The Gire of Sillipus

Copyright 1994, Chessex, Inc.

Design: Mark Frein
New Sillipus Material: Joseph Steven Coleman, Andrew Leker
Additional Material: Geoff Gray
Cover: Janet Aulisio Dannheiser
Interior art: George Barr, Alan Okamoto, Paul Alan Parker, Miles Teves

Cover

8 1/2 " x 11" saddle-stapled booklet, 64 pages.

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The Gire of Sillipus was an adventure module bundled with background material, following the pattern set by The Voyage of the Aylon Star (packaged as part of The Sholari Pack). In our opinion, The Gire of Sillipus is the superior product of the two, although the comparison is unfair, given that it has twice as many pages as the Aylon Star adventure.

The title may have been unfortunate, in that it would have little to draw in the casual browser in a game store, unless one were curious as to what a "gire of Sillipus" might be. Should one pick up the book, the back cover made things much clearer:

"The Biggest Bullies on an Island of Bullies...

"The ramian Gire were pirate heroes who ranged across the oceans of Jorune in search of riches and the plant shirm-eh, needed to cure their families in Voligire. Grim, silent, and merciless, the Gire raided the rich southern trade routes by way of a sea warp..."

"The Gire of Sillipus sends your adventurers on a trek through the dark side of Jorune, into contact with the Blue Legion – powerful muadra with a thirst for power; The Dreg – a slave trader who commands the swords of seasoned condrij fighters...

Background material

The book included information on the Essanja, a northern province of the state of Burdoth, and Heridoth, a formerly independent area that is now an eastern province of Burdoth. While this material was duplicated from the Companion Jorune: Burdoth supplement for the second edition, it represented Skyrealms Publishing's attempts to re-release the material for the third edition.

Of course, the book also included eight pages of material on Sillipus, including history, the city of Kithaq, some information about the Fusheen Klade, an economic cooperative that specializes in assassinations and brewing poisons, and three new "creatures:" the puffjaw (a relative of the scragger), the spinner tarro, which weaves Spinner dyshas to expel unwanted isho, and the entropy vine, which eats isho.

If one did not intend to run the adventure, the background material could still be useful. The information on Essanja and Heridoth would be welcome to any sholari not having the Companion: Burdoth book, and the background information on the Gire would be handy for any sea voyage, as would the tables for random sea encounters.

The Adventure

The campaign itself is a mixture of good and bad features. It is designed as a series of connected scenarios, each requiring a small number of sessions to resolve, and each relatively self-contained. The campaign contains a number of juicy NPCs who could serve as useful characters for the sholari for a long time, and canny player characters may be able to use their hard-won connections to them to a considerable advantage in the future. The game is complete, in that there is a definite ending to the scenario, although an additional concluding scene after the climax would have been helpful.

On the bad side , it's a railroad game from the very beginning. The characters are dragged into it, and once the scenario is triggered, characters must follow the given path or be killed. While there is some room for player creativity within scenes, if a sholari follows the scenario as it is written, the characters must take the limited number of options given by the writers from beginning to end. One must also suspend disbelief a bit at the end, as the player characters are entrusted with a delicate and critical mission that would have been better handled by a prominent NPC, particularly since the player characters may not have the skills or ability to pull the mission off.

Conclusion

Of the three commercially published Jorune scenarios for the third edition, the Gire of Sillipus was probably the best one, but it had serious flaws. If one were serious about playing Jorune, this book provided useful information on the ramian and on sea voyages. The sea encounter tables might have been the most useful feature of the product, but the sections on the Essanja, Heridoth, and Sillipus would have been useful as well, especially if one did not own the Companion: Burdoth book—and we note the Sillipus background information, sparse as it was, was not available in any other place.

 

—RAD
July 29, 2007

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