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    VA1 Valley of the Five Fires $4.95
    Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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    VA1 Valley of the Five Fires
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    VA1 Valley of the Five Fires
    Publisher: New Big Dragon Games Unlimited
    by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
    Date Added: 03/07/2014 09:33:37

    This is not an adventure - it's a whole setting, inspired by the historical Mongols and Cossacks, nomadic peoples of open grasslands. Within this setting, as a native or as a visitor, much adventure is to be found; but whilst there is a complete adventure and several other ideas here, the main part of the book talks of the peoples and places to be found here, their history and customs, and the lay of their lands.

    There are five tribes (originally four but one divided) scattered across the grasslands, each with their own distinctive style although the nomadic nature of their lives imposes much commonality as well. They live in tents, and are circumscribed by many customs and rituals. There are only a couple of permanent settlements.

    A new class, the Shaman, is presented: this has two sides, the Black Shaman and the White one. Black Shamans are warrior-priests who use martial prowess and discipline to combat evil (or their tribe's enemies), and serve as advisors to clan leadership. White Shamans are men of peace, working in harmony with nature and people. New spells and abilities are provided for Shamans as well.

    There's also a section on typical armour and weapons of the steppes. These are the ones natives will be familiar with, and probably the only ones that outsiders can obtain whilst here.

    Notable NPCs are listed, with copious background to facilitate playing them. There are pre-generated generic NPCs too, and a bestiary-full of the creatures of the steppes. This section rounds off with wandering monster tables.

    Then we come to the actual adventure, The Quest for the Luuzhin Coins. These legendary coins have been lost for ages, and so the quest is suitable for both characters native to the steppes and visiting characters. If they need any encouragement, several hooks are provided to gain their interest in the quest. Of course, this does involve entering the Valley of the Five Fires, which is of course forbidden territory to both natives and outsiders! Once there, there is plenty to explore and do, and maybe those elusive coins to find.

    If that's not enough, a wealth of additional adventures are provided mostly as outlines, seeds and places to visit, including caves and local religious structures called stupas to explore. One of each is detailed in full, as well as suggestions for other like adventures. A few tombs and lairs, and some general encounters end the adventure section (and the book).

    Overall this is a very flavoursome and exciting place to visit, with a distinct feel of its own and plenty for the party to do. The whole air is very much 'sandbox' - there is no set path for the characters to follow, yet they will be challenged at every turn with interesting encounters and locations.

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
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