Coliseum Morpheuon: Anthology of Dreams is the recently released anthology from Rite Publishing taking place in a mysterious dream world. The book contains eleven short stories based in the world of the Coliseum Morpheuon ruled by Khan of Nightmares. Edited by David Paul and stories from a myriad of writers including Tim Hitchcock, Jonathan McAnulty, Steve Schend, Neil Spicer, and more. The book is 222 pages in length and available in both paperback and a variety of electronic formats.
The stories all take place in the Realm of Dreams upon an island within this plane of dreams. On this island is a city with a great coliseum where the Khan of Nightmares lets bloodsport contests unfold. Several of the stories help explore the island in greater detail, describing this plane of dreams and the tenuous border between dream, sleep, and wakefulness.
The list of authors with stories in this book was enough to get me excited upon scanning the table of contents of this book. While many of the names were recognizable, I was anxious to read fiction from Tim Hitchcock and Neil Spicer, both of which have Pathfinder modules I have run. Also of interest to me was Steven Schend a name easily recognized from my Forgotten Realms days.
The first story, Living Legend by Jonathan McAnulty, helps let the reader know the Plane of Dreams is not like the normal world and that it is ever changing. The pacing of this tale is excellent and really starts to paint the picture of this dream world that the other stories continue to add depth to. The story is also one of my favorites from the anthology as well. It offered a strong start to the book.
The book rolls on into Focus by Tim Hitchcock with a tale that helps one get a feel for the inner workings of the Coliseum as we catch a glimpse of a gladiator’s life. This was another entertaining story and again, helped provide the reader with more detail of this facet of the Realm of Dreams.
Another story that stood out to me was Oneirobound by Matt Banach. It was another story that helped give the reader a better idea of this dream world and the environment within. I enjoyed the tale of the journey depicted and would not have minded reading it earlier in the book to help paint a more detailed picture of this realm.
With eleven stories in the book I cannot cover them all in this review and do not want to spoil what the reader has in store when they read this book. So lets take a look at overall impressions of this Anthology.
I enjoyed the vast majority of stories in this book. Exploring the plane of dreams was quite interesting with the boundaries you could push. The stories were entertaining and the book as a whole provided a good sampling of authors.
Given The Iron Tavern is predominantly an RPG blog, one of the great strengths of this book is the wealth of ideas it can give a GM. There are many ideas to “borrow” from this book to use within your campaigns or twist into your tales at the table. Whether it be simply more vivid dream depictions for your characters or your characters crossing this line into the dream world, this anthology is ripe with ideas to pluck.
For GMs looking to further explore this plane of dreams as depicted in the stories in this book, Rite Publishing also has a mini-setting called Coliseum Morpheuon that one can drop into their game as they see fit.
4 tankards out of 5 tankards
Note: The Iron Tavern was provided a review copy of this book.