Wednesday, February 22, 2017
While playing in one weekly game and running another, I don't have time to get involved in another campaign. But, I might just have time for a play-by-post game, which has led me to offer my services as a player for a PbP Iron Gods game. The game may or may not get off the ground, but I've had the pleasure of reading the Iron Gods Player's Guide and thought I would review it briefly here.
The Iron Gods Player's Guide is a free, twelve-page PDF that can be downloaded from the Paizo website. It's in full colour, and the cover is a very cool, evocative picture of three characters that instantly convey that this will not be your standard "sword-and-sorcery" adventure. The reason is that Iron Gods is set in the land of Numeria, a country in Golarion that was the site, ages ago, of a mysterious spaceship crash! The wreckage of the vessel has led Numeria to becoming the most technologically advanced country in Golarion, and characters in this adventure path are told to expect more than just orcs and swords. The document makes it quite clear what the opening premise of the adventure path is: the PCs will start out as members of an adventuring party in the Numerian town of Torch, and have been asked to find out why a seemingly eternal source of energy, used to forge skymetal, has suddenly stopped.
I really appreciate how forthright the guide is about the character options that are and are not suitable for the adventure path. A four-page "Character Tips" section gives suggestions on suitable alignments, archetypes and class options, animal companions, sorcerer bloodlines, oracle mysteries, ranger's favoured terrains, races, religions, and important skills and feats. A player can certainly play against the suggestions, but at least they know what they're getting into. Sidebars suggest further reading for both players and GMs, explain why the Technic League should not be an option for a PC, and reprints the racial stats for Android characters.
Next, six campaign traits are provided; each is fairly detailed and definitely explains why the PC has come to the town of Torch. Mechanically, they fall within the expected power range of traits, though of course some of them do some quite unique technology-oriented things.
Speaking of technology, it's obvious that technology will play a very important role in the campaign. Again the guide is frank that players shouldn't have their characters start off with technology, and should instead let their encounter with it happen organically. Indeed, the guide suggests that players shouldn't even read the Technology Guide unless the GM says it's okay. A "Technology Primer" section of the guide reprints the all-important Technologist feat and explains how several important skills (Craft, Disable Device, and Linguistics) operate differently when dealing with technology.
Last, there's a brief overview of Numeria and the town of Torch. A full map of the town, including a key with 24 named locations, is provided. The starting location sound really interesting, but the guide again is helpful in making it clear that the adventure path does not stay in Torch and that characters have to be willing to leave it and perhaps not come back.
I've only ever read two player's guides: this one, and the one for the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition. The Iron Gods Player's Guide is far superior. It concisely explains what the campaign is about, provides the information needed to get a PC off to the right start, and, most importantly, it makes the adventure path sound like fun! I don't know if I'll get a chance to play in that PbP, but if I don't, it certainly won't have anything to do with a lack of interest.