The work opens with a sad tale of a fox who so loved a human being that he learned to shift into human form... but everything ended tragically, and a spirit of pure vengeance was born. Thus did Red Jack come into being, a fey being that brings death, and fills children's ears with tales of terror.
A backstory rich and strange, portraying Red Jack to the full, equips you with the groundwork to weave his presence into your campaign world, replete with the myths and legends associated with his name and deeds. His magical demesne is also detailed, perhaps your characters come across it in their travels, and enter unawares. Or, having heard the tales, or even encountered those on whom his vengeance has fallen, seek it out deliberately. Chief amongst its dangers is a major artefact, the Murder Stone. Created at the culmination of Red Jack's vengeance, it is death to merely touch the thing... but can also confer knowledge to those courageous enough to try and lucky enough to survive.
Three groups of fey creatures, all fox-related, come next: the kitsune (or gloom fox), the ghost fox and the pipe fox. Plenty of details are provided for incorporating them into your game, even - should you so wish - as player-characters. They are quite fascinating, not necessarily evil but by no means good either, often damaged psychologically with... interesting results. Magical, fascinating, there are many reasons why your characters might want to seek one out, and you have all the tools to make them come to life when that happens.
Finally, there's another major character, one bound up in Red Jack's tragic story, for she is his long-lost daughter. She too could be an interesting, if dangerous, acquaitance for your characters - a passing person of interest or a pivotal individual in an adventure or whole campaign. The book winds up with detailed stat blocks for all individuals and races described herein.
There's a lot of potential here, if you like the mystical aspect that including the fey in your game can bring. It's ambiguous, no evil to fight or good to aid, each fey seems to be a bit of both. Whilst ideas a-plenty may spawn as you read through, there is nothing that you can just pick up and run; but if you like the concepts, there is plenty to make use of as you craft your own stories.
Return to The Faerie Ring: Along the Twisting Way - Red Jack page.
Reviewed: 21 June 2011