Saturday, April 4, 2009

Adventurer's Guide to Cthonia (Alea Publishing Group)

I must admit, I have been waiting for this one for a while. A setting based on earth during the Dark Ages, but with magic. Not a ground-breaking idea (/wave TerraDave), but none the less a very interesting one. And if it is a campaign setting that you want, Chtonia delivers in spades. It's quite simply amazing how much great fluff they get crammed in there, despite all the crunch there is as well. They manage making abelievable setting, while keeping all the classic races and classes. I know I need to buy a thesaurus, but the tone and feel is just awesome/cool. There are also plenty of small gems in the mechanics (how druids become weaker the more urbanized the area they are in is, how arcane casters are hunted if they use powers in urban areas, some new keywords for weapons, a lot of flavorful and classic backgrounds, how to handle commands and last but not least, a very interesting pantheon and how nobility is handled as a magic item). Sadly, a lot of the crunch is quite broken. The noble multi-class is still good, but the possessed , while a cool idea, is quite useless if you strive for some sort of balance. Of all it's powers, only 7 have the appropriate implement/weapon keyword, or a scaling bonus to the attack. In short, they will be pretty darn useless. The PP's also suffer from a wide spectrum of issues, like missing keywords and one also breaks the economics of 4e. But then again, WotC managed to screw that up several times as well, so why shouldn't the 3PP's . Some powers are also quite broken (Weapon of the Inquisition for example), but it's perhaps among feats that you will find the worst of the offenders (Armor of the faithful: completely broken. every cloth-caster will multi into paladin (1 feat) and get armor of the faithful (1 feat) in order to get + 2 initiative, +2 all defenses and +2 speed). Buy this book (PDF), but beware of the bad crunch. I still think it is more than worth it.
Rating:* * * * *

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