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Savage Thunderscape: the World of Aden
by Adamek P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2017 01:49:10

I absolutely love this setting book for Savage Worlds. I only have 2 small problems with it: the book's size is a bit big for me and the bestiary has very few new monsters - but it gives you an easy way to create Golemoid creatures and Nocturnals, so it's not that big of a problem. What I love about this book the most is the many options it gives you. You can choose from 11 races: Dwarves, Elves, Faerkin (goat-fae-gnomes), Ferrans (humanoid animals, with different sub-races), Goreaux (goblins), Half-Elves, Humans, Jurak (orcs), Rapacians (reptilian humanoids), Echoes (shapeshifters), Ilithix Exiles (bug people). You can choose from some new background edges: Fallen (a "curse" that comes with powers), Golemoid (part machine), Thaumaturge (call upon legendary spirits to help you). You have several types of magic-users you can play as: Cleric, Entomancer (bug-specialized driud), Mechamage (golemancer), Seer, Steamwright, Thunder Scout (vehicle mage), Wizard. There are some new spells, there are new items (weapons, armor, alchemical items, poisons, magic items) and vehicles. There are Manite Implants which are like the steampunk version of cyberware. This book also has detailed information on Aden's landscape, its different nations, which are quite diverse. All in all, it gives so many options to choose from that this was a must have for me; after reading through the PDF, I just had to order the physical copy. I read that hardcover is really good quality, but softcover is good quality too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Thunderscape: the World of Aden
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Savage Thunderscape: the World of Aden
by Joseph H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2017 20:54:16

I have to say that this is probably one of the most in-depth, detailed, and unique fantasy settings out there. The level of depth is extremely detailed, putting most first party D&D settings to shame (I haven't purchased many setting books for Savage Worlds, so I can't judge it by that standard yet) Mechanically speaking, the book is sound, and not too complex to run either (Only a very slight amount of complexity increase compared to my simpler Savage Worlds games, which tend to use a single companion book and the core rules at most).

Having purchased the hardcover, I can definitely say it's worth the extra money over the softcover or PDF. It's virtually indistinguishable in print quality from the 3E era D&D books, save that the pages aren't glossy. This is more the distributor's doing, but it certainly makes it worth the extra cash.

Finally, if you're buying this, try to get ahold of a copy of the Fantasy Companion for Savage Worlds if you haven't already got it. Savage Thunderscape includes data on things that work from the basis of that (Though they are easy enough to not use), making it optional but highly recommended to have it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Thunderscape: Character Sheet
by Deb Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2016 00:31:35

Awesome! This will be great as I alreqady have the book for the Pathfinder version. Now I can do the Savage Worlds one too!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Thunderscape: Character Sheet
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Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/30/2015 10:15:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive campaign book clocks in at 227 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 221 pages of content, so let's take a look, all right?

Now, if I utilize my usual level of detail and analyze everything down to the feat-level, we'll be here next Christmas, so please bear with me while I present this book's content in slightly broader strokes.

After introductory prose and well-drawn maps as well as a general introduction, we begin this book with the section on races, discussing the core-races and their roles within the setting of Aden first - though it should be noted that there are no default gnomes, halflings or half-orcs here - instead, there are A LOT of new races. The Faerkin would be basically the replacement for gnomes - flavorwise, they have ties with the fey, which translates to various alternate racial traits that represent this - Quickling blood increases base speed to 40 ft., for example - generally, I like this race - it's pretty well-balanced, though the aforementioned racial trait lacks the "ft." after the 40. Ferrans would be a race that all fans of werewolves and anthropomorphic animals will love - they are an artificially created race, intended for servitude, though by now they have claimed freedom via a massive insurrection - this war did leave its mark on the race, though - the avian and reptilian ferrans are extinct and now, only the mammalian ones remain - which is, balance-wise, probably a good thing. With either claws or bites, movement speed customization. Here' I'd like to thank the authors - not only have they concisely defined natural attacks, less experienced players also have the rules explained to them - nice one! Btw.: Ferrans come with two complete, alternate racial suites for brutes and sneaks - oh, and the race can select from a list of 3 different bestial abilities to account for the race's diversity. While the ferrans are a powerful race, it's not one that suffers from feature bloat or the like - my playtest did show them to be most appropriate from standard to high fantasy and less so in gritty low-fantasy scenarios, but admittedly, they can function in such contexts as well. Well-crafted one. Here would be, btw., as good a place as any to mention that alternate racial traits etc. tend to favor untyped bonuses, not racial bonuses - so if you're a consistency stickler like yours truly, you might be somewhat annoyed by that. And before you pull out the pitchforks - yes, I am aware that not all published races adhere to this convention either - it just would be nice if they did.

The Goreaux would be Aden's goblin-ish race...and they are extremely smart - with a focus on mechamagic and a focus on brilliant minds, they are an interesting race. That being said, they do gain +4 Int, which is something I am not a fan of, since it makes the race lopsided and ultimately makes them predisposed towards certain pursuits...and such increased bonuses tend to result in higher powered builds. The Jurak, highly adaptable survivalists, would be the stand-in for the half-orc -and once again constitute a great race - diverse, adaptable, interesting. Nice one! Rapacians would be the lizard-folk-ish race of Aden, though they are not primitive. Personally, I'm not a big fan of them getting bonuses to 2 physical attributes, but this is somewhat balanced by them being more straightforward regarding other racial traits - so yes, these guys get a pass from me. Then, there would be the echoes -blank slates of black in humanoid form, they are relatively recent creations...and these creepy-looking individuals may alter self - but only the form of a deceased humanoid, and only if they can secure a component of the humanoid to be integrated into their jewelry/vials/etc. This race is balanced, creepy and all awesome...however, I think the Transient Echo-abilities ought to specify that is Su in the ability-header, not just in the text - and yes, this is the nitpick-level that will not influence my final verdict. The Ilthix Exile, insectoid exiles of their alien insectoid race, get +4 Dex, -4 Cha, making them pretty lopsided. Worse, the race gets unassisted flight at first level, hive sense and non-verbal communication. This is the very picture-book example of a lopsided race and the unassisted flight before 6th level can be quite problematic. That being said, at least the fluff makes these guys suffer for their powerful abilities. This chapter btw. also contains favored class options for the new classes herein - there are a lot of them and chapter 2 is devoted to them. The race-chapter also sports age, height and weight-tables, common names, information on languages, etc.

So now, we'll take a look at the new classes - 9 of them. Seeing how one in-depth class analysis usually tends to cover 4+ pages, I'm going to instead focus on a broader strokes picture. The first class would be the Arbiter - at d12 and Full BAB, these guys are the agents of law and order, gaining e.g. class level as bonus to 3 skills, the class can be considered a more martial inquisitor in theme, with the talents granted at 3rd level and every two levels thereafter providing some customization. Theme-wise, arbiters would be tanks - with a focus on using shields, they can attack and AoO even in total defense and increase the power of these tricks. A solid blocker class - no complaints here...apart from the 10th level ability missing from table and write-up. Like all classes herein, we get information on how the class may be played via the example of numerous sample fluffy character backgrounds.

The Entomancer at d8 would be an alternate class of the druid (nicely done - quite a few authors fail in pointing the like out, resulting in multiclass issues...) and are all themed around "insects" - not vermin, mind you, insects - the definition of this term is pretty concise. Player agenda is emphasized by providing multiple insect mastery-groups - these can be pictured as collections of talents: Unlike bloodlines or orders, entomancers are not restricted to one, but may freely choose between them...however, the respective categories have prerequisites within, thus rewarding specialization in a given way. Once again, on the nitpicky side, I can complain about the prereqs e.g. once depicting the required masteries known as "two" and then as "2" - but once again, this is a cosmetic issue and will not influence my final verdict. From cricket to hawk moths, the companion-steeds provided are pretty cool and options for verminous scouts and swarms add quite a bunch of interesting narrative options - espionage in Aden can be pretty compelling. Oh, and yes, this would be horribly broken, but the loss of 3 schools means that the class needs the golems and actually proved to be a valid trade-off.

The single most defining event of Aden is 10 years past - the Darkfall. The very sun itself was extinguished for a short period and the whole world saw a sudden genesis of creatures from the very nightmares, the subconscious of the populace, suddenly springing to life. The offspring of this cataclysmic event's dread unions would be the Corrupted. However, some do not serve - these beings would be the Fallen, people born from the Darkfall, yet striving to resist its call. 2 good saves, d8 and 4+Int skills point towards a skirmisher -and indeed, they are - with an addition: They bear stigma, which they can use to channel debuff effects, so-called torments, which scale, btw., on nearby foes - think of a mechanic somewhat akin to an antipaladin's cruelties, but at range. Additionally, the fallen can choose a type of stigma, which can be likened to an order or bloodline in that it provides a scaling array of abilities and determines the bonus feats available. I generally like this class and enjoy the fluff immensely, but it does suffer a bit from sharing the same niche as Forest Guardian Press's excellent direlock, though surprisingly, the two classes gel very well with one another.

The manite implants of mechamagic have an unfortunate side-effect -the Wasting. At the same time, extremely modified creatures with a strong sense of dedication and loyalty seem to resist this effect -enter the Golemoids. At d10 and full BAB-progression, Golemoids gain a reserve of steam points with which they can activate their implants and, beyond interchangeable parts and combat specializations, these guys can be pretty much considered to be the robot-class of Aden, with 4 classes of manite implants offering a rather diverse array of options to choose from -e.g. rocket-powered fists. Yes, this class is pretty awesome! The Mechamage alternate wizard-class would be an int-based full caster, with no access to enchantment, illusion and evocation. The interesting component here would be that the class gets a golem minion he can call to himself - or rather, as many as he can afford. You see, while only one such minion can be active at a given time, the mechamage can have multiple ones with different customizations - doll golems, for example. Basic golems are pretty dumb and thus, the commands they understand are carefully noted...oh, and want to do something different? There are writs and they make an otherwise been there, done that pet-class interesting: Essentially, you have pieces of writing, cogs, etc. you prepare (at cost), which you feed to your golem, programming it. And yes, love how this reflects the legend of Rabbi Loew's golem. New writs are unlocked at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter for an integrated scaling mechanism.

The seer, who gets all good saves, 3/4 BAB-progression and d8, looks somewhat like a monk, but also gets Wis-based spellcasting from the class's own list. These rare beings, gifted with the power of prophecy, rank first among the Darkfall's hitlist - and as such, these beings are RARE. The class is interesting in that it utilizes its fatebending prowess via a significant array of customizable auras, some of which are powered (or can be enhanced) by a growing pool of second sight tricks. This class ranks among my favorites herein - unique in niche and presentation, the seer can provide narrative gold and remains an awesome addition to other settings and systems as well. The steamwright, at d8 and good will-saves + 3/4 BAB and can be considered a super-science-tinker-class, with the closest analogue probably being Alexander Augunas' Technician from the awesome "Age of Electrotech"-book. The interesting component here would be the variable pool of firepower-bonus damage that can be added with quite some flexibility to the damage-dealing components of the steamwright's arsenal. The inventions featured, from various guns/cannons to audiographs that can record what is heard, furthermore come with options to modify them - both invention-specific and general modifications. This class proved to be pretty powerful in playtest, though not to a point where I'd start complaining, especially since it does offer a neat array of awesome narrative options and non-combat utility. The Thaumaturge has a full caster's chassis and all bad saves and they may draw upon legends - the manifestations of how people are remembered (as opposed to how they were) - these legends are called forth and bound - and they modify BAB, feats, skills, etc., while also granting abilities - this class is essentially a dilettante-like class with a truly unique and compelling fluff. Interesting, btw. - the legends have aspects which provide a passive benefit and one more powerful consume ability, which renders the aspect inert until it's reactivated. This class is very interesting - it is extremely weak when caught on the wrong foot, but makes for a great class for solo-adventures or small groups that need multiple roles filled. Beyond that, an interesting conglomerate of narrative tricks can render this class in game pretty awesome - what if a legend's perception changes and a thaumaturge is invested in the legend's ideal? A good GM can craft some inspiring yarns from this class. Did you always want to play the badass pilot on a rumbling micro-steamtank or a jetbike? With full BAB, two good saves, minor spellcasting and a customizable signature vehicle, the thunder scout class is THE class for you - with numerous talents and customization options (and spells pertaining the vehicle), we get an awesome class with one annoying oversight - the vehicle's dimensions and weight are not explicitly stated - while one can take the vehicles later as orientation, I still considered this annoying.

All right, next would be the modifications/archetypes/infos on the traditional classes and their roles in Aden - from alchemists gaining golemoid manites to more controlled rages, the options here are solid, if not mind-boggling -essentially, we get means for existing classes to dabble in the new tools provided herein. On the plus-side, the awesome NPC-fluff-write-ups continue herein! Special mention deserve raging monks and the fact that paladins do not need to be good - however, they need to take several vows...and they do not fall. You heard me. Evil paladins can continue to smite evil and do not lose their class features. Personally, I love this. Why? Shades of grey, baby - and it makes the hypocritical erstwhile hero turned fanatic knight a much easier trope to play. Oh, and if you visibly violate your code, you'll sooner or later be hunted down... Oh, and there are golemoid palas. Samurai get flavorful new order names and an order that takes the smart fox/kitsune as inspiration...and there would be the shark and leviathan orders...

The book also sports numerous so-called folk-magic traits - essentially a toolkit that allows you to cast a single 0-level or 1st level spell as an SP, with CL being locked at 1st level - neat idea! As a nice note - traits utilize the often forgotten trait-bonus type. The pdf obviously sports numerous feats for the significant array of new classes herein -from better piloting to more techniques. Beyond these, support for multiclass monk/sorcs that let them use Wis instead of Cha and similar enabler-type-feats are provided alongside feats that extend the powers of a given racial ability. The chapter also details new uses of Knowledge (engineering), Heal and the rules for Craft (Machinery). After all of this, we dive into a concisely-written history of the world of Aden, which thankfully does not manage to get bogged down in the details, though a significant array of intriguing events are touched upon, before notes on languages, cosmology, calendar, wildlife and agriculture and so much more are provided - in spite of the relative brevity of this chapter, it, surprisingly, managed to captivate me. Major and minor religions, organizations (including a handy Pathfinder Lodge-stand-in) provide more than enough potential allegiances to have and share - though you should note that the religion write-ups are not particularly crunchy.

After this particular section, we dive into the nit and grit of the history, lands and politics of the massive nations that shaped Aden, noting governmental type, major imports and exports and predominant races - you won't find a detailed break-down of these components here, nor (thankfully) the rather annoying alignment-based nation-stereotyping. At the same time, military and similar crucial components are touched upon - and the respective nations sport their own full-color flags, which is a more than nice touch.

Now something I touched upon before becomes much more important in Aden: Magic works differently: Divine casters are not restricted in domain choice by their deities - instead, they may freely choose domains; their belief shapes the power they command and the absence of gods in the traditional sense opens, obviously, the way for numerous heresies and ambiguous options - which is kind of awesome. At the same time, I consider free domain-choice highly problematic - there is a reason domains are grouped for deities - some are simply better than others and being able to cherry-pick domains is not something I'd advise a GM to let her players do. The chapter also, obviously, contains a significant array of new spells - as mentioned before, these interact (often) in unique and interesting ways with the mechanics introduced in this book and several new, unique spells that e.g. deal with constructs, piloting, etc. Some spells also feature an interesting mechanic that makes repeat casts more likely to succeed. Clothing yourself into your swarm of insects would be one intriguing option, to give you an example.

The most intriguing chapter of this book, at least to me, though, would be the one on technology: From the basic concept of manites to the steamreaver mecha-weapons used by golemoids. Firearms in Aden operate btw. via different rules than those presented in Ultimate Combat - the crit multiplier is smaller, they do not ignore armor and suffer no failure-chance. An interesting array of weapons is presented here, with several pretty nice artworks - though their style does not live up to some of the most stunning artworks in the book. Siege and vehicle weapons alongside a significant array of the latter, from thunder cycles to steamwagons and dragon gliders can be found in this chapter with full stats. Alchemical items poisons complement this section with some cool ideas, though e.g. alchemical oil lacks the obvious "fire" damage type it should inflict, at least judging from the item's fluff.

Manite-powered items and implants (along the aforementioned threshold that you should not overstep...) and the process of golmization are intriguing - much like Shadowrun's Cyberzombies, these beings may gain power, but also lose parts of their humanity - and the slow death sentence of the wasting constantly looms, putting these rules once again in the hands of the GM and the story to be crafted. Especially the rules here are great - e.g. alternate options that make the manite threshold unknown to the player and similar gritty options to evoke questions of humanity make this section top-notch in the inspiration-category. The greatly expanded and streamlined section of vehicle combat and customization also renders this component significantly more pronounced (and interesting) than I would have thought -with vehicle maneuvers, speeding thresholds and the like providing a rather exciting array of tactical options. This pdf's rules to avoid constant (and pretty meaningless) skill-checks for basic operation definitely are appreciated! I consider the rules herein more suited and closer in line to my own take on the concept, so yeah - kudos!

The book also sports a bestiary - on the plus-side, the awesome full-color artworks here should definitely be considered awesome and on par with the best out there. On the downside, most statblocks in PFRPG sport a very DISTINCT separation from offense, defense, etc. - while this is maintained, its visual cue is less pronounced - the respective headers for the statblock sub-sections are just as small as the rest of the text, which makes reading the statblocks slightly less comfortable than they should be.

We end this book with a brief treatise on the Darkfall, some fluff-only renditions of powerful corrupted and a handy index that facilitates utilizing this book.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-level - while I noticed quite a few small inconsistencies and minor hiccups, they did tend towards the type that does not (overly) impede the book's usefulness. Especially considering that this is the first book of Kyoudai games, you can color me intrigued for any further Thunderscape material. Layout adheres to a beautiful, yet still relatively printer-friendly two-column full-color standard. The book sports MANY original, beautiful full-color artworks - though the weapons and races fall a bit behind the otherwise Paizo-level artworks. Yes, this is a beautiful book. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

Don't start with the campaign setting. It's an old truism and one that mostly holds true - a campaign setting requires great fluff, great crunch, a big budget and it can go wrong in many, many ways. It requires a plethora of skills and is HARD to pull off. More so even when attempted for an established setting - even if that setting has not so far seen too much exposure.

Let's cut this short, shall we? Due to the unique options of Thunderscape, playtesting this took forever -there are many entwined components that require one another. Surprisingly, the rules-language employed is pretty precise even when tackling rather complex concepts. More surprising than that, though, would be the fact that the new classes, more often than not, offer a pretty unique playing experience. Shawn Carman, Rich Wulf and Christopher Koch have definitely excelled beyond my expectations in this book. Aden, as depicted herein, came more to life for me than it ever managed in the games of old - to the point, where I actually consider this a thoroughly compelling campaign setting I will gladly revisit. Granted, there is some sand in the finer components of the otherwise pretty well-oiled machinery that is this book, but seeing that this is a freshman offering, not for the authors, but for the company, and I'll gladly rate this 4.5 stars...and since I really enjoy the majority of choices herein, since the book offers so much coolness to scavenge and/or use, I will round up and slap my seal of approval on this book.

On another note - from now on, you'll also see Thunderscape-supplement-reviews, provided I can get my hands on them - I'm definitely intrigued to see whether they can live up to the excellent quality established in this book.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
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Thunderscape: Lost Lexicon, Part 1: Heart of the Machine
by Julian N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/22/2015 05:56:26

I’ve now read “Heart of the Machine”, part one of The Lost Lexicon adventure path for the Thunderscape setting… and I’m not sure I like it. It’s a 48 page PDF.

The first part of it (Chapter 1) describes the city of Mekanus, its history and various districts. There is also a lot of detail about two possible factions that the PCs might join, or not. This section is excellent, and includes a map overview of the city with its sections.

The second third of the book (Chapter 2) is devoted to Bounty Missions. While the town does have military forces, they are used against big threats and protecting the important/wealthy areas of the city. The PCs start the adventure by joining the Cogswheel Irregulars, who are semi-professional lawmen who do jobs to help deal with the problems that the authorities won’t. This section starts off by detailing how acceptable or not killing and looting is by the Cogswheel Irregular members. This is followed by several sample missions for a GM to use. This section ends with a four page mission generator; these cover bounty, security, courier, repossession and military missions.

Chapter 3 begins to develop the plot for the adventure, with the characters performing a particular security mission; this covers 6 pages. Chapter 4 covers the adventure’s finale; the PCs should be 4th level when they attempt this section, which covers 8 pages. The last two pages includes a new monster and random encounter tables.

This adventure feels very much like a “kit”. A GM will need to undertake serious preparation to ensure that it remains fun throughout; otherwise, it is just an endless collection a random missions, plus those encounters included in the book. There are no maps, aside from the map of Mekanus itself. Personally, I think that undertaking random missions for one class level (including the sample missions) would be enough to prevent too much repetition, and a series of mini-“dungeons” would work better.

On the other hand, there could be say 2-3 missions with 8-10 or so encounters (PCs taking on a gang in a dilapidated house for example), several 3-6 encounter missions, and several 1-2 encounter missions, with encounters being roleplaying, traps, physical combat or whatever, and there should be maps. If such a thing is done, then the assault on the bad guys’ lair should also be beefed up to 8-10 encounters or it will feel underwhelming, and in any case, the final chapter should require 3rd level PCs and just take them to 4th level, ready for the next adventure. What would also really help is if GMs who have run or plan to run this adventure post the missions they create somewhere in a thread to help others.

Sadly, the do-it-yourself element of Heart of the Machine does not make for a compelling or interesting first part of an adventure path, which is a shame, because Kyoudai books are normally fantastic. A GM could even start this campaign with other adventures beforehand to get the PCs to 3rd level, and start this adventure then, with the PCs arriving at the city as they reach 3rd level.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Lost Lexicon, Part 1: Heart of the Machine
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Thunderscape: Iron Guard Field Guide
by Julian N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/22/2015 05:54:00

"The Iron Guard Field Guide" is a class sourcebook for the Thunderscape campaign setting. It provides a chunk of options for characters of the golemoid and thunder scout classes, and more.

It is 36 pages long, and as well as all the crunch provided above, it includes background to the two classes and how they fit into the setting of Aden. Also provided are roleplaying tips for each class, and a table offering suggestions for how the character became a member of their class. In addition, there are two sample NPCs for each class, detailed at level 1, 6 and 12.

The options presented in this book are fun and interesting. This is just as good as Saints & Sinners and Law & Destiny. If you like the other two class books, you'll love this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Iron Guard Field Guide
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Thunderscape: Saints & Sinners
by Julian N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/25/2015 12:18:18

“Thunderscape: Saints and Sinners” is a class sourcebook for the Thunderscape campaign setting. It provides a chunk of options for characters of the fallen and thaumaturge classes, and more. Here is a summary:

General Mechanics • 5 new items • 3 new magic armour/weapon properties • 7 new magic items • 13 new feats • 8 new traits • Chimeric Archetype (Fallen) • Carnivore Archetype (Fallen) • Saint Archetype (Thaumaturge) • Soulless Archetype (Thaumaturge) • 1 new cleric domain • 1 new sorcerer bloodline

Fallen Mechanics • Apparition Stigma • Cataclysm Stigma • Drake Stigma • Drowned Stigma • Midnight Stigma • Rimeweaver Stigma • Sanguine Stigma • Scrapheap Stigma • Stormwracked Stigma • Withered Stigma

Thaumaturge Legends • The Arcadian • The Beast • The Champion • The Demon • The Faceless • The Fencer • The Haunt • The Holy • The Kraken • The Magister • The Martyr • The Sage • The Sentinel • The Woodsman

Thaumaturge Aspects • Acumen • Allure • Bloodlust • Conquest • Divinity • Firepower • Genius • Guile • Horsemanship • Inspiration • Nature • Poison • Potency • Punishment • Resolve • Solitude • Steadfastness • Vigor

Thaumaturge Greater Aspects • Arcana • Death • Defiance • Eternity • Intangibility • Invincibility • Lightning • Meditation • Mourning • Power • Precision • Purity • Radiance • Transference

It is 43 pages long, and as well as all the crunch provided above, it includes background to the two classes and how they fit into the setting of Aden. Also provided are roleplaying tips for each class, and a table offering suggestions for how the character became a member of their class. In addition, there are two sample NPCs for each class, detailed at level 1, 6 and 12.

The options presented in this book are fun and interesting. In fact several of the fallen abilities made me chuckle, while the thaumaturge options greatly increase the potential versatility of that class. The [i]channeler’s icons[/i] are a must have for thaumaturge PCs, IMO, as they act a bit like [i]pearls of wisdom[/i], allowing a character to reactivate a consumed aspect.

Other points: Personally, I think the [i]mythwrought[/i] weapon ability should have a flat +1,000 gp price increase rather than having a +1 bonus price modifier. It should also have the option to inflict energy damage other than fire, but only one type of energy (perhaps chosen when first wielded).

The corrupted claws ability gained at 16th level deals the same damage as at 4th level; I suspect that this should have been increased.

The stat blocks follow an unusual format in that the racial abilities, class abilities and favoured class bonuses are included in their own entries. They should really have been included in the special attack line, special quality line (and so on), as appropriate.

Overall, if you are a fan of the Thunderscape campaign setting, or just the class options, this book is worth getting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Saints & Sinners
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Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/20/2014 19:56:52

Thunderscape: the World of Aden Campaign Setting is an interesting book, obviously if you want to run a campaign set in the world of Aden this is a must buy item, but what if you are just a Pathfinder GM? Well, in that case, it depends on how much use you think you will get out of the new races, classes and rules. If you want to move your campaign in a more magical steampunk sort of direction, there are considerable tools to support that especially of you want to make vehicles more important to your game. Want to have a corrupting evil that spawns twisted agents? There are tools for that. For me, the insect druid Entropomancer is almost enough reason alone to have the book, but not every campaign has a place for such a class. But each GM will have to make the call for themself.

Thunderscape: the World of Aden Campaign Setting by Kyoudai Games for use with the Pathfinder RPG is based on the World of Aden used in the SSI computer game created by Shane Hensley and developed in both novels and source books. This current version is written by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf and was made possible by a Kickstarter. The World of Aden mixes magic with technology, steam-powered vehicles, gunpowder weaponry and mechanical golems. Opposing this are the sinister powers of the Darkfall and the nightmare creatures it has awoken. Found in Aden are seven new races and nine new classes: As well as traditional dwarves and elves (and half elves) such as: Faerkin, a small fey-touched race. The Ferran, race of magically evolved animals that come in various subraces, predator, brute and sneak, to allow them to be customized to various animal types. Goreaux and Jurak are variants of goblin and orc respectively. Rapacians are lizard folk. The most unusual are the Echoes, a spirit race that must take on the form of someone dead, and the Ilithix Exiles, a race of intelligent insects with interesting abilities from that heritage. The new classes draw upon the nature of Aden: The Arbiter mixes high, but focused, combat potential with an investigative skill set, though it remains primarily a combat-oriented class. A Druid variant, the Entromancer, which focuses on the control of insects and other such creatures and is by far my favorite class in the book. Several of the classes mix magic and technology, the Golomoid (who enhance themselves with golem-tech), the Mechamage (who make golems), Steamwright (steamtech tinkers) and Thunderscouts (master of vehicles). The Fallen are an interesting class, representing those who have been touched by the Darkfall but not subverted by it (though it can also be used to model those as well) who use the tools of evil to fight. Seers, who look beyond, and Thamaturges, who tap into the abilities of ancient heroes, also provide interesting options for characters. As a nice touch, three example characters (only a paragraph though) for each class are presented just to give a feel for the class in Aden. Existing classes are given a handful of new archetypes and how they fit into the setting of Aden as well as two example characters for each class. Next are traits and feats, the Folk Magic Trait is especially clever and has a potential wide application, while most of the feats apply to the new races and classes. A brief section covers new uses for skill in Aden, nothing groundbreaking but useful. Then it moves into history and the nations of Aden, each getting a multi-page description that lays it out as a place to go and adventure in with the current political and military situation and a lovely flag. It would have been nice to see some adventure hooks for each of the areas and points of interest, but what is here being serviceable. Next it is back to rules with new spells, after a discussion of the place of magic in Aden, mostly to fill out the spell selection for Entromancers and Mechamages. Followed by new equipment, including firearms, mechamagic weapons (magmaxe!), vehicles and rules for customizing vehicles, and a handful of new magic items. A selection of Aden specific monsters and templates finishes off the book along with an index (always useful). There is a considerable amount of useful material here for any Pathfinder game but it is very focused on the steam-magic world of Aden and will require adaptation, possibly considerable adaption, to fit into other campaign worlds.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
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Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
by Jere M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/16/2014 03:12:52

What is Thunderscape? Thunderscape - The World of Aden introduces readers to the battered but unbroken world of Aden, a world where knights and sorcerers fight shoulder to shoulder with mechamagical golems against the nightmarish hordes spawned by the Darkfall, a supernatural cataclysm of unknown origin.

It uses the Pathfinder Roleplaying system that I currently consider my favorite setting when playing D&D games.

LAYOUT Overall look and feel of the book is very good. From its parchment like pages to the small details of gears, shadow beasts and good artwork says “This is Thunderscape – the World of Aden”.

For me the book reminds a mix between the old 3rd edition D&D Forgotten Realms Campaign Settings book and Pathfinder Hardcover books. Some small details are noticeable though; many of the chapters begin with a artwork and a small description of what’s inside, while others begin with just the headline. This was the only detail that bothered me.

CHAPTER 1. Races of Aden Chapter details who the most common races of Aden and introduces all the new races found in it. While the chapter does provide decent information regarding each race much like many other campaigns settings books out there. It did leave me wanting more, but that might only be because I compare everything to one of my personal favorites “The Advanced Race Guide” which details each race with multiple pages.

This is a shame since the game brings a couple of really nice races to the game, I would have like to know more. Also artwork of the races while good seems little plain when comparing with rest of the book.

CHAPTER 2. Classes Now this is where the book begins to shine, Chapter 2 might be the best chapter in the book. Not only does it bring nine new core/base classes in to the game, each one as detailed as any provided by Pathfinder books, they are accompanied with the best artwork in the book to show us iconic character for each class.

Each of the classes brings flavor and detail to the world of Aden that will be hard to match by any other product out there. The dark Fallen that wield powers granted or cursed by Darkfall, Golemoids that infuse themselves with Mechamagic while trying to survive its price the Wasting and my personal favorite the Seer that combine the power of divine spell casting with a gift of prophecy. Also classes provided are very different from each other, so that you will find something that you like. You could even create a whole party just from these classes and you would have very versatile group.

Chapter also provides details how all the existing core and base classes function in Aden with a couple of example character descriptions to each class.

CHAPTER 3. TRAITS/FEATS/SKILLS While the chapter does provide nice amount of new feats it doesn’t quite reach the numbers that some of the campaign settings usually provide, but after 9 new classes full of new features to play with it doesn’t matter. It also provides a new trait called Folk Magic which speaks to how much magic is part of Aden in everyday life of its citizen.

Chapter also provides some new info regarding skills related to Aden’s technology.

CHAPTER 4. History of Aden This chapter is the first that doesn’t provide its own preview page which is little shame since it starts right after mechanics heavy sections in the book and first time I turned the page to it, I was certain my book was missing couple of pages.

Chapter itself while quite short, only half a dozen pages did provide nice amount of info about Aden’s history, which is expanded later in the book when it details each nation and its history. Also world of Aden is still quite young in real life so it’s understandable that it there isn’t more information.

CHAPTER 5. Life in Aden Also another one of my favorites, this chapter details the world of Aden and how it is different from so many other worlds we might already know. While the chapter only goes little inside each aspect of Ade, its those small details that bring the world to life in my mind.

Whether it’s a secret language of Thrun, what the cosmology in Aden is or how in the forest of Sylfanus elves tame Griffons, it all says this is Aden. Because when you read about Aden’s agriculture or what sort of wildlife is found in this part of Aden, you can immediately see in your mind what sort of place this might be.

Chapter also goes more into detail how religion in Aden is very different from most of other settings out there, because its people don’t worship gods. It also details shortly the major and minor faiths found in Aden.

CHAPTER 6 and 7. Nations of Aden I have reviewed these two chapters as one because they both focus on nations of Aden. The chapter expands the info you already got in chapters 4 and 5 as each nation gets brief description of its own history, lands and culture. As well as some major settlements found in it, what military they have and how they’re relationship is with other nations.

Every nation has enough information that you can decide where they want to adventure. It also provides enough info for GM’s to build from it. While I would have like to know more about everything, details provided are in line with what every other campaign setting provides in their main book, with additional details provided in future supplement books.

CHAPTER 8. Magic in Aden This chapter provides info how arcane and divine casters are defined in Aden with some information regarding the unique magical disciples. There are three major unique magical disciples in Aden that are Entomancy that involves insects, Mechamagic the most common that is fusion of Magic and Steam, and finally Thaumaturgy that is related to the most common belief people of Aden about spirits and afterlife.

While information provided is quite short it gives the reader enough info to use them in their games and provides some hints to possible sub disciples expanded in future books. Finally the chapter provides list of new spells that bring Aden’s unique feel to every spell casting class, old or new.

CHAPTER 9. Technology in Aden Again this is a chapter that in my mind is one of the best in the book. Not only does it provide info much technology is a part of Aden but it provides many examples to varies technological and magical wonders. New wonders include things like Lightning sword and Magmaxe. There are also details to various firearms that are much more common in Aden then in Pathfinder setting. There are so many new items, vehicles, alchemical items and armors found that you can really feel how much technology is part of Aden.

Finally the chapter provides more details to the Golemoids unique illness the Wasting and rules for piloting the new technological wonders.

CHAPTER 10. BESTIARY While relatively short chapter it does provide enough new information to show what sort of creature’s you might encounter in Aden. This is mostly done by providing sort of templates that you can add to any creature to create those unique creatures that roam the lands.

NATURE OF DARKFALL In the end the book provides a small section detailing the mystery of Darkfall and many theories surrounding its origin. For me Darkfall is a brilliant way to provide a sort of mystery that many gamers want to solve, while giving players a common enemy that even the most greedy thief or power hungry wizard is quick to oppose.

I’m certain that we will discover many new things about Darkfall in the future books.

CONCLUSION In my mind Thunderscape – World of Aden is one of the best Campaign setting books released and if I had to say anything bad about it. It would be that its 224 pages left me wanting more, more artwork and more details about everything that is Aden.

As a backer of the Kickstarter campaign that launched this product I’m really happy how great product Thunderscape Campaign setting turned out to be. And when considering that the Kyoudai Games is quite a small firm they have really shown us their worth with this. So if this is the sort of quality we can expect from them in the future, you can count on me to getting those as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
by Stefan L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/06/2014 16:59:51

I backed this on Kickstarter and the final product exceeds my expectation. Most of the art inside the book is stunning, the rules are a great adaption of the Thunderscape setting to Pathfinder.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
by brit m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/09/2014 17:35:18

This is the real deal. Very impressed with the quality and depth of this campaign setting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
by Scott E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/20/2014 13:56:35

Some of the best nostalgia I have had in a long time....



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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