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Torg Eternity - Nile Empire Sourcebook
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/15/2022 12:23:22

My apologies this is yet another review that goes on for so long I literally have to redirect you to a blogger post for the whole thing.. but even if you don't have the patience to read the whole thing (I wouldn't blame you :) ) the fact that I'm willing to write such an extensive review should tell you how much I enjoyed reading this book and for that matter the torg eternity books in general.

While not as strong an entry as say the Living Land or Orrosh sourcebooks (both absolutely worth the purchase price and which should be your first purchases as far as torg eternity cosm sourcebooks - see also if you like my review of said books) the nile empire cosm sourcebook was an enjoyable read for me and a worthy addition to the torg eternity line of cosm sourcebooks though it can, and should , be viewed as a "partner book" to the even better "fires of ra" mega-length prepublished adventure set within the Nile Empire.. the fires of ra does a great job of highlighting and emphasizing just how nonsensically fun in true four color pulp comic over the top unbelievable non stop action style nile empire adventures can be, as well the fires of ra acts as a companion piece to the nile empire book in that it fills in a lot of the blanks on the amazons who deserve more than one page write-up they get in the nile empire book (no doubt because the writers knew it would be covered in greater detail in the fires of ra anyways).

Unfortunately the same criticism I had of Aysle applies here albeit less so.. as I mention in my Aysle review given the epic, heroic, nature of the Aysle cosm it practically demands a lot of "write up" and content which the torg eternity team simply couldn't fit into a book the same size as all the other torg eternity cosm books.. as well a number of stats are needed that are not included in the torg eternity version which makes the original 1990's Aysle sourcebook a practical requirement, not just a recommendation.

In the case of the torg eternity nile empire book possession of the original 1990's torg nile empire book is not so much required as it is helpful, if nothing else for the stats given for high lord Mobius's second in commands, the overgovernors ... but the same problem with Aysle applies to the nile empire albeit to a lesser degree... and in all fairness this was an issue I felt even the original 1990's nile empire book struggled with.. the heady mix of ancient Egyptian mythology coming to life in the form of miracles and the worship of Mobius as the literal pharaoh by a transformed Egypt-earth populace , mathematicians and engineers who practice their own ancient Egypt style form of magic, and four color pulp comics of the 1930's complete with costumed heroes and villains and gangs of mobsters that have their own agenda heavily influenced by the Indiana Jones movies that can and should serve as inspiration for how any nile empire adventure is run.. it's absolutely a campaign setting you can have a lot of fun with...

...the problem is this creates an intriguing atmosphere that's so broad in scope it needs and deserves a longer, more detailed write up than it gets in torg eternity (and to be fair even the 1990's original nile empire book too) ... I do find myself hoping that this can be addressed with say a "cairo torg eternity city-book" in the future that describes life in Cairo, Egypt in greater detail complete with a longer writeup of notable competing mob factions and their agendas and plans, pulp heroes and villains and expanded notes on the scheming plots of said villains, the schemes of overgovernor Wu Han, a detailed look at the various districts and areas within Cairo, a detailed write up of the inevitable tombs and pyramids within Egypt and the guardians, treasures and secrets inside and so forth (it gets a four page or so writeup in the nile empire which was fun to read but honestly it could really use a full length sourcebook in and by itself, a not unfamiliar concept for old school 1990 torg fans like myself who enjoyed the "Berlin", "los angeles" and "tokyo" city sourcebooks although unlike the 1990's books I would argue more attention should be paid to the cosm the city is in or influenced by)... pulling that off would really make the nile empire "pop" and truly bring it to life. This is done to a lesser degree in the still excellent and well worth the purchase price fires of ra but given the epic scope and length of the adventure and how much it covers the writers would have had to triple the price and length of that book to give say Cairo the write up I'm recommending.

Still that says something right there, that I liked the Nile Empire so much that I want and need more of it so, again well worth the purchase price.. I am now about to go into the truly extended part of the review where I cite all the parts I liked and all the parts that I felt could do with some improvement which understandably might make your eyes glaze over :) and you might not want to read the whole thing.. the takeaway is this.. buy both the nile empire sourcebook and the fires of ra, read both, run the fires of ra with your players and you'll have a blast.. seriously, fires of ra is a ton of fun (though see also my review of fires of ra and the blogger post in there , I have a lot of ideas if you're interested for areas where I felt the fires of ra could have used some more detail ) and the GM and players will thoroughly enjoy running through it but I would argue the nile empire cosm book is essential to being able to run fires of ra properly.

The introductory flavor text for the Nile Empire is a lot different than the original 1990's torg nile empire book which is a lot more "dark" in nature but to me perfectly highlights Mobius's dark, evil, sinister not to mention insane nature.. the introductory text here is much more lighthearted in nature which was a turn off for me at first until I realized that it perfectly illustrates the over the top , action packed, humorous nature of nile empire adventures ... the part about the two storm knights, hard boiled pan pacifica detective and martial artist Zhi and light hearted core earth realm runner Aiden laughing in the face of the predictably "corny" , as befits a four color pulp comic villain, Wu-Han's completely and utterly comic-style-villain behavior .. as one would expect from the nile empire given the very reality of the cosm.. totally made sense and gives the GM an important clue, that bad guys should be run in an at times corny and clichéd, totally over the top fashion that will make PC's roll their eyes and/or make sarcastic comments.. though I do have fond memories of the original 1990's torg campaign I ran with the nile empire "law of corny-ness", a home brewed world law where PC's found themselves resorting to the same clichés and dramatic " good always wins evil will never triumph" speeches complete with dramatic poses, wind blowing stylishly though their hair... obviously given players can and should be protective of their control over their beloved creation (the player's PC) I didn't flat out declare the PCs HAD to start doing this but I was very generous in awarding possibilities to players who went along with it simply stating the PC was feeling the urge to be "corny" thanks to the change in reality itself the PC found themselves in due to Nile Empire axioms and it was up to the player if the PC went along with it or not. Interested players who took me up on it made the campaign all the more fun for me as a GM and for other players who got into it (with real life eye rolling from players who weren't such a big fan of it but who weren't aggravated enough to drop out of the game in real life either) and I heartily suggest you introduce this as a home brewed world law in your own torg eternity nile empire games.

The introductory "Welcome to the Nile Empire" section does a great job of outlining how different the Nile Empire is from core earth and why given the highlights I've mentioned above as well as the focus on the "pulp powers" heroes and villains alike wield whether it be weird science technology or powers natively inherent to said PC's or NPC's as well as describing how the nile empire is like, and not like, the 1930's era America that it draws inspiration from in terms of social norms and structure, the new government under Mobius' rule and how said government is enforced, where pulp heroes and villains are concentrated (apparently mostly cairo and the gaza strip) and the response military and otherwise to the beleaguered regions of earth next to the nile empire Mobius is working on conquering terrified of his reality bombs (see below) .

The writers also made a good point of pointing out that just because the pulp comics of the 1930's pandered to the at the time racial and chauvinistic stereotypes at the time that can and should be an embarrassment to our modern sensibilities doesn't mean that the GM has to "faithfully reproduce" this prejudice ... and indeed it makes sense , the nile empire is in it's own way an alternate version of Earth so just because there was prejudice against non-Caucasian races in 1930's Earth doesn't mean that the Nile Empire version of Earth necessarily developed that way... which is something I would have a discussion with players first in case there's some die-hard historian in the group who demands to know why say for example the Caucasians in the nile empire aren't being racist towards "persons of color" or why husbands aren't threatening to beat wives who have the temerity to go out and join the workforce with paid employment .. these are often the same historian-players who indignantly defend their "good aligned PC's" evil actions by detailing how brutal medieval times were to the point where mercy and compassion were foreign and alien concepts.

To be clear as I mention in my review of the Ororsh torg eternity sourcebook most of the players I've gamed with.. especially my gaming group from the 1990's when Torg first edition came out.. would love the opportunity to have their PC's punch a racist or chauvinist NPC in the face in-game (note that I said IN GAME, obviously I'm not advocating real life violence against even the worst racists and or/chauvinists let's not stoop to their level) and given the literally horrific nature of Orrosh there's a lot of opportunity for real life evil there in the Earth countries Orrosh takes place in (my home country of the USA has plenty of evil too so please don't think I'm playing favorites - again I go into more detail on this in my orrosh book review) to result in some monstrosity that players in Orrosh can have the pleasure of defeating in-game and at least symbolically dealing a blow to the real life prejudices that sadly haunt our real-life earth existence as made painfully clear if you look at any of the major news headlines... but given the light hearted comic book nature of the Nile Empire as satisfying as it would be for a player to punch a racist Nazi pulp powered villain in the jaw, introducing real life prejudice in the game to me would be a jarring experience at odds with the light hearted tone and feel of the nile empire cosm... on the other hand as I mention in the Israel-Palestine conflict ideas I had below there's an opportunity to include real-world conflicts in the torg campaign to really "bring it to life" so to speak provided the GM and players are comfortable with that sort of real-world controversy...

...still, given the admittedly enjoyable mish-mash of things that's already taking place .. Egyptian deity worship, 1930's era American culture, four color pulp comic reality and over the top Indiana Jones style action... somehow I feel like throwing some Nazi in there snarling and being racist and anti-Semitic would somehow get lost given everything that's already taking place ... I could be wrong and a player playing say a Jewish PC who's already being oppressed under Mobius's rule since the Jewish PC is not free to practice his/her religious beliefs (along with fellow oppressed Muslims, Christians, and Bantu religious worshippers see below in that) might take great pleasure in punching a self proclaimed Nazi villain from the nile empire in the face.. sadly anti-Semitism is still very much a thing as our real world news headlines regarding attacks on Jewish synagogues by white supremacist power groups tells any observer. This does however beg the question as to whether or not the Jewish religion even exists on Mobius's home cosm of Terra, as well as the religions of Christianity and Islam or for that matter if the Jews were persecuted in Terra the same way they were here in real life earth during world war two, a question the GM would have to address if the GM wants to make Nazi pulp villains prejudiced in the same way real world Nazi’s were/are. If you go by the 1990's torg terra book these religions are listed as existing in Terra as well, and Hitler is described as the hate mongering racist that he was in our "real life" Earth although nothing is said about whether he fomented hatred towards the Jews of Germany in Terra.

Having said that the book does appear to have a personality conflict with itself... page 8 of the book states " While Torg Eternity encourages players to enjoy all the over-the-top action and drama of the 1930s pulps, we want to make it clear that this can be done without reinforcing racism, sexism, and other prejudices. If you use the archetypes of the period we urge you to make them nuanced, layered characters rather than damaging caricatures. You are not obligated to adhere to damaging stereotypes when playing any character." .. but page 80 of the book states " A 21st Century Core Earther feels as if they’ve journeyed back in time about 75 years. Although women and men do enjoy legal equality, they still have strict gender roles, and those who defy those roles are subject to derision and shame. Social mores

are very much "pre-60s." So which is it as far as women’s' rights are concerned? I suppose you could enforce the 1930's view that if children behaved badly it was the mother's fault as the "primary caregiver" for example but this really seems to fly in the face of what was mentioned on page 8 and honestly I felt uncomfortable even just typing that example "out loud"... I would amend what page 80 says to the following.. basically, men and women are equal in the nile empire, period, and while the social norms of the 1930's do apply they apply to both men and women equally.. for example both men and women would be openly ridiculed if it's clear they're engaging in intimate physical relations with someone before marriage and would be expected to at least do this in secret behind closed doors with it being a rather scandalous thing if it was exposed publicly (although obviously say your average bad guy NPC isn't going to care about social standards in the slightest in this area I would imagine nor are they going to care about the public's opinion of them... then again given that Mobius's shocktroopers are the everday police and enforcers of the nile empire perhaps even they are expected to at least "keep up appearances").

Likewise, given the average 1930's American was expected to be a devout Christian and the church was important, I would replace this with the Egyptian deity worship in the nile empire with great importance placed on at least giving the pretense of honoring the Egyptian deities (and pharaoh Mobius as well as their divine representative in the nile empire), attending routine Egyptian deity services of worship and so forth... note that's in reference to transplants coming in from Dr. Mobius's home cosm of Terra, in the case of transformed Egyptians it's much more simple - they're reverted back to a form of the Egyptian deity worship their long ago ancestors practiced at one point thanks to the nile empire axiom wash albeit with the twist that Mobius is the divine pharaoh selected by their deities.. the patriotism of your average 1930's American is already covered thanks to the near fanatical belief in Mobius your average Egyptian feels thanks to the nile empire axiom wash with transplants from Terra simply having felt that way all along anyways... I would imagine most of these social norms can be carried over to say the parts of Africa mentioned in the Nile Empire sourcebook that have transformed to Nile Empire reality although as the book mentions the fanatical devotion to Mobius that resulted due to the axiom wash (and weird science "pylons" Mobius used to boot) isn't the case in Nile Empire conquered areas outside of Egypt where they're more likely to go along with what Mobius says just because he's a power mad dictator who will kill them otherwise (as the book states his shocktroopers administrating and patrolling conquered areas of Africa are either transformed formerly core earth Egyptians or migrants from Mobius's home cosm Terra, fanatical followers of Mobius either way) . Of course violating any of those particular social norms (openly showing religious beliefs other than the official state religion and/or openly defying Mobius's rule) doesn't result in just being socially shamed, it results in being rounded up by shocktroopers and tossed in jail or an even worse fate.. as the nile empire book states Mobius runs a dictatorship being an evil kind of guy.

It's a bit of a head scratcher how an average citizen of the nile empire would react to a member of the LGBT population given that such a member of the population would face extreme prejudice in 1930's America yet as page 8 mentions it's best to forego prejudice entirely in the nile empire and, again, given the light hearted comic adventure nature of the realm it seems like a rather ugly thing introducing prejudice against the LGBT population in the Nile Empire.. given this is an area the writers have not addressed I would handle it the following way.. it's unusual (in other words the heterosexual population is far greater than the LGBT population) but not entirely unheard of.. so your average Nile Empire citizen might react with surprise at first when discovering someone is LGBT but then think about it, remember they've heard stories about someone who was LGBT and that person was an, to use nile empire speak " Okay guy / Okay gal " , shrug their shoulders and then continue speaking, the person's status as LGBT clearly not having much of an impact beyond the initial " that's unusual around here" reaction. Likewise while the average Nile Empire citizen might react with surprise at first when encountering say two married men or two married women given it's uncommon compared to the larger number of heterosexual married couples, they're going to stop, think about it, remember " Oh yeah I heard about a couple like that in the town next door.. didn't hear anything bad about them though" and then proceed to just treat the same-sex couple like everyone else, meaning that marriage between same-sex genders is legal in the nile empire although a same sex couple suspected of or who is engaging in pre-marital physical relations would endure the same social derision a heterosexual couple would face for not waiting until marriage. In my heart of hearts I would like to assume this (the lack of discrimination beyond the initial surprise) applies in all the nile empire conquered areas, a result of the axiom wash. Note also the writeup in the book of one of Mobius's overgovernors.. "when Natatiri is seducing men or women in order to achieve her goals, she manages to hide her true feelings." page 96

The Terra sourcebook was mentioned earlier on ... as I've mentioned in my other torg eternity reviews I really do feel like the torg eternity team should have drastically lowered the price of the original 1990's torg books to at most a few dollars per title treating them as additional "world building" supplemental role playing material that really should have been included (a simple copy and paste would have done the trick) in the revised torg eternity books not to mention stats for important NPC's included in the original 1990's torg books but left out of the torg eternity books as I note later on below.. having said that I would argue to really bring the nile empire to life that one not only pick up the 1990's torg nile empire book but also the terra book for the stats of several notable heroes (Dr. Frest, the Guardian and others) as well as their background stories and the background stories and stats for pulp villains that can be easily adapted and plunked into torg eternity, a detailed look at the alternate history of Terra compared to core earth, a more in depth look at Mobius's backstory after his resurrection and his activities in Terra (one interesting fact was Mobius never "conquered" terra in terms of setting up stelae and draining possibilities from it, essentially leaving his home cosm "alone" in favor of conquering other cosms instead), little details that really make the world building / role playing aspect pop like a detailed description of the life style of various lower, middle and upper class social stratas

( I really enjoyed that part in terms of how it "brings the world to life", for example the almost financially destitute lower class barely hanging on, the not quite so bad but still lower class , the upper class factory owner and so forth)

a detailed description of gear easily adapted to torg eternity, and what I consider to be a far better adaption of the law of morality in torg as opposed to the majority of people being more of a mixture of good and evil (your average citizen who isn't say a shocktrooper) and the detailed explanation as to how this works .. while the part about the majority of people being of "good" inclination admittedly wouldn't work on nile empire conquered Egypt lest the population promptly rise up against Mobius (so there the more murky "not clear cut good or evil" bit is necessary) , I loved the description-examples of say the good inclined reporter who has to report the truth in order to "save people" and "let them know" even if costs the reporter her job (a time honored but enjoyable cliché) versus the evil inclined teacher who freely gives out " F " grades even when the student presumably didn't deserve it because the teacher enjoys watching children cry... another situation in which the 1990's torg books really nail the world building/role playing concept in a way the torg eternity books simply don't have the "room" to do so due to their focus on "big picture" concepts... and while I understand the budgetary constraints the torg eternity team was working under (people might pay $20 for a pdf copy of a cosm sourcebook but ballooning the cost to $30 to get all that extra material in there might cost the torg eternity team sales) again I would argue the original 1990's torg books need to be deeply discounted in price and treated as optional but valuable supplemental material for interested torg GM's and players.

The sidebar on page 9 regarding the "power level" of heroes in the nile empire should be carefully expanded on by the GM to players lest you have disappointed players on your hands. .. the sidebar says Batman, Green Arrow and Daredevil would be examples of the appropriate "power level" of nile empire heroes as opposed to say spider man or wonder woman who would be far beyond the abilities of your average nile empire pulp hero (or villain)... however the depiction of Batman and Daredevil in the comics , and even Green Arrow in his famous TV show Arrow of the CW network, varies wildly to the point where it depicts all three heroes as far more powerful than your average starting nile empire hero.. explain to your players that due to game balance requirements, super powers or no they aren't going to necessarily be more powerful than say an extremely skilled core earth soldier with the appropriate perks making him or her tough to kill .. basically nile empire heroes start out being as powerful as the other PC's not more so.. given enough experience points nile empire pulp heroes can obviously level up and grow more powerful as time goes by but so will their fellow non nile empire PC's presumably such that the power levels are still the same.. basically the players should be thinking more of the "flavor" of the character they want to play... do they want to play a truly "heroic hero" , over the top in comic book style who lives for death defying moments in the fight against the forces of evil? Does the player enjoy being openly "corny" and "hamming it up" with overly melodramatic speeches? If so then Nile Empire is the way the player should go with a PC but more due to the role playing aspect than because the player is looking to "power game".

Despite the fact that the Nile Empire is a dictatorship it's worth keeping in mind that Mobius is described as being a "big picture" kind of guy who is primarily interested in beating other High Lords and conquering more of core earth and taking down those interfering storm knights and especially his hated opposition the Mystery Men (pulp heroes of the Nile Empire) ... his underlings certainly can and do enforce said dictatorship anyways but also openly or quietly compete with each other which basically explains in my opinion how the PC's can move around safely in conquered areas of the Nile Empire as long as they aren't brazenly defiant of Mobius's rule in public ...unless of course a situation arises where they have to do their job as heroes - Mobius is just one of many bad guys they have to fight after all - in which case the PC's will also have to deal with shocktrooper foes in addition to their other problems though as the fires of ra mega-adventure shows this isn't necessarily an overwhelming problem that can't be overcome the same way it might be in other cosms - the very nature of the nile empire means the PC's will likely overcome overwhelming odds on a routine basis and which is also mentioned in the axioms and world laws section of the nile empire sourcebook.

It's also interesting that while the nile empire sourcebook says the police handle facing off against criminals (said police obviously being transformed to persons who now see Mobius as "the law" in Egypt or the police chief and all dissenting officers presumably being replaced with people loyal to Mobius or at least afraid of him in nile empire conquered areas outside of Egypt) , in the fires of ra adventure the PC's are described as having to face off against shocktroopers in Egypt if they draw too much attention to themselves.. personally I'd explain it as the following.. the police handle "routine" lawbreakers and are the first line of offense against them but in the case of "extremely dangerous criminals" (the PC's would obviously qualify as would any fellow storm knight and/or known delphi council agent) the police either show up to confront the PC's but call in shocktrooper backup that arrives shortly thereafter.. or , the better option in my case, the police are ordered to leave dangerous situations like that alone completely and have "the military" (shocktroopers) brought in to handle it much like core earth's military being brought in instead of or alongside the police in particularly dangerous situations.. stats for a core earth police officer are given on page 266 of the torg eternity core rules which a GM could use for their nile empire version, but omit the ballistic vest , give them the truncheon described on pages 148-149 of the core rules and give them either a Mauser Pistol or an M1918 BAR rifle as described on page 148-149 of the core rules instead of the more modern firearm a core earth officer would have.

Of course it's entirely possible you'll have confused players who want to know what the police are doing in the nile empire and why they follow Mobius as well as presenting the PC's with a moral dilemma... do they attack and kill police officers who are simply doing their sworn duty and who genuinely see the PC's as the bad guys? The situation is sticky enough such that a GM might even consider avoiding sending police in completely especially given that, as pages 181-182 of the core rules makes clear (the PC's moment of crisis that allowed them to become possibility rated involving making a deliberate choice for good over evil and the storm knight's listed role of protecting innocents.. not to mention it's clear from reading the fires of ra , or the godbox or delphi council rising storm for that matter, published adventures that the writers clearly expect the PC's to unquestionably be the good guys in order for the adventures to function properly) there should never be any doubt that the PC's are the good guys... unless the GM feels like the players can handle the responsibility and will find some way to sneak away or defuse the situation without killing police officers.

The end notes at each warzone section come in very useful here and are greatly appreciated in terms of telling the GM what "typical" threats might be to PC storm knights in that particular warzone area as far as NPC's they'll have to overcome complete with stats.. one big drawback is that the masked marauder only has one set of stats (the nile empire pulp villain basically) and I do find myself hoping someone using the Torg Infiniverse license will come up with a mini-sourcebook of nile empire pulp comic book villains, or maybe a combination of pulp heroes (mystery men) and villains, who is the arch foe of whom and how each one feels about all the others which would be a huge asset to the Nile Empire setting. A lot of pulp villains are given in the fires of ra and fights with them prior to the fires of ra could conceivably make the fires of ra all the more fun to run when the players have to fight the same pulp villains they fought before but it's critically important that the GM go over the world laws described in this book including the law of inevitable return and how both PC's (as the introductory nile empire adventure in the "day one" pay what you want sourcebook makes clear .. grab it and don't feel guilty if you can only pay say one dollar or less the writers intend it as the gateway drug towards you buying more torg products :) ) and villains alike who are seemingly "killed" show up again and again with some unbelievable story as to how they survived ... warning players ahead of time that "death doesn't take .. normally" will hopefully help relive player frustration especially when you point out that in real life comic books heroes and villains always come back from the dead and that's just the nature of the nile empire (and I've found RPG players are often comic book fans as well so hopefully this will strike a chord with them).

At this point I feel like I'm in danger of exceeding the word count for this review so I will direct you to my blogger post below in case you want to read the rest of it but hopefully what I've written above will give you enough reasons to consider picking up the nile empire sourcebook which, again, especially in combination with the fires of ra adventure, is just plain fun.. a lot of wonderfully dramatic over the top fun.

https://andrerpgreviews.blogspot.com/2022/11/nile-empire-torg-eternity-extended.html



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Nile Empire Sourcebook
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Torg Eternity - Core Rules
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/15/2022 12:18:36

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 ).

(yet some more edits and updates... -this was originally part of my upcoming review of the fires of ra but it occurs to me that I should note this under my review of the torg core rules as well...

In the temple among the threats the PC's encounter are a swarm of spiders... which raises one issue I've had with the torg eternity write up of certain threats.. the adventure forces the PC's to test against fear.. I wince at the thought of the following conversation between the players and the GM

The next part of the adventure of course involves another temple , with traps..

" Why are we testing for fear?"

"because it's a scary situation?"

"In what way? Supernatural magical fear? Mind control against us to make us afraid?"

(gm shrugs shoulders) " It's just a scary situation"

Trust me when I say from my previous experience that this does NOT go over well with players - short of overt supernatural or psionic influence they do not like being told how their characters will react in a given situation since you're basically seizing control of the most precious of their assets in the game - their characters - and if you have a player who's deeply into the role playing out the PC's personality aspect (like say I am as a player, and not to give myself too much credit but from what I've seen the same kind of player a lot of GM's end up wanting to keep in the gaming group too ) they will especially be upset with this given that they already have very firm ideas as to how their beloved PC will react in any given situation.

Instead I would do the following and I'm slapping myself on the head wondering why I didn't think of this before in my previous reviews of other torg books.. announce to the players it's a very scary situation with being enclosed in a tomb and a swarm of spiders crawling all over them that can kill them due to their pincers and claws .. vividly describe what a possible death would look like, the PC vanishing from view disappearing under a constantly moving blanket of black colored deadly vermin.. then tell the players that PC's who choose to take a negative penalty in this situation .. say the Very Stymied result that is normally the result of a failed fear test (page 263 core rulebook)... gets one possibility (maybe even 2 if they role play out their PC's fear very well) for their efforts. This leaves it in the hands of the players as well it should be in my opinion.. make a point of clarifying to the players that they don't get this bonus in the case of supernatural (magical , spiritual produced by miracles or the like) or psionic effects that cause fear , only in situations where it's really up to the player whether or not the PC gets frightened in that particular situation. I would use this tactic for every threat in Torg where the GM feels the fear isn't supernatural or psionic in nature.. for example coming face to face with a high lord, one would assume the PC's feel the full weight of the high lord's darkness device supporting said high lord, which itself probably qualifies as a cosmic force ... or coming face to face with monsters from orrosh who inspire fear automatically due to the very nature of reality in the realm.. monsters from Tharkold or Asyle could have the same effect due to their obviously supernatural nature, let's say a fear aura that supernaturally radiates from them .. but threats the players could encounter in "real life earth" like this shouldn't automaticaclly call for a fear check in my honest opinion, nor should fights against say a ravagon just because the ravagon is a fierce warrior (unless the ravagon has been say turned into a monster of orrosh for example lost to the power of corruption).

another edit and update.. many, many torg eternity foes are listed as having the power to take away cards from a player's hand on a successful approved action or interaction attack.. I remember doing this as the original 1990's torg rules told me to do to my players and I remember the disappointed looks on their faces when I did that to the point where I just stopped completely .. while I do realize this could create a problem in terms of game balance I'm not sure I enjoy the thought of encouraging players to do something other than " I attack ! " , rewarding them for their efforts with a card, and then taking the same card away later on.... as a house rule I'd suggest instead that bad guys who succeed at such an action are awarded a possibility (maybe have them spend the possibility immediately on their following action so the GM doesn't have to do too much record keeping there) or in the case of non possibility rated bad guys simply have them recover one shock point of damage.

Also if you have the time to write up torg adventures of your own.. the superb Living Land and Orrosh cosm sourcebooks are great for this and packed with all sorts of information and resources that makes this a lot easier than one might expect.. much to my surprise reddit has turned out to be a great source for battlemaps if your gaming group is into this sort of thing, more often than not given away for free to the public.. so for example if a GM is writing up an adventure that involves say a ritual sacrifice in a cavern and s/he does a google search for " ritual sacrifice cavern rpg map reddit " , the inclusion of the word "reddit" will direct you to a number of reddit forums devoted exclusively to rpg maps ... I ended up joining a few of those forums just so I could follow them and download a lot of very, very impressive free to use maps.. for left wing leaning liberals like me :) who are nervous about using reddit I am pleased to say that they appear to have outgrown the reputation they had earlier on of having a ton of hate speech posts.. I supposes if you deliberately go looking for that sort of thing on reddit you can find it but if you don't I found that it doesn't just come out and slap you in the face I thought it would.. in other words don't be afraid of reddit's bad reputation in the past and give their map forums a chance .. or for that matter their other forums where I've found all sorts of useful advice on say computer components but that's a whole another story)

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 - Aysle - Revenge of the Carredon
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/04/2022 18:29:48

I've read reviews from some Torg Eternity fans that say this is their favorite mega-length extended prepublished adventure and I can see their point... the adventure does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the mythic quest across a fantasy land while deftly interspersing the elements of our "real world" Earth and it's interaction with said fantasy land, Aysle.. the written descriptions of the scenes the PC's see are startlingly beautiful

(though, as I've mentioned in my review of the godbox, I would caution the GM against reading the parts where it goes on to say for example " You reluctantly tear your gaze away from the sight before you" amending that to something like " Any normal person would find themselves hard pressed to tear their gaze away from the sight before them" and let the player decide how their PC reacts.. players are (understandably) touchy about a GM dictating how their beloved creation.. their player character.. acts short of some sort of supernatural mind control or something to that effect and this unfortunately is a mistake the Torg writers are prone to making (see also my comments/suggestions on the Torg Eternity core rules about how to handle creatures and foes that are supposed to inspire fear "just because" without the fear being obviously supernatural, psionic, and so forth in nature) ...

On the other hand the adventure suffers from a startling lack of detail at times which can make it difficult to get the players to adhere to the plotline that they need to follow simply for the adventure to take place ... I admire how much action and adventure that the writers have packed into this publication and I would argue for that alone you'd definitely get your money's worth and that this is worth the purchase price... indeed it should be viewed as the other half of the Torg eternity aysle sourcebook, one book being basically "incomplete" without the other and serves as a prime example of how to make Aysle come to life in the Torg campaign... however this is one of the few occasions where, unless a GM is very good at coming up with stuff on his or her own at the spur of the moment when there's a "blank" in the adventure the GM is forced to address, I would argue that my lengthy (if you can stay awake through it that is :P ) blogspot entry below is not optional, but rather required at least for the first and third acts of the adventure simply to give the GM ideas on how to get the adventure back on track ..or even to get the adventure to function in the first place.. and if nothing else the blogger link below gives links to several maps and possibilities for pictures of NPC's which the writers have left out.

Which is another thing.. while I had criticisms of the godbox and fires of ra for areas where the writers left out a battlemap for conflicts that would have been helpful, I was very surprised by how few maps were put into revenge of the carredon in comparison to say the godbox or the fires of ra. Fortunately in this day and age of the modern internet a google search will turn up a wide variety of maps that could work for you with some modifications especially with the use of the free download infranview's paint dialogue tool/function.

My usual criticism of the lack of stats for NPC's applies here too but I was very surprised at the lack of statistics for crucially important NPC's like say Ardinay or to a lesser degree her chief arch magus ..

For the first act of the adventure I would argue that the torg eternity aysle sourcebook simply does not give the GM all the information s/he needs to run the courtly intrigue part of it properly ... I address this as well in my upcoming review of the Aysle torg eternity sourcebook but I would argue, even more so than the similar argument I made for the torg eternity version of the cyberpapacy sourcebook, that the original 1990's aysle sourcebook originally published by west end games is an absolute requirement , not only for Ardinay's stats but also for the much more in depth look it gives into the world of Aysle, the political factions that make up the various noble houses (important for act one of the adventure), the corsair sea faring folk (important for act five of the adventure) a much more in depth look at the deities of Aysle and some fascinating ideas about how intelligent "monsters" from Aysle adapt to their new Aysle conquered earth surroundings and even take advantage of it .. the "giants" (honestly more like the ogres of the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game but slightly more intelligent) acting as an enforcer for hire (giant bruiser template) in a three piece business suit is nothing short of hilarious. Armed with all three books.. the torg eternity aysle sourcebook, the original aysle sourcebook from the 1990's for it's wealth of information on the "home cosm" of Aysle itself, and the revenge of the carredon the GM can really make this adventure "sing" and have it live to it's fullest potential.

On the other hand more casual GM's and players may not need the original 1990's Aysle sourcebook at all .. it may be a situation like this

players: " so tell us again why we have to impress all these stuck up nobles?"

GM: " Because the adventure says so"

players: " Oh , okay " (players proceed to stay put at the dinner and insult the nobles back who are insulting the PC's)

... though admittedly the adventure doesn't require the PC's to impress the nobles for the adventure to proceed along it's established plotline .. but for GM's like myself and the players I prefer to game with who are big on the whole world building/detailed role playing aspect of RPG's we're definitely going to need more background information.. a LOT more.. than what the adventure provides.

Also worth noting is that GM's may actually enjoy the "blanks" the adventure leaves for the GM to fill in and simply fill in those blanks spontaneously, on the spur of the moment, in a manner that the GM feels suits his or her particular gaming group and expand on those ideas later on as the campaign progresses.. this is a time honored tactic GM's have used over the years in which case the adventure would not be viewed as lacking as all in terms of areas it leaves unaddressed and more so of a very large "skeleton" of many, many scenes and multiple acts with many areas the GM can happily fill in on his or her own.. in which case my extended blogger post below may be of no use whatsoever :) but I'd still encourage you to skim it just for the suggestions of battlemaps and their links on the internet if nothing else in case such a battlemap should become necessary or desired by the players or GM.

Despite all of these many criticisms.. which means I can only at most give this a 4 out of 5 star rating compared to say the godbox or fires of ra.. at the end of the day it's still a beautifully written adventure jam packed full of the epic adventures and sagas that are at the heart of any fantasy themed epic quest that a GM and players alike can have a lot of fun with if the GM is willing to put in that additional work.. or simply if the GM and players don't care in the first place and just "wing it for the sake of the story" where appropriate. If you have the patience to read through my admittedly incredibly (sorry :) ) long blogger post link listed below I have a lot of ideas about how to fill in the missing blanks including links to various maps generous mapmakers have made free to use on the internet a GM could use.

I was pleased to see that this adventure, given that it takes place in the second half of the first year of the possibility wars, was written as an adventure for beta clearance player characters, that is PC's who have accumulated at least 50 experience points (see the pay what you want torg eternity beta clearance player's primer). This allows you to run this adventure despite the PC's having played through say the godbox or fires of ra longer published adventures (see if you like my review of the godbox and the fires of ra) or even if the PC's went though all the adventures in the delphi council rising storm (all three of these are recommended and worthwhile purchases but as far as bang for your buck delphi council rising storm gives you a lot of adventures for the money you pay for it - I'll be writing a review for that one too soon). As the beta clearance player's primer states the PC's have to get to the 200 experience point mark before you start running Gamma clearance adventures for them so conceivably PC's could have gamed though the godbox, fires of ra and all the delphi council rising storm adventures and still play through this one although if you go that route you'll have Gamma clearance PC's at that point and, as the pay what you want beta clearance primer gamesmaster's guide states, want to start using the suggestions in there to ratchet up the challenge level for future published material you run the PC's through.

As I've been saying in all of my Torg publication reviews, in order to fully enjoy a Torg campaign to it's maximum potential you need to buy the torg cosm sourcebooks and with certain adventures like the Fires of Ra it's mandatory... which isn't necessarily a bad thing, they're well written sourcebooks that are a joy to read... try either the Living Land or the Orrosh sourcebook first , in my opinion the two best written torg cosm sourcebooks (see my reviews for them if you like).. while the Aysle sourcebook is admittedly the one I gave the lowest rating to for basically being an ambitious, noble attempt that is just too broad reaching to be properly addressed in a 160 page book (see also my upcoming review of the Aysle sourcebook later on), it's still definitely a worthwhile buy given the number of times the PC's are going to end up in Aysle if you run the Torg prewritten adventures - including of course this one.

Also enjoyable was the detailed look at Oxford presented in the adventure - this appears towards the end of the book but GM's should definitely read up on it prior to running the first scene of the first act of this adventure. The detailed look at the Carredon should also be read (also appearing at the end of the book) prior to running the adventure.... not only due to it's importance to the adventure but also due to the secrets revealed in general about the Gaunt Man, Utherion, Aysle and the Gaunt Man's end goals as far as the invasion of Earth, all of which are of critical importance to any Torg campaign.. the information there ties in neatly to the relevations in the Aysle and Orrosh sourcebooks which, again, I would argue are essential to being able to run a Torg campaign along with all the other cosm sourcebooks for that matter (the Orrosh sourcebook in particular is a very enjoyable read packed with lots of resources for a gamesmaster and absolutely worth the purchase price).

My criticism of the godbox and fires of ra applies here too in terms of a lack of NPC statististics for NPC's who are clearly intended to be plot devices or who are simply deemed too unimportant to be worthy of a stats write up ... which can nonetheless be a disadvantage for the gamesmaster if an annoyed PC targets said NPC (particularly the ones written up in sucn a way as to antagonize a PC) with a spell or attack or what not... also there are situations where a battle map is not provided for certain conflicts though as I mention in my other reviews there are GM's and players who don't bother with maps at all and favor a purely narrative approach for whom this probably won't be a problem at all... for gaming groups who prefer battle maps however I've found, surprisingly enough, reddit to be a valuable resource online if you do a google search using say the words "reddit modern rpg map trenches" for example.

Not only would I say that the Aysle Torg Eternity sourcebook (not to mention the original 1990's Aysle sourcebook) are requirements to run this adventure properly, I would also say that the gamesmaster absolutely should re-read the "warzones" section of the Aysle torg eternity sourcebook prior to running this adventure .. worth noting as well are the specific-to-the-Aysle cosm Aysle possibilities and the Aysle torg eternity note (page 63) that said possibilities are awarded for either role playing and choices that reinforce the Light or Darkness in the realm... in other words making a moral choice for good over evil (the reverse, making a choice for evil over good, will as I mention in my review of the Aysle torg eternity book lead to a world of headaches for the GM and definitely should not be encouraged unless the GM is willing to put in the time and energy to write up all sorts of "evil PC" scenarios that go beyond the original scope and content envisioned by the torg writers for their prepublished adventures) ... or the aysle specific possiblities could be awarded as a result of Aysle cosm cards played from the drama deck. I find the wording a bit confusing here although it's identifical in pretty much every cosm sourcebook at the beginning of the gamesmaster section.. however given the wording .. " Between acts, when you refresh Possibilities, you may keep the same number of Aysle Possibilities (up to the maximum refresh) or reset them to standard Possibilities."... I'm tempted to say that this means players have a separate pool of Aysle possibilities that get reset to three when the PC's proceed from one Act to the next in addition to the standard pool of three possibilities each PC's pool resets to when going from one Act to the next. While technically the players could simply convert them into regular possibilities for a total of six if I'm correct given there's no real limitation on the effectiveness of them (as opposed ot say for example the Living Land cosm possibilities which don't give a minimum 10 result when spent on skills that exceed the axioms, nature and reality of the Living Land like say Land Vehicles) I don't see any reason for players to convert them into normal possibilities.

As with the godbox and fires of ra reviews I had so many suggestions that it was impossible to put them all in within the space constraints of reviews here on drivthru rpg so if you like see the blogger link below for my many, many ideas as far as potential battle maps and links to them found online, thoughts on areas of the adventure where I felt the writers could go into more detail and my suggestions and so forth... even if you don't have the patience to read the whole thing (I wouldn't blame you :) ) at least skim it for the links to various rpg maps the mapmakers have generously made free to the public to use.

My usual warning follows if you do read that blogger post... if you're a player not the GM reading that blog could spoil your enjoyment of the adventure on the one hand.. on the other hand if you've purchased this with your hard earned money and simply hand it over to the GM without reading it I can see how that would be a bit annoying.. as well I know players who are mature enough to keep player and in character knowledge separate from each other during a game session and who even go so far as to subtly aid the GM by having their PC wander over to "wherever the plot is thickest" knowing already the overall plotline the adventure is expected to follow.. a helpful tactic as other players tend to follow suit if nothing else as so not to "divide the party" and an enormous boon to the GM.

I'll go into this in more detail in my upcoming review of the torg eternity aysle sourcebook too but one disadvantage a lot (not all .. the Living Land is a noticeable exception to this) of the torg eternity cosm sourcebooks have is that they don't go into the same loving detail with regard to the original invading cosm's world history and culture the same way the original 1990's torg books did.. the torg eternity folks have done a great job of cleaning up the original 1990's torg rules, improving it and making it more widely accessible to players and GM's alike but for GM's and players like myself who are a huge fan of in depth detailed lore regarding campaign worlds the original 1990's torg books are a worthwhile purchase .. as well they provided starting stats the GM can use for important NPC's that are left out of the torg eternity publications sometimes like say Pella Ardinay's stats (while she's intended primarily as a plot device I was very surprised to see a lack of stats for her in both the aysle torg eternity cosm sourcebook and the revenge of the carredon book) but you can find a starting baseline for her stats in the 1990's aysle sourcebook.. honestly I would just lift her stats entirely from there with appropriate changes introduced in torg eternity like ignoring the copmlicated spells rules structure in 1990's torg, give Ardinay the spellcaster perk multiple times to give her a wide array of spells and so forth.

As with other torg eternity prepublished adventures the writers assume (or I think I do for the revenge of carredon adventure book anyways, there's some startling scenarios the writers account for that in my opinion would send the PC's veering into the full on evil fallen to Darkness category) PC's are the good guys who will adhere to a higher standard of morality than your average person.. for example the moment of crisis section in the torg core rulebook states that the PC makes an active choice for good in service to some higher cause (not mentioned in the rulebook but could be as simple as defending innocents who can't help themselves, actively fighting people who are obviously the bad guys intent on hurting innocents, supporting some larger and more dangerous goal like getting food to starving people affected by the possibility wars and so on ) whereupon simple "stormers", not storm knights like the PC's, make a selfish choice.. either one is rewarded by becoming possiblity rated but the book makes it clear that the PC's made a choice for good, not evil.. further reading of the torg rulebook under the role of the storm knights in the war flat out states "protect the innocent" making it obvious that there should be no question that the PCs are the good guys in any given scenario.

Point this to the players quoting the page numbers from the torg core rulebook if necessary then on top of that outline how the forces of light and darkness work in Aysle.. the torg core rules go into this to an extent but pages 88-89 of the Aysle sourcebook go into more detail on this as well.. while Torg Eternity attempts to present a more nuanced view of light and darkness and tries to account for "good guys" who have darkness perks and who are more like say the punisher or wolverine from marvel comics, that is they have no problem taking moral "shortcuts" and killing say a helpless unarmed opponent , the big problem with this kind of character is it's not a very far fall from that to more morally grey and murky things like " We don't have time to save those innocents, we have bigger concerns we need to get to instead" or " Bad guys have a hostage? I shoot the hostage in the head, problem solved .. poor hostage was going to die anyways." I've seen this sort of thing unfold time and time again in campaigns where the hapless gamesmaster who asked for "good aligned" characters in his or her campaign watches players do this exact thing knowing that it will result in real life conflict between the players and gamesmasters .. in situations where I'm a gamesmaster who calls a player on thi sure enough you wind up with a surly player on your hands not happy that they can't play their character the way they've probably always played said PC and long arguments about the nature of morality, good and evil tilted towards the player justifying their actions. Furthermore as a player in such campaigns who does try to take the moral high ground as the gamesmaster and campaign asks it's incredibly annoying to watch other players take moral shortcuts and get away with it ... as a gamesmaster in such campaigns I've had players who are taking the moral high ground threaten to quit over other players who can't be bothered to take the moral high ground and quite honestly I couldn't blame the indignant players who were thinking of leaving the campaign.

As I've mentioned in my reviews of other torg eternity adventures the writers assume that the PC's will take the moral high ground and if they don't it derails the entire adventure... as a GM in addition to reviewing the expectations the torg eternity rulebook makes clear, I would review just how easy it is to gain a darkness perk in Aysle and if you acquire three or more of them you become a non player character lost to darkness and on top of that review the game rules about how a character's appearance literally changes in a way that will attract hostility from the followers of the Light in Aysle, that is PC allies, and I would describe how even core Earth forces who have seen a fellow soldier succumb to the forces of darkness automatically regard such a person as an enemy and will open fire on them, assuming with regret that such a person has been lost to the axiom wash transforming citizens of Aysle (and even if the PC who gets a darkness perk insists " I'm still a good guy" I would have the core earth soldiers answer " I know bloke I know, you really do think you are the good guy.. I'm so sorry" and then proceed to attack anyways ... in Aysle, any time a PC takes a morally questionably action (for example complain about why they have to rescue the innocent villagers and genuinely mount an argument as to why they shouldn't , even if they end up eventually doing it however) even if it doesn't result in a darkness perk I would describe how the PC's visage literally changes for a moment, becoming a more monstrous version of his or herself, before going back to normal and have any PC allies clap their hands to weapons and angrily demand an explanation as to what the PC is doing ..

I'm going to have to risk some minor spoilers at this point to address the personality conflict the adventure seems to have with itself... on the one hand the adventure clearly assumes that the PC's will go on the quest Ardinay tasks them with for the good of Aysle which in turn implies they are doing it because they're the good guys... but the adventure gives more than one situation where the PC's are given a choice as far as whether or not to abandon hapless persons who will most likely die without the PC's help so the PC's can concentrate on their quest .. I understand that the writers might be trying to establish a grim and darkly dramatic tone here.. the problem is you can't have your cake and eat it too.. in other words you can't use "save the innocents!" as the motivation for the PC's that has clearly been the case in other published adventures (godbox, fires of ra, delphi council rising storm) and then make the situation morally grey .. hopefully your players will react with confusion at the choice presented to them then simply do the right thing .. if not you're definitely going to have a problem on your hands with future adventures where the players are now of the opinion they can take "moral shortcuts" and the entire adventure gets derailed from what the writers have set out as a result. It's nice of the writers to address the possibility of the PC's (possibly regretfully) ignoring the innocents and/or allies in favor of their larger goal but it's going to create all sorts of problems and quite honestly I don't know why the GM wouldn't be tempted to inflict a darkness perk on PC's who take such moral shortcuts.

I think one big problem is how Darkness and Light are written up in Torg Eternity .. in the original 1990's Torg it was a lot more simple, they threw in a paragraph with giants who are followers of the Light in that they were honorable opponents but for the most part PC's were automatically assumed to be followers of the Light by default and if a PC started leaning towards the moral "blueprint" of the Dark... morally corrupt choices, taking "the easy way out" even if technically "in service to the greater good" the PC was considered to be lost to the forces of Darkness effectively becoming an NPC ... in Torg Eternity PC's are presented with the option of taking Darkness perks and being heroes who walk a morally grey area while still aiding the greater good.. which is great in theory , it just means that a GM can't reasonably expect a PC or group of PC's with darkness perks to be able to follow the prewritten adventures in Torg Eternity ... it's mentioned on more than one occasion in the Torg books (Torg core rulebook, Aysle cosm sourcebook) that persons marked by the Darkness are regarded with suspicion and distrust once found out as having Darkness perks in Aysle and as mentioned in the Torg Core rules (page 31) and Aysle cosm sourcebook under world laws have the potential to physically corrupt a PC leaving a distinguishing mark on him or her..

....somehow I have a hard time believing Lady Ardinay, no matter how desperate her situation, would willingly task any PC known to have Darkness perks with an important quest like the one detailed in this adventure.. the bad guys in Aysle, not surprisingly, will probably have Darkness perks or at the very least be physically transformed in appearance and/or race when they fall to Darkness as is the case with at least two potential foes the PC's encounter as the adventure goes forward .... if I was a typical NPC British soldier and I saw a PC with fangs and red eyes thanks to being marked by the Darkness perks, having learned from previous experience that the bad guys in Aysle can and do look like monster I would probably open fire first and ask questions later lest I be killed like my fellow soldier buddies who stopped to ask say a group of lurks " Are you friendly or hostile?" before being ripped apart.

The writer's attempt to portray Light and Dark as morally nuanced.. mentioning in the torg eternity aysle sourcebook that followers of light have been seen to commit terrible atrocities while followers of darkness have been seen to perform tender acts of kindness.. is interesting but ultimately simply muddies the waters too much... I would ignore the part about followers of Light committing atrocities.. they're the good guys, period.... the torg core rules flat out state on page 91 "A person’s appearance tends to reflect her alignment with Light or Darkness (though it can be hidden by various abilities). A knight of Light appears noble and genuine to those who meet her. Her armor shines, her clothes are clean, and her voice is pleasant and calm." ... imagine how confused the players are going to be when you have the same knight with Light perks shrug their shoulders, say " Oh well" and launch a catapult at the enemy gloating that they're holding innocent civilians hostage, killing the enemies and civilians alike and calmly saying it was "for the greater good".. sure you have the followers of Light committing atrocities just like the Aysle torg eternity sourcebook says but you're going to make the situation hopelessly muddled and confusing for players who are expected to be "the good guys" in order for prewritten torg eternity adventures to function as written.

....as I mention in my godbox review a GM who has the time to do so should come up with an actual questionnaire for their players prior to running them through their first torg adventure.. what would the PC do if faced with a helpless prisoner they had an opportunity to kill? Would the PC risk his or her life to save an innocent even if the odds of dying were very likely? Will the PC react with deadly force if insulted by someone they're not currently engaged in lethal combat with? This is one way of weeding out character concepts that just won't work and warning players who like to run murky morally grey characters that the adventure won't run properly with that kind of character in mind.. as far as the indignant players who angrily oppose this or players who let your warnings go in one ear and out the other then try to play their morally grey character anyways, I would listen patiently to their arguments then repeat your earlier point.. the adventure, any torg adventure, simply isn't written in a way that supports that kind of character and the character will derail the entire adventure though the PC's actions.

At this point I'm going to direct you to my blogger link below (the first part is a repeat of what is mentioned above, keep scrolling and you will get to the many, many ideas I had as far as filling in areas I felt the adventure could have used some more detail on )

https://andrerpgreviews.blogspot.com/2022/11/revenge-of-carredon-extended-review.html



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Aysle - Revenge of the Carredon
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Torg Eternity - Aysle Sourcebook
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/04/2022 17:12:20

The Aysle sourcebook was originally going to get a "3" rating from me but I've bumped that up to "four out of five" after reading the revenge of the carredon and the short but excellent aysle "black cauldron" themed adventure in the Delphi Council Rising Storm book... still, this is the only Aysle sourcebook where I would say purchasing and reading the original 1990's Aysle sourcebook is not just recommended like I said in the Torg Eternity cyberpapacy sourcebook review in terms of purchasing the original 1990's cyberpapack book .. no, in this case with Aysle I would argue that the purchase of the original 1990's Aysle book is mandatory. I'll get to why in a moment but if you purchase all three books together... this one, the revenge of the carredon mega-adventure book (which is a worthwhile purchase in it's own right and should be seen as the companion piece to the torg eternity aysle sourcebook) and the 1990's Aysle book you will be in a position to run some very enjoyable, truly epic - as fantasy "sword and sorcery" themed adventures should be - adventures. There's a reason why I've seen some Torg Eternity fans list Aysle as one of their favorite cosms to adventure in and it will become clear if you purchase all three books.

So why the emphasis on the original 1990's Torg book if you already have the torg eternity version of the aysle sourcebook? To their credit the torg eternity team have done a wonderful job of updating and improving Aysle from the rules and statistics point of view which is hugely important... if you don't have a game that runs properly as far as the rules framework and if it becomes a sprawling over complex mish-mash of rules the same way the original Torg books from the 1990's did then you're going to have a problem.

And there's a lot to like about this book in terms of world building too or the emphasis on what I call the "role playing" part of things with a detailed look at the interaction of our "real world" core earth institutions, countries and viewpoints with the culture of not only the "friendly invaders" so to speak, Ardinay and her forces given that Ardinay sees it as her responsibility to stop the invaders of earth from "her" cosm, and the "unfriendly invaders", Utherion's forces though obviously given Utherion's forces are more of the mindset of "kill and conquer" there's going to be a more complex social interplay between Ardinay's forces and that of Core Earth (for those of you unfamiliar with the term "core earth" that refers to the "original" residents of earth not here from another cosm or invading dimension and who haven't yet transformed over to the invading cosm's reality.. covered in the torg eternity rulebook which you absolutely should buy, worth every penny, if you like see my review of it and the reviews several others have written on it here on drivethru rpg). And there's a lot of other great parts of the book I will get to later on below.

The problem is that Aysle is such a richly, lovingly detailed realm as described in the original 1990's torg book, it would have taken if I had to guess at least 40 pages of additional material.. maybe more than that .. to cover all the detail of the Aysle cosm itself in the torg eternity book... this becomes a huge handicap if you're running say the courtly intrigue which is supposed to be common to Aysle yet you don't have a lot to go on as far as the noble houses that came with Ardinay (as well as the game statistics for Ardinay and Towyln for that matter, present in the 1990's version of the aysle sourcebook but not torg eternity) that , honestly, don't get that much of a write up in Torg Eternity.. the information presented on the dwarves and elves is pretty neat but I appreciated the additional information given on them in the original 1990's torg book not ot mention the info on the noble houses again presented in the 1990's torg Aysle book ... the 1990's torg book also gives a detailed look at the history and culture of Aysle , the unique "shape" of the world and sun (literally disk shaped with the sun travelling through a hole in between said disk - torg eternity references this in passing but the original 1990's book goes into much more detail), how the giants (honestly in 1990's Torg they're really more like dungeons and dragons versions of ogres , much larger and more powerful in torg eternity) live on the "bottom half" of the disc and seek to attack kill and/or conquer the races "above" on the top half of the disc-world of Aysle, the history and culture of the deities of Aysle and how they fit into Aysle culture as well as a much more detailed look at said deities, some truly fascinating ideas of how Ayslish non-humans have adapted to life on core earth (I found the concept of a "giant bruiser muscle for hire" concept to be absolutely hilarious in the original 1990's torg book presented as he is in a three piece suit... though given giants are far too powerful to be viable as a player character option if I was the GM here I would call them "ogres" instead and make them the "smaller cousins" of giants, their own different race if you want to use this kind of concept) and more concrete information about the corrupted rule of utherion possessed ardinay in terms of the morally corrupt actions "ardinay" engaged in during "her" rule of Aysle at the time ..

As well there are noticeable differences between the original 1990's torg book and torg eternity that have to be addressed here like the corrupted by the forces of darkness head of house tancred , led by the noble Tolwyn a key player in both 1990's torg and torg eternity, that the GM would have to address ... or 1990's torg assuming every single citizen of Aysle is born predisposed to and being able to wield magic which is not the case in torg eternity (I would just drop the 1990's aysle idea of that completely as it would create all sorts of headaches for the GM to try and reconcile otherwise) .. still I see the 1990's book as not recommended but rather mandatory and I do find myself wishing the torg eternity team had made the 1990's books available at a steeply discounted price (say a few dollars) for persons who have purchased the torg eternity version of the book so you don't have gamesmasters and/or players grumbling about the additional price or just drastically discount the price for any interested parties given that torg eternity for all intents and purposes has replaced it .. but , the 1990's aysle book is absolutely positively worth the purchase price given it's , again, lovingly detailed and well written description of the Aysle home cosm and all the permutations within.

Don't get me wrong there's a lot of original material that the writers of Torg Eternity have brought in too that I like a lot ... the magical engines that generate the Aysle version of goblins called "lurks" making them the magical version of an artificial lifeform... and there's also some material from the original 1990's Aysle sourcebook that has made the transition to the torg eternity version to good effect, like a look at aysle's social axiom affecting the mindsets of the conquered areas of Earth such that earth denizens living there (whether directly transformed or simply suffering under the effects of the lower social axiom) such that they now directly accept a monarch-king or queen as ruler and basically "forgetting" or at least ignoring the democratically elected prime minister... given that the "original" royal families are in disarray due to the invasion (another nice touch on the writer's part) and given Ardinay's strong claim as queen and the forces she commands said earth denizen is likely to simply accept her as the new ruler although the part about Prince Edward , both British royalty and a soldier of Core Earth , not only bravely leading counterattacks against Utherion's forces but also being in a romantic relationship with a male noble from Aysle who came under Ardinay's banner is also a nice touch..

....the problem is the writers don't go on to address the status of LGBT individuals like they did in torg eternity cyberpapacy - how do the folk of Aysle feel about this? I would like to assume they're more enlightened than certain factions of "real life Earth" in this area perhaps due to the influence of the deity who has such tremendous influence on them, Dunad .. I go into more detail on some thoughts on this in my blogger post under my review of the Revenge of the Carredon book but basically I assume your average Asylish citizen doesn't blink at the concept of someone identifying as LGBT. It's worth noting from "Prince Eddie's" write up on page 114 that he at least as a teenager was bisexual (I'm assuming) given his liason with a female football (from our American point of view "soccer" player maybe given the different names given to the sport in England and America?) player so the GM will have to decide if this is still the case such that he's a potential romantic interest for a male or female PC should something tragic happen to the male Aylish noble Prince Eddie is currently involved with (or maybe Prince Eddie courteously yet mischievously flirts with female and male PC alike). Sadly no stats are given for Prince Eddie but I still enjoyed his writeup.

As well I enjoyed reading about the political games Utherion is forced to play with the Vikings he's seized control of thanks to his possession of their leader's body, a fact the Vikings are unaware of .. given that Utherion favors raising the dead bodies of vikings who fall in battle them having them fight alongside the understandably unnerved Vikings who fought among said raised bodies back when the owners were still living, Utherion is having some problems with the Vikings in this area especially given their tradition of ancestor worship, another nice touch that was not mentioned in the original 1990 torg book.

Revenge of the Carredon is also worth picking up not only for being a fun adventure in it's own right that truly brings Aysle to live and drives home what it's like adventuring in that cosm-conquered area of Earth, it also has a detailed look at Oxford which is a great read (although again the lack of NPC stats for important NPC's is troubling - Ardinay's arch magus is obviously an important individual yet no stats for him) ... also great was the detailed look at the Carredon and it's relationship with Utherion and the Gaunt Man. I will make the same comment here that I have with other Torg Eternity books - I greatly enjoyed the "city" sourcebooks (Berlin, Los Angeles, Toyko) that were written as part of the original 1990's Torg rules and I sincerely find myself hoping the Torg Eternity team will follow suit with say a London Torg Eternity sourcebook, updated Los Angeles/Berlin/Tokyo sourcebooks for Torg Eternity and so forth .. or at least that someone using the Torg Infiniverse license

(basically the Torg Eternity team has given permission for writers outside of the official Torg Eternity team to come up with their own Torg Eternity products a move I heartily applaud - see also my review of the Torg Eternity core rulebook for the pay what you want books published under the Infiniverse license that you can and should purchase even if you can't afford the suggested price - buy them for an American dollar or less if you have to and just make a note to yourself to pay more later on when you can afford it ! Or in the case of Torg Eternity Day One buy it for a dollar with no guilt at all since it was written by the original Torg Eternity team who clearly intend it to be a gateway drug to convince you to buy more Torg Eternity books :) .. But I digress)

Also fun was the introductory text which makes it clear that while a transformed formerly core earth now Asylish person's memories of their former core earth days may be "fuzzy" it can and will come back to them "unconsciously" in terms of concepts they talk about without realizing it (the paladin who has a knowledge of science far beyond Aysle tech and who has vague memories of this all being similar to the role playing games - dungeons and dragons? - he used to play prior to the invasion is a great touch as well as his aysle born allies dismissing such talk as nonsense).

Given the richly detailed culture and history of Aysle.. which shines through clearly in parts of the book where the writers have the "room" in terms of the page count they've probably been allotted to expound on it ... if you're a GM like me who's very focused on the world-building, role playing aspect of campaigns, you might be best off actually keeping a log or journal listing the various page numbers in the book that refer to different important things.. for example while the write-up of the dwarves in the torg eternity core rules is a fun and engaging read, it's good to know the information provided in the new perks section for dwarves where it's mentioned that no dwarf is willing to engage in formal "warfare" type conflict with another dwarf while Utherion (who as mentioned in the torg eternity core rules wiped out so many of the dwarven race) still lives. Unfortunately there's no entry for "dwarves" at the index at the back of the book to keep track of this sort of "world building" so the GM would need to maintain his or her own "index" so to speak noting the relevant page numbers and various topics .. also good information to pass on to say a player looking to play a dwarven character.

the magic chapter was a very fun read and as one might expect more extensive in scope than magic in other cosms although I notice the writers have declared Aylish magic to be different than science in that the results are more individualized in nature and not "standard" results that will will always apply based on formula and scientific principles the way science does .. the writers have done a nice job of streamlining the discussion of magic in the original 1990's torg bookk though some persons familiar with the 1990's torg magic system might yearn for it's complexity and more nuanced feel - still that's not a criticism since the preference can vary wildly from one GM or player to another ... the discussion of spellcaster perks such as the ability to cast "essence" spells makes a lot more sense when you read this chapter... and then there's necromancy.

I do understand why the torg eternity writers are trying to account for "morally nuanced" gameplay .. they're trying to accommodate players who like to play "morally grey" characters, who would say for example simply shoot the cackling NPC holding the screaming innocent hostage in order for the "greater good" and "the longer scope of things" and then feel guilty about it afterwards.. yet do it again in a heartbeat if the same situation were to arise. You can tell what the writers are trying to do with their discussion in the torg eternity core rulebook of player characters who take darkness perks .. and the writers go on to push that further in their discussion of the forces of Light and Darkness in the axioms and world laws section where they state that persons who serve the forces of Light can commit terrible atrocities while still fighting for "honor" while the forces of Darkness are capable of acts of gentle loving charity .. that last part I don't have an issue with, totally different genre but Dr. Doom and Magneto have both been portrayed as sympathetic villains in the past who are absolutely capable of acts of kindness.. Doom in particular has been portrayed as very invested in the welfare and safety of the citizens under his rule although he won't hesitate to make an example of citizens who defy said rule in a very public matter.

My big problem is with persons who in theory are aligned with the forces of Light then commit these heinous acts.. if you look at the writeup of storm knights in the torg eternity core rulebook it states right there in their goals that one of their primarily missions is to protect the innocents... as well it states that storm knights during their moment of transcendence make a conscious decision for good over evil that forever marks them as a storm knight rather than a morally corrupt stormer.. as well based on what I've read in previous torg eternity prepublished adventures.. the godbox, fires of ra and delphi council rising storm.. it's clearly expected that the players will at all times be the heroic good guys , and if they aren't the adventure can quickly go off the rails meandering in ways that cause it to go veering off the plotline the writer of said adventures have planned.

What I'm trying to say is that you can't have your cake and eat it too. A GM who allows morally grey characters like this is going to be in for a world of trouble if the GM tries to run said prepublished adventures (with the possible and surprising exception of the revenge of the carredon which allows for the players to make some shocking moral choices that I would argue should net them a darkness perk and eventually make them NPC's under the control of the gamesmaster given their reprehensible choices and the rules of the law of darkness in Aysle .. I couldn't wrap my head around that given the laws of Light and Darkness in Aysle.. see also my review of that book if you like) ..

...now granted if a GM has a lot of time and energy on his or her hands, uses the published adventures as a "baseline" of what happens if the PC's go the heroic route, and writes up alternate scenarios that take place if the PC's go the more morally grey route while being "heroes" you could have a very fun Torg Eternity campaign albeit one where I imagine the darkness devices, delighted at the PC's morally grey boundaries, starts tempting a PC with offers to become the new high lord of an invading cosm... which in itself would be interesting, does the PC give in to temptation and start harvesting possibilities from the hapless earth citizens s/he was trying to protect in the past, still rationalizing their evil actions by saying they are building up the necessary power to defeat the other high lords and ignoring the suffering the dimensional invaders they are now commanding are inflicting on the hapless citizens of earth? Do the fellow PC's go along with this or is there a fatal battle between PC's who have more of a conscience than the evil PC's? (be very careful if you go that route, players can be very attached to their PC's and having one player's PC kill off another player's PC can lead to all sorts of real life heartache and conflict at the gaming table).

If you don't have the time and energy to generate such alternate scenarios.. and even in the case of revenge of the carredon which still assumes the PC's will go on the quest Lady Ardinay assigns to them.. you're going to have yourself a problem.. I cringe when I imagine a likely scenario like this taking place:

Lady Ardinay " And so, noble heroes of the Light, this is why I must entreat you to aid us in this, our darkest hour and most desperate time of need. What say you?"

(player characters laugh and guffaw openly, falling to the ground laughing)

Player character one: " Us? ' noble heroes of light ' ?" (more uncontrollable laughter on the part of the PC's)

Player character two stands squarely in front of Ardinay violating her personal space and looking smug. " It all depends dollface.. what's in it for us?"

Okay sure there are players and GM's who would enjoy that kind of campaign.. I definitely would not and the GM needs to take into account players like me who are not uncommon, and I don't say it just because I'm that kind of a player, I've seen other players who definitely fall into this category too at the gaming table... in their heart of hearts they want to play a heroic good guy, or girl, who saves the day, rescues the innocents, is unquestionably a hero at all given times... heroic wish fulfillment on our parts if you will.. mix players like that in with the other type, persons who might be the nicest kindest people in "real life" but who just can't play that kind of "goodie two shoes" character in real life.. players who cannot for the life of them play a good aligned character in a dungeons and dragons campaign and who opt for the "Chaotic good " option but not really playing the character that way leaning back towards the morally grey darkness the player really prefers for their character .. and you're absolutely going to have a conflict between the two players.

It's a lot easier to come down on the side of the "goodie two shoes" players though you can and should expect grouching and complaining from the players who prefer more morally grey characters who will either fall in line or leave the gaming group entirely after you confront them on their morally grey choices one too many times.. but if you don't you will lose the "goodie two shoes" players .. I have almost had this happen to me in real life as a GM, when I try to accommodate morally grey PC's and the players who run them and then having a pair of extremely valued players who simply were not comfortable with this and needed a more heroic campaign to the point where they couldn't stomach borderline evil PC's in said campaign ... and that to me is the greater loss.. I hate to say it but as a GM I find such players are more "mature" in real life, a much better fit for gaming groups in general, tend to get along with their fellow players and the GM better in real life (and I absolutely admit there are notable exceptions here too, I had the pleasure of gaming with one such player who for the life of her simply could not play a "goodie two shoes" good aligned character - she still made her chaotic neutral character work in the midst of the goodie two shoes players she was surrounded with and she was and is an absolute delight in real life , the soul of kindness and compassion though she'd probably take issue with me describing her as such in public since she likes to pretend she's the exact opposite - shes not , really ;) - but she is the rare and notable exception in my experience), and are much easier to gamesmaster for since you know what direction the PC's are most likely to "jump" in... obviously GM's who are themselves "morally grey" players in real life will tend to come down on the side of the morally grey characters but said GM's will have their work cut out for them either in terms of writing up LOTS of alternate scenarios to accomodate said morally grey players or said GM would have to be very good at coming up with material on the spur of the moment to accommodate said players.

So... back to the necromancer perk.. I GUESS you could try to accommodate a player who wants to run a creepy necromancer PC and who raises the dead bodies of foes killed then doesn't blink at sending them off to fight their former comrades back when they were living or, shrugging their shoulders when a heroic NPC who fought by the PC's side dies a heroic death , raising the body of the heroic NPC and having this undead monstrosity fight side by side with the PC's.. an "ends justifies the means" approach means you're going to have a PC who quickly slides towards the dark side, not to mention the problem with players who are trying to be the good guys the torg eternity adventures and rules clearly want them to be confronting the necromancer PC on the necromancer's actions... the necromancer player will, understandably, be upset at not being able to use the necromancer perks the player spent valuable perk slots and/or experience points on.

Personally speaking as a GM I would make the moral expectations you have of the characters very clear... I would go so far as to write up a questionnaire for the players to fill out regarding their player characters with imaginary scenarios like the one I described above.. " Would you kill an innocent an enemy NPC was holding hostage if the end goal for your PC is important enough" " Would your PC risk his or her life to save an innocent even if it looks very likely that the outcome will be certain death for your PC?" "Will your PC attack someone for lethal damage who is insulting your PC even though the person doing the insulting has not yet engaged in lethal combat with you?" " Someone is attacking your PC for non lethal damage.. do you respond with non lethal damage or do you respond with lethal damage?" " a mind controlled NPC who is clearly not a bad guy under normal circumstances is attacking you for lethal damage - do you respond with lethal damage ?" .. questions like these (and if the player blows the questionnaire off stating they "don't have time for it" then inform the player you're going to assume the player just checked off every single morally grey choice on the questionnaire - warning bells should be going off in your head at this point) can quickly determine what kind of PC the player really wants to play.. and then if the GM wants and needs a more heroic PC (and in my honest opinion to play torg eternity as written the heroic not morally grey PC is what is necessary here) the GM will have to make it absolutely clear to players who express an interest for non-heroic PC's that it's simply not going to work AND make it clear that if the PC "backslides" into non heroic activity the GM will require the player to write up a new PC ... this can save the GM a lot of headache in the future and get all the players on the same page although for players who will simply say " sure" fully expecting to be able to get away with the same morally grey PC they've been playing their entire life be prepared for arguments during the game in the future " It was never a problem in other gaming groups!" or " This is why it's not morally grey" followed by a long diatribe about the nature of good versus evil... see what I mean about player maturity by the way? The player in this situation is far more concerned about making the campaign revolve around the player and his or her individual preferences than the player is about the gaming group as a whole or the time and effort the GM is putting into the campaign.. that's why I say cutting the " I like to play morally grey" players loose is the better option in the long run.. if you're unwilling to do that then just patiently explain, over and over , that it's not going to work and either the player backs down or the player leaves. Hang on to those players who like to play "the good guys" I've always found them to be huge assets to the gaming group in real life.

After reading all of that you've probably come to the conclusion that I am not a fan of the "morally grey" characters the torg eternity writers are trying to accommodate.. I would forget completely the parts in this sourcebook which states followers of the Light can commit horrible attrocities and still be followers of the Light.. I would go on to say that per the world laws of Light and Darkness in Aysle, PC's who commit morally questionable acts and who refuse to back down even after being warned this will net them a Darkness perk (as the rules states you should in.. think it's torg core rules, could also be this aysle sourcebook) should get that Darkness perk with the additional warning that if they get three Darkness perks total they become an NPC under the gamesmaster's control forcing the player to write up a new character (and I would forget the perk allowing players to get up to six darkness perks, as a GM encouraging this will only create a world of headaches for you). I would go so far as to describe how the PC's face contorts and shifts into a more monstrous visage for all to clearly see as the PC simply contemplates the evil act the PC is about to commit or starts to commit said act .. of course review the world laws of light and darkness with the players prior to running an adventure in aysle but hopefully the GM has gone the questionnaire route I mentioned above and made expectations clear to the point where this isn't going to be a problem to begin with.

Apologies for the tangent I went off on but given the discussion of Light and Darkness and the writers' well intentioned, but in my opinion potentially disasterous, efforts to accomodate players who want their PC's to have darkness perks it felt like a discussion that needed to be addressed.. getting back to the book itself.. while I enjoyed the writeup of the deities of Aysle I would be lying if I didn't say that I really missed the more extensive write up of said deities in the original 1990's torg aysle book including information on a lot of additional deities that really help as far as the world building, addressing the rich culture and history of aysle aspect of the cosm not to mention the much more detailed write up of the dwarven deities' creation of the cosm of Aysle. Still there's a great write up of the five major deities of Aysle albeit with a huge caveat.. the problem with the way the deity of "balance", Rak, is portrayed is that at the end of the day he and his worshippers don't come across as that different from Corbaal and the forces of Darkness.. Rak portrays giving in to your desires, now, this very moment, and that's all that matters.. this really isn't that different from Corbaal's the ends justify the means (literally, that's listed as one of his tenets - note this is the same deity Utherion chief bad guy of Aysle is the head priest of) , acheive your goals at all costs beliefs and tenets... given that Rak was the head of the giants who fought humanity and going by the 1990's torg Aysle book sought to enslave and/or kill off humanity, such a selfish outlook would make sense but to me he hardly qualifies as a deity of balance ...

Again this is one of those situations where I would strongly recommend picking up the 1990's original aysle sourcebook and using the deities from it instead.. shali makes much more sense to me personally as a deity of light as presented in the 1990's aysle book with the description of her tenets and practices and beliefs (and I will say that the torg eternity writers have done a GREAT job with the more narrow focus on just these five deities in torg eternity aysle in that they can describe their religious practices in greater detail with concrete examples of the kind of behavior each deity wants from his or her followers) in torg eternity still applying given that I don't see them as being incompatible with a follower of Light ... Minthod the minotaur deity and patron of the half folk (hinted at briefly in torg eternity with the wonderful addition of the mermaid the PC's encounter in revenge of the carredon but definitely something I would have liked to see included in the torg eternity aysle sourcebook) such as minotaurs, harpies, mermaids of course and so forth .. to me is a much better deity for Balance , the middle ground between Light and Darkness.. interestingly enough in the original 1990s aysle book Minthod's followers are listed as aiding the forces of Light since they feel the forces of Darkness have become too powerful under Utherion's influence and the Balance between Light and Darkness needs to be restored as a result... and of course the original 1990's aysle book gives game stats for the half folk (not to mention addressing how they're viewed in Aysle as far as their social acceptance or lack thereof by non half folk) that in my opinion could easily be converted over to torg eternity... also intriguing is how the 1990's aysle book goes into much greater detail on the elves including the literally spiritual/religious awakening it is for the highly respected elves who respect their patron deity's emphasis on knowledge and secrecy to the point where they become literal monks (normally) sequestered away in their temples studying said knowledge.. but for the traveling elven monks there's a number of cool abilities a GM could easily adapt into perks. As for Rak I would rename him as Arthuk, use the description of the deity of the giants of the same name from the 1990's Aysle book making him a deity of Darkness, and still use the tenets ascribed to Rak as far as the behavior expected of his followers from torg eternity with the clarification that while Rak's followers are perfectly capable of acts of decency and kindness that might typify a follower of the Light as a whole the race of giants are very unlikely to act on said tendencies towards the Light... if the GM wants a good-guy type of giant who ends up aiding the PC's I would just have an NPC giant find out about and convert to Dunad's worship. Corbaal by the way does appear in the 1990's torg aysle book just not in alphabetical order strangely enough under the deities of darkness.. keep reading you'll see an entry for him there at the very end of the deities of darkness listing.

As well, while the torg eternity does a good job at addressing dwarven religious beliefs, the original 1990's Torg book does a GREAT job of addressing said religious beliefs.. the game mechanic of "anti-faith" in terms of making it harder for a miracle cast under spiritual axioms to affect a dwarf from 1990's Torg has been left out of torg eternity but it's still a very worthwhile read for it's detailed look at dwarven religious beliefs, not to mention the original book's greater analysis of the dwarves in general their culture, history and where they tend to congregate whether it be on the surface world or the land in between (the GM will have to decide if there is in fact a clan of corrupted dwarves fallen prey to the forces of Darkness who seek to enslave and exploit their fellow dwarves as mentioned in the 1990's Aysle sourcebook .. given that the dwarves are described in torg eternity as being a fraction in size of their former numbers with Utherion having wiped most of them out I would do away with this entirely unless the GM wants to include it as a tragic part of Aysle's history with Utherion gleefully seizing on the dwarf enslaving dwarf situation and then arranging for the mass murder and extinction of the dwarves who fell prey to said darkness , perhaps harnessing their souls as part of the powerful rituals he conducted that allowed him to establish so many connections between earth and the aysle cosm as detailed in the torg eternity book - given the dwarven reputation as builders and constructors this would make sense).

The gear section as one might expect has an expanded section on both magically and spiritually enchanted items ... the rules on magic items having enough enchantments on them becoming sentient are interesting but the only in game effect is the items become "jealous" of each other such that a PC cannot have too many of them (apparently even the less powerful magical items still have limited sentience and get "offended" if a PC tries to wield too many of them together out of jealousy which I got a chuckle out of) .. while this is good for game balance from the GM's perspective I would have liked to see additional notes on say Lightbringer refusing to work for and even having some sort of game mechanic allowing it to seek out a more worthy wielder if it becomes convinced a PC is morally corrupt enough such that they will put Lightbringer to "dark" ends and even a Mind and/or Spirit score for items like that one similar to say Dungeons and Dragons ... consumable one shot magic items like potions are an excellent way to reward PC's without wrecking game balance. I got a chuckle out of how the stats for winged horses can be found here in the gear section under "air vehicles" as opposed to say the "monsters" section at the end of the book though I do feel they should have thrown at least a heading in for "winged horse" and simply given the page number in gear it can be found on to avoid GM confusion later on when the GM is referring back to the Aysle sourcebook (as I mentioned above the GM should really compile his or her own index for this book).

In what I consider to be a minor but potentially troubling problem to a harassed GM who may not, referring to the aysle sourcebook in the middle of game play with a zillion other things going on at the time, remember " Oh that's right the game effects of repel evil are described in the aurel blade description" , while the gear section does describe exactly what "repel evil" means in game terms for the aurel sword on page 57 , it simply states the Vanquisher blade that Tolwyn wields also "repels evil" without an additional note stating "see Aurel sword description" which is something a GM will want to add in the index s/he is hopefully compiling for this book.

The porpoise as a water vehicle listing was confusing at first until I remembered the various animal friendship spells given in the torg eternity core rules and the aysle torg eternity sourcebook ... even then there's still some confusion... wouldn't the dolphin be slippery to keep a seat on? Does it require a special saddle? Would the dolphin allow the saddle to be put on in the first place? Is there some sort of magical being that lives in the water that favors dolphins as mounts not mentioned in the torg eternity books? (the mermaid from the revenge of the carredon aysle based extended adventure comes to mind but she's portrayed as being able to swim vast distances all on her own). Strangely enough when I look even at the 1990's "creatures of aysle" sourcebook (which is also probably a worthwhile purchase and has creations both native to the original Aysle cosm and creations born of beings of earth that spawned into existence thanks to the Aysle axiom wash over Earth... loved the write up of leprechauns and various monsters of the United Kingdoms folklore from Ireland or Scotland, can't remember which one, come to life .. I would argue the creature stats there can easily be adapted to torg eternity ) there's no seafaring race which seems peaceful enough to use dolphins as mounts, and a GM who has the time on his/her hands might want to come up with some sort of humanoid fey human sized template write up that rides said dolphins and wanders the waters and rivers surrounding and criss crossing the United Kingdom (England, Ireland , Scotland) , perhaps a cousin-race to the mermaid presented in the revenge of the carredon book and who hire out their services in exchange for goods or perhaps even Ayslish gold currency as messengers or even carrying riders (this is where the saddles for the dolphins would come in - maybe the dolphins grew in number under the axiom wash to the point where a single aquatic fey has say five or six dolphins s/he has befriended) ... perhaps these fey lean towards the Light and might even come to the rescue of someone (say a player character storm knight) drowning or lost at sea particularly if the PC has a light perk (maybe the fey can sense this on some unconscious level as a racial characteristic).

See if you like my review of the revenge of the corredon book for my thoughts on the Aysle specific possibilities that are awarded for adventuring in Aysle... moving on to the warzones, like most other torg eternity cosm sourcebooks this was one of my favorite parts with a fine description of the state of the invasion in the various parts of Earth affected and an enjoyable description of the reaction of what we might consider "real life earth" to said invaders not to mention certain areas of Earth like stonehenge transforming into their magical equivalents as one might expect... sadly the Stonehenge section is one of many areas throughout the book that needs further expansion... mysterious druids who shun the battle between Ardinay's forces of Light and Utherion's forces of Darkness are intriging but some statistics for an "average" druid, and a personality and background write up of their leader would have been tremendously helpful.

As well, as enjoyable a read as the warzones chapter was I couldn't help but compare it to the original 1990's Aysle sourcebook which goes into greater detail as to day to day life in say their description of the use of coal burning to power electricity, the status of phone and sewer service in London, the intriguing possibility of many former core earthers in Scotland transformed into half folk such as centaurs and harpies and how harpies can be bribed into carrying messages, "trolls" in Olso, Norway (stats for said trolls can be found in the 1990's torg aysle book and easily adapted to torg eternity but given that earth elementals are also referred to as "trolls" in torg eternity I would simply rename the 1990's torg version to "ogres" instead, use the 1990's torg physical and personality description of ogres and use the stats given in that book for trolls and call them "ogres" instead) who have seized control of human gangs of miscreants, Scotland in general reverting back to their ancestral "clan" way of life and the rise of experts in divination magic with the "second sight" as a throwback to the ancestral customs and beliefs of Scots, and a higher than normal percentage of scots reaching "hero status" and transforming into storm knights much like the scottish heroes of old ... these are some of the little details that really make Torg "pop" and make it especially fun to read that sadly did not make it into torg eternity and which I would strongly recommend stealing from the 1990's torg book but making appropriate changes such that it comes into line with the torg eternity aysle book where the two differ (for example torg eternity notes the influx of dwarves into Glasgow so I would add that in too... worth noting that the original 1990's torg aysle book points out that glasgow was the industrial center of scotland prior to the invasion whereupon the torg eternity book leaves this important fact out). There is a passing reference at least to a clan of Scottish rebels calling themselves the "Fionna" who specialize in adapting modern technology to fit the lower tech axiom of Aysle such as the ethanol bomb, similiar to the more modern petrol bomb but able to function at Aysle's tech axiom.

The world laws and axiom section was as always an enjoyable read as it has been for all the other torg eternity cosm sourcebooks though see above for my thoughts on how a more "complicated" view of light and darkness can result in a real headache for GM's if you encourage players to take darkness perks. The new world laws involving the law of heroes, law of delving and the laws of epic quests were a new and fun read as well though I think the law of heroes needs some clarification ... despite what we've seen in "fetch and quest" side missions in fantasy themed video games, if every single peasant sat on their hands and waited for the "inevitable" hero to come along and rescue their missing chickens as the book seems to imply I imagine Aysle as a kingdom would have quickly ground to a halt centuries ago unless the writers are trying to say it generates such a huge number of heroes that peasants can just sit there whenever they run into any difficulty, no matter how small, and wait for someone to rescue them... I would amend this to the following... it's possible for a peasant to simply wait and eventually a hero will show up and rescue the chickens (I'm not joking either this is an actual example given in the Aysle torg eternity sourcebook) ... but peasants are far more likely to take matters into their own hands and try to track down the chickens themselves.. if that doesn't work the peasant can rest assured there's at least a chance some hero will show up, listen to the tearful tale of the peasant regarding how their family needs the eggs from that chicken and will starve otherwise and the hero will then return triumphantly with the chickens but this tends to be the exception rather than the norm for things a peasant could in theory accomplish on his or her own ... much more dangerous things like the monster making off with and eating villagers will inevitably draw a hero who may very well succeed in killing the monster and saving the villagers... or getting eaten him or herself until the next hero comes along to take up the defense of the village and so forth.

The section on the high lord , his personality, background, outlook and political relationship with the other high lords is always a fun read as well in the various torg eternity cosm sourcebooks and this is the case with this book as well.. particularly interesting was the story of how Utherion has come from fanatical zealot follower of the Gaunt Man to bitterly realizing the truth .. the Gaunt Man is not the devoted mentor Utherion originally thought he was ... but still remains loyal and obedient (if nothing else because the Gaunt Man is still offering him aid) while taking pains to pretend to still be the fanatical zealot Gaunt Man follower lest the Gaunt Man destroy him (worth noting the Gaunt Man is so powerful all the other High Lords fear him even as they plot and scheme for a way to overthrow him as mentioned in the high lord write ups in the cosm sourcebooks)... Utherion's belief.. that the Torg would be a being made up of various high lords as "components" including Utherion and his (Formerly ) beloved Gaunt Man fused into some whole being made up of the sum of it's parts was a startling idea but a neat one now that I think about it albeit an idea Utherion has now realized may be false although I get the impression Utherion is desperately trying to convince himself it's true out of a misplaced sense of lingering loyalty (love?) for the Gaunt Man.. also enjoyable was the fact that Utherion's darkness device is not only actively seeking a replacement high lord (basically trying to "fire" Utherion and replace him) but also that Utherion is bitterly aware of this and doing his best to track down and kill anyone said darkness device shows an interest in as a potential replacement.

Utherion's strategy of never putting himself truly at risk and promptly vacating his possessed body (while technically Utherion can die for good if he fails the appropriate magic skill check against the victim's willpower thereby nullifying the possession, his magic skill has so many adds this makes Utherion's victory practically a foregone conclusion especially if Utherion has possibilities left to spend on the roll )... to find a new one is also a neat concept , tying into the "evil never truly dies it can only be subdued for a while centuries maybe but it will always come back" mythos that is popular in fantasy fiction... or horror fiction when you think about it and it's worth reading the Gaunt Man's write up in the Orrosh sourcebook to see the Gaunt Man's unenthuastic view of Utherion in order to complete the picture given here between the two high lords (and as I mention in my Orrosh sourcebook it, along with the Living Land, are the two best cosm sourcebooks available right now .. I may or may not have to revise that opinion when the torg eternity team releases the pan pacifica sourcebook but for now rest assured if you're on the fence about buying cosm sourcebooks get either the orrosh or living land sourcebook first and that should convince you to start buying cosm sourcebooks as well as the torg eternity core rules).

The section about Utherion's battle strategy as far as his schemes and plans that he puts into effect to conquer and subdue the areas of Earth under attack and the political machinations as a result aside from his relations with the other high lords.. for example th e politics of Viking culture he's undermined and influenced thanks to his possession of their leader.. was also a very fun read. It's worth noting that stats for the most important viking chiefs including Sjodrekka whom Utherion is eyeing as a possible new host body given his current one (leader of all the Aysle Vikings) is 70 years old and "getting up there" despite appearing to be in fine physical condition especially for his age judging by the picture of him in this book - are included in Revenge of the Corredon, another reason to purchase that title. There was a great write up of the Dread Covenant, Utherion's chief underlings but, again, sadly no statistics for them... the original 1990's Torg books were great at giving lots of stats by contrast particularly for important NPC's and this presents a problem for Torg GM's who are say also working moms and dads or possibly busy working college students who want to indulge their love of the excellent RPG that is Torg but who wouldn't have time to come up with stats for these underlings on their own.

The personality write up of utherion's darkness device, just like the same personality write up in the other torg eternity cosms sourcebook, absolutely shines and is a throroughly enjoyable read... particularly intriguing was that, in a nod to the original 1990's Torg Aysle book, while the Torg Eternity version of Ardinay does not directly hear the darkness device calling to her in her thoughts trying to tempt her into taking control of it (with sweet whispers all the while I'm sure of how she could use it's powers for "good" to stop Utherion and so forth) , it has taken the more subtle and dangerous (to Ardinay and to Aysle conquered parts of earth as a whole) of implanting a driving desire for revenge against Utherion... one that to those around her would seem understandable and not suspicious at all, look at all the atrocities Utherion committed in Ardinay's name while wearing her body corrupting her rule of her beloved aysle (exactly what atrocities were committed are given a far better write up in the original 1990's Aysle sourcebook , worth picking up at the risk of sounding like a broken record) ... but the crown hopes that the implanted deep driving motivation towards revenge it's implanted will lead Ardinay into something even better than being possessed by Utherion.. choosing the Darkness over Light of her own free will ... and Utherion's darkness device views Ardinay as the chief contender for the new heir to the darkness device even if Ardinay isn't aware of it.. having said that I love that the darkness device has other contenders in mind as well with a reason given as to why for each one of them.

The stelae description and how they're disguised as proud gigantic moments to revered Viking ancestors and the whole " vikings are awesome look see?" part was also great ... no stats are given for the "vicious merfolk" described as one of the waves of defense guarding the stelae but this is where the extremely helpful contributions of this talented writer who it looks like goes by the name of daddydm can help out

https://daddydm.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/torg-eternity-new-old-creatures-of-aysle/

I would just use his race of shark men as written complete with shark deity and decide if the shark deity is really part of the pantheon of Aysle or if , jerk that he is, Utherion has simply decided to take on the "role" of said shark deity and without realizing it the shark men are actually praying to Corbaal, Utherion's deity, who grants the shark men their divine miracles... which would be a great way for PC's who somehow find out to drive a wedge in between these admittedly still evil beings and Utherion, but possibly angered by the relevation to the point where they "quit" and stop guarding stelae, a move sure to aggravate Utherion and canny storm knights might even be able to "sic" the shark men on Utherion's Vikings at sea and other forces in the future .. daddydm has also provided stats for their shark companions (his write ups of the shadow dog and hound of the Baskervilles is great too).

The Reaper write up, part of Utherion's dread council, was a great read given it's interest not only in turning all of Earth into undead (the reaper's end goal being all life in existence becoming an undead version of it's former living self, something Utherion may or may not be aware of - certainly he wouldn't like the end result of all said undead no doubt seeing the Reaper as their ruler) but also it's end goal of creating an undead monstrosity powerful enough to replace the carredon... a terrifying thought when you look at the stats for even the less powerful version of the carredon from the revenge of the carredon book .. and towards that goal going out and actively harvesting terrified living beings and killing them to fuel this project (not sure if their dead flesh, possibility energy, souls or all of the above is being used as fuel?)... reading this book I'm not sure if the Abomination Engines mentioned below would be involved in this process though I tend to assume they would be.

Related to the Reaper is it's control over the abomination engines which was also a very fun read.. connected to Utherion's darkness device in a manner sort of like stelae but using possibility energy pillaged from Earth to churn out lurks, the aysle version of goblins, instead (also interesting was the fact that as an artificial life form the lurks have only been around for a few decades now) which Utherion uses as disposable shock troops ... also intriguing was the use of the Abomination Engines to create "clones" of important characters (albeit ones that will never know as much as the originals in terms of memories and other limitations.. still an incredibly useful tool in Utherion's arsenal if he was to say make a clone of "Lady Ardinay", draw PC's away to rescue "kidnapped Ardinay" and then use the opportunity to commit some foul attrocity that furthers Utherion's plans while the PC's are off on a wild goose chase) and the creation of disposable short lived "custom creatures" that can say wade through a pool of magma inside of a volcano to obtain say some magical item or spell component that's needed (a common enough situation in Aysle).

The section on "princess nott" is worth reading carefully given that a lot of us might be influenced and prejudiced by our experiences with dungeons and dragons to make the incorrect assumption that earth elementals... called trolls.. are "only" constructs summoned into being at a wizard's command.. while this is certainly possible the GM also has to remember there are enough of these constructs to form a race onto themselves and for some reason they find humans enjoyable and tasty to eat (why a human would be tasty to a being made of rock and earth I have no idea ... they're described as having a "root like skeletal structure" so if that part is still alive maybe it feeds off flesh? Altenately maybe trolls started out as burial mounds granted magical independence and intelligence who devoured the body in said burial ground, found it tasty and went out questing for more?) ... and also that they like "shiny things" that belong to their victims (presumably gold, silver, gems, metal items like weapons and so forth)...

Also worth paying close attention to is the section on Mad Duke Vareth though this is another tantalizing look at a great concept that turns disappointing when you realize there's no game rules or stats for what looks to be an utterly fascinating Ayslish magical version of a "cyborg", a mixture of dwarf and the technology Aysle dwarves are so facinated with (hinted at in the Torg Eternity books and covered in greater detail in the 1990's original Aysle book)... clan Vareth of the dwarves is portrayed differently in Torg Eternity which isn't necessarily a bad thing - instead of house Vareth falling to the temptations of Darkness and enslaving their fellow dwarves as in the 1990's Aysle book, Vareth, ruler of the surface dwarf kingdom of House Vareth, was a wise noble and just leader, closely aligned with the Light and a staunch supporter of Ardinay and the elves... until Utherion's forces decimated his dwarven kingdom.. his loyal followers sealed him against his protests into the Land Between hoping to ensure their king lived.. he did, but at an enormous cost... not a Lurker (and therefore not born with the magical innate sense that could lead him to things he thought about - like a way out ! ) and forced to engage in who knows what to survive in that dangerous realm, he somehow found a way to rebuild parts of his body with what I assume is magic fueled Aysle technology (or perhaps even he encountered some other cosm whose magic and tech axioms are supported by Aysle's axioms down there) .. and was driven utterly mad in the process... a well written, tragic story but also tragic in the lack of detail that I'm hoping will be covered in future torg eternity products. Although I guess in theory you could use the stats for the dwarven autonoma in the threats section at the end of the book (magical constructs that kind of look like dwarves wearing their dragon armor at first glance, another great touch) and beef them up with the mad duke obviously losing the immunities a construct would normally have but also having a higher Mind and Spirit score not to mention no doubt being possibility rated and having what I would guess to be a wide variety of perks... as well given that the torg eternity aysle book mentions the mad duke walked across the sea bottom along with his non-living dwarven autonoma I would assume he at least has a (perhaps retractable?) helmet he can seal his head under allowing him not to breathe and being immune to poisons and gases and so forth that are airborne. There's also the question as to whether his dwarven autonoma's ability to build the machines that are referred to in the torg eternity aysle book comes from some "preprogrammed" knowledge the dwarven autonoma can call on or if the Mad Duke somehow learned how to create his dwarven autonoma and for that matter created his metal legs then had his dwarven autonoma perform the surgery ... maybe the mad duke was an expert engineer prior to his ascension to ruler of the surface dwarves.

... this still requires the GM to come up with a backstory as to what happened to the poor Mad Duke that resulted in his physical transformation (though the insanity - losing the beloved kingdom to the forces of Darkness, watching them slaughtered before his very eyes , the people he'd sworn to protect and defend, then being forced to wander the land below fighting for his life.. the insanity is easily explained)... strongly hinted at by the presence of the dwarf envoy and former close friend of the Mad Duke "the Shanhand" in Ardinay's court is the possibility of healing the Mad Duke's fractured mind and the ritual sidebar mentioned in the miracles section of the torg eternity aysle book hints at the possibility of some divine ritual ,no doubt involving a quest, somewhat similar to the one in the revenge of the carredon but less epic in scope perhaps with say a priest of Dunad .. perhaps the PC's have to make the dangerous trek through the land in between, successfully get to the Aysle home cosm, seek out the priest and his or her ritual to heal the insane, gather the components required for the ritual perhaps some in the Aysle home cosm some on Aysle conquered core earth, return back home, get through the fortress the mad duke has set up for himself on the island in Scotland mentioned in torg eternity, fight through the duke's forces, subdue the duke and have the priest cast the ritual... I would imagine the duke as breaking down in tears and sobbing curling up into a ball, finally coming to grips with all the tragedy in his life but helpless for say a few months of game time after which he and his dwarven autonoma end up becoming a force that fights on Ardinay's side once again ... related to that as a "side quest" is looking up Lord Liandaar's daughter Aesther in the home cosm of Aysle given the notes that House Liandar might leave (along with his troops so desparately needed by Ardinay to fight Utherion's forces on Earth) out of fear for the safety of his daughter.. a letter from said daughter entreating him to continue the fight on Earth for her sake .. and more importantly this evidence along with the PC's own eye witness testimony that his daughter still lives... could be enough for Liandar to swear he won't leave Ardinay's side until Utherion's forces are routed, a tremendous relief to Ardinay and a great help to the Core Earth forces Ardinay is attempting to assist in the fight against Utherion.

(and at this point I realize my review is so long it exceeded the character limit for drivthru rpg :) .. if you're interested in reading the entire thing you can see it below at this link )

https://andrerpgreviews.blogspot.com/2022/11/aysle-sourcebook-extended-review.html



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Aysle Sourcebook
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Torg Eternity - The God Box
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/09/2022 16:09:56

(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

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:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - The God Box
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Torg Eternity - The Fires of Ra
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/09/2022 15:59:26

Is this adventure worth the eighteen dollars (American) one would spend? I would definitely say yes with the same caveat I gave in my review of the godbox adventure... there are certain (not all but certain) NPC's who could use a more fleshed out background description and/or write up of their motivations and there are certain portions of the adventure not as fully fleshed out as I would like where the GM will need to come up with his or her own answers if the players and/or PC's start asking questions about said blanks... also there's an absence of maps in some (not all) of the presented battle situations which could annoy GM's and players who are used to such though I would argue that a Google search of the internet will provide plenty of free rpg maps that can be adapted to these situations and that there are some chase scenes so complex in nature that a single map simply won't cover it and the GM and players will have to make do with a completely narrative style (worth noting there are some gaming groups who don't feel the need for maps at all to begin with), though it's worth noting for the most important fight scenes in the adventure a map is provided... see below on my thoughts on this but the GM is going to have to have a LONG talk with the players about how railroading the PC's through the plot of the adventure (the hooded cobra getting away again and again) at certain points is not only expected but encouraged due to the world laws of the nile empire (which admittedly give very good reasons as to why this is the place if you read the nile empire cosm sourcebook) like the hooded cobra getting away from the PC's again and again. Still I enjoyed reading this adventure and I know I would enjoy running it with my players as long as I clearly explain to them - and repeat said explanation when necessary - at the start of the adventure what they're in for.

As with the godbox the adventure begins with a broad overview and plot summary of the seven (!!) acts the adventure covers worth a whopping 35 experience points for PC's who complete it... if you look at my review of the godbox you'll see why I recommend that despite this large number of experience points, given that this is a rather extended adventure good for no doubt months of gameplay (not a bad thing at all), I would recommend awarding PC's .. in this case let's say one third of an experience point at the end of each scene as well given the fast paced nature of Nile Empire adventures and that the GM will (hopefully) follow the advice given in the Nile Empire cosm sourcebook and run the adventures at a breakneck "Indiana Jones" style and pace of action which presumably would result in the players getting through scenes faster.. or not, that's up to each individual GM and they're gaming group and of course things might not go as fast as the GM intended anyways... this will net the players 6 experience points extra in addition to the 35 they would normally get for a total of 41 experience points - almost enough to level them up from say alpha to beta or beta or going a long way towards leveling them up further to gamma level clearance ... that and of course experience points have always been the “carrot” incentive for players.

Given the length of the adventure as a GM I would be generous in awarding possibilities to the player per the guidelines given in the torg core rules to help them get through the length of this adventure , especially if the players do a good job of making sure their PC's follow the dramatic-at-times-corny-dialogue, immediately jumping into action with little regard to life, pushing from action scene to action scene right away instead of wasting time plotting for hours in the true spirit of the Nile Empire cosm. This can really speed things along when you take say the world law "law of action" into account - players will be far less reluctant to spend two possibilities instead of one and take the better die roll result if they know more possibilities than normal are forthcoming (though you should make it very clear you're doing this only because they're in the nile empire so they're not disappointed when the same thing doesn't happen in other cosm-invaded areas of earth) ... and it creates a cycle that feeds on itself true nile empire style .. PC's who take death defying, chancy risks are immediately awarded a possibility , they spend one or two possibilities on the roll as a result, are more likely to succeed, are awarded still more possibilities .. pretty soon all the players are in on the action and the scenes are humming along in frantic action style in the spirit true to the nile empire.

Players should also be made aware of the world law of inevitable return described in the nile empire cosm sourcebook, though prior to running this adventure have a talk with players who might be potentially annoyed saying " Well if my character can never really die what's the point?" or “What’s the point if I can’t ‘really’ kill the bad guy?” (though at the risk of a minor spoiler here there’s really only one bad guy who needs to keep coming back despite repeated confrontations with him up until the very end of the adventure) ... although you don't want to spoil the adventure for them by telling them about the death of say a major PC allied NPC later on in the game , I would tell the player that death is still possible albeit more unlikely than in other cosms.. and in other cosms there is no such world law protecting the PC's... that's just the way the nile empire works, it doesn't mean that's the way all torg adventures work all the time every day .. reality itself is different in the nile empire in much the same way that reality changes in a more deadly PC threatening fashion in say Orrosh for example and it should be pointed out to the players in that the comic books that have such a huge influence on the Nile Empire that NOBODY stays dead forever – it’s more possible in the Nile Empire to actually kill someone off permanently despite that, just less so than in other cosms...

Also drive home to the players that they can, and should take risks in true over the top cinematic Indiana Jones fashion and that this doesn't necessarily guarantee total party death the way it would in other cosms... as you can probably guess reading up on the world laws of the nile empire prior to starting this adventure from the nile empire sourcebook is a good idea for both the GM AND the players, or if players are too busy to read said world laws in real life make a point of summarizing them to the players at the gaming table prior to the start of this mega-adventure so the players have a better sense of the (literal) type of world they are entering. The law of heroism in particular is worth mentioning to the players along with how the writers of torg eternity have clearly envisioned PC's who take the "high road" with regard to morality and I would go so far as to reference the specific page numbers in the torg rulebook and quote the parts from the book then check with the players and make sure they're on board with this (see below).

As I've been saying repeatedly in my torg eternity reviews, possession of the torg eternity cosm sourcebooks is mandatory in order to fully enjoy your torg games, especially so with the fires of ra (much like I would argue the living land sourcebook is mandatory to enjoying the godbox adventure ) and given that Dr. Mobius himself shows up at the conclusion of the adventure to create problems for (and possibly inadvertently help) the PC's but the adventure refers you to the nile empire sourcebook for Mobius's stats, the Nile Empire sourcebook becomes a mandatory purchase at that point in order for the GM to be able to run Mobius in the game in the first place ... this adventure should also be seen as a "part two" to the nile empire cosm sourcebook that goes into the nile empire in greater detail in terms of bringing it to life through the adventures and exposition in the fires of ra - for example I was pleased to see a much lengthier write up of the same amazons that were only briefly touched upon in the nile empire cosm sourcebook. I was a bit disappointed in that the Amazons weren't given the same lengthy write up that the godbox offered for the inhabitants of the Land Below in terms of culture, history, religious beliefs and so forth though this adventure at least fleshes the Amazons out a lot more than the single paragraph they were given in the Nile Empire cosm sourcebook.

Speaking of world laws.. I would argue this adventure does an amazing job of capturing the Nile Empire in it’s best possible light in a way that makes the cosm both fun and entertaining for the players, capturing the cinematic non stop over the top action and outlandish nature of this dimensional reality. There are persons on the Torg Eternity reddit forum I’ve joined that argue that the Fires of Ra is the best extended Torg Eternity adventure out there and while I can’t make that argument yet since I’ve only read two of the extended adventures so far (Godbox and the Fires of Ra) it wouldn’t surprise me if that was actually the case.

At this point I’m going to direct you to my blogger post below since my extended review on this adventure is so long that it exceeds the character limit on drivthrurpg.. I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to read the whole thing : ) but if you skim through it you should at least see plenty of links with suggested battlemaps the GM can use, maps and Wikipedia entries that I thought might be useful and so forth.. mainly the extended review is a lot of my stream of thought consciousness (apologies if it gets disjointed at times) regarding areas where I thought the adventure would benefit from some “filling in the blanks”… I should mention I am a huge fan of world building and hugely intensive role playing detail in campaign worlds and adventures to the point where it can resemble soap operas so GM’s and players who aren’t quite as “hardcore” as I am in that area would no doubt be perfectly happy with the adventure just the way that it’s currently written.

Despite what I just said above I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, I would definitely enjoy running my players through it and caveats aside that I mentioned above I think it’s absolutely worth the purchase price.

https://andrerpgreviews.blogspot.com/2022/10/fires-of-ra-extended-review-notes.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - The Fires of Ra
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Torg Eternity - Living Land Sourcebook
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
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
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
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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Torg Eternity - Beta Clearance Player’s Primer
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2022 15:52:02

(apologies, you'll see my reviews for "torg eternity beta clearance player's primer" and " torg eternity beta clearance gm's primer) are almost identical ... this is because I feel the same thoughts and opinions apply to both products which, honestly, should be viewed as two parts of the same whole .. also worth noting the player version of this pdf is 11 pages long)

Honestly I see this more as the publisher saying " Darn it we hit our page limit on the core rules" and then being generous enough to publish this as additional content with a pay what you want price ... if you do purchase at the (admittedly low) suggested price you're basically giving a well deserved (in my opinion) tip to the publisher for being nice about it ... on the other hand if you've already purchased the core rules (which you probably have or else you wouldn't be looking to buy this) I would argue you can safely buy this at some ridiculously low price and just spend the saved money on one of the torg eternity cosm sourcebooks which I would argue are absolutely mandatory in order to properly run a good Torg Eternity campaign and enjoy the campaign setting the way it was meant to be enjoyed.. or just put it towards one of their prewritten adventures like say " Day One " or " The Fires of Ra" if you're a fan of prepublished adventures or simply don't have the time to write your own.

Basically this book expands on the role of Beta (as well as Alpha, Gamma and Delta and Omega) clearance which are basically descriptions of the PC's "levelling up" in terms of how much experience points they gain and the advantages of getting to the next "level" in game terms /// either gear or other advantages you can purchase from the ever-present Delphi Council ... which raises the interesting question of what happens if the player characters say " forget you Delphi Council we're going off on our own " .. or one of those ranks being a prerequisite to certain new perks described in this sourcebook .. the perks and the new gear part were a fun read for me..

Also very fun for me to read as a fan of the original Torg books from the 1990's was the in game description of exactly what happened to Quinn Sebastian (who is referred to very often throughout all the Torg books not the least of which is Torg Core Rules) ... basically his experience point total went off the charts after fighting the High Lords of his "universe" (for lack of a better phrase) to the point where he was able to literally "jump universes" , travelling to one (the one the campaign is set in) where the High Lords have more or less just begun their invasion and he can provide much needed advice and guidance having in effect " seen it all before " in the mostly similar universe he just came from.. or to put it another way imagine your Torg Eternity campaign reaching it's conclusion and then having one player character "jump" over to an entirely different Torg campaign that's starting from the very beginning and providing guidance to the PC's having to deal with all of this for the very first time.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Beta Clearance Player’s Primer
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Torg Eternity - Beta Clearance GM's Primer
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2022 15:51:17

(apologies, you'll see my reviews for "torg eternity beta clearance player's primer" and " torg eternity beta clearance gm's primer) are almost identical ... this is because I feel the same thoughts and opinions apply to both products which, honestly, should be viewed as two parts of the same whole .. also worth noting the gm's primer version is a 13 page long pdf)

Honestly I see this more as the publisher saying " Darn it we hit our page limit on the core rules" and then being generous enough to publish this as additional content with a pay what you want price ... if you do purchase at the (admittedly low) suggested price you're basically giving a well deserved (in my opinion) tip to the publisher for being nice about it ... on the other hand if you've already purchased the core rules (which you probably have or else you wouldn't be looking to buy this) I would argue you can safely buy this at some ridiculously low price and just spend the saved money on one of the torg eternity cosm sourcebooks which I would argue are absolutely mandatory in order to properly run a good Torg Eternity campaign and enjoy the campaign setting the way it was meant to be enjoyed.. or just put it towards one of their prewritten adventures like say " Day One " or " The Fires of Ra" if you're a fan of prepublished adventures or simply don't have the time to write your own.

Basically this book expands on the role of Beta (as well as Alpha, Gamma and Delta and Omega) clearance which are basically descriptions of the player characters "levelling up" in terms of how much experience points they gain, game rule mechanics on how to toughen up encounters for "higher level" player characters and typical high lord reactions to the new threat the player characters pose.. I thought the "quick combat" rule .. which I'm guessing should be used in a situation where the PC's are powerful enough to easily make mincemeat of what is now a very "low level" threat to them ... was a fun addition.. it reduces the outcome of the battle for each PC and his/her/their foe to a single skill roll on the PC's part and if the PC is successful the PC gets to narrate how their successful skill roll defeated their opponent as opposed to the longer more drawn out typical Torg battle with all the attendant dice rolling and so forth.

The suggested skill ratings for foes the PC's face depending on their clearance level was also helpful in my opinion.... also a fun read for me was the "year one " review as far as the publisher's declaration of what happened in the various cosms invading Earth after a year's worth of game time.. though as I type this it occurs to me for the first time that a gamesmaster and their players may very well want to reject that and come up with their own version of what happened within that game-time year ... which on the one hand is great, it really customizes the campaign to the player's choices .. on the other hand it could render the campaign incompatible with future Torg Eternity products as the publisher continues to release them since the publisher will build on the assumptions made here (and in their other products - for example the Torg cosm sourcebooks also have a " what happened after a year of game time" section) ... if it helps the players feel better the GM can always point out there are a ton of other Storm Knights (NPC heroes as powerful as the PC's) doing their own thing and affecting the campaign as a result throughout all of Earth.. having said that a wise GM would definitely do their best to alter the "established" campaign timeline accordingly if the PC's pull off some epic event that can, and should, have repercussions throughout the entire world.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Beta Clearance GM's Primer
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Living Land: Wars of Religion
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/14/2022 15:32:33

At the extremely low price ... plus a pay what you want option so you can pick it up for practically free.. purchasing this is pretty much a no-brainer... it should be considered to be a companion piece to the Torg Eternity Living Land sourcebook (which is in turn a companion to the Torg Eternity Core Rules book) both of which I've already written reviews for if you're interested in reading them.

This book is 26 pages long but it's a really, really good (in my opinion anyways) 26 page read ... the religion of the invaders of North America is a huge , one might say primary driving force in their lives... the spirit axiom is the highest of all the invading realms, definitely more so than earth's, to the point where even your average ordinary layperson (whether an invading edeinos "lizard man" or say a transformed human from earth) can easily call upon miracles of faith , something normally reserved for say clergy or in the case of Asyle a crusading paladin or hardened battle-chaplain from Orrosh in other invading realities (cosms).

So this book.. which does a number of things but, among them, gives a more in depth analysis of the religion of the Living Land and the role two major deities, Lanala and Rek Stalek, play in it ... as well as High Lord Barak Kaah's role in said religion as basically the high priest of the edeinos as well as their leader.. is a welcome addition to the Living Land material. As well the author discusses in great deal the social and spiritual axioms, it's impact on the Living Land, and suggestions on the concrete effects this has on game play.

There's a very intriguing discussion as to the potential consquences for the infiniverse whether Barak Kaah wins or loses in his stated goal (see below) which plays into the role his darkness device and the primal forces of destruction and creation (the Nameless One ... creator of the darkness devices that give the invading High Lords their power... and Apeiros, respectively as described in the Torg Core Rules book) and the consquences for the infiniverse itself ... what I found particularly intriguing is the author's proposal to actuall HELP Barak Kaah acheive his dream of becoming the lover and equal of the deity Lanala (something Barak Kaah is actively pursuing as mentioned in the original Living Land sourcebook ) and it potentially turning out in a way that defeats and potentially even traps the darkness device and causes Kaah to basically leave Earth and stop causing problems for it.

The book also gives a detailed description of the social structure of the invading edeinos tribes as influenced by the axioms and suggestions as to how the player characters can get involved in said social structure in terms of befriending tribes and (shockingly) possibly even allying with Kaah in terms of helping him acheive his goal (see above). Even if everything the author suggests isn't necessarily your cup of tea at the very least the author still gives you a lot to think about and there's a wealth of useful material in here that any gamesmaster worth their salt can mine. The new perks and miracles described in the last two pages of the book were also an interesting read but I was far more interested in the "world building" part of the book .. the detailed analysis of the society and inner working of the Living Land if you will.

In summary I view this as a must-buy for the Torg Eternity campaign setting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Living Land: Wars of Religion
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The Reality Choir
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/11/2022 21:50:54

I'll probably be adding more to this review as time goes on and I have a chance to organize the notes I took (yes I literally took notes the product is that good :) ) ... but basically this is an absolute must-read for anyone who's a fan of Torg Eternity and I would go so far as to argue it's an absolutely essential purchase if you're going to be gaming in the Torg Eternity setting ... and given that the author has generously made it a pay what you want title purchasing it is an absolute no-brainer. I am guilty of paying less than the suggested price between a combination of university expenses for the two kids (it's pricey... very, very pricey) and my guilty desire to get a hold of this book but I will absolutely be making a note to myself to purchase another copy of this at the price I should have paid in the first place... years from now when the kids are out of school.. when it probably won't do the poor author any good :( ... but if you can afford the asking price it is absolutely, positively worth it.

Here's the reason I'm gushing with praise after having read the whole thing (and you get a LOT for your money, even when you leave out the table of contents and cover page it's roughly 160 pages of high quality material) ... I'm a long time fan of Torg from waaaaay back when they first released the game in the 1990's and I am thoroughly enjoying the updated version that Ulisses Spiele has released ... but (and this is something I will be addressing when I finally get around to reviewing the Torg Eternity cosm sourcebooks I am currently in the process of reading) ... given the page limits the publisher has to deal with in order to make the books financially viable (I'm guessing anyways) ... there's a lot of good quality content in the "official" Torg Eternity sourcebooks, a lot of "meat and bones" to give any gamesmaster worth their salt all the tools they need to run a viable, fun game... but then you have the people like me who are overly needy and demanding and want more :)

I'm going to talk about a completely different publisher and product here and I will explain why I am doing that afterwards... the Iron Kingdoms campaign setting was originally released for the third edition version of Dungeons and Dragons... the Iron Kingdoms World Guide book was 402 pages long, and maybe at most 2 percent of that dealt with crunchy rules oriented type stuff... the rest was just pure campaign setting, a lovingly detailed rendition of what the Iron Kingdoms world was like, the countries within it and the details of the cities within, the organizations, long entries on the legal system and barter and trade.. I freaking loved that book. Not all RPG'ers are like me, so very, very focused on the role playing, immersing yourself in the campaign world side of things ... there are players who are more interested in treating the RPG like a video game of sorts instead and there's nothing wrong with that at all, there are a million different ways to approach an RPG and a million different RPG groups that find that particular way that works for them.

But if you're someone who's looking for that "immersion" part .. a detailed account of exactly WHAT'S going on in the world of Torg Eternity that focuses less on "crunchy rules stuff" and more on that sort of loving detail (which I'm sure the Torg Eternity writers would have included if it wasn't for the fact that it would probably balloon their page count to something crazy like 300 pages instead of 160 for a Torg Eternity cosm sourcebook - which as mentioned is something the publisher probably cannot afford to do and still make a profit) ... then this is the book for you. I fell in love with the writer's exposition of exactly how the various intelligence agencies in different countries reacted to the invaders and the interaction between all of them and the invading cosms... which of course meant that the writer had to go into detail about how the invaders have affected the politics of Earth as well as the efforts of various intelligence agencies (think America's CIA only bigger ) to deal with Earth in a wartime setting with invaders from other dimensions literally transforming parts of Earth into "their turf"... and it's a fascinating read.

Having said that the part at the end that is "crunchy" in a sense in that it gives you a well written "mission generator" for intelligence agencies that provides a tremendously helpful starting point for a gamesmaster looking to create adventures for his players was also well done in my opinion.... I know there are gamesmasters who will literally create adventures "on the fly" making things up on the spot if the players "jump" in some totally different direction the gamesmaster wasn't anticipating and in a situation like that this would be tremendously helpful for such a gamesmaster to quickly flip through... personally I prefer a gamesmaster who tells his players " guys I really wasn't expecting you to go in this direction.. I can write something up for it but we need to call it a night and meet back next week when I have something for you" (assuming you are blessed with a GM who has that sort of spare time in the first place and it's completely understandable if the GM does not) but even in a situation like that this gives a GM like that an excellent starting point. There's some fun rules in there too for new gear and new perks which are well suited to intelligence agencies which were also very well written in my opinion but to me the best part was that "world immersion" that the author so expertly crafted ... what's going on politically in the world of Torg Eternity.

In my ignorance I had to look up what the "Torg Infiniverse Exchange" logo meant on the cover... if I understand correctly, the publisher of Torg Eternity has made the very wise decision of letting writers outside of the publisher (Ulisses Spiele ) write stuff for Torg Eternity ... honestly I think this book is so good it should have been included as an official Torg Eternity product and in the highly unlikely event Ulisses Spiele is reading this :) (not so much that they don't care and more so because they are busy cranking out a ton of material for Torg Eternity, which I applaud them for.. I've only read a few titles but super impressed at what I've read so far) ... guys you need to officially hire the author on to write other books for you, I'm serious :) ..

If I typed every single thing here that the author mentions in his book this review would drag on even longer than it already has (and apologies for that I know it's a gigantic wall of text) but some things that really caught my eye

  • The Shield of Atlas, the mercenary organization that is more interesting in profiting off the possibility wars than they are in saving the world and the hilarious (in my opinion) reference to Shield from a large publisher of comic books I shall not name here for fear of copyright infringement but it's still funny as all heck :) .. particularly the flying headquarters/combat air vehicles they use courtesy of their alliance with a wierd science Nile Empire bad guy/genius (which shows right there just how mercenary they are to begin with) ..

  • the long game the Cyberpapacy is playing to win the hearts and minds of the parts of Earth they haven't claimed by transforming it to their reality/dimension yet ... well written, fascinating stuff that melds perfectly with how politics would work in "real life Earth" if a sneaky yet undeniably evil presence that the Cyberpapacy was in play

  • the Federation of Saladin ... I was delighted to see writing about Islam-dominant countries that goes beyond the Hollywood trope of "they're all terrorists who want to blow up the USA and convenient bad guys we can plop into our storyline because we're too lazy to come up with a more nuanced bad guy instead"... yes the writer addressed the terrorist factions (and if you know anything about Islam these terrorists are NOT Muslims in any sense of the word no matter how much they insist they are - it's a perversion of the faith, just as twisted as the "holy crusades" centuries ago with the looting, pillaging and so forth that no right minded Christian would ever in a million years view as a Christian thing - yet it was touted as a "Christian " thing back then despite being the complete opposite of it ) .. but the writer also includes the Muslims who are doing their best to control the terrorist factions who want to take control of the Federation of Saladin and who are far more concerned about rescuing the Muslim populations who have been endangered by the Possibility Wars

  • an extremely in depth look at the Delphi Council , more detailed than what you'd find in the Torg Living Land sourcebook (which contains most of the Delphi Council "official" info from Ulisses Spiele as far as I can tell) that reads as a finely written love letter to the Delphi Council in Torg Eternity... really good stuff

  • the Earth Defense Force , founded in part over a misunderstanding that is both cosmicly funny and also tragic... fans of the original Torg books from the 1990's are very familiar with Quinn Sebastian... as Ulisses Spiele has officially established, Quinn survived the possiblity wars detailed in the 1990's and "jumped infiniverses" over to the one detailed in Torg Eternity taking place today in the 2019's onwards or what have you (not sure what year it's officially supposed to be - I suspect Ulisses Spiele have deliberately left this vague so Torg Eternity GM's can set it in whatever year they like but it's probably going to be a modern one that takes into account the technology of today) .. and has been lending his expertise from having fought through his version of the possiblity wars to the defenders of earth in this infiniverse.. basically, the unconquered parts of Japan, China and Korea got wind of this.. but not the entire story, all they know is that Quinn is from another dimension... just like (to them anyways) the dimensional invaders... now they're convinced the Delphi Counci is compromised and have founded their own "Earth Defense Force", convinced they are now humanity's only hope. Beyond the funny/tragic part the Earth Defense Force is enormously well written too.

And just because I've given you highlights from the book doesn't mean I've completely given away the book's contents either (and I hope the author will forgive me for taking the liberty of doing so).. the reason I mention these things is to get you hooked on the fascinating concepts in this book so that you'll actually buy it and read about those concepts in greater detail which this book absolutely does ... in addition to going into far greater detail into these (and other) agencies , the author also talks about the interaction (often hostile or at least a "cold war" sort of situation though there are other instances where they ally with each other too ) of all these agencies in various "fields of operation" .... different regions of earth , both the areas conquered by the dimensional areas and the areas that are still (so far) free.. and it's a fantastic read.

If you've made it to the end of this long review thank you for reading all of that :) .. and I honestly hope I have convinced you by now to buy this book... to the author, you've truly crafted a work of art here in my humble opinion.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Reality Choir
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Torg Eternity - Dancing on Needle Tips
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/03/2022 20:00:17

I am now regretting my complaint in the discussion thread about it only being 9 pages long (well really 8 pages if you exclude the cover art, which is really cool and all but of course doesn't have any text in it). For one thing I didn't stop to think about the publisher generously giving a "pay what you want" offer for the "Day One" sourcebook which is a whopping 146 pages worth of material ... also ruins of the living land is a respectable 34 pages and also falls into the "pay what you want" category... technically so is " Up the Creek" at 16 pages but.. well I'll get into that on my review of Up the Creek once I've had a chance to finish reading it but I have some thoughts on that one. Given that you co

While you should really consider this to be an 8 page supplement, they do pack a lot of useful information and an intriging scenario into those 8 pages so in my opinion it's well written. Given the importance of the events covered - as the product description states " Decide the fate of the Paris Hardpoint, and potentially drive a wedge between The Church and their most powerful minions! " I really do feel more than 8 pages should have been devoted to it... I'm aware not everyone has the time to write up their own original adventure material (or else you probably wouldn't be looking at this pre published adventure right now to begin with :) ) but if you do have the time the adventure would definitely benefit from "filler material" leading the Storm Knights from wherever they are to the Paris Hardpoint to begin with, more stuff that happens while they're at the hardpoint (though it's worth noting what happens there is pretty big and has major consequences for the campaign such that I can see why the major focus is on the decision that rests with the players.. still some minor "filler" events to go along with it would have been appreciated).

I also wish the "People to Meet" NPC section had stats for said NPC's too.. yes it's true the TORG core rulebook says that you don't need to give every single NPC statistics and given the huge scope of the game world - not only do you have Core Earth to deal with but also 7 invading realms, each one their own individual world - I can see why they would say that. Still, call me old school but it makes me nervous to have to make do with what's essentially just a verbal description of NPC's the PC's may end up interacting with even if just through social skill roll checks. If you have the time you're probably best up writing up stats for them as well .. though in all fairness even with the much longer Burden of Glory adventure you have three NPC's right off the bat with no stats... also in all fairness with both supplements the NPC's the PC's are most likely to engage with in combat have statistics.

One nice thing about this adventure is all the material you need to run it is included in the TORG Eterntity Core Rules book ... having said that I find myself suspecting that if you had the Cyberpapacy sourcebook it would help , if nothing else I'm guessing there's material in that sourcebook you could toss into this adventure to help further flesh it out. This is pure speculation on my part since I haven't yet purchased the Torg Eternity Cyberpapacy sourcebook.. I do remember the aged but still respectable original Torg Cyberpapacy from West End Games being a thoroughly enjoyable read decades ago so I find myself thinking the Torg Eternity version of it would be a great purchase too... I'm certainly very impressed with the TORG Eternity revamp of the original TORG rules.

My apologies for not going into more detail on the events within the adventure itself but ... that would just ruin the adventure for any players reading this review .... for TORG gamesmasters however I can say that I would recommend this as a purchase albeit with some reservations given that the adventure is only 8 pages long.

EDIT AND UPDATE - BUT PLAYERS DON'T READ THIS OR YOU'LL RUIN THE FUN FOR YOURSELF !

It's occurred to me a review really doesn't do that much good if you don't go into the details the adventure covers .. so I will just take it on faith that players will not spoil it for themselves by reading this :)

The dilemma the adventure poses is this - Paris's Effiel Tower is the largest known hardpoint on Core Earth and is of enormous strategic importance to the Core Earth resistance against the Cyberpapacy... the player's actions determine if this hardpoint decides - needless to say if it goes down this is an enormous blow to Core Earth and the resistance against the Cyberpapacy. The players are faced with a moral dilemma... a Host (think artificial intelligence "angel", very powerful force fields and lasers and a hologram of it's angelic "facade" ... Cyberpapacy version of an angel basically) is having a "moral dilemma".. played out properly the players could turn not only this Host but potentially ALL Cyberpapacy Hosts against the Cyberpapacy dealing a major blow to the Cyberpapacy... but if events play out that way you lose the Eiffel Tower.. so it's hard choice time... some players might appreciate the grim realistic sense of "the world isn't a nice place" and being forced into such a choice, really it depends on how your gaming group and gamesmaster approaches this sort of thing... personally I tend towards the "nice gamesmaster who "tilts" things towards the heroes being the champions of the story" sort of gameplay which would incline me when playing this out to let the players have their cake and eat it too... perhaps with clever word play some good skill rolls and/or appropriate drama deck cards working in the player's favor the players get to save the Eiffel Tower AND turn the Hosts on the Cyberpapacy.

Basically the Host has become aware of a plan to summon a demon summoned by a cyberwitch who is apparently sympathetic to the cyberpapacy (!?!), said demon inhabits the Eiffel Tower and turns it into a twisted monstrosity that battles the Host - which leads the Host to conclude it's assumptions were correct and all Hosts turn against the Cyberpapacy but you lose the Eiffel Tower which is completely trashed after it's possession... or the heroes stop the cyberwitch from being able to cast the rituals that turn the Eiffel Tower into an "attack monster" but the Host then comes to the conclusion that it was tricked by the Delphi Council information it received when things don't turn out the way the Host intended and the Host attacks the player characters. Added complication - there's someone within the Cyber Police force permanently stationed outside the Eiffel Tower resistance to keep an eye on the resistance and that someone is part of the plot to animate the Eiffel Tower causing the Cyber Police to storm this Core Earth stronghold and demolish it.

So a lot of cool, interesting stuff going on here but it could use some fleshing out if nothing else in terms of a good backstory for the cyberwitch... WHY is she sympathetic to the Cyberpapacy? And also why is this witch's cabal sympathetic to the Cyberpapacy? I suppose if anyone's good at brainwashing it would be the Cyberpapacy but why wouldn't the Cyberpapacy just burn the cabal at the stake? Then again while the Cyberpapacy is to the best of my knowledge fanatical in nature, the cyberpope (at least based on my memory of the old TORG West End Cyberpapacy material) can be completely hypocritical if it furthers his own personal ends, all the while convinced he's following the "holy path" in his twisted crazed mind... perhaps the cyberpope personally intervened? It's something the gamemaster should give some thought to and perhaps even turn into a future game session for curious player characters to investigate further if the players are so inclined. Sadly I have not purchased the Torg Eternity cyberpapacy sourcebook so the best I can do here is speculate but I find myself wondering if purchasing it would help with this adventure (and honestly it's on my wishlist of books to purchase anyways, I was blown away by just how good the West End version was in the 1990's and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing Torg Eternity's update to this book).

Also , my personal gaming style would to be a bit more flexible ... an ideal situation would be to save the Eiffel Tower but give the player characters a chance to reason with the Host and appeal to it's programming (maybe if the gamesmaster has some extra time and can work in the additional background material the cyberwitch has hard physical evidence on her - orders from the cyberpope himself maybe in say a cybernetic implant in her brain the Host can tap into ... the cyberwitch doesn't have to be alive for this if the PC's took her down I imagine her corpse would do )... ideally a PC from the Cyberpapacy could be made aware of this through say hacking the cyberwitch's implant but otherwise making that info available to the Storm Knights could work too ... or alternately if the Eiffel Tower gets possessed let a PC who can work magic pull off some amazing magical stunt that not only drives the possessing demon out but restores the Tower to normal - the Host still comes to the conclusion that it's original assumptions were correct and it's a win-win. Again I tend towards an optomistic "the heroes can do it all! " approach that might not be for everyone but some points to ponder.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Dancing on Needle Tips
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Torg Eternity - Living Land - Burden of Glory
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Andre B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/03/2022 14:16:53

This is a 20 page prepublished torg adventure module... I'm going to comment once again on how kind it is of the publisher to make this a "pay what you want" item ... personally I would run the "Day One" adventures (also very kindly marked as a pay what you want item by the publisher) first since this adventure seems to be intended to be run one year "game time" after the campaign starts though, as always, it's your campaign there's nothing that should stop you from running it early if you have a personal reason for this to take place earlier than planned.

WARNING, SPOILERS FOLLOW, IF YOU'RE A PLAYER DON'T READ THIS IT WILL JUST RUIN THE ADVENTURE FOR YOU !!!! The adventure does a great job of forcing the player into hard decisions since they're faced with three important things but there's no way you can pull off all three missions, you have to choose between them ... I suppose a kind gamesmaster could just hand wave it and let the player characters pull all three goals off - it really depends on the gamemaster's personal style and his/her gaming group... of course you risk ticked off players grumbling about exactly WHY or HOW COME they couldn't do all three things... you could just say all three events are taking place at or close to the same time but still from a player point of view I can see how this would get annoying. I'll be honest, even at the cost of enforcing realism in the spirit of hard choices (which in and by itself is a respectable goal) I tend to be a kind hearted GM and would personally probably let the players pull off all three goals despite the adventure stating otherwise but, again personal choice.

You can uproot a stelae which as TORG fans will know is a big deal, every one uprooted is a major victory for the "good guys" ... if you don't head for the stelae and deal with it right away basically it's mission failure - if you take care of the temple first (see below) it gives the Living Land's darkness device time to implant a back-up stelae... again personally I would "hand wave" this and let characters who investigate the temple first have a shot at taking out the stelae but just make it more difficult than normal (the tyranosaur's mate shows up there too , more redjaw edinos, if you're feeling particularly cruel TWO ravagons are there) and let the players know that going to the temple first gave the darkness device time to send in said reinforcements... they still have a chance to take out that stelae, reclaim that portion of land for core earth from the invaders and you still have the sense of "realism" going on in terms of consequences to the player actions.

I loved the temple (goal two) part not only due to it being an Orrosh zone (strange but true, you should have already purchased and read the TORG core rules and if you've read them then you know that nightmare trees from Orrosh can and will just plop themselves down into other cosms allowing for the nightmare reality to hold sway in unexpected places outside of say India (where Orrosh has invaded and the nightmare reality holds sway) for example.... but also loved it due to the call-out to the Akashans whom us old school TORG fans from the 1990's West End game publisher material are very familar with... the publisher is still crowdfunding the Pan Pacifica (TORG Eternity version of Nippon Tech) sourcebook so I'm guessing Akashan source material is way into the future but I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing how the publisher handles the human like space aliens with super advanced biotech (and the horrible secret and threat they bring with them if they keep that on from the original published material). The "beetle-guys" the player characters have to fight brought back fond memories as well and I'm sure they will be discussed in greater detail in upcoming Akashan material just as they were in the original 1990's TORG material.

And then there's goal three, defend the brave Core Earthers and their base in the Living Land from edinos attackers and their pet dinosaur... technically according to the adventure if you go for both the temple and the stelae you don't get back in time and automatic victory for the edinos attackers.. personally I would let the player characters make it back in time even if they went after the aforementioned previous two goals first (maybe throw reinforcements on the edinos side the players have to deal with and let them know it's a consquence of dealing with the other goals first) but GM's and gaming groups who prefer a more hard-edged "realistic" approach may not be a fan of this and appreciate the making the hard choices things and bleak consequences that take place if you pick one goal and not the other...

The adventure mentions that the player characters should automatically fail the remove the stelae goal if the gaming session in "real life" is about to end and they don't make a last ditch effort to pull everything off in time... while on the one hand the sense of urgency this creates due to timing definitely reinforces the "life is hard" realism sort of thing that certain GM's and gaming groups would appreciate, I'm personally inclined to show mercy to the players and simply pick things up where you left off last gaming session.. it's true it can create a certain sense of anti-climax if you're doing this incredibly dramatic stuff and it isn't resolved within a single game session but it also lets you mine the adventure for multiple gaming sessions and heads off potential player annoyance if your players prefer for life in the campaign not to be that "hard edged". Again it's a personal choice for your gamesmaster and gaming group..

Personally I'm not a fan of the "Sunset" orrosh card at the temple goal automatically causing the players to flat out lose out on being able to pursue either of the two remaining goals if they go for the temple first.. yes I know that "all is lost" sense of doom and gloom is very much in line with the Orrosh reality/cosm but I'm wincing just imaging the players grinding their teeth and snarling " So you're telling us we can't do it because of this stupid CARD that was just played?!?" .. ... and yes I know the cards have a major effect on gameplay anyways and I'm normally a big fan of that but this seems a bit cruel even by Orrosh standards. I would personally try to brainstorm some other horrible thing happening because it's "sunset"... maybe zombies (zombified humans and edinos who died there - maybe victims of the Horrorsaurus rex mentioned in the adventure and said rex alternates between eating a zombie and attacking a player character... then tell the player characters they can stay and fight ... or try and run past these shambling monstrosities towards the goals they still haven't fulfilled or the goals automatically fail due to lack of time (and you can bet the Horrorsaurus rex will be pursuing them all the while - it could actually be a fun addition to say uprooting the stelae or defending the core eather stronghold with the Horrorsaurus rex alternating between attacking the good guys and attacking the bad guys ).

Again this is all just a matter of personal preference rather than criticisms... overall I thought it was a fun, solid well written adventure and it was very kind of the publisher to make it a pay what you want item to boot ... definitely worth picking up whether at the recommended purchase price or less than that.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Living Land - Burden of Glory
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