The Eye of the World

Robert Jordan's The Eye of the World

“The Prophecies will be fulfilled,” the Aes Sedai whispered. “The Dragon is Reborn.”

Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World is an absolutely incredible book. It comes as no surprise that The Wheel of Time is regarded as one of the greatest fantasy series of all time and technically the series is not even complete yet. From the opening of the novel in which we witness the Breaking of the World to the battle at Tarwin’s Gap where Rand destroys the trolloc army by channeling the saidin found within the Eye of the World this story is epic in every way. Yet most of the characters we follow are anything but epic. Rand is a farmer. Perrin is a blacksmith’s apprentice. Egwene trains to become a Wisdom. Matrim is… a trouble maker. They are very simple people who live a very simple life. What makes them epic is how they rise to the occasion when confronted with dangers they could not have imagined before the trollocs attacked their village. They barely understand the evil coming for them and yet they find it within themselves to be heroic.

Gamers looking to recreate the Wheel of Time experience at the game table will be happy to know that much of the work has been done for them. Wizards of the Coast published The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game over a decade ago and it is still pretty easy to find copies of it floating around. This game is based on the D20 system used by the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons which was also published by Wizards of the Coast. Amazon.com has listings for used copies of the book starting around $20. For those who are not fans of the D20 system it is not hard to adapt other game systems to work for you. The Dragon Age RPG, Exalted, the Palladium Fantasy RPG and Savage Worlds all offer game systems which can open the doors to Jordan’s world with very little extra effort.

Tips for Gamers

Villains Are Not Omniscient
Ba’alzamon is a great villain because he knows that the Dragon has been reborn but he does not immediately know Rand is Lew Therin Telamon reincarnated. He sends forth his minions to search for his nemesis and it is many years before he knows enough to commit the strength of his forces. Even then he has only narrowed the search down to three young lads; Rand, Matrim and Perrin. He haunts each of them until Rand’s power manifests and the Dragon is revealed. Ba’alzamon is very powerful and is well informed but he does not know everything. He is not perfect. Neither should your villains be perfect. Villains who make mistakes or who must work hard to achieve their goals make for much more interesting characters.

Don’t Split the Party!
We all know that mantra, don’t we? A good deal of the time this is very good advice but as Robert Jordan displays sometimes “splitting the party” is a good chance to not only challenge each individual character but to allow them to grow in ways they could not have otherwise. What would this story have been like if these young ones from Emond’s Field had never been separated from Moiraine Sedai? It would have been a shadow of the tale penned by Mr. Jordan. The lesson we can take from this as game masters is we need to provide opportunities for individual characters to shine. Sometimes that means we need to allow them to split the party and be prepared for when it happens. In a narrative heavy game that is not too difficult but with a game like Dungeons & Dragons 4E these kinds of developments demand a little more work on the part of the dungeon master. Try cutting the number of monsters in the next encounter in half if only half of the party is present. That is an adjustment you can make on the fly.

Up Next: Storm Front by Jim Butcher, Book One of the Dresden Files

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