Monday, November 2, 2009

Gameable Books - The Monster Blood Tattoo Series

Howdy all,

Those of you who I keep regular correspondence with off the blog may well know that I have a new obsession. That obsession would be a series of books called the Monster Blood Tattoo series by D.M. Cornish. Very few books grab me enough to spew over, and this one did within the first couple of chapters.

Colorful, evocative, and intensely interesting, Cornish's series that begins with "Foundling" stands out among the various fantasy books that I have read for it's gloomy, 18th century feel full of tricorns, work houses, pre-industrial, musket and shot goodness. I have to admit that I am propping up this book before I have even finished it, but considering I am throwing this out not just for it's literary merit but also for its "game-ability" I think it'll be okay.

Why is this setting gameable? You have a world of humanity living in a gritty, grungy fantasy world, surrounded on its fringes by looming monsters and the constant threat of incursion and invasion by these same vile denizens. These human societies are divided into distinct city states all under the banner of an Emperor. You have musket firing soldiers, potion slinging monster hunters and a strange sort of pre-industrial techno-alchemical technology base that provides the setting with such wonderful things as magically treated clothing that can turn blades and musket balls or boxes stuffed with grown olfactory and optic tissues that gives the wearer enhanced senses. Even the ironclad sailing vessels in the book draw from this, using grown muscles to drive their screws instead of steam engines.

I won't go into plot or anything of that sort, too much, because I do not want to spoil it for those who may choose to read it. The series is intended for the junior readers, but the author doesn't dumb it down and his use of colorful language and dark imagery really pushes the bounds. If I had to classify the series, I'd say that it's in the same category as the Harry Potter series but instead of an orphan away at school, we get an orphan who is out on the world on his own, having never had a home other than an orphanage.

The book has obvious role-playing potential with lots of greeblies and goodies to rip-off -cough- borrow for your tabletop games. But there is also some good wargaming potential here. If you've been looking for something new to throw on the table, you could borrow from this and go for some 18th century fantasy armies.

In short, good stuff here.

Thanks all,



  1. You already piqued my curiosity with these, so thanks for posting something in-depth about them. They sound pretty good...

  2. I second MIk's comments. Great article btw!

  3. Thanks guys. I have to admit I felt a bit awkward posting about a book/series I hadn't finished yet, but this book really grabbed me.

    Also, there is a bit of a selfish reason for doing so, as well. I would like to see this author do well so we can have more books. Getting the word out on his stuff helps with that goal.

    I've gone to his blog and read over some of the posts there and his world has a lot of potential.


  4. Might need to look these books up - Imagi-nations vs Fantasy sounds intriguing.


  5. I gotta say you've piqued my interest as well. I may just have to look into this series.

  6. Thanks for the heads-up. I've not come across this series before, but will now keep an eye open for book one.

    I've a couple of books - waiting to be read, so don't expect a response soon. but as has been said - thanks for the info.


  7. It's a tempting combo - tri-corn fantasy.



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