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Torg Eternity - Orrorsh Sourcebook
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2022 15:46:28

Along with the Living Land sourcebook this is my absolute favorite cosm sourcebook, an entertaining and highly useful read, and absolutely worth the purchase price in my opinion. Please note as well the pay what you want orrosh oriented titles "the storm knights guide to monster hunters" (a detailed look at the secret societies within orrosh and new gear and perks which I will write a review for hopefully soon, 34 pages) and the “rooting out orrosh” prewritten adventure sold at the very generous price of 74 cents (and that's a suggested price so you can pay even less than that which I will also hopefully write a review of soon ) at 37 pages long.. absolutely grab both of these in addition to the Orrosh sourcebook.

This review will be longer than that of the other cosm sourcebooks since this time I actually remembered to take notes as I was reading through the sourcebook.. I apologize in advance for the review being so lengthy but on the plus side if your eyes start to glaze over from boredom and you stop reading, hopefully the numerous examples of exactly WHY this cosm sourcebook is so great that you would have read by then will convince you to buy it.. seriously, while I still maintain no matter what my rating all the cosm sourcebooks are necessary purchases to fully enjoy Torg Eternity and run the game to it’s greatest potential, the Orrosh and the Living Land sourcebooks are both a joy to read and should be your first purchases , hopefully impressing you to the point where you’ll spend the money on the other cosm sourcebooks as well.

(also worth noting.. it's possible that a gamesmaster might want a map after being inspired by the many, many great ideas in this book when writing up an adventure… surprisingly enough reddit is a great source of rpg maps, just google search "(type of building or outdoor thing like forest or cave or whatever you need a map of) rpg map reddit" in a situation like that for example “mansion rpg map reddit” or “forest rpg map reddit” .. other resources include "bogie-DJ deviant art " if you do a google search for that or " rpgmapshare" )

Right from the beginning of the book there’s strong “intro” fiction that establishes not only the morally grey nature of Orrosh ... the protagonist forced into an alliance with a "civilized monster " to beat back the (presumably) mindless mob of monsters besieging the house she's taken residence in ... sipping tea with the civilized monster at the start of the story , a very Victorian custom (to the point where the gear section even gives in game benefits if a "tea party" is performed properly within Orrosh) ... and the protagonist being forced to abandon the hapless family the civilized monster is holding hostage simply because he has not yet collected enough information on the civilized monster to ensure her true death , silently and fervently promising the family she is no doubt torturing behind closed doors that he'll be back for them.. wonderfully written fiction that perfectly captures the mood of the orrosh cosm.

This is followed by an insightful overview of the Orrosh conquered parts of Earth (mostly India but also Bangladesh and Pakistan ) and their reactions to the invasion, as well as insight into the Victorians of Gaea who have immigrated from the cosm most recently invaded by the Gaunt Man’s Orroshan reality – not in small part due to the Victorians realizing their home world is lost and seeking to make a new place for themselves on Earth, not realizing they’re inflaming old wounds given India’s prior history with British “white colonizer” control of India …indeed the Victorians seem to fall into that awful “white man’s burden” racist outlook that was the bane – to say the least – of many countries throughout history .. what’s worse persons within invaded India, Pakistan and/or Bangladesh realize that these condescending Victorians bring a real expertise with them on hunting down and defeating the Orroshan monsters that have, literally, turned their countries into a nightmare realm.. lest things get too depressing (though it should be noted that depression and .. as one might expect given it’s the “horror realm”.. horror are the watchwords of the day in any Orrosh adventure, lest things get too depressing it is noted there are absolutely storm knights and even non reality rated persons of Indian, Bangladesh and/or Pakistani ancestry who are quickly becoming adept at fighting the Gaunt Man’s invading forces as well).

As usual there’s a section on new perks, new gear, and new spells whether arcane or divine/religious in nature that will be of interest given that even role-play world-immersion oriented gamesmasters or players like myself will take note of in terms of further customizing your character and/or NPC’s the PC’s interact with .. what was even more delightful to me however was the “flavor” of magic whether arcane in nature .. it’s clearly noted that arcane magic in Orrosh is by it’s very nature dark, corrupted, and it’s a continual struggle not to succumb to the forces of Corruption in Orrosh that will claim your very soul.. and, not surprisingly , the Sacellum is utterly opposed to and will no doubt hunt down any arcane spellcasters it discovers even arcane spellcasters desperately pleading that they and the Sacellum are on the same side as far as fighting the Gaunt Man and his forces.

Speaking of which, the Sacellum , the Gaea-Victorian version of Christianity, is given it’s own highly interesting write up not only noting it’s fire-and-brimstone emphasis and the almost complete lack of the “love and compassion” side of Christianity but what’s worse.. one could even say “horrifying” as suits the nature of Orrosh.. the Gaunt Man, as is typical for him, has corrupted even the religion that normally serves as such a potent force against the literal forces of darkness within Orrosh.. as the cosm sourcebook states the teachings of peace and love that are normally an integral part of Christianity in turn not only strengthens a Christian community in a web of mutual support, it also gives the recipient an inner strength that can see the recipient through dark times… said recipient may not immediately see “results” but they are content knowing it is “God’s will” and continue the struggle anyways.. in contrast the Sacellum version of Christianity emphasizes that results are needed NOW, right NOW and if you don’t get that divine miracle NOW your loved ones can and will die before your eyes in front of the depressingly commonplace occurrence of some Orroshan monster coming for said loved ones.

Furthermore the Sacellum version of Christianity makes a point of it’s faithful blaming each other, family member against family member, neighbor against neighbor, because this supernatural evil horror is “God’s” punishment on some sinner within the community.. to make matters worse given the law of corruption it’s very likely there really IS some sinner within the community who’s fallen prey to the temptations of darkness within Orrosh that strengthen those who succumb in various ways at the cost of their immortal soul .. this all leads to a community divided rather than strengthened, just the way the Gaunt Man wants it, even if the miracles of the Sacellum lead to the defeats of various horrors or Nightmares (and note this isn’t guaranteed either, even with a Sacellum spell casting priest or priestess on their side given how hard it is for even Storm Knights to survive in Orrosh given the world laws there’s every possibility the monster is STILL going to win – the Sacellum miracles just give you more of a fighting chance) – the Gaunt Man always takes the long view.. on top of that given that the most powerful Nightmares need to have their true death researched to really put the nightmare down for good (more on that later but something I also found absolutely delightful in sheer horror oriented entertainment value) the Gaunt Man sees any “minor problems” the Sacellum might cause as more than an acceptable sacrifice.

This is followed by a write up of new gear for Orrosh which I also loved for the sheer Victorian and horror oriented flavor that it captured, as well as some core earth higher tech axiom items (that admittedly might cause contradictions with the appropriate consequences if used in Orrosh conquered parts of Earth) that can come in handy.

As much as I loved all of this, I particularly fell in love with the following chapter “Warzones” that goes into even more detail on the Orroshan invasion of various parts of Earth and their reaction to said invasion.. I was delighted at the section on page 45 "A new custom of hanging dolls or puppets in trees to act as homes for errant spirits has become increasingly popular in the area. Whether an unembodied spirit is better or worse than a creepy inhabited doll is up for debate. "

And on page 46 more dark humor … " The factories on the periphery now produce steam carriages and other modified vehicles designed for use in Orrorsh’s axioms. Quality control measures have insured only a few of these machines have been shipped with malevolent spirits hiding inside them. "

Then there’s the pakistani rangers on page 50, a group of elite core earth born monster hunting forces ( see the “karashi” entry).. which I also loved but sadly there’s only a brief description given to the concept here, this is begging for future expansion hopefully by some of the talented writers we’ve already seen put out quality work under the Torg Infiniverse license .. there’s an intriguing write up of the Merangarh fort also on page 50 which, if I’m understanding correctly, takes note of a willing sacrifice 800 years ago (long before the Gaunt Man’s invasion), a human who agreed to be buried alive in the foundations of the walls when the fort was first built whose sacrifice has apparently turned it into that most precious of resources nowadays in Orrosh conquered areas of Earth, a core Earth hardpoint that keeps Orroshan reality at bay. Given the dark nature of Orrosh adventures it’s not surprising that core earth scientists are musing about whether or not similar sacrifices today of some willing and brave core earther could create similar hardpoints, said scientists … who must be allied with the Delphi council no doubt relying on information provided from say Storm Knight characters who played through the events of the Living Land Godbox extended adventure (will be writing a review for that later as well) … knowing as a result of said storm knight provided information that the Gaunt Man uses similar albeit unwilling sacrifices to “power” his stelae and Nightmare trees.

Then there’s the brilliant bit on page 53, the deceivers, humans who fall prey to the persuasive fear that all residents of Orrosh feel... and how they can drive that fear away by basically becoming smiling, deceiving serial killers that prey on their fellow humans misplaced sense of trust, thereafter being regarded as a "fellow terror" by the nightmarish monsters that stalk the realm... of course the cost of not being afraid anymore is the insanity that comes with being a serial killer as well as the craving to murder again and again

Then there’s page 54 – the ganges river which we’ve all probably heard about in popular India based fiction prior to Torg Eternity produces literal holy water that can be used against monsters … but in true orrosh fashion lest things get too bright and hopeful, this water can be corrupted and rendered useless as is being done to the lower reaches of the Ganges river with dead bodies and worse being thrown inside of it and gospog patrolling the now polluted portions of the river to make sure those portions stay that way.

As with the other cosm sourcebooks each warzone … that is each individual description of a large geographical part of conquered Earth .. comes with a “random encounter table” of sorts that will be a help to any gamesmaster, describing commonly encountered threats in that warzone complete with statistics found either in the Orrosh cosm sourcebook or the Torg Eternity core rules book.

One thing I particularly enjoyed was (to me anyways) is how well this section described not only the horrors that are infecting conquered orrosh zones but also India/Pakistan’s/Bangladehs’s reactions to it in brief broad yet well written strokes that give a real feel for what’s happening in the area despite readers not necessarily being familiar with these regions of India/Pakistan/Bangladesh, something that I felt was lacking in say the Tharkold or Nile Empire cosm sourcebook warzone writeups. Maybe it’s because the exotic (to a Western viewpoint) nature of India and those two other countries meshes well with the strangeness and horror that is the “feel” of the Orrosh cosm.. or at least in my opinion.

The warzones section wraps up with a great section on not only the victorians but the other cultures that came over from Orrosh – but briefer than I would like, I would love to see a sourcebook torg infiniverse supplement put out under that torg eternity open license system describing them in greater detail.

IMPORTANT NOTE - I would argue the rest of this review is best geared towards gamesmasters .. given a fear of the unknown is a big part of the feel of horror in Orrosh, players who continue to read this review may find their enjoyment of future Orrosh adventures to be spoiled.. on the other hand if I was a player who purchased this book I would , understandably, be reluctant to read the whole thing and not get my money's worth.. I'm sure that players who do so will be able to keep their real life player knowledge seperate from their in-game player character knowledge albeit again at the cost of not having as much fun as they normally would (I would advise players to at the very least not read the portions of the book on "bleeds" and to skip over the "world law of uncanny" when they see it in the book).

Then we have the usual chapter (as per the “standard structure” that cosm sourcebooks tend to follow) which goes into a closer analysis of the high lord of the invading cosm and said forces from that cosm that follow that high lord… there’s an absolutely wonderful description of the gaunt based on their stats man's origins and personality and tactics and approach (which was lacking in the original 1990’s era torg books), his end game and awful goals for earth and all of reality itself, the end game he's working towards as a whole… interestingly unlike original torg 1990's books no stats provided for any of the darkness devices which makes sense given they are basically plot devices that would have been impossible to destroy anyways even in the 1990's version of torg... the description of gaunt man's darkness device is as always a strong point in the cosm sourcebook (by which I mean the darkness device writeups in other cosm sourcebooks are also strong, entertaining reading). As usual we have a write up of the high lord’s (the Gaunt Man since this is the Orrosh sourcebook) relation with the other high lords and the politics taking place there, always a fun read given the scheming double crossing nature of high lords in general – but in this case it’s also noted in terms of sheer power the Gaunt Man can easily beat any of the other High Lords, something they are well aware of.

Absolutely loved the (appropriately of course) horrific write up of the Gaunt Man’s stelae, his Nightmare trees and his dimthread trees including details on exactly how to uproot or otherwise destroy them and the significant challenges the PC’s will face in the process which is (of course) terrifying and horrific in nature.. in perfect keeping with the horrific nature of Orrosh, page 67 notes that some portions of the populace are so terrified they'll actually sacrifice one of their own in order to create a makeshift stelae of their own creation, causing the gaunt man to actually ease up on terrorizing the realm , encouraging the populace's desperate fear and no doubt corrupting themselves as a result (admittedly the Orrosh sourcebook doesn’t make it clear if this actually works as far as the stelae activating and extending orroshan reality .. I would tend to guess not but if he’s got that section of the populace that terrified it serves the Gaunt Man’s ends regardless).

I also enjoyed the callout to the original Akashan reality/cosm from the 1990's torg sourcebooks and the trees they could plant which basically saved the hapless inhabitants of earth from dying when stelae uprooted even if they hadn't been refilled with possiblities from spreading tales of glory from the drama deck ... nightmare trees are a corrupt version of this technology acquired and polluted by the gaunt man – or to put it another way in Torg Eternity there were no Akashans showing up to save the day with their trees – the Gaunt Man long ago and subjugated their trees and other biotechnology to his own ends.

This does however disappoint me in that it seems there will be no akashan "space deities" sourcebook similar to 1990's torg given on page 69 the orrosh sourcebook states the gaunt man let " a few " askashans survive in case he needed them later implying that the gaunt man (indirectly albeit by manipulating them into destroying themselves) wiped out the vast majority of them... on the other hand some might argue the reality trees from the akashans might make winning the fight against the high lords too easy in an almost anticlimatic way so you understand the publisher's reasoning behind it.... I loved the intriguing origin story about how the akashan technology/magic hybrid allowed them to create devices that tether the forces of reality itself which the gaunt man corrupted into nightmare trees.. and gospog, thus giving the gospog an origin story lacking in the original 1990's torg books... the Akashans borrowing and using the concept of magic from their ancient allies the elves of asyle reality is neat concept albeit something that I'd like to see more fully fleshed out (probably upcoming in future torg books) .. . I was also intrigued by the mention of the oncoming doom that wiped out the akashans and how the gaunt man is hoping said doom will seek out earth which gives some hope that some sort of akashan material will show up in future torg products .. the 1990's askashan sourcebook detailed a psionic infestation that turned it's host into zombies under the control of the "root source" of the psionic infestation planted within an akashan who used the zombies as her minions to accomplish her goals ..I find myself wondering if the torg eternity publishers will use this idea or something entirely different in terms of the oncoming doom.

Going back to the nightmare trees.. wonderfully horrific description of how nightmare trees work, how they're grown and how they interact with orrosh reality to the point where they become hardpoints of orrosh reality even inside other cosms/dimensions. I consider it to be a brilliant move on the torg eternity writers’ part in terms of said nightmare trees eventual goal being able to simphon off possibilities in other high lord's cosms and/or that of core earth and illustrating one of the gaunt man' end goals.. let the other high lords subjugate various portions of earth then steal those possibilities from his fellow high lords via the planting of nightmare trees when the time is right, allowing him to use the other high lords as his unwitting tools to completely conquer core earth .. there’s a wonderful description of why the other high lords (who presumably are unaware the nightmare trees can steal possibilities the other high lords assume are all going to them not the Gaunt Man and his cosm) leave discovered nightmare trees alone, converting them into dimthread trees that can easily transport invading forces from cosms already conquered by the high lord into core earth .. but the other high lords are still unaware that the conversion doesn't change the "base" nightmare trees ability to (presumably) enforce orrosh reality and steal those possibilities (pages 69-70)

There’s a great write up of how Nightmares. .. the more advanced and powerful monsters of Orroshan reality .. work in terms of how, just like in true horror movie style, they always eventually come back even if killed, stronger than before… unless that is you research their true death and enact the circumstances required for said true death, also very much in keeping with horror movies.. game mechanics and outlines on how to do this and how to create your own nightmares are given along with some wonderful example nightmares both in that chapter and later on in the “threats” chapter of the cosm sourcebook, said nightmares almost invariably having a tragic origin story that could very well make the PC’s feel sorry for them while at the same time realizing the nightmare cannot go on unchecked and has to be put down for good giving it’s killing innocent people.

While I loved the write up of the Hellion Court.. the “senior” nightmares who make up the Gaunt Man’s ruling council.. I was disappointed that there are no stats for them.. though I understand the publisher's reasoning that they should be created and tailored to the PC's current power levels as an epic orrosh adventure .. and stats are provided presumably for one such hellion court member in " a trifling matter" adventure for orrosh (which is absolutely on my wishlist of future torg eternity books to buy).. this is still going to be a problem for gamesmasters who are too busy to write their own material and who rely solely on prewritten adventures (gamesmasters who say have a spouse, kids and are busy with work for example) .. hopefully a torg infiniverse writer will write their own stats for the hellion court.. alternately as a starting point gamesmasters could simply purchase the original orrosh sourcebook from 1990's torg which does include stats for them (and indeed they are presented as very powerful opponents compared to your average starting storm knight) and try to revamp them to fit the torg eternity rules ... there is some overlap but many of the nightmares (a name for members of the hellion court used in 1990's torg) listed are different in torg eternity than the original orrosh torg 1990's sourcebook.. this isn't necessarily a bad thing, the nightmares in the original torg book have an extremely interesting writeup in terms of their background and personality as well as stats and would arguably make great substitutes for the nightmares presented in torg eternity (with the understanding that doing so could render certain upcoming torg books incompatible with the campaign should nightmares be given stats in the future in torg eternity)... I suspect one of the hellion court members basjas has her stats listed in the torg eternity adventure “a trifling matter”.

Then there’s the usual great description of axiom levels ( a favorite part for me in all the torg eternity cosm sourcebooks).. technological , social, magic and spiritual.. and how they affect the Orrosh realm with the added clarification that the gaunt man has specifically set them at high enough levels to encourage terror but not so high that this terror is diminished ... for example not setting the magic axiom so high that magical monsters become an everyday menace you just accept as a part of life like in say Asyle... likewise the technological axiom is just high enough to allow newspapers to further spread terror and fear by letting everyone know about the horrible things happening in orrosh while not being so high that advanced technology that lets you more easily fight the monsters of Orrosh springs up thus inspiring hope... then there’s the intriguing revelation that there is no "home cosm/dimension" orrosh is anchored to unlike the other invading realms... the gaunt man uses them up as he travels from world to world leaving them as lifeless husks but it's a mystery as to where orrosh is drawing it's power from (hopefully the publishers expand on this in future supplements rather than just leaving it as a mystery)

I also loved the world laws write ups.. for example the law of corruption tied directly to the nameless one (embodiment of destruction ) and the void that the darkness devices (for the most part) owe allegiance too ... like everything else in orrosh the gaunt man uses it as a tool to ensure despair and a loss of hope, making it easy for characters to give in to corruption in exchange for the in game benefits it describes only to have the character eventually succumb to corruption to the point where they literally transform into one of the monsters they fought against... it presents a fun option for players who have grown tired of playing a PC and want an opportunity to write up a new one... have the existing PC take enough corruption benefits and the accompanying perks to the point where the PC becomes a monster and the other PC's have to track down and kill their former compatriot... if the player is okay with this (GM's should tread carefully, players are known to become particularly attached to certain NPC's and to not react well when said NPC is killed off) it's also a great complication for NPC's the PC's are fond of (perhaps ask players given the nature of the realm if they have an idea for an NPC the PC is fond of but not TOO fond of and write the plot accordingly - bearing in mind of course it's always subject to change based on PC actions, the whims of the drama deck and so forth)

To me there’s an intriguing tribute to horror stories in terms of the world laws and the explanation of horrors (monsters that simply come back to give the PC's problems later on if their true death isn't properly researched first ... the whole "evil never dies" horror trope) and how in game terms horrors can't regain as many possibilities as they normally would - normally (and terrifyingly enough) the horrors regain their full possibilities every round ... each piece of crucial information uncovered about the horrors diminishes these possibilities regained per round with the final bit of information leading to the ability to kill the horror off once and for all ... there’s some great crunchy rules related stuff about how various skills (like evidence analysis, streetwise, scholar, persuasion in terms of tricking a horror into revealing something crucial about itself) can be used to gain said information .. note that not every monster encountered is a horror, there are the "rank and file" monsters and then the "big bad " monsters (the members of the hellion court being the biggest bads ..next to the gaunt man himself of course) that represent the highlight of an adventure in terms of defeating the forces of evil ... there’s also a neat insight presented by the torg eternity writers about how even if the PC's aren't particularly sympathetic to the plight that drove say a former human being into becoming a monster (or maybe the more tender and kind hearted PC's ARE sympathetic) it still humanizes the monster, giving it a backstory.. and diminishes the fear normally felt in the realm of orrosh, understanding something makes it less frightening which is a big reason why the true death works in the first place.

The torg eternity writers are aware that given the deadly nature of Orrosh it’s possible for an entire party-kill of all the PC’s to take place.. one option they suggest is for the GM to show mercy to the players while simultaneously creeping them out .. the world law of 'uncanny' allows the PC's to suddenly return to life as if nothing had ever happened despite the PC’s knowing full well that they died and how they died, almost as if time rewinds itself… except an NPC they interacted with right around the same time the PC’s is now dead as if in the PC’s place.. this goes on, one NPC the PC’s know dying each act in the adventure, until a PC finally says “yes” to the ongoing whispers of corruption in Orrosh and takes a darkness perk at which point the NPC deaths stop. I absolutely LOVED this idea and it’s yet another brilliant move on the part of the torg eternity writers.

Then there’s that wonderful section on bleeds ... the orrosh cosm is itself haunted by other cosms that have taken on a nightmarish existence of their own.. practically "dead" for all intents and purposes and hopelessly corrupted, each of these cosms is written up in terms of their current influence on events within orrosh and the terrible things the bleed is causing to happen and how the PC's have to stop it .. basically a series of wonderfully well written adventure seeds for a variety of adventures the GM can flesh out (although obviously this doesn't help a GM who doesn't have the time to expand said adventure seeds further into a full blown adventure - hopefully someone in torg infiniverse sees the wonderful opportunity here and writes it up as a ready to go adventure for interested gamesmasters to purchase).... although stats are given for the final foe the PC's have to face in each of these bleeds which helps a lot and there’s plenty of stats for various Orrosh cosm threats including human death cultists in the “threats” section of Orrosh sourcebook the GM can draw from (maybe the cultists are the minions of the final adversary the PC's have to take down)... a GM who's good at coming up with stuff "on the fly" literally making up the adventure as the GM goes along (there are some GM's who are like that who are very talented, I had no idea they were making it up as they went along and thoroughly enjoyed myself as a player) actually has all the GM needs here for a full blown adventure. The race of assassins who actually succeeded in physically injuring the gaunt man twice and then were mostly obliterated with the rest doomed to serve as faceless assassins that literally steal the faces of their hapless victims (said victim dying as a faceless mannequin-like husk given enough time and failed reality tests) was particularly memorable and well written in my opinion.

As with the other cosm sourcebooks we have a chapter on the delphi council, their tactics and notable members in leadership .. a fun and interesting read but I was disappointed there's no artwork showing what they look like as opposed to the other cosm sourcebooks but this is a minor quibble at best. All the delphi council members are well written but oddly enough although religion is described as a key component of Vinutha Patel's life, there's no description as to what religion that is..which in the Torg campaign can be important in that it has actual in-game effects. One might guess Hindu but only because that's the most popular and widespread religion in India. Disappointingly, despite Pakistan being listed as definitely being an area of importance in Orrosh (the Pakistan rangers in particular page 50 who are listed as elite monster hunters in orrosh equal in expertise to the victorians who have been hunting monsters for centuries, ) there's no mention of a Pakistani high ranking member of the Delphi council which seems to be a huge oversight .. at the very least one would imagine the head of the Pakistani rangers should get a name and his or her own individual background and personality write up like the other senior delphi council members ... hopefully someone using the torg infiniverse license will follow up on this and give them their own mini-sourcebook with stats for their leadership, typical rank and file soldier, description of equipment they use , description of how one gains entry into their rank and how their organizational structure works and so forth ... I was also disappointed in that there are no actual statistics provided for the senior delphi council members but this is the case in pretty much every torg cosm sourcebook.

There’s also a great write up of the resources the delphi council can provide within Orrosh.. I particularly liked how there's both the standard stereotypical description of a safe house but which are less common apparently than in other cosms-conquered parts of earth due to the grueling, challenging dangerous nature of orrosh reality... and the more common "safe houses" which are simply homes brave ordinary citizens have volunteered as temporary hideouts to PC's (PC's are instructed not to stay too long at such households lest it attract the attention of monsters and/or horrors resulting in the slaughter of said brave citizens say after the PC's leave) ... the concept of individuals within orrosh who somehow overcome the fear and horror that permeates everything in the realm, risking themselves to help the cause somehow despite obviously putting themselves at risk and not being nearly as better able to defend themselves as your average PC, is rather inspiring and GM's who have the time to do so are encouraged to give a write up in terms of personality and background at least to these brave families. There’s an intriguing write up of INS Varsha, a submarine base under the water that can sneak storm knights to places inconspicuously and listen in on events on the surface.. and of course the realization that Orrosh has established it's own undersea bases after the Delphi concil intercepted telegraph signals which appear to state such a thing has happened. This fits with the theme of orrosh cosm - evil is everywhere.

There’s a very neat write up of how trains are the primary mode of transportation for PC's which very much fits the Victorian theme of Orrosh, to the point where given the scarcity of permanent safe houses trains are actually used to deliver the supplies and gear the Delphi council would normally give PC's .. I loved how the train doesn't stop just so the PC’s can get said gear …. to quote the orrosh sourcebook " Railpost employees work a mechanized arm to snag outbound bags from the post, and drop off inbound bags as the train passes by" (page 108).. I thought this was a particularly neat touch and it also makes sense - it draws less attention to the PC's and their activities that way in a clandestine sort of way.

The secret societies part is intriguing but not given nearly enough detail – fortunately the “storm knights guide to monster hunters” pay what you want torg infiniverse book does a superb job of covering this in greater detail, is an excellent read and at the risk of sounding like a broken record is an absolute must-buy in terms of running adventures in Orrosh to their fullest potential (in my opinion anyways).

This is followed by a chapter on how to run adventures in Orrosh including the themes and tropes which I also found to be a great write up.. however on page 111 sidebar “giving the characters reason to care” it’s worth noting that the advice given as far as endangering – and thus potentially killing off beloved NPC's or (given this is Orrosh) cursing or otherwise "twisting" them while enforcing the theme of horror could royally tick off players who are devoted to and care about their more beloved NPC’s… if I was the GM here I’d find it best to check with the player beforehand to make sure the player's okay with it and even go so far as to work with the player to come with NPC’s the PC likes but doesn’t like TOO much if that makes sense .. it will upset the PC if the worst comes to pass but not so much so that the player gets upset in real life....

One very neat idea in the Victorian Death rituals description is the idea of death jewelry .... the Victorians of Gaea, literally fashion parts of beloved and now deceased persons into jewelry that is worn .. if the death was cursed or just particularly violent the jewelry can become cursed itself and possess the wearer , potentially resulting in a dr jekyll and mr hyde situation for the unfortunate wearer ... of course presumably the PC's don't immediately know this is the case and have to figure it out on their own...also neat, paintings of the deceased are done in which the deceased's body is literally rearranged into various poses (imagine a dead person being propped up in a chair in a horrible parody of looking dignified – perfectly fits the creepy nature of Orrrosh) .. the paintings themselves can become haunted as a result.

Following this is a wonderful set of random generator tables (or even better the GM can just pick and choose from the tables to create a nightmare of the GM’s own design) to come up with a newly created nightmare's various traits that drive it's personality, background and that help discover it's means of true death lest a "killed" nightmare return from the dead to attack the PC's later on - and worse even more powerful than before. I found each entry on the table to be a wonderful idea that gives a great jumping off point to spark the gamemaster's imagination. Note that it's up to the GM to individually write up a true death specifically tailored to the new nightmare but the random table generators can easily inspire a GM to give a thorough enough writeup such that at least one idea for a true death comes to mind.

Next we move on to the threats section that appears close to the end of torg eternity cosm sourcebooks… pages 120-124 gives a great write up of orrosh gospog , which are noticeably more dangerous than gospog of other cosms which suits the orrosh cosm ... 2nd planting gospog housing swarms of mosquitoes that can not only infect PC's with malaria or some other such sickness (can't recall if game terms describing how sickness works are given in torg core rules), but a mosquito who bites a target allows the gospog to "tag" that target making it easier for the gospog to track the target ... plus the swarms of mosquitoes from it billow around a target making it harder for the target to act (and gives a nice horrific touch) .... 5th planting gospog seem a bit ridiculous at first being giant blobs but are formidable opponents, sticky beings that can trap targets with tenacles and drag them in to be digested .... also noteworthy is that oddly enough undead matter (i.e. other gospog) within the gospog is not digested enabling 5th planting gospog to ooze around acting as "delivery mechanisms", catching other gospog within them only to be released upon the hapless attacker if someone attacks the 5th planting gospog.

The write ups of other monsters are suitably creepy as suits the nature of Orrosh ... stats are given for disembodied hands and stats for creatures of real life Indian folklore like the bhoot and churel... possibly due to a fear of offending Indian readers … some notes on the wikipedia entry for churel ... " According to some legends, a woman who dies during childbirth or pregnancy or from suffering at the hands of her in-laws will come back as a revenant churel for revenge, particularly targeting the males in her family. " ... were left out of the monster description ... while India has hopefully moved away in modern times from certain practices in the past like a widow being expected to burn herself alive with her husband's corpse (it's true, google search it) … as recently as the year 2018 the guardian wrote an article titled " india is the most dangerous country for women it must face reality" , the washington post wrote an article called " why India's modern women say it's a burden to be female" also in 2018 while the economist wrote an article titled "life for Indian women is hard" (you can do a google search for the articles) ... as always with potentially sensitive topics a GM should get a survey from their players first as to how comfortable they feel with this sort of thing but there's certainly an opportunity here for a sympathetic monster-villain savagely mistreated by her male in-laws , a fact the PC's have to discover on their own particularly if you accept the view expressed in the guardian article that the churel's surviving female relatives will initially be too afraid to tell the PC's about said mistreatment.... this even opens the door to the male in law culprits themselves having fallen prey to the forces of corruption and becoming another threat the PC's have to take down ...

One very important thing to note here.. if you’re going to run this kind of story you’re going to have to run counter to the mood of Orrosh and GIVE THE VICTIMIZED WOMAN INVOLVED A HAPPY ENDING! Perhaps an unintended benefit of the occult ritual the PC’s have to enact returns the woman to the mortal life she had prior to becoming a churel .. Or if the GM feels this is too “fairy tale” in nature and feels it’s too late for the poor woman and she’s already a monster at least give her a peaceful death where she sees the males who mistreated her get their appropriate punishment (male victimizers who have fallen prey to the power of corruption and become monsters themselves who have to be killed would in my opinion be a poetic and fitting solution here). If you don’t give the victimized woman involved a happy ending in my honest opinion this gets way too dark even by the standards of Orrosh and you don’t want to depress players by having the game echo the real life plight of women in India and then have the symbolic stand-in for said women in the game “lose” if that makes sense. Bearing in mind the Storm Knights are, in pretty much every cosm that has conquered parts of Earth, the heroes who bring light and hope (even in Orrosh) this shouldn’t be too far of a stretch to get a happy ending even in Orrosh.

Note that lest the reader think I'm picking on India alone, there are those who argue the fight for womens' rights needs to continue in the USA as well ... there is a usa today article titled " equal rights amendment - will women ever have equal rights under federal law?" and then there was the recent overturning of roe vs wade ... another usa today article titled " abortion rights protests across usa" talks about protesters who say (correctly in my opinion) it's an attack on womens' rights.

I was amused by the faithful servant description for your typical "igor" type NPC foe ... " Every horror or Nightmare needs a minion who can attend to the rote, mundane tasks of managing an estate, allowing its master to focus on spreading fear. Faithful attendants come in many varieties, from lab assistants to butlers to guards to gravediggers, but all of them have some deformity or flaw which makes them unsettling to be around. They are not known for their intellect but their unflinching loyalty makes them invaluable to their masters."

I was also amused that stats are given for edgar allen poe's "nevermore" raven in the form of an omen bird.. I was pleased to see stats for creepy possessed dolls and frankenstein monsters or as the orrosh source book calls them "reainimated beings" as well as stats for both normal and advanced "master" vampires.. the skinwalker write up is very neat and gives the GM a potent tool in terms of having an NPC the PC's would normally trust turn out to be eaten and the NPC's identity taken by the skinwalker ... or if a player is absolutely convinced they are done with their current PC and want to write up a new one, with the player's cooperation the player can play a skinwalker leading to the horrified realization of the other PC's that their former comrade was eaten alive...

As I mentioned above there’s an outstanding write up of sample nightmares... the mary write up evoked a particular amount of sympathy and GM's might consider a more soft hearted, pure and "innocent" type of PC reminding Mary of herself when she was alive and even managing to convince Mary to let the PC's give Mary a true death ... provided of course the standard steps one has to complete to grant a true death are still run through.... all of the nightmares are actually very well written and evoke their own sort of sympathy from the reader given their tragic pasts. The Headhunter write up is also very tragic and like the other nightmares would be a joy to run through with the players ... interestingly Kurst, formerly a major character and ally of the heroes in the 1990's torg novels, has been presented here as a nightmare who will probably try to stalk and kill the PC's and needs to be put down.

I did find myself blinking in confusion initially at what the Orrosh sourcebook said on page 8.. “Multiple major religions have coexisted (in India/Pakistan/Bangladesh) in relative peace for centuries"... then when I read page 53’s reference to India’s prime minister Harminder Singh the lightbulb went off in my head.. then I read page 114

“Remember, “The path to Hell is paved with good intentions.” With all secrets, the Game Master should be aware of the players’ comfort level. Any of the Secret types, especially Habits, can tread too closely to real world prejudice and hate crimes”

At that point it becomes clear that the torg eternity publishers are trying to avoid references to real life prejudice/hate crimes that can make players uncomfortable

People unaware of what’s going in “real world” India at the time I write this review may wonder why I was confused… just to give a few examples of the many, many articles you can find online on this topic… google search "time India hindu supremacy extremism genocide bjp modi" to find an article where time magazine vividly describes how the “real world” prime minister modi took advantage of Indian fears of poverty , insufficient economic growth and corruption to mobilize the hindu majority against the muslim minority painting them as responsible for said woes resulting in some truly horrifying acts against muslims encouraged not only by modi's government but also by sensationalistic television programs which flat out advocate violence against Muslims in order to boost the tv shows ratings and get people to watch said shows …I wish I could remember the name of the youtube video that has actual footage of Indian TV show hosts talking about the “Muslim menace” in the most openly bigoted fashion you could possibly imagine.. I can’t but if you google search it, trust me you’ll either find the video or articles from reputable news sources like Time, CNN, The Guardian, Newsweek or what have you that talks about how Modi’s government has ridden the already prevalent anti-Muslim sentiment in India to political power.

I realize this is an ugly thing to talk about .. and lest someone think I’m targeting India alone I would like to point out that the politics of bigotry and hatred are sadly alive and well in my neck of the woods here in the USA as well.. when David Duke, the former “grand wizard” (leader) of the white nationalist hate group the Klu Klux Klan, repeatedly endorses Donald Trump and Trump goes on to win the presidency after his infamous comments on Mexicans, Muslims (perhaps he hates things that start with the letter M? Then again he does love money which also starts with M.. apologies that’s a terrible joke) and his personal history towards women in general .. then you know we’ve got a problem here in the states.. mind you Islamophobia and hatred of racial minorities (not to mention hatred of the LGBT population in general which is still an ongoing thing over here) was going on in our politics over here long before Trump ever got elected. Islamaphobia in particular has been a (sadly) popular rallying cry for far right nationalist leaders to cement political power in other countries too not just India and the USA.

(also lest one still think I’m painting every single Indian citizen with the same paintbrush I would also point out that there are news reports of politicians, students and concerned citizens alike in India who openly object to the Islamophobia and make it clear they’re definitely not okay with it.. just as there are Americans here who decry the forces of bigotry that appear to have become rampant in American politics)

So you would think given this ugly state of affairs the last thing you’d want to do is air a TV show that deals with Islamophobia right? It’s an ugly, terrible thing that any viewer with a conscience is probably going to want to avoid.. and then you have the Disney Plus show Ms. Marvel, which I personally enjoyed, which was a hit with the critics, and which was a hit with large segments of the American population too , 80 percent apparently according to the rotten tomatoes website (minus disgruntled critics who complained bitterly about “political correctness” but quite honestly I’m not inclined to take such critics seriously in the first place)… try watching it if you haven’t already, the protagonist is a plucky teenage Pakistani-Muslim girl you can’t help but root for and the show does a wonderful job of not only tackling Islamophobia head-on in a way that makes you root for said protagonist, it also addresses the also emotionally sensitive topic of the Muslims forced out of India into Pakistan and all the emotional and economic hurt and turmoil it caused.

I can hear what you’re saying … “Okay sure Ms. Marvel is a great TV show but it’s all cheerfulness and light, Orrosh is darkness and horror.. do we REALLY want to go there?” At this point I would like to use page 49 of the Orrosh sourcebook as evidence for my argument that follows below

"Eternal Corruption is an ever present threat. As heroes become unbalanced and go too far they risk becoming the very monsters they sought to defeat. The isolation of the desert, the tension between different ethnic communities, and the scars left by the Night of Screams plague the area, and push ordinary people to the edge of sanity. "

And it’s not just that page alone, if you read the entire Orrosh sourcebook it’s all about horror, making people uncomfortable and evil triumphant.

That’s where the heroes come in .. obviously you’re going to want to have a frank discussion about players about whether or not they want obviously monstrous versions of real life hate crimes popping up in the Orrosh campaign.. but I can tell you this much.. my players would JUMP at the chance to take down some bigoted Islamophobe NPC in the game who uses hatred of Muslims for their own political/financial/other sort of gain… just as they would jump at the chance to take down the NPC equivalent of that in America, that is some hate mongering American politician in my neck of the woods in the states , by which I mean an obviously fictional politician though sadly there are several real life politicians where I live who could easily serve as inspiration for said fictional hatemongers.. I make a reference to that in my upcoming review of the godbox Living Land prepublished adventure and yes readers of my reviews will notice I have a theme going on here but I’m going to stick to my guns .. taking on hatemongers as bad guys can be extremely cathartic for the right gaming group given the current sad situation in our real life world where hatred of various marginalized groups is alive and well. The obvious candidate for a human-turned-monster riding the power of corruption benefiting from India’s Islamphobia would be an Indian government official of some sort but the less obvious choice could make for a great story too..

Remember what I said about the TV hosts who play to the audience’s Islamophobia to boost their ratings.. the GM could use an obviously Islamophobic government official as a “red herring” of sorts , plant false clues that make it seem like the official is a corrupted monster but really is not … still a monster mind you just not one that’s fallen prey to Orrosh’s power of corruption yet.. the real monster (and the one who planted the false clues hoping it would lead the PC’s to attack and perhaps even kill the wrong person ) is the attractive (male or female take your pick) popular with the masses TV show host who is now a monster wielding Orrosh’s power of corruption .. even worse the PC’s have to subdue the bodyguards, fans in the audience and so forth , at least until the monster shows his/her true monstrous nature at which point said bodyguards and fans hopefully scream in terror and get the heck out of there leaving the PC’s alone with their true foe. Again the same argument for the churel applies here too.. there HAS to be a happy ending where the PC’s soundly trounce their foe AND it makes headlines in a way that forces even the most bigoted members of the population to at least temporarily curtail their bigoted nature since it is now clear the very laws of reality in Orrosh can literally turn you into a monster if you continue to act that way (I would have the PC’s fight with the tv host turned monster televised, the cameras still rolling, and have it make headlines in a way that shines the spotlight on this sort of ugliness in a way that simply can’t be ignored).

I would hope this goes without saying but the GM would want to make it absolutely clear when using real-life darkness as a source for Orroshan horror that the monsters it produces are clearly fictional characters who, while they may draw inspiration from real life persons, are not actually those persons ... writing a real life person into torg eternity and then having to do what you do with any Orroshan monster who is literally a creature of darkness and evil that will go on killing innocents if not stopped the way you have to stop any monster in a horror movie... using a real life person for that sort of thing would be in really bad taste. In the Living Land version of things however the PC's have more flexibility .... sure the hate mongering politician bad guy NPC of the United States (again, please, fictional not a real life politician) could force the PC's into a life and death battle backed as they are by let's say Kanawa tech and Kanawa soldiers in the proposal I give in the upcoming godbox review and in true dramatic fashion he probably should ... I would argue however that it would be far more satisfying for the PC's to do what they cannot do in Orroshan reality .. capture the hate mongering politician, make sure that his battle against the storm knights - whom by now should have a reputation for their heroics world-wide (in my Living Land proposal I suggest that such a confrontation take place later on in the campaign when the torg eternity writers make it clear, as I'm sure they will at some point, that Kanawa corporation is itself a dimensional invader and not the Earth-Japanese citizens they are pretending to be) - becomes public knowledge and force the disgraced politician to just sit there and watch from jail as his fame and political power wither and vanish around him, othe rpoliticians who had allied with him now publicly decrying and abandoning him. In the case of the Living Land I would argue the hate mongering politician there wants all edeinos dead knowing full well that there are entire tribes of edeinos who are opposed to Barak Kaah's rule and work either secretly or against the High Lord of the Living Land - but it doesn't matter, said hate mongering politician wants " all those lizards".. along of course with whatever minorities, racial, religious, LGBT or otherwise the hate monger cemented his political base on inciting hatred of said minority groups to gain votes and other sorts of political power ... forcing the Delphi Council to have the storm knights engage initially (with the Delphi Council disavowing any public knowledge of what the storm knights are doing lest the delphi council create problems with certain government contacts allied out of political expediency with the hatemonger) in a more "hearts and minds" public argument with the hate mongering politician, at first attempting to sway public opinion and then later on as the campaign progresses forced into a physical confrontation with the hate monger who tries to kill the PC's in some location the hate monger considers to be "off camera" little knowing that the delphi council has already planted cameras that can televise the event (or if the global satellite/internet system such a televised system is still having problems with in the USA as per the Living Land sourcebook ) at least provide irrefutable digital proof that can take the form of thumb drive or other types of "hard copies" that are in turn copied and distributed to all the news media outlets worldwide) much to the dismay of the politician and his Kanawa backers... while some voters may continue to blindly vote for said politician no matter what I would propose the GM have many voters who were "on the fence" on this politician decide this is too much for them to stomach given that the PC storm knights are known heroes who have been travelling the globe fighting dimensional invaders.. and, let's say, have played enough Glory cards to the point where EVERYONE knows who the PC's are and they have a huge public following of fans no matter what said fans' political beliefs are.. basically the hate mongering politician gets carried away by his own ego and sense of invulnerability.

Also worth noting page 236 of torg eternity core rules.. while the Living Land sourcebook states the internet in the USA is in a bad state (page 10) , page 236 of the core rules mentions " The internet is a resource many Storm Knights rely on, but it isn’t as reliable or fast as it was before the war. The Living Land, Aysle, and Orrorsh wiped out huge numbers of servers and exchanges, and may others have been compromised by the GodNet. Some sites are completely gone, and sporadic outages or massive slowdowns are common." .. however this implies that countries with internet servers who haven't had large portions of their geography taken over by invaders unlike the United States.. like say Germany for example (see the cyberpapacy cosm sourcebook page 19)... still have viable internet service, meaning that there are countries that CAN display said footage to it's viewers.. and which are probably quoted by old fashioned printed newspapers who can legitimately say they saw the live footage in countries where earth technology is still doing well - presumably the German authorities wouldn't hesitate to have it's technicians confirm to the news sources that based on their analysis of the video it's legitimate, not fake.

Apologies to Indian readers but I also found myself blinking in confusion at page 58 of the orrosh sourcebook stating “ The effect of social caste has been largely mitigated and eliminated in the workplace, and is even mildly taboo in some cases.”

In one of which I’m sure are many articles about the subject from reputable news sources, if you do a google search for “ bbc news word asia india what is india’s caste system ” the bbc flat out states the caste system is sadly alive and well despite being technically illegal in Indian’s government.. whereupon a google search of the words “google cnn india coronavirus lower castes” will bring up a cnn article saying the already poor treatment of the lower castes and the prejudice they suffer from became even worse when the coronavirus plague hit , said lower caste becoming identified with the coronavirus and shunned and persecuted even more so than they already were. Again this could be explained by the India of Torg Eternity being a happier place than the real world version where they really have done away with the caste system and once again there are GM’s and players who won’t want to touch this sort of real life ugliness with a ten foot pole either which is perfectly understandable.. alternately however I would argue there’s some excellent potential here for monsters the PC’s can really hate.. persons in power ….perhaps some business leader who takes merciless advantage of the lower castes, who are often financially poor as well who, once again, has succumbed to the power of corruption… again it’s key to have a happy ending here in order not to depress the players or, even worse, to even unintentionally seem to confirm that bias and bigotry of any sort is “okay in real life”.. the now monstrous business leader should be taken down in a very public fashion, the lower caste persons s/he was victimizing rescued and the story should make the headlines of the various newspapers.

Mind you there are GM’s and players who – understandably – won’t want to touch this sort of thing with a ten foot pole and that’s more than okay. I would argue you miss out on some powerful storytelling opportunities but again each GM and their gaming group will have to make their own decision on this sort of thing.. I will note that on pages 50-51 of the Orrosh sourcebook it points out that Hindus and Muslims set aside their differences due to the horrors of the invading cosm of Orrosh and one could make an argument that the fear mongering monsters invading India/Pakistan/Bangledesh could definitely force even the most die hard bigots to come to an agreement with those they have persecuted (and you could certainly make a similar argument in say Living Land threatened or conquered portions of the USA too where white nationalist bigots reluctantly fight side by side with racial and/or religious minorities on the grounds that “the lizards want to kill us all so we got no choice” argument) … or for GM’s and players who are uncomfortable with the whole bigotry thing in general simply make the world of Torg Eternity a happier one where this ugly sort of bigotry never made it’s way into politics to begin with whether American or Indian.

Interestingly enough the Orrosh sourcebook doesn’t end with a section on eternity shards the players can use to their advantage the way other Torg Eternity cosm sourcebooks do.. but perhaps this fits the sinister, frightening nature of Orrosh (or alternately the publishers simply didn’t have room for said chapter due to budget constraints and/or the time to write up such a chapter)… in the end it doesn’t matter.. this is an incredibly well written sourcebook that is absolutely worth the purchase price. If you’ve made it this far thanks for reading this admittedly very lengthy review.. I hope I’ve convinced you to buy this book, it truly is an outstanding value in terms of the content provided.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Orrorsh Sourcebook
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Pathfinder 2 - Die Klippenwacht (PDF) als Download kaufen
by Christof R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/27/2022 14:43:15

Nichts für minderjährige Spieler!

*SPOILER*****

Das erste Abenteuer endet mit einem ganz harten Folter-Porno. Man merkt, dass wie dem Author beim beschreiben der Folterszenen "richtig einer Abgeht!". Wie man so ein Abenteuerband verkaufen kann, ohne explizite Warnung auf dem Etikett, verstehe ich nicht. Es wird zwar gesagt, das der Spielleiter die Spieler wegen möglichen Triggern warnen soll. Aber verdammt noch mal, ich als Spielleiter muss es mir auch durchlesen und hey Überraschung, als Rollenspieler hab ich eine sehr ausgeprägte, bildhafte Fantasie! Um eine Kostprobe der Geschmacklosigkeit zu geben, ein Original Satz aus dem Abenteuer: "....Laufe der Jahre schwangeren Opfern insgesamt sechs Föten herausgeschnitten und diese nekromantischen Energien ausgesetzt, um sie in untote Eingelegte Föten zu verwandeln"

Echt, wer will sowas in einem Fantasy-Abenteuer Lesen oder bespielen?! Wenn man geil auf Folterpornos a la SAW hat, dann soll man das in der entsprechenden Ü18 Abteilung ausleben. Am liebsten würde ich den schund zurück geben!



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Creator Reply:
Moin Christof - Darauf, dass es im Kapitel 1 "Der Teufel von Absalom" um einen Serienmörder in einem Horror-Hotel und um Kultisten geht, die nicht nur irgendwie "finster" sind, sondern den Gott Norgorber ausgerechnet in seinem Aspekt als "Der Häuter" verehren, wird die Spielleitung bereits in der Übersicht (S.5) hingewiesen. Kein Abschnitt dieses Abenteuerpfades ist ohne schaurige Aspekte, aber anders als vielleicht im "Haus der Ebenen" können wir deine Einschätzung, dass die Verfassenden den von dir kritisierten Schrecken im Mörderhotel voyeuristisch beschreiben oder die sadistischen Qualen, vor denen bereits in der Übersicht gewarnt wird, unnötig auswalzen würden, nicht teilen. Der Norgorber-Kult, vor allem in seiner Gestalt als "Der Häuter", ist gruselig und auch ekelig sein - und wer das Labor eines Nekromanten oder Fleischformers durchsucht, wie am Ende des vierten Teils des ersten Kapitels wird schauriges finden. Das ist nicht für alle etwas, weshalb tatsächlich Trigger vorher besprochen werden sollen. Wie drastisch das dargestellt wird liegt in der Entscheidung der Spielleitung und vorher der Autor:innen. Und da können wir deine Kritik am Team nicht teilen - Gerade die Vorlesetexte lassen es im normalen Rahmen eines schaurigen Abenteuers, die Hintergrundtexte sind nüchtern-distanziert geschrieben. Ob man einen Häuter-Kult des Norgorber im Fantasy-Setting bespielen will ist natürlich eine Entscheidung der einzelnen Gruppe. Golarion bietet ja auch viele andere Abenteuer - und Absalom auch.
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Torg Eternity - The God Box
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/25/2022 21:12:14

(it's worth noting before I begin this review that the torg eternity folks at one point generously made this adventure available.. along with the living land cosm sourcebook, the nile empire sourcebook and it's extended adventure "the fires of ra", and the asyle sourcebook and it's extended adventure "revenge of the carredon" .. available for the amazingly low price of $25 (or $15 one of the two I forget which but it was a great deal).. if you haven't already I urge you to sign up for the humble bundle email list)

Is “the godbox” worth the $18 purchase price? I would say yes given the sheer amount of content and no doubt as the publisher promises months of gaming material presented here.. as well the amount of exposition provided not only for details of the Living Land but things described in greater detail like the dimthread trees also makes it a worthwhile purchase despite my 4 out of 5 star rating ... however I was disappointed both in the lack of statistics and background/personality writeups for (not ALL mind you but certain - they're in the minority, for the most part important NPC's get their own write up but there were some exceptions that surprised me) NPC's who clearly play an important role in the adventure ... for example Scarlett the teenager girl who serves as either a rescuer or would be damsel in distress in the first part of the adventure for example.... I was also surprised at the lack of battle maps provided for every possible combat scenario though see my suggestions below on (surprisingly enough) reddit and the battlemaps free to use you can dig up with a google search. Still I would strongly recommend that you not only purchase this but that you run this early on near the start of your Torg campaign, say after running the pay-what-you-want Day One Torg Eternity adventures (see below for some thoughts on that) .. the adventure does a great job of not only letting the players adventure through the Living Land which is a FUN place to have adventures in (please, purchase the Living Land cosm sourcebook you won't regret it, it's one of the best Torg books whether 1990's Torg or modern day Torg Eternity publications I've ever read) but also introducing key concepts like darkness devices, eternity shards and reality storms.

The (at times) lack of stats could be a problem for a large part of the intended audience.. an enthusiastic working mom or dad who has kids to take care and a job who stil wants to "scratch the itch" in terms of running a torg eternity adventure for enthuastic players but who simply isn't going to have the time to write up stats for these NPC's ... or on the other end of the age spectrum enthusiastic college students busy with their studies working part or full time who still want to run a torg eternity campaign for themselves and their buddies-as-players... a gamesmaster in that scenario could simply "hand wave it" and declare what happens to the NPC's without rolls but to me that seems like a bit of a cheat and will certainly be disconcerting to the players (or not, depends on your gaming group)... I do find myself hoping someone using the open license torg eternity infiniverse permissions will take note of this and come up with a prewritten list of ord, non reality rated NPC's including not only their stats but also a background and personality write up that can be dropped into any prewritten adventure as necessary ... "core earth plucky teenage girl" would be an example here as well as "cyberpapacy plucky teenage girl" (variant of core earth with cyberware who quietly "dodges" the oppressive requirements of the cyberpapal religion without being so obvious as to be dragged away for "re-education"), "nile empire plucky teenage girl" and so forth.. followed by "core earth scientist", "orrosh scientist" (like the core earth scientist but obsessed with the science of victorian era technology instead), "pan pacifica scientist" (something that would come up very frequently in pan pacifica adventures, with variants for ones willingly - or fearfully - working for Kanawa ,brave rebellious scientists leaking information to the delphi council)... members of the various criminal elements in core earth like the Yakuza, your stereotypical American mafia member, the Bratya or other Russian mob elements, "core earth housewife or househusband" followed by the cyberpapacy , nile empire and so forth versions of this and so on.

On the other hand the writing in the adventure is excellent in terms of the flavor text and setting the mood for the Living Land and the adventure does a great job of capturing the constant adrenaline rush, adventure around every corner, fight for survival context that is at the heart of Living Land adventures .. it also does a great job of "humanizing" the plight of the average NPC, whether it be your day to day ordinary civilians or the beleaguered military doing their best to fight the "lizard menace" of the edeinos in a way that will allow the PC's to interact with said NPC's in a way that really brings the "flavor" of the Living Land home to the players.

While my intent isn't to start a "flame war" with other reviewers and I respectfully agree that they absolutely have a right to their opinion that goes without saying ... however I always find myself puzzled when someone gets upset over the adventure basically "railroading" you along a predetermined adventure path or having to rely on NPC's who give you your mission goals... this is the nature of EVERY single prewritten adventure I have read, ever, over the course of my decades of reading and/or gaming in RPG's... while it's true there are more "open world" concepts which give you a variety of NPC's, their stats and background and personality (and thus motivations), things that are going on in that corner of the campaign world, suggested "adventure seeds" and then the players and GM are "let loose" to come up with their own adventures "on the fly" as it were, if you're looking for that just pick up any one of the torg eternity cosm sourcebooks and it has all of that stuff right in there.. I suppose you could have the torg eternity publishers write up a "city sourcebook" like the original torg 1990's publishers did with that wealth of information ... and honestly I do find myself hoping the torg eternity folks do that some day.. but there's a huge advantage to the way adventures like this are written.. there's already a plot ready and waiting for the PC's to follow and for the aforementioned busy with work/kids GM this is of enormous value... if you're a GM in this scenario all you have to do is flat out tell the players " Look this is a pre-written adventure which will probably railroad you in a certain direction at times.. I don't have the time to write my own original adventures so we're playing this. Is everyone okay with that?" My experience with players is that they simply make the best of it with good natured jokes that "the plot is thicker in that direction" knowing full well the limitations of a pre-written adventure.. and if you object that strongly to railroading do something about it ! Write your own material such that you have the flexibility to account for it when players have their PC's "jump" in a direction you didn't account for as any experienced GM knows players can and will do. If you're unable or unwilling to do that then much as I hate to be blunt, I have to say: stop complaining and be satisfied with prewritten adventures and the limitations that go with it - as well as the potential fun. Honestly speaking I really enjoyed the areas where the adventure didn't go into as much detail as it could have as it gave me a chance to engage my creativity something I greatly enjoy doing as a GM for adventures while at the same time being able to enjoy that the framework of the adventure - the vast majority of the plot, NPC's and monsters and their stats - had already been done for me, effectively letting me tweak it however I liked and fill in the gaps where I felt necessary.. which is why this review is so long and my apologies for that but hopefully you will find my meanderings below helpful in terms of at least giving you ideas for parts of the adventure that I felt could use a little more depth.

I freely admit I am far more into the “role playing/world building” part of RPG’s than many players are.. so much so in fact that my original review with my many, many suggestions for the adventure was so long drivthru rpg wasn’t able to publish it (went past the allowed word/character count)… hopefully this works – try the link below if you want the full version of the review .. hopefully some of my suggestions in there help you out

https://andrerpgreviews.blogspot.com/2022/09/tried-posting-review-for-well-done-in.html

At the end of the day I’d still argue this is worth the purchase price for several reasons.. a large amount of material for game play to keep players busy for probably at least months.. the adventure does a great job of capturing the spirit and atmosphere of the Living Land.. and the PC’s can enjoy the feeling of knowing they rescued a goddess and bask in the gratitude of certain edeinos in the Living Land and the Delphi Council afterwards…. Also in my opinion the adventure offers additional insight into the Living Land in a way that “brings it to life” from the role playing point of view the way Torg Eternity published adventures often do. So yes, despite my four out of five star rating I would say buy it. Thanks for reading all of this if you made it this far!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - The God Box
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Torg Eternity - Core Rules
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/24/2022 15:15:31

Kudos to the other, far better reviews here than what I'm going to write :) .. but a few additional things you should know... (also edit and update .. forgot to include the page count, a whopping 282 pages and 282 pages of high quality .. in my opinion anyways.. material, you're definitely getting a lot of bang for your buck)

I would start by doing a google search for " writeups letsyouandhimfight evil mastermind torg eternity"... that will lead you to what is probably the best written review I've seen for Torg Eternity that mentions both the positive and negative aspects of this revamp of the original TORG game from the 1990's.

Like a lot of reviewers here I was a huge fan of the original TORG game from the 1990's... it was a lot of fun reading this rulebook and seeing how they've updated the material and I noted with delight that they included enough material in it to let you (in theory) run say the "Dancing on Needles" adventure supplement without even needing the Cyberpapacy sourcebook is a nice touch (Dancing on Needles takes place in the Cyberpapacy).

Honestly though to get your full enjoyment out of this game you should expect to at the very least purchase the seven sourcebooks... Cyberpapacy, Nile Empire, Orrosh, Living Land, Asyle and (when they are able to publish it apparently they're in the crowdfunding phase right now) the Pan Pacifica (replaces what we old guard TORG fans referrred to as "Nippon Tech") sourcebooks... honestly, if you don't buy these you're not going to enjoy the game as throughly as you normally would. I don't necessarily see that as an unfair thing - heck in order to play Dungeons and Dragons bare minimum you need the Dungeon Master's Guide, Player's Handbook and Monster Manual and more than likely you'll end up buying campaign settings and possibly pre published adventures too so this definitely isn't something outside the norm. At some point I'll be writing reviews of the three sourcebooks (Nile Empire, Living Land and Asyle) that I currently own here on the drivethru rpg website.

(another edit and update.. be honest with your players about the expectations of this campaign setting and if they can live with it... the campaign setting makes it very clear the PC's are expected to be the good guys who thrust themselves into danger's way to help hapless NPC innocents with no thought of reward, that sort of thing.. the Reality Choir book gives an intriguing look at a more morally grey sort of scenario if the players and gamesmasters would prefer that instead and it's theoretically possible to play Torg Eternity that way but it will definitely require some extra work especially if you're using the pre published Torg Eternity adventures ... also have a frank discussion with your players on their comfort levels regarding religion.. when people can use real life religions to call upon real life miracles.. something that was a part of the original Torg campaign setting in the 1990's and something that pops up again here... that's something you want to make sure everyone's comfortable with. It's been my experience that even religious players such as myself are comfortable with making the distinction between real life faith in the real world and imaginary scenarios in a campaign world but it's definitely worth talking to your players about anyways as a gamesmaster. Finally bear in mind the campaign setting assumes that the player characters will automatically " get scared" by certain threats to the point where they have negative in-game consequences.. while this totally fits horror themed dimensions like say Orrosh or , interestingly enough , Pan Pacifica with the whole "zombie" thing , there are players who will rile against this sort of thing " No I'm not scared ! " ... so that's something you have to have a discussion about too, if it upsets players you may have to simply leave that out but the bad guys will be all the weaker for it and less of a challenge which can pose it's own problems.. gamesmasters can try to adjust by beefing the bad guys up in other aspects as far as stats ).

I also urge you to check out the "pay what you want" supplements though it's worth noting simply clicking on "Torg Eternity" and scrolling through the available products may not turn them up (or at least that was my experience), you may have to search for them individually by name but it's worth it... Torg Eternity Day One for example is a whopping 146 pages worth of material you can get cheaply if you choose to (grab the Day One Pre generated characters while you're at it too also pay what you want). The Reality Choir is another 146 pages worth (edit and update - I wrote a review on Reality Choir but short version, I consider it absolutely mandatory for Torg it's that good and at the pay what you want price it's a no brainer - grab it). (another edit and update - wrote a review of Torg Eternity Day One and despite the caveats I mention in my review absolutely worth picking up even if you pay say one dollar for it - don't feel guilty I'm sure the publishers intend for it to be your gateway drug to non pay what you want titles for Torg Eternity :) ) ... Other pay what you want adventures and supplments include "Burden of Glory", "Ruins of the Living Land", "Death of the Mystery Men" , "Rooting Out Orrosh", "Living Land War of Religions" and "The Storm Knights Guide to Monster Hunters" (see however my review of Burden of Glory if you like, at some point I'll write a review for the other ones too). Personally I think it was very generous of the publisher to make these pay what you want titles - yes I know I know, the publisher is trying to encourage purchase of their core rule books, cosm setting sourcebooks and so forth by making the adventures/bonus campaign material free but in today's day and age where corporations are all out to make a quick buck and squeeze a customer mercilessly (at least here in the USA - Cyberpunk rpg except in real life here we come) it's a welcome change. "Dancing on Needletips" which has a fixed price of $1.99 might also be worth checking out and which I've also written a review on.

Also definitely grab the Torg Eternity Drama Deck pay what you want option too, which I also thought was incredibly generous of the publisher especially for people who are playing the game online though I'm not sure how you could use that pdf to randomly select cards for the players (maybe the GM assigns each a permanent number and uses a random number generator?) ... You also want to grab " Beta Clearance Player's Primer" and " Beta Clearance GM's Primer " for some helpful game information, also pay what you want titles. Other pay what you want titles which may or may not be helpful include "Random Enchanged Items", "Program Cards", " Torg Eternity Players Mat" and "Torg Eternity Game Mats" (maybe the images from these can be imported into Roll20 somehow? See below...)

On what I'm pretty sure is the publisher's website, they have announced that for fans of online gaming that Roll20 has created, for about $10 American, a drama deck and apparently Roll20 is free to play online as well (I know nothing about Roll20 and have never used it so can't say too much about it , how much of it is really free to play and so forth... but heck if it only cost $10 to buy and use the drama deck and the GM and players have pdf's of the TORG files I can see how that would work out really well ).

I'd also strongly recommend you sign up for the bundle of holding newsletter to be sent to your email - the publisher kindly ran a bundle of holding special twice over the years since they've released TORG Eternity and who knows they might do it again? Basically you were able to get a number of TORG titles at a cheap price that supported charity - I'll be writing reviews of these books as I get around to reading them.

Also worth noting is the change in narrative tone.. the original Torg books from West End games tried to be very dark and broody and their common catchphrase was "the storm is coming"... honestly though if you try running a campaign in say the USA and you and your gaming crew are all American and you try to say with a straight face " There's a lizard-man dude riding a dinosaur down the Brooklyn Bridge trying to trample you - what do you do?" .. I'm sorry it's just going to provoke hilarity from the players, or at least that was my experience when I gamesmastered it for my friends.. such a scene is completely in tune with the nature of TORG and I encourage you to run stuff like that and have fun with it but - expect laughter and jokes. Likewise imagine a gaming group living in say England gaming through the Asyle cosm.. " Hey elf and dwarf dudes (blokes?) help the dragon is trying to eat me ! HEEEEELLLLLLPPP ! " or listening to the gamesmaster talk about some fantastic mythical creature kidnapping the Queen of England and/or threatening to do something terrible to Big Ben if their demands aren't met (haven't read the Asyle sourcebook but going to assume Big Ben is some sort of Core Earth reality hardpoint I could be wrong) .. it's going to be met with similar hilarity... I like how the revamped book isn't as dark and broody in tone because - let's face it dark and broody's not going to happen.. so hopefully you're a fan of your campaigns being "action-comedy" because that's probably what it's going to lean towards. I could be wrong I'm sure there are gaming groups who can MAKE it dark and broody , goes without saying each gaming group can and will be different from the others in terms of play style, mood and atmosphere.. I'm just saying what my experience was both times I ran this for two different gaming groups.

It's also worth noting that the original TORG West End games (look for the ones that do not say "Torg Eternity", just " Torg" when you click on the publisher's name, Ulisses Spiele, here on the RPG website) are available very cheap as well.. don't bother with the Relics of Power Trilogy only because Ulisses Spiele has already updated it to the revamped TORG Eternity rules so you might as well purchase that instead.. and to be clear Ulisses Spiele has already published a LOT of impressive module/adventure type stuff so that should probably be your first stop (hopefully I will be able to write reviews for the godbox, Revenge Of The Carredon and Fires of Ra soon - they are each very long in page count which in my opinion is a good thing lots of material for the gamesmaster to work with) and the aforementioned pay what you want adventures detailed above should absolutely be your first stop. Having said that as an old school TORG fan I would personally have a lot of fun taking say The Temple of Rek Stalek and updating that to the revised Torg Eternity rules (though the risk you run is that the Temple of Rek Stalek events may not be considered "canon" in Torg Eternity - on the other hand I'm sure the publishers would be the first one to say " It's your campaign, have fun with it ! " ).

Regarding the criticisms leveled by other reviewers as far as the modules being too linear and railroading the players along a path... it's true that strides have been made towards making it less that way in other campaign settings but.. honestly if you're running a pre published adventure railroading is something you simply cannot escape in my experience no matter what and hopefully your players are mature enough to understand that (if not then you have a problem). It was understood with both my TORG gaming groups that the TORG campaign was secondary to anyone having the time and energy to write up their own original adventure material in some other RPG, which by definition is almost always more open ended and "sandbox like" when it's your own original creation ... but no sane gamesmaster out there will ever tell you that such a thing does not require enormous amounts of time and effort that not everybody has especially say the average 9 to 5 working person with a wife and kids, dogs/cats et cetera... just warn your players in advance " Look this is a prepublished adventure that is probably going to railroad you along a plot line at some point I hope you guys can deal with that because I honestly don't know what to do if you "jump" in a direction that the adventure didn't expect". I was the subject of some good natured teasing from my friends " Go that way the plot line is thicker ! " :) ... but they understood.

I do understand why say for example the Cyberpapacy Armor and Weapons aren't nearly as powerful in Torg Eternity as they were in say the original TORG setting... if you have a player character from the Cyberpapacy cosm for example all said PC has to do is liberate Church Police armor and weapons and s/he suddenly became a heck of a lot more powerful.. having said that given the high tech nature of the cosm I was a bit dismayed to see they've been "nerfed" such that they're really not that much more powerful than say a Core Earth Flak Jacket or Ballistic Armor.. from a game balance perspective I understand why they did this but I find myself wondering if a group might be tempted to experiment with more powerful equipment from the Cyberpapacy (with the GM's understanding s/he'd have to ramp up the power of the opposition accordingly).

I'm a bit confused about the other reviews on here stating that the Torg Eternity drama deck is impossible to get a hold of, at least here in the USA.. I just did a quick google search and I immediately saw that a deck was available from at least one online merchant and two listings for the drama deck on ebay if you don't mind buying it used (I don't)... on the other hand I can see how given there isn't a large and readily available supply of said decks it would get frustrating as opposed to say being practically guaranteed to be able to grab a copy of the D&D player's handbook for purchase whenever you feel like it .. as a former Torg gamesmaster from the 1990's West End game version let me say the Drama Deck is FUN .. really fun ! :) .. it takes some getting used to and your players will joke about it (one of mine loved to yell " trump ! " when he played his cards as he tossed them onto the table.. as in " I trump your hand" no reference intended to the former USA president this was in the 1990's people :P ) ... there was a criticism in one review about how one reviewer missed that "hard decision" as far as whether to spend possibilities as experience to upgrade your ability scores or skills or perks or what not or to spend them during gameplay.. personally I'm very happy that the publisher made experience points an entirely different category - I had one player express severe disappointment (later on circa.. hard to remember maybe 2010? .... with a different gaming group after I moved) that they had to quote "spend experience points to survive"... it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea but my players and I throughly enjoyed the old West End published drama deck in both groups where I ran the original TORG west end rules and I'm sure the Torg Eternity drama deck will be no exception ... I'm loving the cosm specific cards in particular which is a new and nice added touch.

As far as a virtual version of the Drama Deck for people who like to play online.. I tend to talk about Fantasy Grounds only because it's the only online RPG program tool type thing I'm familiar with as opposed to say roll20 for example... having said that I did a quick check on Fantasy Grounds and it looks like Torg Eternity is definitely an ongoing project over there with a lot of people putting a lot of hard work into making it viable for FG... however unlike Roll20, FG is NOT free so you'd have to decide if it's worth the purchase price or not (I think you can pay a minimal amount for one month's worth of subscription... mind you it's been a LONG time, over a decade since I last did FG but looking at the website it would appear a GM can pay four dollars American for a month's subscription, players can log on for free (not sure how long for though) and you could give it a trial run that way. Sadly with covid being a thing we have to pay attention to online gaming now in a way that people who prefer face to face gaming have never had to before. (edit and update - looks like the publisher has embraced Roll20 in particular ... if you do a google search for the words "torg eternity drama deck roll20" you'll come up with an online version of the drama deck that was apparently released by the publisher themselves... also if you do a google search for " stay at home and play torg eternity" it will come up with a link to a page on the publisher's... Ulisses .... website that mentions a lot of their pay what you want products ... keep scrolling down and you'll see a link to a video that shows you how to set up roll20 for Torg Eternity and they also give a link to the Fantasy Grounds extension to apparently get Torg Eternity up and running on there too)

edit and update - personally as a gamesmaster I would automatically give everyone the perk that allows a PC to utilize the results of a Glory card given how important those cards are in terms of refilling transformed citizens of Earth and thus not destroying them when you rip out the stelae the dimensional invaders are using to steal Earth's possibilities.. it goes without saying this is a BIG DEAL and a hugely important goal in the game .. forcing players to give up a perk they could use to "power up" instead seems rather unfair especially given the at times extremely deadly nature of the other-cosm conquered areas of Earth they will end up adventuring in (Orrosh comes to mind). Also I've written reviews of Orrosh and the Living Land which are my two absolute favorite cosm sourcebooks, grab either one of those first so you can be impressed by just how awesome a game Torg Eternity is (will eventually get around to writing reviews of the other cosm sourcebooks which I was less impressed by but only because Living Land and Orrosh raised the bar so high - you still should plan on buying all the cosm sourcebooks to fully enjoy the game).

Okay enough rambling :) .. long story short I think you're going to love Torg Eternity and in my humble opinion it's well worth the purchase price... buy the Core Rules, download the pay what you want stuff I mentioned above and give it a try with your gaming group :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Core Rules
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Torg Eternity - Living Land Sourcebook
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/18/2022 17:50:26

As I mentioned in the torg eternity core rules sourcebook review (which I'm guessing you already purchased or else you wouldn't be reading this review), while it was nice of the publishers to include the absolute basics as far as what's necessary to run a Torg adventure in each of the cosms invading Earth, I still maintain that the purchase of all the Torg cosm sourcebooks (we're still waiting on the publishers to release the Pan Pacifica sourcebook but in the meantime Living Land, Tharkold, Nile Empire, Orrosh, Cyberpapacy, and Asyle sourcebooks are available) .. (edit and update .. forgot to mention this pdf is 146 pages long which appears to be the standard length of all the Torg Eternity cosm sourcebooks , Orrosh, Cyberpapacy and so forth ... not a complaint at all, this is 146 pages of good stuff in my opinion ! :) )

This is a sourcebook I can easily give a 5 star rating to and I agree with the other reviewer in that it's very well done compared to the original Living Land sourcebook published way back in the 1990's ... one big drawback (and I admit this is a minor quibble) is the introductory flavor text .. a fictional story set within the cosm that sets the mood for the entire sourcebook.. the original book had a wonderful little story about a father desperately in search of his daughter within the Living Land.. he finds her.. only to discover that she's not only transformed over to the Living Land's reality, her very mindset has changed such that she has no problem letting her father get sacrificed to the deity that the invading edeinos worship.. the father himself feels himself transforming to the invading reality and finds himself sympathizing with and agreeing with his daughter at the same time that he's sacrificed so basically too late ... it's a wonderfully emotional story that really makes the invading reality of the Living Land personal to you, or in my opinion anyways, and compared to that the introductory flavor text is, I'm afraid, rather weak.

But if you push past that you'll see a well written sourcebook starting with a short but insightful overview of how reality is different in the Living Land , then a summary of the various regions invaded by the Living Land and their reactions to the invaders whether it be the USA, Canada, Cuba, Guatemala or Mexico .. that part for me was particularly fun

( but definitely grab the pay what you want " ruins of the living land" torg book as well which fleshes this out even further and while you're at it grab "living land war of religions" .. also a pay what you want title making both purchases no brainers as you can pick them up very cheaply if you chose to... at the very least given the publishers themselves have made ruins of the living land a pay what you want book try not to feel too guilty about grabbing it at less than the recommended price and just put that money towards say this cosm sourcebook or one of the other cosm sourcebooks )

(edit and update.. it's possible that a gamesmaster might want a map not provided in this adventure ... surprisingly enough reddit is a great source of rpg maps, just google search "(type of building or outdoor thing like forest or cave or whatever you need a map of) rpg map reddit" in a situation like that, in the case of buildings overrun by the reality of the living land I find adding the word "apocalyptic" to the google search terms turns up an appropriately ruined or overrun building or highway or what have you.. other resources include "bogie-DJ deviant art " if you do a google search for that or " rpgmapshare" )

in that the USA (where I live) and the regions close by to it mentioned above are familiar enough with me such that it's entertaining on a personal level to imagine what it would be like if they were invaded by tribes of lizard-men bringing their primitive savage reality to said regions. The Warzones chapter goes into much more detail later on in the book and is also a very fun read ... I would argue however that the pay what you want "reality choir" sourcebook fleshes this (and all the other invading cosms for that matter) out further still and is absolutely a recommended purchase even if you can't afford the writer's asking price (heck buy it on the cheap , and then when you read it and you're impressed buy a second copy when you can afford it at full price as a way of thanking him). Also very helpful is the "common threats" section which basically gives suggestions on the type of "wandering monsters" if you will that you encounter depending on what section of conquered Earth you happen to find yourself in.

The Miracles section provides some fun options if you want to run a friendly edeinos "lizard man" player character priest(ess) who's chose to ally themselves with the human player characters and the sourcebook provides enough insight into the worship of the edeinos deity Lanala to let you properly role play such a character (although the war of religions sourcebook fleshes this out still further and again is highly recommended). The gear section is also fun to read particularly given it's recommendation towards bartering depending on whom you're buying it from and how far they're given in to the invading reality .. try showing an edeinos or a transformed human the funny green pieces of paper and convincing them that this American (or whatever nation your PC is from) currency can be used to "buy things" ..

I could see myself having fun playing a transformed human who has come over to the invading reality's outlook on life too though interestingly enough the " day one " prepublished adventure collection (also a pay what you want book which I've written a review of) in my opinion actually does a better job of educating the reader in that it gives a practical example not only of a player character mom who has transformed over to the Living Land reality and her new view of things but also an interesting depiction of transformed New York police officers who now view themselves as a "tribe" and how their very way of thinking and outlook has changed .. changed in a way that is now potentially dangerous for the player characters depending on how they approach the transformed police officers.

The gear section is also a fun read not only for the "normal " core earth gear it covers but, more entertainingly in my opinion, plant based items native to the Living Land that are of practical value to the characters and that can function normally in the Living Land (as opposed to that higher tech core Earth gear that can suddenly give out on you on a moment's notice) .. and it actually gives the PC's a reason to be interested in bartering with friendly (or at least not immediately hostile) edeinos.. they could also serve as rewards for PC's who take the more difficult but ultimately more rewarding route of calming down encountered edeinos who say threaten the PC's with their hrock spears or what have you when first encountered but aren't technically allied with the invading high lord Barak Kaah (more about him later) and not responding immediately with violence towards a potential ally.

The reality chapter deals with not only the axioms and how the upper limits of technology, magic, spirtuality and society (spirit and social respectively for those last two axioms) affect the very nature of existence within the transformed areas of the Living Land (which is always a fascinating read and is a large part of the magic behind any Torg campaign) but also the world laws which as a collective whole really drive home the fact that you are living in and being affected by an entirely different reality and that it can and will have an impact on your PC's behavior within said reality .. even if your PC stubbornly refuses to say embrace the Law of Savagery and it's subset laws like the "physical attraction" one, it's still going to have a huge impact on the beings you encounter (especially say the transformed humans to say nothing of edeinos friends or foes ) ... again I strongly recommend the " Day One " book given it's pay what you want price, even if you never plan on running the adventures contained within the Living Land one does a great job of driving home exactly what life is like when people in conquered areas of the Living Land (the portion of New York that adventure covers for example) fall prey to and are transformed by the invading reality.

The travel and the environment portions are also useful and do a good job of driving home how the law of decay can hamper movement (what happens when that jeep you're driving rusts and falls apart as it falls victim to the Living Land's reality?).. this section of the book deals with both the situations where the PC's are lucky enough to have both a functioning vehicle and a corresponding road that hasn't been overgrown by vegetation or the road itself has simply decayed out of existence .. and the situations where the PC's aren't quite so lucky and have to hack their way through overgrown vegetation and the appropriate rate of movement as a result... and of course this provides fodder for any imaginative gamesmaster.. for example this excerpt

" The US highway system remains intact over large stretches of the Living Land, particularly in mixed zones, and these roads also provide a good means to traverse the jungle. However, the creatures native to the Living Land—not to mention the edeinos tribes—have come to learn that these roads often provide prey for hunting. Therefore, the existing roads of Core Earth may be faster, but are also more dangerous than other trails."

It's not too difficult going from that alone to paint a vivid word picture for the players ... driving down say highway 95 , lush jungle-level vegetation rising to either side of you , the shrieks of predators and prey filling the air, hoping that the law of decay doesn't overcome your vehicle's engine (in game terms you get a setback on the drama deck for example) .. only to feel and hear the ground tremble moments before some gigantic dinosaur comes bursting out of the foliage ridden by edoinos bent on killing the player characters.

I loved the writeup of Barak Kaah even more so than his original appearance in the Torg books from the 1990's not only in terms of establishing him as a far more dangerous and canny foe (albeit one still prone to being inflamed to passion and savagery as the very reality of his cosm demands and as a result being more likely to fall victim to colossal errors in judgment due to his overconfidence) who fights on the front lines alongside his troops unlike most of the other High Lords (mind you there's every possibility Mobius may end up personally fighting the PC's in the Nile Empire but thanks to that cosm's world laws "dead" PC's can turn out not to be dead and pop up later on to bravely continue the fight true pulp comic book style - but that's a subject better covered in the Nile Empire sourcebook review when I get around to writing it ) .. the Living Land sourcebook makes it very clear that Barak Kaah's hands on approach means he can and will come after PC's personally who are very successful at disrupting Kaah's plans .. given how powerful Kaah is it gives the PC's motivation to do what they must, spread those tales of Glory... and then vanish and HIDE before an enraged Kaah tears them limb from limb.. or this is what the sourcebook says anyways, one big problem with that is that I've noticed over my years of gamesmastering that players are VERY unlikely to run from a fight quite possibly resulting in dead PC's.. this may force the GM to get creative and have the PC's say captured and probably maimed to drive home how serious a threat Kaah poses only to be rescued say by a well played card from the Drama Deck or simple GM fiat ... of course this gives the PC's plenty of reason to hate Kaah and kill him off personally when the PC's (finally) amass the experience points and power level necessary to do so... merciful GM's might want to either let the PC's spend experience points to buy off that maiming and the in game penalties as a result or arrange for healing (say from friendly edeinos rebelling against Khan - and yes those factions are detailed in the sourcebook - who are awed that the PC's fought Khan and lived to tell about it ). Alternately if you feel this will all simply annoy your players too much you can always just hold off on Kaah's confrontation with the PC's until the Storm Knights are powerful enough to take him down and kill him (though again given how powerful Kaah is this could be a long time coming in the campaign).

I've always enjoyed the write up not only of each High Lord's personality but also the High Lord's relationship with the other High Lords (often adversarial) and the sometimes complex game of politics the High Lords of each invading cosm play with each other in an attempt to achieve the best possible results for themselves.. assuming one High Lord isn't flat out at war with another one which is also a common occurrence.

Also of interest to me when reading the cosm sourcebooks is the writeup of the darkness device... the concept of this all-powerful force of destruction that uses it's High Lord as a tool to ensure more destruction and helps the High Lord alter the very laws of reality within that High Lord's cosm by way of reward .. and furthering the darkness device's own goals.. has always been an entertaining concept for me and the write up of Khan's darkness device is well done, exploring not only the relationship between it and Khan but also the influence of Lanala, the deity and the religion worshipped (primarily) within the reality of the Living Land.. there's enough information about Lanala and the Living Land (the write up of Lanana as an avatar that can walk the Living Land was a fun and unexpected touch) in and by itself but.. at the risk of sounding like a broken record.. given the pay what you want price it's a no brainer to grab " Living land Wars of Religion" too.. even if you don't agree with the proposed analysis of Lanala's worship, Khan's role and the darkness device's role in it not to mention the attention paid to the edeinos deity of death Rek Stalek, just reading the discussion and interplay between all four will definitely further your understanding of Lanala's religion.

Also a fun read was the write up of the edeinos, their way of life and outlook on things, the various tribes within the edeinos and the politics of how each tribe deals with each other .. which in my opinion was a brilliant move on the publisher's part, in the original Living Land sourcebook from the 1990's there's either the tribes for Kaah, the tribes against Kaah and that's it...

Then there's the chapter on the Delphi Council .. detailed information on Earth's response to the invaders in terms of fighting against them (the Delphi Council being the key organization in charge of said response in this and any other Torg cosm sourcebook) , a write up of various personalities in charge of said Delphi Council (sadly enough just a write up of their personality and background and even that not being nearly as extensive as I would like and no statistics for these guys either) and the various bases and secret operations the Delphi Council is running to counter the Living Land invaders.. also a very fun read.

There's a chapter on the themes and tropes a gamesmaster should explore when running adventures in the Living Land, along with a random table generator type things with detailed entries on each table result (you can roll randomly or just pick ones) to serve as a jumpstart for gamemaster's looking to write their own adventures and a write up of various lost worlds ...cosms within a cosm if you will, realms within the Living Land that follow their own axioms and rules - very different from the original Living Land sourcebook and also a very fun concept .. the Living Land itself can be viewed as a savage lost world within the original Earth reality and then having a lost world within the lost world? Fun stuff in my opinion.

The book rounds itself out with two final chapters, the first one on threats .. stats and a brief background write up.. for not only the various edeinos tribes , edeinos rulers of each tribe and their stats, the dinosaurs that the edeinos either ally with or that try to eat the very same edeinos, example stats for transformed now savage humans , transformed animals formerly of Earth who are now dangers the player characters have to face (or simply earth legends who have sprung to life in the Living Land reality - I got a kick out of reading the entry for the sasquatch) , transformed plants that try to eat the PC's and (kind of confused why this wasn't in the gear section) useful plants that can boost the PC's stats or other abilities albeit temporarily.

Normally the final chapter .. eternity shards.. doesn't hold much interest for me but the concept of iconic things like the Liberty Bell holding possibilities that the PC's can tap and use is a lot of fun to read about and honestly in my opinion the publishers should have spent more time writing up stats for "real world Earth" items of historical significance and turning them into eternity shards as opposed to the "original creation" eternity shards .. items borne solely from the publisher's minds which are a nice enough read but really don't capture your attention the way items based in the "real world" do. The section on items the PC's can discover due to the "lost treasure" cosm card from the eternity deck was a very fun read though (anything from hoverboards .. remember the "lost worlds" within the lost world of the Living Land theme mentioned above.. to a 1950's era icebox that keeps things cold inside even without any source of electrical power.. there's even ice cream inside the thing!

... edit and update - at this point I've finished reading the Orrosh sourcebook as well as the Living Land, Cyberpapacy, Nile Empire, Asyle and Tharkhold sourcebooks, review already written for Cyberpapacy and reviews forthcoming for the other sourcebooks hopefully soon .. at the time I wrote this review the Living Land sourcebook was my favorite - then I finished reading the Orrosh sourcebook and loved that too , and while I have yet to write the Orrosh review the Orrosh sourcebook is easily worth a 5 star review in my opinion along with the Living Land, both of those sourcebooks now being my favorites and well worth the purchase price. As far as the Living Land sourcebook.. there's a reason the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels dealing with forgotten lands and the savage existence the denizens of said lands led were so popular in their time.. in my honest opinion this sourcebook does a great job of bringing that "feeling" within the books to life and makes the Living Land an enjoyable experience for players flexible enough with their character's concept to simply "let go" and have their PC's react accordingly in a way that embraces that concept.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Living Land Sourcebook
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Torg Eternity - Day One Adventure Book
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/18/2022 17:47:32

(if you like see also my review of Torg Eternity Core Rules - in that review I also mention the other Torg Eternity books I will be writing reviews of in case this of any interest to you - particularly in the rather strange cases where no one has bothered to write ANY review about a particular Torg Eternity book - I guess people are busy? :) .. also edit and update, forgot to mention this is 146 pages worth of material which makes it even more of a no brainer given it's a pay what you want title)

Given that this is a pay what you want title purchasing it is a no-brainer... if you're feeling guilty about not being able to afford the recommended price bear in mind that the publisher no doubt intends this to be a "gateway drug" that will encourage you to buy their not pay what you want titles :P .... which I have to commend them on as being an excellent marketing strategy , plus I think it's just plain nice that they list a lot of their titles as pay what you want in addition to this one (my review of the Torg Core rules lists the ones I've come across so far that are pay what you want).

Let's get one thing out of the way ... like all pre-published modules this absolutely will railroad you in one direction as far as the storyline, or as my players used to put it with a chuckle " The plot is thickest over there let's go that way ! " :P ... however if you are running this that means you don't have the time to write up your own original material anyways .. nothing wrong with that plenty of gamesmasters busy with a spouse, kids, work and so forth. If you're in that situation hopefully your players understand and expect that pre-published modules can and will railroad you in a certain direction and cheerfully go along with it on the grounds " Hey at least there's a game we can play it's better than no game at all " ... still, expect to have frank discussions with your players where you shrug your shoulders helplessly and say " Um, not sure what to do here since the guy who wrote this adventure didn't expect you guys to do that .. any chance you guys could go this way please? (begs the players for mercy)" ... which in all fairness is a weakness of all pre-published adventures.

Even if you're the kind of gamesmaster blessed with enough spare time to come up with your own original adventures and you sneer at the thought of using some linear pre-published scenario that forces players along a certain direction (I'm not one such gamesmaster but I know of GM's who do fall into that category and nothing wrong with that either) I would argue it's still worth buying and reading this, even if not at full price, simply because it does a great job of giving you a bird's eye view so to speak of what happens to ordinary people and just how badly their lives are disrupted when the dimensional invaders attack and conquer parts of Core Earth... those ordinary people being your players' characters and for the most part the publisher/writers have made it very clear that your average player character or, as they are called in Torg Eternity, Storm Knights, are just your average every day people before the invasion who are changed, sure, they definitely gain advantages that set them above their hapless "average joe/jane" NPC counterparts... but in a lot of ways they're still everyday people who just happen to be thrust into the role of heroes.. there are certain exceptions like the tough as nails New York cop imbedded among the other ordinary people in the Living Land scenario or the team of soldiers in Tharkold but I feel they tend to be the rule rather than the exception... I don't consider that to be a bad thing at all and it encourages the players to be creative and to not just write up some sort of "combat monster here's my version of Rambo" type character.

The adventure comes with pre-generated characters you are expected to run and as another reviewer stated are meant to be introductory adventures that help players get their toes wet as far as the campaign setting and gives them a feel for how the game runs in general... it helps gamesmasters out too, I like how the first scenario you play through (Living Land) flat out drops rules recaps right into the adventure itself which in my opinion is helpful for gamesmasters who haven't quite memorized the Torg rules yet (though honestly if you have the time you're really best off not only reading prepublished adventures in advance but also specifically looking up game rules that will apply to the scenarios in those adventures and writing your own "cliff notes" summaries of said rules so you're prepared in advance). Obviously players who are inclined to do so can write up their own characters instead but the gamesmaster should warn them these sets of characters are "one shot" type PC's who will be good for that adventure only (I dunno, I guess if the players get really attached to their characters they could keep running them in other Torg prepublished adventures? I have yet to read the longer Torg Eternity adventures like "The Fires of Ra" yet so I can't comment as to how well this would work) in that particular cosm/invading dimension (so for example the characters written up for the Living Land wouldn't end up going on to Pan Pacifica after that for the next adventure that would require a brand new set of characters).. which in itself could be fun, write up one set of American characters (whether a "born and bred" American or say a recent immigrant unlucky enough to be in New York when the dinosaurs and their "lizard men" riders invade ) for the Living Land adventures, write up a second set of Japanese characters for the Pan Pancifica adventure, write up a set of Indian characters for the Orrosh adventure and so forth.. but in this case the gamesmaster would need to take careful note of what skills the adventure demands from the PC's in order to move forward (see I warned you there would be railroading) and request that at least one of the PC's is in possession of said skills.

The adventure does hint that any PC's who survive these adventures should show up later on as allies for the "real" PC's the players write up for a long term Torg campaign later on, which I would personally recommend , especially if the players other PC's later on play the appropriate card from the drama deck or the drama deck otherwise dictates help should arrive for the PC's... just make sure the players are okay with you taking possession of and running the PC they were formerly in charge of and be blunt - you'll do your best but there's no guarantee that you will be able to run the PC exactly the same way the player would since the player is the best expert as to how the PC would act (maybe tell the player you're open to suggestions if you have the player's former PC take a course of action the player doesn't think the PC would do and change the former PC's tactics accordingly if this situation comes up).

(edit and update.. it's possible that a gamesmaster might want a map not provided in this adventure ... for example let's say the PC's want to try fighting in the church they're herded into at the cyberpapacy adventure - not the best idea as they would become quickly overwhelmed by the obviously now brainwashed masses but maybe the GM is using some online program like roll20 or fantasy grounds that lets the GM put so many hostile NPC tokens on the map that the players get the hint :P ... in which case they might still want a "battle map" that lets them do a fighting retreat out of the church.. surprisingly enough reddit is a great source of rpg maps, just google search "reddit rpg map church" in a situation like that.. other resources include "bogie-DJ deviant art " if you do a google search for that or " rpgmapshare" )

I enjoyed the Living Land, Pan-Pacifica (formerly known as "Nippon Tech" for old Torg fans like myself) and Orrosh adventures the most ... surprisingly I didn't like the Tharkold and Nile Empire adventures as much and found myself conflicted on the Cyberpapacy adventure not sure if I like or dislike it ... but again the adventures still do a great job of giving the characters a feel for what each invading dimension is like and the "feel" of the invading cosm as far as fighting in and surviving in it. I particularly enjoyed how the Pan Pacifica adventure captured the feel of the whole " Walking Dead" TV series ... the zombies (let's call them for what they are in Pan Pacifica, zombies) and the whole " everyone is doomed and going to die" scenario is something I actually found entertaining ... the gamesmaster is flat out told to do their best to kill off all the PC's as part of the mood and atmosphere of the setting and once you read the adventure even without the Pan Pacifica sourcebook being out yet (which I am now very much looking forward to after reading the Pan Pacifica part of the adventure) you'll see what I mean.. but,again, railroading, SEVERE railroading in the Pan Pacifica case even taking into account the PC's for this scenario are written as one-shot characters... honestly you're going to have to have a frank discussion with the players to the effect of " Look this is a horror-apocalypse kind of adventure where it's pretty much guaranteed everyone is going to die " prior to running the game and seeing how they feel about it.... I suppose a gamesmaster who is willing to put in the time can tweak the adventure such that it's not a certain death sentence for the PC's , particularly if the players object to this type of thing.

It's also worth pointing out that the campaign setting (Torg Core Rulebook) makes it clear the PC's are expected to be heroes, good guys who do the right thing ... for players who want something different it could be fun running a morally grey character (maybe you'll help the Storm Knights, maybe you'll help the dimensional invaders.. which benefits you more? The Reality Choir sourcebook does a fantastic job with this concept for certain factions it details in that book and I strongly recommend grabbing that book, see also my review of it) ... that would involve you deviating from the railroad the adventure sets up but in my opinion it's still do-able (you just don't bother rescuing the innocents screaming for help that pop up along the various adventures in this book ... though this creates the danger of splitting the party if say half of the PC's want to rescue the innocents and the other half don't).

The Living Land does a good job of establishing the "holy crap, dinosaurs and lizard men are invading Manhattan and a lot of people are turning into cavemen what do you do?!?" situation with the PC's having to deal with all sorts of outrageous scenarios such as fighting off an aquatic dinosaur trying to eat their boat and the people on it , dealing with a police chief who's gone primitive and all sorts of other stuff...

Asyle.. meh, I could take it or leave it but you should probably play through it anyways if nothing else so you know what it's like to be adventuring in that cosm. To give credit where it's due the Asyle atmosphere is tough for a writer to pull off, the forces of light and darkness, elves, dwarves, wizards, brave knights , dragons and undead all duking it out in the United Kingdom ... you would think it would make for a great adventure but I feel that there's too much going on , the scope is a little bit TOO broad to the point where you lose focus (which is a criticism I have of the Asyle sourcebook itself when I get around to writing a review on it.. still worth picking up given that Asyle is still a big part of invaded Core Earth) ...

I've already talked about how much I love the Pan Pacifica scenario and why , Tharkold was surprisingly " meh" for me as well, maybe because the whole techno-horror aspect of it is something that lends itself to a longer, drawn out campaign where you spend enough time with the NPC's to care about them when they're rended to bit by the techno-horror reality that dominates in that setting... I guess you could play up the "Mad Max" part of it that they're trying to draw on too but the problem is you're bopping from invading cosm to invading cosm in a typical Torg adventure and, again, you need to spend enough time in Tharkhold to actually care about the horror that's being inflicted upon the hapless NPC's...

The Nile Empire adventures is something that should have been fun with the clinging for dear life by your fingertips to your last hope yet somehow succeeding bravely against impossible odds atmosphere that's supposed to be prevalant in the campaign setting.. the problem here I think is putting everyday ordinary people in that sort of setting when (in my opinion) it really lends itself more to pulp heroes and is actually the one cosm setting where you DO want kick-butt characters.. rather than using the pre-written characters I would definitely tell the players to imagine some everyday person turned pulp hero (with the understanding they're not going to be "super powerful" like say batman or even daredevil, definitely not superman or wonder woman or spider man) and let the Nile Empire transform their PC's into the appropriate pulp hero right there at the start of the adventure - award experience points generously for painfully corny over the top dialogue and speeches and enforce my personal house rule " the law of dialogue" .. the moment you give a dramatic speech (whether hero or bad guy) EVERYONE has to stop and listen to said speech all action grinding to a complete halt ... so in my opinion the Nile Empire scenario is salvagable with some work...

The Cyberpapacy setting is something that you would think would be fun and it has the potential for that.. the problem is that the "big brother dictatorship holy crap they're controlling everyone's very thoughts and feelings" atmosphere is something that you need to spend time on in order to get that full immersion experience ... the way the adventure is written it's kind of thrust on the hapless populace far too quickly to the point where I don't think the full atmosphere of it is really going to sink into the player's minds. I would recommend some tweaking of this adventure ... and be careful here, players with real life religious convictions (I'm one of them) could be sensitive about this ...I'd like to think I'm not and I'm strong enough in my faith not to be too bothered by what's an imaginary scenario at the end of the day (bear in mind too I'm a religious person who actively supports and endorses LGBT rights which in and by itself can be a sensitive topic for players, see below but try to make sure everyone's either on the same page here or at the very least can respect each other's differences without it devolving into a real life shouting match) - if anything I would welcome the chance to play a religious PC who's incensed at the mockery the Cyberpapacy is making of what's supposed to be a faith based on above all else kindness and love of your fellow human beings if you're practicing Christianity properly to begin with,or Islam or Judiasm et cetera for that matter .. but the problem is the adventure doesn't really establish yet just how badly the Cyberpope is twisting his version of "Christianity" into something that's a horrible and terrible perversion of it because this is day one of the invasion and that hasn't been established yet...

.... so one tweak I would recommend is making sure the PC's either are very close to someone who is, or themselves fall into some minority category the Cyberpope will persecute (could be Muslim, Jewish, LGBT) and (months prior to the adventure having started) introduce agitators the PC's are all too familiar with , secret agents of the Cyberpope who have infiltrated France already and are doing their best to persecute said minorities.. the agitators greet the invading cyberpope's forces with obvious glee.. then (quite possibly with the agitators pointing right at the above mentioned minorities and saying " that's them right there") have the minorities rounded up (once they get to the mandatory " lecture to the masses" when PC's and NPC's alike are herded into the Roman Theater ancient landmark mentioned in the adventure) for what the Cyberpope's agents ominously refer to as "re-education" with some smiling cyberpriest talking about how he's going to "save their souls by putting them on the right path".. with it being abundantly clear the goal is conversion therapy (in the case of an LGBT person) and/or brainwashing them into following the Cyberpope's twisted religion with the cyberpriest spouting all sorts of stuff about how " God is in the machine" " Our cybernetic implants will rid you of your impure thoughts", " You will experience the ecstasy of the godnet once you are jacked into it " (the cyberpapacy sourcebook in my honest opinion is a mandatory purchase to run this adventure properly or any Cyberpapacy adventure for that matter) ... I know this is an incredibly controversial step that will probably hit close to home (and have a frank discussion with your players as to whether or not they're comfortable with this) but .. these are all things referred to in the cyberpapacy sourcebook and in my honest opinion are a great way of driving home that the Cyberpope is as the beloved Torg character Quinn Sebastian (see the Torg Core Rules book but us old school Torg fans are familiar with good old Quinn) likes to put it " Hitler in a frock".

I would go so far as to run a little "prequel" that takes place say one month before the "current events" (day one of the invasion) ... go around the table and run a scenario where it's just the one player character, the player character's beloved minority character (or if the PC is the minority the PC him/herself getting harassed) face to face with the Cyberpapal agent (of course they don't know yet it's a cyberpapal agent, agent doesn't have any cyberware or any other obvious give-aways) either pleading with the minority to change their ways " Because the one true god loves you" and/or obnoxiously threatening " the wrath of hellfire will be upon you ! Your soul will burn in eternal dammation" ... even if this agent gets the physical clobbering they deserve (let's assume said agent doesn't get flat out killed if nothing else because it's still core Earth France pre-invasion where that sort of thing results in jail time) assume they recover (if nothing else through - literally - miraculous healing from say reality rated cyberpapal agents) in time to show up during the "Day One" events of the adventure. I'm sure having these smug harassers show up when the riot breaks out in the adventure just in time for the PC's to punch them in the face (quite possibly for a second time if they got a punch one month ago) when the riot mentioned in the adventure breaks out would be immensely satisfying for the PC's. The presence of the agitators/sleeper agents could also make up for the players not using the pregenerated characters for this adventure if the players go that route.. the agitators simply whisper into the cyberpriest's ear who's giving the sermon and the cyberpriest then shows video footage - say from one month ago - of the reactions (probably negative) the PC's had to the agitators via the elaborate 3-D holographic projections the priest is effectively using as his big screen display. To warm the crowd up and make them really hostile to the PC's so they can be more easily "sicced" on the PC's here's another thought..

As written the adventure calls for a riot where some are in support of the cyberpapacy, others are against it and the PC's are right in the middle as the church police streetbeaters bear down on the PC's... bearing in mind that the atmosphere of the Cyberpapacy is supposed to be one of a frightenening totalitarian state (again I refer you to the Cyberpapacy sourcebook) here's another more chilling possibility... this will smack of being an obvious plot device but let's say a first planting gospog crawls out of , I dunno say a sewer somewhere , and starts beating on some hapless child ... you could say that the Cyberpope's darkness device actually took a personal interest here albeit briefly (I would guess even a darkness device has a lot going on to occupy it's attention on day one of a large scale invasion by the cyberpope's forces so it does this one thing then turns it's attention elsewhere - "beginner level" PC's should not have to deal with the full attention of a darkness device!) and triggers the previously inactive gospog (let's say sleeper agents of the cyberpope arranged the bureaucracy in such a way that this gospog's resting place in the sewers wasn't disturbed) to come out and attack this poor kid , beating the child nearly to death before the church police come to the child's rescue (the darkness device is playing the "long game" knowing this sets the populace up to witness a faith healing later on and that the nearby church police will save the child) ... bear in mind that the cyberpapacy sourcebook states that the gospog are basically sent to target the hapless populace so the cyberpapacy's forces look good in the eyes of said populace when they take down a gospog (also bear in mind that if I understand correctly as far as the church police know these monsters are "tools of the devil", "demonic forces", definitely and certainly not minions of their beloved cyberpope! ) ... and this happens right in plain view so everyone, PC's included, see what happens.. let's say this takes place prior to everyone being herded into the Roman Theater ... everyone sees a nun emerge from view where she was hidden from behind the church police desperately tending the child's wounds... some of the church police gently bear the child inside on a stretcher, refusing to let even self proclaimed medical professionals look at the child stating instead " The child will be cared for ... it is the true god's will.. trust us." Cue the cyberpriest doing a literal faith healing , the child's wounds miraculously closing and everyone being able to see it clearly thanks to the aforementioned 3-D projections showing it clearly to everyone and even from a distance people being able to see the child get up and walk around. Describe how everyone watches enraptured, some with tears of joy streaming down their face.. it's clear that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE except for the PC's and any beloved minorities of theirs , just got brainwashed... which would be in keeping with the world laws of the Cyberpapacy if I understand them correctly from the Cyberpapacy sourcebook.

Now here's where the scary part comes in.. the cyberpriest follows this up with the footage of the "heretic " PC's (remember the PC's are either minorities or have just been showing actively supporting "heretic" minorities) ... the cyberpriest denounces the PC's and their loved ones as heretics and suddenly the entire crowd is screaming for the PC's blood plus that of the PC's loved ones. (I know I keep referring to the PC's loved ones - the adventure stipulates the PC's have loved ones who get into trouble and need rescuing). This sets the stage for the PC's running for their lives (the adventure assumes that the PC's loved ones have been herded off elsewhere - personally I'm thinking it's best for the PC's not to even set sight on their loved ones or you'll have players staying put mob or no and their PC's dying to rescue said loved ones)...

Also, I understand that they set it in a village since it literally fits the medieval mindset the Cyberpapacy's dimensional laws support , though I'm disappointed they didn't set it in say a small city next to I dunno a sports arena or something instead of the Roman Colliseum where there's enough technology present and coming under the sway of the godnet to REALLY make things scary for the player characters ... " Big Brother is watching" is a core component of the Cyberpapacy and in my opinion really should have been encouraged... personally I would insert various pieces of technology in the village.. say screens on tripods that were showing re-anactments and dry historical commentary on the historical events the village was famous for (no doubt related to the giant Roman Colliseum the PC's end up in ) ... as the PC's run for their lives the video footage changes to a cheerful cybernun , cybernetic implants and all clearly visible, extorting the PC's from everything with a screen.. including any (now upgraded) cell phones or other devices the PC's are carrying .. to just surrender and accept their fate " because the one true god loves you and your death will cleanse you of your sins"... the cybernun is actually looking right AT the PC's to the point where her gaze follows the PC's whereever they they run, still spouting the same cheerful message about how the PC's should just give up... then insert the mysterious bearded man the adventure refers to (a priest from the cyberpapacy's invading cosm but presumably someone who practices Christianity the way it's supposed to be practiced, with love, kindness and decency - which of course makes him a heretic and the mortal enemy of the cyberpope and his forces) ... in this case the priest has helpers who lob enough tear gas grenades to slow down the mob and the priest rushes the PC's to safety.

As far as the upgrades the priest mentions.. and again this is where the cyberpapacy sourcebook really comes in handy .. remember, the godnet (the cyberpapacy's version of the internet only "better") is literally addictive and stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain.. to really drive home the hopeless totalitarian state of the cyberpapacy and the "good guys are in for tragedy" genre that is so common in cyberpunk (which the cyberpapacy sourcebook mentions you should look to for the general theme and mood of cyberpapacy campaigns)... have the PC's arrive too late... their loved ones just got a neural jack installed, they're now totally addicted to the cybernet, and even worse their loved ones denounce the PC's and do their best to sic the cyberpapacy's forces on them ... though of course the hapless PC's don't know this until it's too late. Maybe the PC's succeed in dragging a kicking and screaming beloved NPC out for "deprogramming" later on when Quinn Sebastian shows up, maybe not.. if you really want to make things tragic any PC who stays put trying to drag a resisting loved one out is overwhelmed by the cyberpapacy's forces with the brainwashed loved one adminstering the final death blow to the PC the loved one used to be so (emotionally) near to... the alternative for PC's who want to survive is to abandon their loved one to the cyberpapacy's forces. Anyways those are my (admittedly long winded) thoughts on how to improve the Cyberpapacy adventure.

I loved the Orrosh setting maybe because we're all fans of the horror genre (oddly enough I found it worked great for the Orrosh and Pan Pacifica setting, not so much for Tharkhold ) .. in my opinion the adventure does a great job of building up dread ... though it's worth noting the Orrosh adventure practically demands you use the pre generated characters that come with it .. or at the very least tell the players if they want to write up their own characters " This is an India wedding in a small village - so you're all from India, one of you is either the bride or the groom, one of you is the best man or the maid of honor, one of you is the priest officiating the wedding, the rest of you are dear friends of the families involved in this wedding and/or family members on either the bride or groom's side" ... so say if someone wants to play an Indian bride but REALLY wants that bride to be a brilliant doctor with dreams of going on to become a medical researcher you can do that, just make it clear that the bride comes from humble village origins (and obviously with the whole invaders from other dimensions thing going on the future career as a PhD or Doctorate medical researcher is going to have to wait )

Despite the criticisms I've noted, in my honest opinion this is still absolutely worth picking up even if you pay far below the suggested selling price (and again if you're feeling guilty remember - gateway drug! :) ... there's a reason the publishers have made it possible to pay less than the asking price). If you pay say one American dollar for it what do you have to lose? As a gamesmaster with the caveats aside I would have fun running this, as a player I would enjoy participating in it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Day One Adventure Book
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DSA5 - Heldenwerk-Archiv 2 (PDF) als Download kaufen
by Enna G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2022 05:32:02

Aus dieser Sammlung habe ich noch nicht alle Abenteuer geleitet, es kann also sein, dass ich später ergänzen werde.

Blutiger Wein

Für mich ein typisches DSA-Dorfabenteuer, es hat mir sehr gefallen und ist auch bei den Spieler*innen gut angekommen.

Vorbereitung

Es gibt knapp 25 NPCs. Für dieses Abenteuer habe ich also vorab eine Charakterübersicht erstellt -- was sich sehr gelohnt hat.Um ein wenig Rollenklischees aufzubrechen, habe ich kurzerhand Hedwiga zum Familienoberhaupt ernannt, was die Interaktionen auch spannender gestaltet hat.

Am Spieltisch

Das Spiel hat relativ gut funktioniert. Ich fand es sehr angenehm, dass verschiedene Lösungswege und Erfolgsgrade aufgezeigt wurden. Das Weinfest ist dank eines kritischen Fehlers noch etwas weiter aus dem Ruder gelaufen, was sehr gut gepasst hat. Etwas gefehlt hat eine Dorfkarte, hier kann sicherlich einer der hervorragenden Pläne aus der Kartenbox weiterhelfen. Aus dem Zusatzmaterial brauchbar fand ich vor allem die Beschreibung von Bruder Boronlieb.

Drei Farben Schnee Ein ordentliches Abenteuer, praktischerweise sehr abgeschnitten.

Vorbereitung Dieses Abenteuer hatte ich recht spontan geleitet. Die Karte fand ich ganz gut. Bei der Dramatis Personae habe ich die Ordnung nicht wirklich gut verwenden können und es wäre gegebenenfalls hilfreich, eine eigene Übersicht anzufertigen.

Am Spieltisch Mein Hauptproblem war, dass ich eine Zeitbeschränkung hatte. Für einen Abend ist dieses Abenteuer leider zu umfangreich. Den Abstecher in die Minen vom Tal musste ich weglassen, die schrittweisen Morde haben gut gepasst. Für Spieler*innen, die sich nicht mit Vampirregeln auskennen ist es aber eher weniger verdächtig, sich immer warm halten zu wollen und ich hatte leider keinen Weg gefunden, diese Information zu vermitteln ohne "sucht nach dem Vampir" zu rufen.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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DSA5 - Die Sonnenküste - Meisterschirmset - Purpurschein & Heldensagen (PDF) als Download kaufen
by Enna G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2022 05:02:38

Aus dieser Sammlung habe ich bisher nur "Zyklopenauge" geleitet, es kann sein, dass ich aber später nochmal etwas ergänzen werde.

Zyklopenauge

Vorbereitung Die Vorbereitung war eher wenig aufwändig und ich habe auch nicht so viel extra hierfür gemacht. Das Abenteuer ist insgesamt sehr zielgerichtet.

Schwierig wird es leider, das Abenteuer mit anderen Charakteren zu spielen. Das Einstiegsabenteuer für Havena war in dieser Hinsicht einfacher auf die Anwerbung von anderen Held*innen anzupassen.

Ich habe es leider versäumt, dieses Abenteuer gleich mit dem nächsten zu verbinden, denn die Auflösung "Der Stein wird untersucht, die Ergebnisse stehen noch aus" war nicht so wirklich befriedigend. Hier wäre es vielleicht interessanter gewesen, wenn es sich um den Stein (oder einen Splitter davon) aus dem Labyrinth der Intrigen gehandelt hätte oder er durch Leuchten auf einen Ort mit dem nächsten Auftrag hingewiesen hätte oder so.

Am Spieltisch Die Spur mit der Verfolgung erschien mir nicht vollkommen plausibel und die Entschuldigung Sabettas war es für meine Spielrunde noch viel weniger. Ich fand es lustig, sie beim ersten Mal entwischen zu lassen und später noch einmal in Hirtinnenverkleidung auftreten zu lassen.

Fazit Ein passabler Einstieg für die Zyklopeninseln, aber zumindest wenn eigene Charaktere verwendet werden sollen nicht herausragend.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DSA5 - Die Sonnenküste - Meisterschirmset - Purpurschein & Heldensagen (PDF) als Download kaufen
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DSA5 - Dryadenhain & Dschinnenzauber (PDF) als Download kaufen
by Enna G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2022 04:59:45

Aus dieser Anthologie habe ich bisher nur "Die Gärten der Xanterre" gespielt, ich werde die Beschreibung gegebenenfalls ergänzen können.

Die Gärten der Xanterre

Ein wunderschönes Abenteuer.

Vorbereitung Ich habe dieses Abenteuer sehr spontan geleitet, da es sich erst am Abend vor der Runde ergeben hatte. Das hat diesem Abenteuer auf jeden Fall nicht gut getan, es verdient eine gewisse Vorbereitung.

Auf jeden Fall ausdrucken würde ich den Plan vom Garten. Es ist kein großes Rätsel, was wo geschehen wird und der Gesamtüberblick enthält keine besonderen Geheimnisse.

Wir hatten eine Avesgeweihte (der spielfertige Charakter aus Auf ins Abenteuer Sonnenküste/"Zyklopenauge"), der sehr gut in das Abenteuer gepasst hat.

Regeltechnische Probleme Dieses Abenteuer verwendet im Kern die Musik. Ohne die Avesgeweihte, die das halbwegs gelernt hatte, wäre es überhaupt nicht spielbar gewesen. So hatten wir immerhin nur das Problem, dass die verschiedenen Melodien nur die Auswirkungen bis 2 QS erzielen konnten. Um ständige Wiederholungen der Musizieren-Proben zu vermeiden habe ich nach jedem sinnvollen Einsatz einer Melodie die Proben auf die folgenden Versuche um jeweils 1 erleichtert, im Finale waren wir dann bei +5 beim Frühling. Ich würde hier für die Zukunft vielleicht ein gänzlich anderes System ausarbeiten, vielleicht auch eines, das vier verschiedene Charaktere einbezieht, sofern so viele mitspielen. ("Die Melodien sind Magisch, eine Person kann nur jeweils die Magie einer Melodie in sich tragen...")

Ähnliches gilt für die Pflanzenkunde, die eigentlich eine starke Bereicherung mit sich bringt. Vielleicht wäre es besser hier allen Spieler*innen eine Probe zu gewähren und dann durch QS Zufallswürfe die Funde zu bestimmen? Ein paar werden dann vielleicht das selbe finden.

Am Spieltisch Wir haben uns sehr lange an der szenischen Einführung aufgehangen, das empfand ich aber als sehr angenehm. Sie war hervorragend vorbereitet und leicht anpassbar (Statt Hexander kam der Auftrag von Sidor aus dem "Zyklopenauge" den sie nach einem anderen Abenteuer (Purpurtränen) auf Teremon wieder getroffen hatten und was sehr gut gepasst hatte, weil er jetzt noch mehr an Dryaden interessiert war.).

Bei der Reihenfolge der Erkundung sehe ich generell eher nicht so große Probleme. Ein wenig aufpassen ist hier aber dennoch sinnvoll. Im Winter ist meine Gruppe direkt zum Hirsch gegangen ohne zur Behüterin zu gehen und die Vorlesetexte haben so keinen Sinn mehr ergeben.

Insgesamt war es beim Abenteuer aber ziemlich schwer, vom vorgegebenen Erzähstrang abzuweichen. Teilweise war mir auch nicht ersichtlich, wie mit fehlgeschlagenen Proben verfahren werden soll, weil die einfach direkt danach wiederholt werden mussten, teils ohne Beschreibung, was ansonsten die Folgen sind oder mechanismen, die den Ausgang des Abenteuers erleichert oder erschwert hätten. Vielleicht wäre es sinnvoll, die benötigte Zeit zu messen und Bonuspunkte zu verteilen oder besondere Gegenstände für einen besonderen Erfolg zu vergeben?

Der Endkampf wurde durch das Abenteuer in gewissem Maße vorbereitet. Er war sehr umfangreich und ganz interessant gestaltet. Das einzige wirklich erfolgreiche Ende war dann aber die Befreiung und es gab keine Variationen für Teilsiege. Vielleicht bin ich auch einfach nicht so begeistert, weil wir eine eher kampfunwillige Gruppe sind. Erzählerisch war das Wirken der Musik dann aber wieder sehr schön.

Fazit Das Abenteuer hat uns allen viel Freude bereitet und das ist die Hauptsache.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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DSA5 - Verhandlungskunst & Friedensschwur (PDF) als Download kaufen
by Enna G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2022 04:56:22

Zuerst einmal finde ich den Geist dieser Anthologie sehr gut. Ich habe bisher nur "Purpurtränen" geleitet, werde aber später gegebenenfalls ergänzen.

Purpurtränen Ich fand dieses Abenteuer interessant von den moralischen Herausforderungen und gleichzeitig ziemlich übersichtlich zu leiten. Das Spielen hatte selbst einen Dieb, der eigentlich sehr goldgierig war so weit gerührt, dass er in Zukunft etwas mehr auf das Schicksal der betroffenen achten wollte. ;)

Vorbereitung Als Vorbereitung habe ich die Mosaike des Tempels sowie einige der Gegenstände von Zoïra vorbereitet, sowie Zeichnungen der einzelnen Hauptansprechpersonen herausgesucht. Hilfreich wäre auch eine Tauchkarte gewesen. Gefehlt hat uns schon irgendwie eine wirkliche Inselkarte, ich kann aber gut verstehen, wenn das mit der Produktion nicht umsetzbar war.

Hilfreich wäre es wohl, das Orakel von Balträa als Schauplatz vorzubereiten, siehe unten.

Am Spieltisch Der Einstieg war ganz ok. Die Held*innen kannten sich vorher alle noch nicht. Ich habe den Auftrag erst einmal unserem Efferdgeweihten erkärt und dieser hatte sich dann selbst eine Gruppe zusammenstellen dürfen - natürlich waren nur die anderen Held*innen da.

Womit ich nicht gerechnet hatte, was aber natürlich sehr logisch war, ist ein Besuch des Praios-Orakels. Die Vorlesetexte in der Regionalspielhilfe waren da leider eher unbrauchbar, da sie lang und breit erklären, was da in grauer Vorzeit geschehen war, aber nicht deutlich wurde, wie ein Besuch des Orakels aussehen könnte oder ob/was da überhaupt orakelt (jedenfalls habe ich es nicht spontan gefunden). Im Traum hatte ich schließlich einfach eine Vision vom letzten Schluss des Bundes erscheinen lassen.

Alles weitere hatte ganz gut geklappt, aber an ein paar Stellen hätte ich doch darauf achten müssen, dass die Rahjageweihte wichtige Rollen hatte - z.B. Hilfsmittel für das Finale liefern.

Besonders gefallen hat uns wohl Zoïra. Ich habe sie als verzweifelte Scharlatanin dargestellt, die sehr fadenscheinig anbietet, die Zukunft vorherzusagen und dabei eigentlich nur (verteilt über verschiedene Held*innen) versucht, mit Menschen über ihre eigene Vision zu reden.

Am Ende wurde bei uns der Bund mit den beiden Anführerinnen der konkurrierenden Parteien (Mironos war abgesetzt worden) und Zoïra als Hauptfigueren gemeinsam besiegelt. Den Vorlesetext fand ich aber schon etwas skurril und würde ich anders gestalten.

Fazit Ein sehr gutes Abenteuer, dass unsere Spieler*innen auch vor ein paar Herausforderungen gestellt hat. Vielleicht schaffe ich es ja noch, eine Karte anzufertigen und meine Vorbereitung gesammelt im Scriptorium zur Verfügung zu stellen. Leiten möchte ich es auf jeden Fall gerne auch ein zweites Mal.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Alriks & Alriken
by tom M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2022 07:45:08

Nicht nur die Alriks 1 und 2 sondern auch alle anderen Grafiken und Karten sind einfach so mit liebe gezeichnet. Danke für dieses schöne Werke. Die ersten Bilder werde ich in den kommenden Wochen in eins meiner Abenteuer einbringen und bin gespannt auf die Reaktionen der Helden.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Alriks & Alriken
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Schlafen & Wachen - Erweiterte Regeneration
by tom M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2022 07:42:27

Wir nutzen diese neue "Fokus-Regel" um die Helden schnell mal wieder zu Regenerieren. Danke fürs Anpassen der originalen Regel



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Schlafen & Wachen - Erweiterte Regeneration
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DSA5 - Index Monetaria Aventuris
by tom M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2022 07:41:15

Wenn man mal schnell was sucht, einfach nur gut. Kein blättern in allen Büchern die man so hat. Würde mich um eine Aktualisierung auf die aktuellen Regionalbänder und Regelerweiterungen sehr freuen.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DSA5 - Index Monetaria Aventuris
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Handwerk und Herstellung
by tom M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2022 07:39:12

Schön mal kurz und schnell alles Wichtige zum Herstellen in einer PDF/Ausdruck zu haben. Danke dafür und gerne auf Dauer aktualisieren



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Handwerk und Herstellung
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Drachenjagd: Eine Geistergeschichte (Einsteiger-Abenteuer)
by tom M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2022 07:37:43

Schon bei der Beschreibung der Ruine schauten mich die Helden sehr entgeistert an. Dennoch ist der Spaß nicht von der Hand zu weisen. Die Rätsel sind gut überlegt und nicht zu schwer, die wichtigen Personen schön beschrieben. Von mit also 5/5



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Drachenjagd: Eine Geistergeschichte (Einsteiger-Abenteuer)
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