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Torg Eternity - Core Rules €23,72
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 :)

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Torg Eternity - Core Rules
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