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    Katalal (Color)
    Publisher: Alyssa Faden
    by A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 12/17/2020 14:56:09

    This is a great high resolution pdf, and it is easily the most beautiful and elaborate Tekumel related map ever produced. Its exquisite details and expertly applied colors are simply breathtaking.

    I'd love to see Alyssa produce high resolution full color maps of the imperial cities of Avanthar and Bey Su … and Jakalla for good measure. Somebody pay her, please!



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Katalal (Color)
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    Odd Soot
    Publisher: FrostByte Books
    by alx n. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 11/01/2020 12:13:12

    This is a little jewel of a role-playing game, a quasi-perfect introduction to an alternate Earth of the 1920s where space-travel, alien species, and rare but potent magic co-exist, all of it informed by Scandinavian ethics and aesthetics.

    The system is Mythras, a branch of Chaosium's famed Basic Role Playing system. Although Mythras can be quite crunchy, here, thankfully, it is presented with a light touch, emphasizing narration and social interactions over hard-core simulation. The book also contains a good, mood and theme-setting first adventure for two to five players.

    The world of Odd Soot is very intriguing, lightly allegorical at times, and suffused with hints of Nordic Christian and pagan morality. Evocatively described in light but assured strokes, the vast world is one of low clouds, conspiracies, baffling contraptions, people harboring dark destructive obsessions, and sudden dreamlike visions and encounters.

    More, please.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Odd Soot
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    The Worm Within - The First Chronicle Of Future Earth (novel)
    Publisher: Modiphius
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 11/01/2020 10:16:36

    Short take: The Worm Within is a very enjoyable read. I recommend it and look forward to the next installment.

    Long take: I won't describe the plot in details, but it's pretty standard stuff for anyone who's read a smidgen of pulp fantasy and/or sat on fantasy and science-fantasy role-playing game sessions. There's a young apprentice with a mysterious past, a paladin, a magician of sorts, a thief, and a dark threat that puts the whole wold in danger. Still, Sarah Newton manages to inject enough energy in these over-used formulas to keep The Worm Within interesting.

    The short chapters, organized around brief sections showcasing Newton's resolute writing style, give the story a strong forward momentum almost from the get-go. There's little to no fat either: the novel's very well edited, with less than a handful of typos. Jargon pertaining to the world in which the story takes place fills the text, but I never found it so distracting that I stopped enjoying the read. In fact, as the story progressed, said jargon drew me in further.

    The Worm Within contains memorable, well-drawn characters. Although the novel's plot-driven, the people we get to spend time with never feel like after-thoughts. It is in fact our concern for their fate that makes The Worm Within such a fun read. As the novel reaches its climax, so too do the emotionally-charged threads tying all the characters together. The result is a very satisfying climax, one that's emotional as well as awesome in scale.

    Finally, there's the world, which is one of the novel's main strengths: it's vast and resplendent, full of far-out deep history where super-advanced technology functions alongside awe-inspiring sorcery. Anyone interested in the world of Chronicles of Future Earth would do well to read this novel as it stands as its best introduction, one that is filled with magic, high-tech, weird creatures, strange customs, evil fiends, and long lost ruins full of wonders and dangers. Just pure, unadulterated, pulpy fun.

    Note: The Worm Within is also the name of the good adventure that appears in Chaosium's 2011 Chronicles of Future Earth supplement. The novel and the adventure have very little in common though, beyond their common title and one of their plot-points. So, dive in.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    The Worm Within - The First Chronicle Of Future Earth (novel)
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    Babylon On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed
    Publisher: Shukamu Press
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 07/01/2018 08:44:47

    This is a remarkable accomplishment.

    The amount of detail given on this long-gone culture is quite spectacular. Clearly the author is passionate and extremely knowledgeable about it, as the impressive and extensive bibliography that appears at the end of the book suggests. Yes, there's lot of fantasy stuff too (creatures, artifacts, etc.), but, in his description of the cities and the peoples of this world, the author takes great care to stay very close to what the archeological record offers. The NPCs described were living, breathing people once, who left notes and letters which can be read and studied today.

    The fantasy elements are easy to pick out too. So, if you'd rather not have elves or dwarves in your world, just skip them.

    Babylon On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed is an easy read, with few typos. The book itself is well organized and therefore easy to navigate.

    Great book. Great work. Highly recommended.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Babylon On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed
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    Kurt Hills Atlas
    Publisher: UNIGames
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 07/01/2018 08:41:34

    POSITIVES

    This is an amazing fantasy atlas, period. Forget Tékumel. As the description of an imagined land, it's one the best fantasy guides I've read in years. Although crammed with information, it didn't overwhelm me into some paralysing stupor. Instead, it made me want to play ... in this case, on Tékumel!

    The Kurt Hills, as a geographical zone, offer a great balance of well settled, cultivated regions and wild areas filled with sometimes unfriendly locals and weird flora and fauna; the Hills pretty much look like the world-famous karst hills of tropical South China. A referee could plop his or her group of adventurers anywhere in the Kurt Hills and have them immediately caught in a web of local stories, traffics, and long established politcal deals and relationships that would take many campaigns to unravel and weave through.

    The Kurt Hills are divided into large hexagons, which are themselves subdivided into smaller hexes. Each chapter of the book starts with an overview of a particular Large Hex before going into more or less short entries on the unique features that dot the land, one Small Hex after another.

    So what do we get? Everything! New plant and animal species, weird ruins, and beautiflly detailed bits on unique local customs (related to weddings, cultivation, hunting, charcoal making techniques, etc.). We get important NPCs (clan leaders, politicians, priests, "a valuable slave", etc.), bizarre cults, local folk tales, stange hills, creepy swamps, hints of large underground ruins, new sorts of Underpeople (who are numerous in the area, thanks to its remoteness), exotic local delicacies, plenty of local, colorful politics and rumours, unique biomes, etc. It's rich ... and it feels alive.

    The Index is fantastic It's very detailed and thorough, which makes up for the lack of hyperlinks. Thank the gods for great Tékumel-related indexes. If there's one fantasy world that requires it, it's M.A.R. Barker's fantastic creation. And this book has it.

    NEGATIVES

    My one complaint would be that the PDF lacks hyperlinks set up within it to help readers go from one reference to another with ease. Also, there are typos. These could easily be fixed in version 2.0 of the book though (if it ever happens); more importantly, none of them make reading the text difficult or confusing.

    --

    The Kurt Hills Atlas is a book you're going to want to use and not simply add to your collection of fantasy atlases as it's basically a giant, richly detailed sandbox that could easily keep your PCs adventuring for years. It is a slow read. So, don't think you'll get through it in a week. You could, but then you'd miss all the unique flavours and, yes, the jokes, the pop-culture references, and the puns (I want to try that Mársara wine badly!). Take your time. Enjoy the friendly and not so friendly encounters, the sights and the smells, pleasant and otherwise. It's worth it.

    A remarkable achievement.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Kurt Hills Atlas
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    Bethorm: the Plane of Tekumel RPG
    Publisher: UNIGames
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 08/23/2016 06:38:08

    The light, easily digestible rules are reminiscent of classic games such as GURPS: they are attribute and skill-based, with a system of advantage/disadvantage points distributed during the slightly convoluted PC creation process (there's indeed a bit a back and forth on skills and attributes). Still, once everything is in place, the system is very fast and very flexible, which gives plenty of room for the GM to concentrate on the storytelling. The system contains some clever little variations too, like three levels of damage per weapon, which has the positive effect of getting rid of wildly differing weapon damages on successful hits (I don't know why this approach isn't used in other OSR-like games).

    The Tékumel setting, although not described in detail, is present throughout: besides the many good, clean B&W creature and character illustrations, one also gets a gorgeous B&W map of the city of Katalál (wish it'd been in color), a very extensive spell list, random-encounter rules per environment (city, jungle, Sákbe-road, etc.), as well as rules to create characters that start their adventuring lives with the premises of good Tékumelani backstories: one could be a spy for instance, or a magic-power dampener, or the owner of some attribute-boosting "sorcerous" device. Such details fire up the imagination and help players (and GMs) flesh out their characters and adventures.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Bethorm: the Plane of Tekumel RPG
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