Knight Owls Review: Ultraviolet Grasslands
It’s there in the name. Dungeons and Dragons. From graph paper to 10 foot poles, D&D has long emphasized underground exploration. Even now, when we write hex crawls or towns or full-on campaigns, a dungeon is an expected piece of the set.
Which is what makes Luka Rejec’s UVG such a phenomenal departure. It’s not done yet but you can pick up a very useable pdf on Drivethru for free.
Using historic journeys such as Marco Polo or the Oregon Trail, he shines the bright light of exploration upon the dank base of dungeons. It comes with a character sheet for your caravan and a suggestion of using meeples. There isn’t even an echo of dungeon delving here. It’s like it evolved from something else
The structure for exploration is solid and well-thought out, with time, inventory and supplies all being tracked. But that wouldn’t matter if there weren’t great places to explore.
With locations including the Violet City, the Steppe of the Lime Nomads, Craters, a Colossus, a Forest of Meat and factions including Steppelanders, Catlords, and Ultrahumans, the content lives up to the cover’s promise of psychedelicary. (In this version, only the Violet City is fully fleshed out.)
Like Sid Meier’s pirates, you can buy goods in one place and take it to another, potentially making great profits. These goods include odd fruits, black light lotuses, vampire wines, replacement body slaves, and tons more.
All in all, Ultraviolet Grasslands is a game if you want to play D&D with exploration, new sights, new things. It’s the rarest OSR supplement that promises hours of entertaining gameplay with nary an initiative die rolled. There’s a sense of awe that permeates the work and it’s modular enough that even for more traditional games you can extract tons of moving pieces.