Occasionally a person steps around the corner of an alley, finds a hole in the back of their closet, takes a shortcut down a wooded road at night, or simply turns their head at just the right moment to watch a falling leaf and then finds himself elsewhere. These people are called Exiles; they step or turn out of our world, the world of crowded freeways and glittering convenience stores and into the Second World, a place of magic, mystery, danger, and more than a little bit of terror. There are two worlds you see, separated by a roiling gulf of chaos called the Forge.
The Second World Sourcebook bridges the gap between modern day adventuring and traditional fantasy roleplaying. It provides a "campaign template" for running a dual-world game. By combining the sourcebook with your own favorite setting you can take your fantasy characters and run them through a modern day scenario, or take your modern characters and run them through one of the many fantasy modules currently available. Most modern settings already describe the impact of fantasy elements on them and include rules for handling magic. But what would happen if people from the modern world regularly trafficked with those in a more traditional fantasy world? What impact would it have if powerful wizards originally studied computer science at UCLA? What would the social institutions look like if the progress of ideas and politics we've seen in our world carried over to a place where electricity and gunpowder simply didn't work, but magic and divine power did?
The Sourcebook supports both the d20 Modern Rules and the standard d20 rules and provides a complete set of genre and technology rules for customizing the way reality works in the two worlds, in alternate planes, or even in your own game world. Over 200 powers spread across 8 prestige classes (with an alternate, feat-based system)are detailed. Each class gets to pick one ability per level from a list of at least 25 special powers; this provides maximum customizability in character development. It also includes a complete set of influence rules with over 30 organizations and 100 favors to request; this system provides a nifty method for adding crunch to the political aspect of a game. The Second World Sourcebook also provides a basic campaign setting designed to show off the full potential of genre jumping.
The electronic version has been updated to the 3.5 rules and includes, as an appendix, the Pact System (which is still available for free, along with a number of other resources, at www.Second-World-Simulations.com). Reviews:
"The writing style is fairly unique - at times it has the ambience of a Charles De Lint novel, before switching through an academic-style discourse on metaphysics to an informal chat about game mechanics and occasionally into raw creative flow. At times its annoying, sometimes confusing; mostly its damn impressive." - Simon Collins, ENWorld Staff Review (4/5)
"I think with wardens and warden powers, Steven Palmer Peterson has again shown his unique talent to twist the d20 System rules in unique and compelling ways." - Alan "Psion" Kohler, ENWorld Staff Review (4/5)
"It's really quite easy to see The Second World Sourcebook becoming the seminal advanced d20 product." - Gamewyrd (9/10)