When Zachary Houghton asked for people to review his self-published product, “Introduction to Irrin”, I as they say volunteered. I say that because this is the first review that I've done, which I didn't buy the product first. So this is a way is a new land to conquer.
“Introduction to Irrin” is billed as campaign setting primer. It is billed a system neutral resource. As such, it contains no stat blocks. This is both a good and a bad thing depending on what you are looking for. On the one hand, it's nice because none of the pages are not wasted with information for a game system that your not using. On the other hand, it's bad since you may not have idea of what kind of stats certain creatures have and you have to decide what they might be.
The Primer is broken into several sections. These are Races, Nations, Economics/Money, Religion, Organizations, Calender & Major Festivals, and Timeline.
The Race section gives a brief run down of the various races of Irrin. Once you look at the map of Irrin, it seems he's populated Irrin quite nicely with a variety of races. This section gives a brief description of each race. Some of the entries are quite amusing, take the introduction to gnome.
Hear that explosion? Probably a gnome
Over all this section is workable and gives a good flavor of what races live in Irrin.
The nations section gives a quick run down of the nations. Like the races of Irrin, they are wide and varied in how they act and how they are ruled. My only complaint in this area is that I sometimes would like little more explanation of Head of Governments. For most entries there is adequate information but for a few, a more complete explanation would have been nice.
The Economics/Money Section is short an sweet. And like most settings, takes the Gyaxian approach to money in general, but with a slight twist. There are two coin standards each covering a fairly large area. Since conversion between the two standards is fast and easy, It should bog down a game to use them.
The Religion Section as expected describes a few of the major religions of Irrin. In Irrin, you will find a n analog to the medieval Roman Catholic Church. I like that it fills this niche nicely and gives you the fill of the medieval Church without actually being the medieval church. Several other religions also listed. My only wish for this section, would have been to expand the non-human religion sections, but since there are more humans in Irrin (I assume), this is an understandable issue.
The Organizations sections is a quick run down of a few of the organizations that are present in Irrin. It gives what I think is a good flavor of what can be found in Irrin and I would look forward to a more detailed description of a few, such as the Adventurer's Guild.
Then comes the Calendar & Festival section. As some may know, this is a pet peeve of mine, even though I myself fail to follow my own advise. The calendar system in use, is simple and familiar. I like the fact that there are two name systems in use for months. One is number based and the other a proper name. A few holidays are also described.
Finally, we come to the Timeline. I'm not sure how I feel about this section. If you look at from a page count stand point, It takes a good part of the book. That's not to say that the timeline is not interesting, but rather a maybe a little too much. I think I would have liked a more condensed version of the history.
So, how to sum up “Introduction to Irrin”? In general, I would have like a little less timeline and a little more fluff in some of the other sections. I have to say that I think the religions of Irrin give the setting a more Middle Age feel in my opinion than many other fantasy settings I've seen and I wish to learn more. Overall, I'd rate this book about 3.5 out 5. Which for a product of this type and for a first time effort, I think is high praise.
If you like to learn more or purchase a copy of “Introduction to Irrin”, go to http://stores.lulu.com/zacharythefirst