(further edit and update.. after some further thought and having just completed the fires of ra extended adventure - for which I have a written review up if you'd like to read it - I've raised my rating from 4 stars to 5 for the godbox .. the godbox has it's own strengths .. a more extended look at the denizens of the Land Below than say the Fires of Ra provides for the Amazons .. but also the weaknesses mentioned below, weaknesses that aren't quite as much of a problem in the Nile Empire given it's " Why are you stopping to think so long? Action, action right now! " feel which makes both adventures not going into as much detail as I would like at times less of a problem for the Fires of Ra than the Godbox.. still, as I said below this adventure does an excellent job of capturing what it's like to adventure in the Living Land cosm)
(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
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!