First of all, I must say that, while reading through the first 24 pages of this product, I am impressed by the obvious amount of effort that went into deveoping the campaign. I have heard comparisons of NE to Rifts, but I must say that instead, I am reminded of the rebellious, no-holds barred feeling that I got when I was first exposed to the Talislanta rpg, ages ago. These guys have obviously jumped in with both feet!
NE is a rich setting, that attempts to meld many different rpg elements together, in one bowl. With the first 25 pages devoted to history and background, the stage is set for the reader's journey into the NE realm. It is a bit much to digest in one sitting, and personally, I never really utilize campaign history, but- the NE history explains the reasons that the world is the way it is- and that's important!
Next, the various nations are detailed. Plenty of info is give about the various cities, personalities and dangers of each region. I especially can appreciate the Character Options, Environmental Dangers and Plot Hooks that are given for the GM to use. There is alot of neat stuff to chew on and digest here, folks!
Chapter 3 provides a multitude of races to use in the campaign. From hive-minded rat-men, to regenerating plant-men, there's some new twists put on races who seem somewhat familiar- but not. One thing to note (I am sure I am dating myself here)- not every race has the same number or type of abilities. It appears to me that the races have abilities that make sense, from a campaign point-of-view; abilities and nuances aren't held in check just to make each race "balanced". This is something that I think, recent rpg's seem to get hung up on. (Say no to level adjustment!) The P'Tan are my favorite!
And I must say that the folks at LPD added a nice contingency that allows them to introduce as many new races as they want- and have it make sense! (No gnomes allowed!)
Included next is a too-quick summary of the gods of NE and their respective domains. I wanted even more detail about each god and even artwork showing the gods, or even their icons. But perhaps that will be in another supplement. And any GM worth his or her salt can easily fill in any blanks here. Other highlights include 6 presitge classes that are well-suited to the campaign.
A chapter of Feats that are flavorful, but not surprising. I think we have pretty much seen everything that can be done with feats. Mechanically they are redundant, its the feat fluff that makes them seem different.
Next, we are introduced to some inspired new spells, weapons and other equipment, including Tomes- a nice role playing mechanic that gives players something else to look foreward to, besides offensive items.
Wrapping up, a nice selection of creatures is provided to terrorize players. There are some nice new surprises included, along with twists to somewhat familiar enemies.
As far as "readability" this product stands head and shoulders above other LPD products I have read: The layout is logical, the artwork is wonderful, expressive and imagative, and the pdf is stuffed full of useful info. A big improvement has been made from previous books, and I am grateful for that (i.e. no unreadable fonts).
And, Mr. Porter, JR- if you are reading this review, please consider adding one more page to your future campaign products and add an index! The Table of Contents is nothing to sneeze at, but c'mon! With a product that's as ambitious and as detailed as this one, an index would be great.
Overall an inspired product that I would recommend as a new campaign or (as I plan to do) an add-on to an existing campaign. The rpg community needs fresh ideas and concepts, which push the bounds of the "norm". And this pdf does just that. A solid effort.
Note- As a reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThru RPG, I received this product for reviewing purposes from the publisher.
[4 of 5 Stars!]