargasso Sea does not offer many finesse possibilities, as it is a huge and somber tangle carpet. It quickly becomes clear what the perception is limited to. The sea stinks, is hot, stuffy and robs the fighters of courage. Although this mood is well captured, it can not compete with the fascinating locations of its predecessors, especially Heaven-storm.
While there are still free water areas in the peripheral areas of the Sargasso Sea, hardly any progress is possible in the densification areas.
Also passages for a better understanding of the characters are rare in the Dead Sea. This is probably because many of the actors have already been dealt with in the previous five volumes. This is best done with the elf Lailath and the protagonists of the prologue, Vermis and Vespertilio. However, these are not as heavy as Beorn, for example, and thus leave less impression.
Hennen and Corvus have been responsible for six Phileasson Saga volumes as a team, and have previously served as authors of adventure or novels in The Dark Eye’s world. Examples include Hennen’s Year-of-the-Grasping trilogy or the Isenborn series of Corvus. It should also be emphasized that the original version of the DSA adventure of the Phileasson saga (begun in 1990 under the name Drachenhals tetralogy) and the new editions of the years 1999 and 2009 are all written by Hennen. He is so well acquainted with the story and its subtleties.
Outside of the world of pen & paper, Hennen attracted particular attention with his novels from the Eleven Cycle. The series, begun in 2004 with The Elves, now includes 14 books that accompany the mysterious people through several epochs and events. Corvus, who is actually Bernd Otto Robker and has also published under the pseudonym Bernard Craw, is known for, among other things, the books of the Swordfire Saga and The Shadowlord series.
Dead Sea has a page length of 672 pages, making it one of the longer volumes in the series. The softcover cover shows in line with previous books the name of the authors and the words Phileasson saga. The cover picture of the band represents the victims of the Sargasso Sea with several shipwrecks and appropriately conveys the mood of the band. The quality of the paper used is of high quality and shows little signs of use after even more intensive use.
The combination of novel and DSA adventure
An important point of the collective review was the question: Can novels and DSA adventures be meaningfully combined? The clear answer is yes: The volumes support game master in the design of the atmosphere and the representation of non-player characters (NSC).
Dead Sea is no exception, albeit with some drawbacks. Due to the few novelties in terms of the characters, the band is only partially helpful in the presentation of NSC. It is certainly more useful in communicating the gloomy atmosphere of the environment. Also, when describing encounters with enemies, individual passages can be helpful.
Of course, nobody should read the novels that experience or want to do the DSA campaign as a player. In addition to clear clues to the specific adventure, Dead Sea also contains information that players should not be aware of throughout the campaign.
Publisher: Heyne Verlag
Authors: Bernhard Hennen, Robert Corvus
Release date: November 12, 2018
Price: 14,99 EUR
Bonuses / Download Content
Dead Sea contains a map of Aventuria, which includes, among other things, the previous travel stations of the two captains. In addition, there is another card at the beginning with the structure of the Sargasso Sea. Finally, at the end, there is a glossary with information about places and characters. This addition is very helpful to keep track especially in the variety of figures and terminology.
In addition, the authors have launched a website at http://phileasson.de/, which contains more information about the novels, but also about their creative process. Interested readers can get more background information about characters, locations, the authors and also upcoming events and publications. At the moment, for example, there are also meetings on the website about Dead Sea.
Dead Sea retains many of the virtues of its predecessors, although the entry seems a bit tedious. Unfortunately, the Tangfelds of the Sargasso Sea are not as fascinating as the location of the scene, such as the Himmelsturm. However, this is quickly offset by the dynamics of the competition between Phileasson and Beorn. Hennen and Corvus also manage in this volume an emotional highlight of the entire saga, which one could not see coming directly.
The price-performance ratio is to be judged positively, since one receives in addition to the story a detailed glossary and high-quality maps. The stable processing of the softcover edition completes the overall picture. Dead Sea, like the whole saga, is recommended for any lover of good fantasy and by no means limited to DSA fans.
The story of the two captains will be continued in March 2019 in Rosentempel. If one is allowed to believe the information on the official website, the title for the eighth volume is already fixed. He is Elven War.