I’m going to break from my traditional review format today to talk about one of the most celebrated books in modern tabletop RPG history: 2016’s Maze of the Blue Medusa.
Maze of the Blue Medusa
This book is something of a “white whale” for most collectors since the limited release of the hardcover first edition in 2016 (approximately 2100 were produced at the time according to Ken Bauman at Sator Press), with most copies going for several hundred dollars on the reseller market. I was never able or willing to go quite so far for this book as to spend an entire week’s salary on it, but it was definitely on my fantasy wish list. Upon release this book immediately generated buzz for its unique art style from the brilliant artist Zak Smith (AKA Zak Sabbath), its ambitious and well-developed story from a writing collaboration between Zak and the equally amazing Patrick Stuart (not the same one you’re thinking about), and for the fact that it won two ENnies for Best Cartography and Best Writing and was nominated for Best Adventure and Product of the Year at GenCon 2016.
Everyone wanted this book.
So, what is Maze of the Blue Medusa? Put simply, it’s a megadungeon the likes of which hardcore RPG fans have not seen since at least the 1970s. It’s TSR’s Undermountain but on steroids and Judge’s Guild’s Tegel Manor, but definitely also on acid. It’s a 304-room madhouse full of wonder, terror, sex, battles, and gorgeous scenery that is system agnostic. That last bit might draw the ire of some folks who are sticklers to the book’s default d20 stat blocks but the majority of the Maze can be worked into most systems with very little trouble on the GM’s part.
The story inside this book is also one of the most thoroughly well-conceived plots I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I won’t spoil any of it here so go get a copy and find out for yourself already! The price-point for the first edition is ridiculous, but read on to find out how to get a shiny new copy on the cheap.
I assume you want this book now but may not want to spend $300 on it. Well, rejoice fellow nerds! A second edition has been released with a price tag of $50! It is identical to the first edition (minus some date updates and some notes on the ENnies it won) and it’s beautiful! I had the distinct pleasure of getting my hands on a copy of the very quietly released second edition and I am truly in love with this book. This hardbound edition is limited to 2500 copies (or 2000, not quite sure), and there are 1654 copies of this book left as of 10.11.18 at 8pm PST. Go get it before it sells out. You’ve earned it.
You can find this marvelous book here: http://satyr.press/
And here is a link to the book’s co-creator/artist. He’s great: https://twitter.com/ZakSmithSabbath?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor