|The Thieves? World Player?s Manual, by Green Ronin Publishing, is clearly a labor of love. Those involved wrote this material because they love and respect the fiction that it is based on, and they wrote the material with other, like-minded individuals in mind. And it shows. A lot of attention is paid to the details of the city of Sanctuary, from the minutia of currency conversion, to the interactions between different ethnic groups, to the individual languages spoken in Sanctuary. There?s even a bibliography for those who want to immerse themselves further in the Thieves? World mythos (as I, myself, would like to now). Overall, the setting information is detailed, interesting, well-written, and useful. It gives your mind a kick-start, allowing you to come up with your own ideas. One thing that I found missing, however, was a timeline of some sort. I very much would have liked a ?History of Sanctuary? section, or at the very least a timeline of major events. Considering that I, and many others, have not read the Thieves? World anthologies, this seems an obvious oversight.
As good as the setting information is, I?m somewhat less pleased with the mechanics of the setting. This isn?t to say that they aren?t good, it?s just to say that they perhaps aren?t as good as they could have been. There are good points, such as their version of the ranger (which I like quite a lot more than the core ranger), to be sure. However, there are also a number of questionable mechanics in the setting. The rules on serious injury and infection stand out to me in this regard. They certainly add realism to the setting, but they make combat much harder to recover from, they add an additional layer of complexity to combat, and I?m not entirely sure they make the game more fun (I am of the opinion that every rule contained within a game should make it more fun in some way, and if it doesn?t it should be removed). Some of the prestige classes, too, seem underpowered. The Mrsevadan Sailor, for example, has a number of useful abilities as long as he is on a ship. Once in the city of Sanctuary, however, he loses many of these abilities, or they become nearly useless. I question the utility of a prestige class like this in a game that is clearly not designed to be sea-faring.
Another thing that irked me somewhat (though I didn?t take any points off for this) was a nagging feeling of having seen many of the ?new? rules before. The rules on massive damage are almost verbatim from d20 Modern. The rules for curses seem heavily inspired by, if not taken directly from, The Ravenloft Campaign Setting. Finally, the magic system seems very similar to the one presented in the d20 version of The Sovereign Stone Campaign Setting, by Sovereign Press. As I said, these things bothered me somewhat; however, the Open Gaming Movement is all about shared material, so I didn?t dock Green Ronin any points for using other peoples? work.
<b>LIKED</b>: A well-written, interesting, and very playable setting, with some interesting and refreshing ideas, and a bevy of character options.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Not all of the rules seem balanced, or even necessary. I experienced a lot of d?j? vu while reading.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>
[4 of 5 Stars!]