14 December 2018

Jack Vance’s Lyonesse: read it, discuss it, play it

As I’ve mentioned before here, the good people at the Design Mechanism are producing a role-playing game based upon Jack Vance’s Lyonesse trilogy. While the RPG will use the DM’s excellent Mythras system, the game itself will be self-standing (i.e., all of the rules will be in the core Lyonesse book, along with the setting material).

Here is a preview of the cover for the forthcoming DM book:

Vance’s Lyonnesse trilogy is one of my favourite fantasy series of all time. It fuses ‘high fantasy’ with the dark humour and weirdness of Vance’s Dying Earth stories. I’ve read it twice before—once in the early 1990s, and again about sixteen years ago. Upon learning of the DM’s forthcoming game set in the Elder Isles (the mythical lands south of Ireland where the stories take place), I decided to read the trilogy again. I’m now two-thirds of my way through it—I only have Madouc (the final volume) to go.

By happy coincidence, Lyonesse will be discussed at the Tabletop Role-players’ Book Club blog in January (starting on the 2nd). The plan seems to be to read the book (if you haven’t done so already) in December, and then discuss it with other gamers early in the new year.

Especially cool is the fact that the DM’s own Lawrence Whitaker (‘Loz’)—co-author of Mythras and RuneQuest 6, and author of numerous Elric!/Stormbringer RPG books, as well as many other fine things—will be taking part! 

So, gentle readers, do yourself a favour and: (a) read this brilliant trilogy; (b) take part in the January discussions at TTRBC; (c) buy the DM Lyonesse RPG; and (d) have some adventures in a fantastic past-that-never-was.


  1. I always wanted to do a Lyonesse mash up with Pendragon or bring in Smith's Averoigne.

  2. An Averoigne mash-up would work well.

  3. Averoigne is just south-east of Lyonesse, there.

  4. Tried reading the first book. It was deathly dull...does it get better? I could only manage about 50 pages of waiting for something to happen.

    1. I would skip the first book. The Green Pearl is good, it will make you want to read Madouc.


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.