This 8-page pdf is essentially a free preview/advertisement for the Steampunk Musha campaign setting and its kickstarter, so I'm going to break my usual format to talk a bit about the setting: Essentially, Steampunk Musha is a blend of a multitude of Asian cultural concepts paired with an industrial revolution.
In order to introduce the reader to the setting, we start of with the tale of Yu, a kind of origin myth. But how does one introduce the setting? Essentially being geographically isolated, the lands of Rosuto-Shima can be rather easily dropped into a remote region of your setting of choice. In order to give the reader an idea of what to expect from the kickstarter, a gazetteer-like section on the cities of Shangti, Chengti, Kuang-Cho and other places of interest are provided.
The races the final setting will cover are also introduced: From Kappa, ape-like Kijo, the oni-tiefling-style hybrids Jinteki-Oni, the eastern dragon-like Sarpas, the goblin-like Keshou and the shapeshifting Tannuki that share their name with a common breed of dog. And then there are Clockwork Ronin - I look forward to seeing whether this living construct race will replace Rite Publishing's Ironborn as my favorite take on the trope.
The finished setting will also feature new classes: The Shangti Cowboy, the demon-hunting Nikobo, the consummate Kabukika thespian, the machinist, the geisha ki-seal using Ryoushi-Oni, the calligraphy master and the Maboroshi Guard.
The pdf also introduces the basics of spirituality and religion in Rosuto-Shima and gives some examples on how steam-tech will feature in the setting. A kind of damage to one's spiritual essence named Kyouran is also introduced and made me rather excited to see its rules-repercussions.
Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect, I did notice some minor glitches à la its/it's. The pdf provides no bookmarks, but honestly doesn't need any. Essentially, this is an extensive advertisement for joining the Steampunk Musha kickstarter and it achieves in what it sets out to do. Rick Hershey's excellent full color art underlines the fact that this setting has been in the making for a LONG TIME. The concepts are interesting, the idea unconventional and innovative and seeing the Kabukika, Geisha and Calligraphy Master classes in action will be neat. However, the pdf does not provide sample crunch, which would have been more than nice to see. That being said, it's a nice, little, free pdf and if you're interested, check out the kickstarter - the project's been funded and we're heading towards additional goals. My final verdict for this little ad will be 4 stars due to the lack of sample crunch to support the cool concepts herein.
[4 of 5 Stars!]