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Coriolis - The Third Horizon Core Book
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/04/2017 13:50:43

This massive tome, lushly illustrated, hurls you headfirst into a game billed as the Arabian Nights in space. Mixing myths with starships, exotic cultures and interstellar travel, storytelling and technology, it puts an exciting spin on science-fiction and provides a setting that just calls out to be explored!

First up, we learn that this is a new version of a previous game, co-produced by Free League Publishing and Modiphius, and using a modified version of the latter's Mutant: Year Zero game mechanics. Free League Publishing, interestingly, were fans of the original game who started off by writing supplements for it. Then it's on to the first part of the book: RULES. Chapter 1: Introduction lays out in broad sweeps what the game is about (this is identical to the overview in the Quickstart Set) and explains the setting as being the Third Horizon, commonly just 'the Horizon', which consists of 36 star systems joined through space and time by mystic portals. The Horizon of today is a melting pot of different cultures, peoples and factions.

Now we are excited about visiting the Horizon, Chapter 2: Characters provides us with the tools to create characters with which to go there. As characters are assumed to be part of a group (with a spaceship) it is recommended that the group of players get together to create their characters, beginning with choosing your group concept from Agents, Mercenaries, Free Traders, Pilgrims and Explorers. There's advice on the sort of roles that need filling in each concept, as well as variations around the core theme: Pilgrims, for example, may not be particularly religious, the concept would fit itinerent workers or even travelling entertainers just as well. You will also need a Patron and a Nemesis...

Next we get down to individual characters. You start off by coming up with a background and a homeworld as well as a personal concept. Based on upbringing - Plebian (ordinary planet-dwelling folk), Stationary (raised on a space station) or Priviliged (the elite and wealthy) - you get varying points to spend on attributes and skills. There are two types of skills - general ones that everyone has a chance at and advanced ones in which you need at least some training - and five skill levels from novice to master. Each skill is associated with an ability, as the task resolution system (explained later on in the book) requires the rolling of a number of d6 based on the sum of the appropriate skill and its associated ability... and hoping for lots of sixes! There are other things to work out here as well, including which Icon - the local deities - you were born under. Just about everyone believes, at least a little, in their power. There are also some beautiful pages illustrating each character concept and providing further options to enhance and personalise your character. The next two chapters cover Skills and Talents - tricks, cheats and abilities that give you an edge over others - in great detail and show you how they are used.

Characters done, we move on to how they use the rules, and what they have to help them. So there are chapters on Combat, Weapons & Equipment, and Spaceships & Star Travel. Well-resourced and with plenty of examples, the whole system is quite easy to pick up yet elegantly powerful in what it allows your character to actually do. Task resolution is performed by adding up the points in the appropriate attribute and skill for the thing you're attempting and rolling that number of d6s - a single six means you've just managed it, three of them means you've done well, a critical success. The skill descriptions explain what all that means in terms of using that skill. If you don't get any sixes at all, you've failed and the GM needs to come up with some consequence of failure. When everything looks really bleak, you can always pray to the Icons. This pious act allows the re-rolling of all dice that didn't come up with a six. However, praying has its own dangers - every time you do, the GM gets a 'darkness point' from the religion's devil figure, the Darkness Between the Stars, these can be used against the party in a variety of ways. Combat is dangerous, think carefully - if you have the opportunity - before participating in a brawl. It's a turn-based system, with initiative established at the beginning of a fight by each participant rolling a d6, highest goes first... you can choose to lower your initiative by waiting to see what others do, but you are then stuck with a lower initiative for the whole combat. Various actions may be underaken in your turn, and a whole range of options are discussed. Associated matters like injury and healing are included and there's a delightful critical injury table for those who like to get more graphical than mere points of damage. We also find out how to fight with star ships, and about the vast array of equipment and weapons that are available.

Next comes a section THE HORIZON, where a wealth of setting information is to be found. We start with Chapter 8: The Third Horizon, which is where the game is located. It is a cluster of thirty-six worlds connected by ancient portals and the use of more conventional space travel. Our study begins with the region's history and then looks at the current state of affairs and the various factions which vie for power and position. Early space explorers barely knew where they were going, but eventually one group discovered the first star portal and colonisation really took off with the First Horizon and then the Second Horizon being explored and settled. It seemed a golden age but as such things do, something went wrong... and the discovery of the Third Horizon seemed a blessing for those who wished to escape the stultifying monolithic cultures that had developed. These, the Firstcome, spread across the Third Horizon building a beautiful and tolerant culture, and bringing the worship of the Icons with them. Then the fighting began, what history has termed the Portal Wars... although there are many opinions as to why the Wars started or what they were intended to achieve. They culminated in a kind of victory for the Third Horizon, but at the price of not just the loss of an entire system but also of all portals back to the other Horizons. Now isolated, they must forge their own future.

Even within the Third Horizon, there was a bit of a dark age with little interstellar commerce or even contact. Then things were stirred up by the arrival of an ancient generation ship, colonists from the original homeworld of Al-Ardha (this is apparently the name for Earth, although on Earth it's a town in the far south of Saudi Arabia...) who had been travelling for, well, generations direct through the black, having left before the portals were even discovered. As the vessel was called the Zenith these newcomers adopted the name of Zenithians. They explored for a while wondering quite what to do, but eventually set up above the planet Kua, creating a spacestation called Coriolis as a meeting place for all the peoples of the Third Horizon. Slowly it's bringing the Third Horizon back to vibrant life.

Needless to say, there's plenty going on that threatens to destablise this fairly fragile peace. Strange Emissaries have emerged from a gas giant. People have begun developing strange new powers. One of the Emissaries has declared himself the living embodiment of an Icon, which has upset a lot of the faithful. And one planet has been attacked but nobody knows by whom, because vessels sent to investigate don't come back. So amist this maelstrom we move on to Chapter 9: Factions. Here is a wealth of detail about the main factions - perhaps your party will join one, or they may provide customers, patrons, allies or enemies as the campaign proceeds. Those who love intrigue will find it here, be it the public face of official diplomacy or more behind-the-scenes action. As if that were not enough, there are small-bit players as well, groups and organisations operating at a lower level than the factions themselves, never permanently allied to a faction... and a likely source of employment for the party. Small wars for mercenaries, trade contacts, interesting excavations for those of an archaeological bent, there's plenty here.

Next is Chapter 10: The People of the Horizon. Even the true humans are quite a diverse lot, and then there are the Humanites, despised modified humans who have been altered to perform certain tasks or survive various extremes. We read of daily life in diverse places, and how the Icons are all-pervading, with virtually everyone believing in them (or at least saying that they do) and many being devout. A discussion on culture in general is followed by notes on the Icons and what is believed about them. Oddly, belief in the Icons themselves predates the foundation of the Church of the Icons, which has codified beliefs and practices, laying out various commandments that must be obeyed... and outlawing some traditional customs. Not surprisingly, there are many schisms and factions within the faith. To add to the mix there are myths and superstitions galore, and of course the djinn.

The next three chapters introduce and describe the Coriolis station, explore the planet Kua around which it orbits and present a gazetteer of the Third Horizon. For Coriolis, there's a timeline and details of many locations aboard. Much of it sounds like a North African or Arabic souk, teeming with merchants and food stalls, where just about anything can be had for a price. Whole adventures could be run here without ever setting foot off the station. However, reading about the Kua system - or indeed the entire Third Horizon - may change your mind, there's loads to see and do there as well!

The final part of the book contains a chapter on Beasts and Djinn, which is somewhat more than a mere bestiary, and one on the Campaign. As can be imagined, this is GM territory, and players are advised to avoid these two chapters. Mysteries are explained (or suggested), and there is loads more background and flavour to aid the GM in writing adventures and running the game. The Campaign chapter is a mix of advice and game mechanics, notes on the science and art of running a game... and how to use the Dark Between the Stars to good effect as a terrifying evil force that balances the good the Icons do. There's also a mini-scenario, The Statuette of Zhar to get you started, and two 'scenario locations' that can be used in your own plots.

This is an exciting book that leaves you itching to go visit this rich and complex setting, which is reflected beautifully in the sheer visual impact of the tome. The simple elegance of the game mechanic ensures that it will not intrude but facilitate your storytelling. Overall, this promises the potential of a particularly fascinating game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Coriolis - The Third Horizon Core Book
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Coriolis The Third Horizon - Quickstart
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/02/2017 08:07:04

With lush illustrations to tantalise, this work provides an overview of the setting as well as rules information, pre-generated characters and a complete adventure to play. The Introduction sweeps you up from the outset with quick summaries of what players and the gamemaster in a role-playing game do and an outline of what characters will do: now, crewing spacecraft, exploring and carrying out missions are to be expected in any spacefaring game, unravelling secrets and plotting and scheming even... but there's mention of a space station called Coriolis and the intriguing thought that religious belief and worship are still part and parcel of most people's lives. Clearly this is a distinctive setting to explore, one where technology and myth are wound together in a manner befitting a game billed as 'the Arabian Nights in space'.

We're soon diving into history and learning about the Third Horizon, a group of thirty-six star systems linked by portals which have been colonised in two waves. Interestingly, the first arrivals (the Firstcome) set out after the second wave (the Zenithians): the original Zenith was a generation ship sent out to establish colonies, but when they arrived they found that in the meantime the folks back home had discovered an ancient portal system and got there first! The two groups still bicker, but not to the extent that others did - the people of the First Horizon tried to take over the settlements of the Second and Third Horizons but were eventually defeated in a massive war that has left its mark all over known space.

The central system in the Third Horizon is called Kua, where there's a jungle planet of the same name orbited by the Coriolis space station. Founded by the Zenithians, Coriolis is intended as a place where all the factions of the Third Horizon can meet and trade, establishing peaceful relations with each other. That's the idea, but it's not quite as peaceful as was initially intended. Strange Emissaries, from a nearby gas giant, have everyone a bit baffled as to their intentions, not helped by one of them declaring he is one of the Icons, the deities widely worshipped here. This situation is replete with opportunities for adventure... and here we are in the middle of it!

We now move on to the rules part, with Chapter 2: Skills explaining how attributes (strength, agility, wits and empathy) work together with skills (of which there are two sorts, basic ones anyone can do and advanced ones that must be learned) to enable characters to accomplish whatever it is that they want to do. Task resolution is performed by adding up the points in the appropriate attribute and skill for the thing you're attempting and rolling that number of d6s - a single six means you've just managed it, three of them means you've done well, a critical success. The skill descriptions explain what all that means in terms of using that skill. If you don't get any sixes at all, you've failed and the GM needs to come up with some consequence of failure. When everything looks really bleak, you can always pray to the Icons. This pious act allows the re-rolling of all dice that didn't come up with a six. However, praying has its own dangers - every time you do, the GM gets a 'darkness point' from the religion's devil figure, the Darkness Between the Stars, these can be used against the party in a variety of ways.

After copious details on the various skills available, we come to Chapter 3: Combat. It's dangerous, think carefully - if you have the opportunity - before participating in a brawl. It's a turn-based system, with initiative established at the beginning of a fight by each participant rolling a d6, highest goes first... you can choose to lower your initiative by waiting to see what others do, but you are then stuck with a lower initiative for the whole combat. Various actions may be underaken in your turn, and a whole range of options are discussed. Associated matters like injury and healing are included and there's a delightful critical injury table for those who like to get more graphical than mere points of damage. Naturally there are other ways to die as well as combat - fire, drowning, starvation and vacuum also feature here. A note about vehicles rounds out the chapter.

The rest of the book is devoted to the adventure - Dark Flowers - and the pre-generated characters provided for you to play it. It tells the tale of a long lost space station, a search for a fabled plant, and a scientist obsessed with completing her mission - even unto death. The backstory explains what's been going on, covering an hundred years or so, for the GM then the party is brought into the picture. They are tasked with getting into the space station and exploring it, and will be faced with a difficult decision to make. The adventure is well-resourced with everything you need to make it come to life provided in the text. It's an excellent adventure with a long slow creepy build up...

This quickstart certainly achieves the aim of picquing interest in the full game. The game mechanics are straightforward and easy to understand, and the setting is rich with promise. Put aside any thoughts of this just being Babylon 5 retooled with a bit of help from Firefly and Aliens, this is a vibrant and exciting setting in its own right, a place in which epic tales can be told.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Coriolis The Third Horizon - Quickstart
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Symbaroum - Advanced Player's Guide
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2017 12:30:11

A great add on to Symbaroum core rulebook. Adds lots of additional content around characeter races, classes, abilities and expands the equipment list. The artwork is fanstastic, matching that in the core rulebook.

However, the layour of the book isn't great with important information hidden on sidebars or unexpected places. I also feel that the text is sometimes secondary to the artwork.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Symbaroum - Advanced Player's Guide
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Coriolis The Third Horizon - Quickstart
by George C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/21/2017 04:33:10

It's really good when companies release these quickstart PDFs, and this one is no dissapointment! I am looking forward to running this, although I don't see a reason it won't go flawlessly



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Coriolis The Third Horizon - Quickstart
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Coriolis - The Third Horizon Core Book
by Robert J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2017 14:02:59

Very rules light, but it has enough crunch to sink your teeth into without getting bogged down. The game, both in lore and mechanics, feels like it took the best from Mass Effect, Shadowrun, and Warhammer 40k and created a wonderful, interesting world full of crazy ideas that lend themselves well to a science-fiction world with distinct dark fairy tale aspects. This is going to be a phenomenal game for new players and veterans alike, with plenty of room for GMs to either expand on the lore and put their own spin on it, or completely divorce the mechanics from the setting and make their own universe to explore.

The game puts an emphasis on the narrative of the dice rolls, and the rules create a story that the players and GM write together. The players are treated as special - bona fide hero types, while never making them impossible to kill. Combat can be fast and dangerous, but it is only lethal if the players start to lose badly. Since killing the PCs requires a choice by buying critical hits on attack rolls, the GM can control party wipes and create intense challenges at will.

While I personally had difficulties reading the book as a PDF due to the layout, the book is absolutely GORGEOUS and really communicates the dark sci-fi fairy tale theme. A print copy of this book will be an absolute delight to own and read. While the PDF was not the easiest to read, it was by no means a problem enough to dissuade me from continuing to read or regret purchasing a PDF copy. A plain text copy of the book would be amazing for devices tablets.

Coriolis is a fantastic game with loads of potential. I highly suggest it for any gaming group. Right out of the box this is a complete, rich experience that only has room to grow. I can't wait to see what comes next for this unique, imagination-fueled game.

Happy gaming!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Coriolis - The Third Horizon Core Book
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Symbaroum - Core Rulebook
by Josiah B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2016 13:44:30

This is one of my favorite rulebooks I own. It develops the setting very well, having a distinct feel and character about it that translates into the rules very effectively.

My complaints: The rules seem haphazardly placed. Once you figure out the rules and wrap your head around them, they are intuitive, but actually finding everything is not easy.

Some rules are poorly translated. Key examples would be the ability berserker and how it interacts with defense stat substitutions; references in abilities like loremaster (referencing activating artifacts) that don't actually reference anything; and the organization of spells and rituals where they inconsistently reference their schools of tradition.

Additionally, abilities aren't worded consistently- you frequently have to make logical jumps as to which parts of an ability upgrade override the previous level or not, which parts are overridden, how the ability interacts with other abilities, and we frequently encounter damage bonuses that we have to decide when to apply the damage bonus and when not to. For example, robust, worded very specificly vs berserker which isn't clear whether the bonus damage applies to only one hit per turn or every attack or if it applies to only one attack when the character makes multiple attacks on their turn and then also to attacks of opportunity; and then beastlore vs leader, where one states the character deals a bonus die of damage against a specific monster and the other states all attacks against the target- is that intended to keep dual wielders from abusing the bonus beastlore damage but still allowing the bonus to apply to attacks of opportunity? While these seem like minor issues, they can be argument causing because of disagreements as to how said rules are meant to be read. Some clarification definitely needs to be made inside of the rules.

Finally, frequently important rule clarifications are found inside of the flavor text instead of in the ruleblock of the ability, which causes some referencing issues.

Despite my complaints, I still feel like this is a 5 star book and ruleset. The art is beautiful. The setting is well made, explaining enough to wet a DM or lore loving player's appetite, while leaving enough open so that the DM can make their own additions to the world without getting in the way of established lore. The rules actually mesh with the setting really well. They help create a game where character death is just around the corner but not unavoidable. They make DMing a simpler task than other systems, putting all of the rolls in the players hands and it rewards prep work and encourages building a sandbox, since there is no linear scaling with player advancement.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Symbaroum - Core Rulebook
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Symbaroum - The Throne of Thorns
by Josiah B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2016 13:18:27

Not really worth money, it doesn't add any content to the game mechanics or lore. Its a description of a near-future campaign that is partially finished in swedish and being translated to english. If you want to support the developers, go for it, but its really just an advertisement that the players have the option to pay to see.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Symbaroum - The Throne of Thorns
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Symbaroum - Tomb of Dying Dreams
by Josiah B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2016 13:13:56

This is a genuinely good dungeon dive. The area is a small sandbox, and provide enough freedom that the players have a chance to explore the area without feeling railroaded. The initial hook is okay, but you can easily lure the players in by either offering a decent reward (50 thaler) along with an explorer's license. The encounters aren't a random encounters table of generic monsters, they are genuinely interesting and contribute to the environment. The major NPCs are actually pretty interesting as well, and the DM is given some freedom in determining how open they want to run the game.

SPOILERS By the time the players reach the actual dungeon, they should have had the chance to earn at least 30xp, as there are multiple scenes where it calls for master level loremaster. If you've been strictly following the Copper Crown series, you probably haven't awarded this much experience to your players. Granted, how many people actually rush for master loremaster?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Symbaroum - Tomb of Dying Dreams
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MUTANT: Year Zero - Starter Booklet
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2016 09:40:25

The playbooks are pretty cool for easing people into the game. I would like to have at least seen Dog Handler and Chronicler in the mix to provide a wider variety of playable choices. Any chance of playbooks for the rest?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
MUTANT: Year Zero - Starter Booklet
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Symbaroum - The Throne of Thorns
by Paul B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2016 07:28:02

A taste of things to come, that nevertheless stands alone as the skeletal structure for your own Symbaroum campaign if you want to go it alone.

The brief overview document outlines the motivations and paths for the keys players and organisations, then sets the scene for adventures / setting supplements to come.

Combined with the rich illustration and simple game system of the core book, you could take this where you want spinning one idea or many --- or hold on to your hat and get ready for future releases. Recommend. --- Paul @ http://www.theironpact.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Symbaroum - The Throne of Thorns
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Symbaroum - Core Rulebook
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/20/2016 03:32:21

http://www.teilzeithelden.de/2016/01/20/rezension-symbaroum-oekos-krieg-und-korruption/

Als Setting mit nur wenig Fantasy-Einheitsbrei präsentiert der schwedische Verlag Järnringen sein Rollenspiel Symbaroum nun auch auf Englisch. Visuell opulent, mit einfachen Regeln, aber stark individualisierbaren Charakteren darf man sich in einen Konflikt zwischen kolonialen Ausbeutern und natur-affinen Völkern einmischen.

Rezension: Symbaroum – Ökos, Krieg und Korruption

Crowdfunding hat es mal wieder möglich gemacht: Ein schwedischer Verlag beglückt uns mit seinem Produkt Symbaroum nun auch in einer internationalen Fassung auf Englisch. Kampagnen und Abenteuer sind auch in der Pipeline oder zumindest angedacht. Das schwedische Sortiment ist laut Webseite aber noch nicht wesentlich größer als das englische. Das Spielerhandbuch, das Optionenvielfalt in allen SC-relevanten Bereichen verspricht, gibt es noch nicht auf Englisch. Jedenfalls hat Symbaroum bereits ein gewisses Echo in der Rollenspielszene erzeugt, man spricht über dieses Spiel. Wir haben uns mal angesehen, was dahinter steckt. Die Spielwelt

Symbaroum hat sich einen Kniff vorbehalten, den ich sehr begrüße: Es lässt weiße Flecken auf der Karte. Genauer gesagt, stellt Symbaroum uns nur einen Teil der Spielwelt vor – das Köngreich Ambria und den Davokar-Wald. Das gab es auch schon früher, so z.B. in der Box Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, in der das Setting teilweise undefiniert war und dem SL Freiraum ließ. Die Autoren von Symbaroum teilen aber schon jetzt klar mit, dass sie das Setting in weiteren Veröffentlichungen ausbauen wollen.

Dieser Teil der Welt ist durch einen zentralen Konflikt definiert: Die Ambrianer stammen eigentlich aus dem Süden und sind über die Gebirgskette der Titanen gekommen, weil ihr Land nach einem Krieg unbewohnbar geworden ist. Ihre ganze Zivilisation musste sich also eine neue Heimat suchen. Die spärlich besiedelten Lande südlich des Davokar-Walds hatten sich da angeboten. Dünn besiedelt heißt aber nicht unbesiedelt. „Barbarische“ Clans siedeln hier genauso wie Elfen, Goblins und Oger. Die Barbaren, die in der weiten Ebene zwischen den Bergen und dem Wald siedelten, wurden durch die Ambrianer unterworfen und deren Königreich nimmt jetzt diesen Raum ein. Die anderen Stämme und Rassen leben hingegen überwiegend im Wald.

Der Konflikt wird weiterhin angeheizt, weil der Sonnenkult der Ambrianer die Natur als Unordnung ansieht und den Menschen als ordnendes Element. In Bezug auf die unzivilisierte Wildnis stehen Interessen und Ideologie der Ambrianer also denen der „Ureinwohner“ diametral gegenüber. Die sehen sich mehr als Bewahrer der Natur. Der Wald wird zum Konfliktort, wo Ideologie, Gier, Selbstbehauptung und ähnliche Motive aufeinander treffen.

Symbaroum ist übrigens der Name der fortgeschrittenen Zivilisation, die diese Lande einst besiedelt hat. Die Schätze dieser versunkenen Zivilisation locken dementsprechend Schatzsucher und Abenteurer an.

Die Regeln

Die Regeln von Symbaroum sind beinahe banal. Es gibt acht Attribute (Accurate, Cunning, Discreet, Persuasive, Quick, Resolute, Strong, Vigilant), die Werte von 5 bis 18 annehmen können. Eine Probe wird mit 1W20 gewürfelt. Den Zielwert zu unterwürfeln oder zu erreichen ist ein Erfolg. Der Zielwert ist entweder der Attributwert oder es kommt noch ein Modifikator hinzu.

Das hört sich ein wenig nach Dungeonslayers oder ähnlichen Systemen an, aber ein zusätzlicher Kniff bei Symbaroum ist, dass alle Proben von den Spielern geleistet werden. Wie bei Numenera oder The Strange würfelt der Spieler seine eigenen Angriffe. Für Angriffe der NSC wirft der Spieler Verteidigungsproben. Das System ist also nicht symmetrisch. Für jeden Punkt, den der NSC im relevanten Attribut über 10 hat, wird die Probe um 1 erschwert, und für jeden Punkt darunter, erleichtert. Andere Umstände ergeben ebenso einen Modifikator von -5 (maximale Erschwernis) bis +5 (maximale Erleichterung).

Die Notation für Proben ist [ getestetes Attribut ← modifizierendes Attribut ].

Ein SC schleicht sich an einen NSC an. Das ist eine [ Discreet ← Vigilant ] Probe. D.h., der Charakter muss auf sein Discreet-Attribut würfeln, und Erleichterung oder Erschwernis werden durch das Vigilant-Attribut des NSC bestimmt.

Ein NSC schleicht sich an einen SC heran. Das ist eine [ Vigilant ← Discreet ] Probe.

Beide Proben werden durch den Spieler ausgeführt.

Viel einstecken, wenig aushalten

Nach Abgleich der Zahlenwerte in Symbaroum wurde mir klar, dass die Einzelheiten im Kampf bei Symbaroum etwas anders gewichtet sind. Bei D&D oder Fantasy AGE hat man Trefferpunkte, die einen (mit steigender Stufe wachsenden) Puffer darstellen. In Symbaroum hat man mindestens 10 Punkte Toughness, oder den Wert des Strong-Attributs. Kein Monster im SL-Teil hat mehr als 18 Toughness. Das kann ein besonders starker SC maximal auch erreichen.

Ein SC mit Strong 15 (Maximalwert für neue Charaktere) kann durch das Erwerben von Fähigkeiten maximal 18 Strong und somit auch 18 Toughness erreichen. Spieler mit niedrigeren Startwerten entsprechend weniger, daher werden andere Faktoren wichtiger. Waffen und Rüstung der Spieler werden durch Würfel ausgedrückt – ein Bastardschwert macht 1W10 Schaden, eine mittelschwere Rüstung fängt 1W6 Schaden ab. Monster hingegen würfeln nicht – sie erzeugen fixen Schaden und reduzieren erhaltenen Schaden auch um einen fixen Betrag. Für Nahkämpfer ist gute Rüstung also ein Muss, um sich die wenigen Toughness-Punkte zu erhalten.

Hier gibt es ein kleines Paradox – Rüstung fängt zwar Schaden ab, verringert aber die Fähigkeit, Treffern auszuweichen. Bei den besten Rüstungen zum Glück nur im geringen Umfang (-2 für eine besonders gute schwere Rüstung, -4 für eine normale schwere Rüstung). Die Rüstung hilft zwar, wenn man einstecken muss, ist aber ansonsten eher hinderlich.

Ein SC mit Accurate 12 will einen ausgehungerten Troll angreifen, eine [ Accurate ← Defense ] Probe. Der Troll hat Defense +7, weil er groß und geschwächt und somit leicht zu treffen ist. Die Zielzahl ist also 19. Er würfelt eine 8 und trifft. Das Schwert richtet 1W8 Schaden an. Der Troll hat eine fixe Rüstung von 4. Der Spieler würfelt eine 5 und macht somit nur 1 mickrigen Punkt Schaden. Die Toughness des Trolls sinkt von 15 auf 14. Ohne weitere Vorteile wird es schwierig sein, den Troll ernsthaft zu verletzen!

Nun greift der Troll an: eine [ Defense ← Accurate ] Probe. Der SC hat Quick 12, trägt aber mittelschwere Rüstung, was ihn mit -3 behindert. Das Sekundärattribut Defense hat somit den Wert 9. Der Troll hat Accurate auf 13, das ist auch eine -3. Somit ist der Zielwert 6. Der Spieler wirft eine 18 und wird getroffen. Die Klauen des Trolls verursachen 8 Schaden. Der Spieler hält mit 1W6 dagegen und würfelt eine glückliche 6! 2 Schaden muss die Spielfigur hinnehmen, aber lange wird das ungleiche Duell nicht andauern können.

Wie man sieht, erfordern hohe fixe Werte beim Gegner entweder viel Würfelglück oder entsprechende Boni, die den Schaden erhöhen. Dies kann durch die Anwendung von Sonderfertigkeiten, bessere Ausrüstung oder das Erringen von taktischen Vorteilen erreicht werden.

Magie und Korruption

„Korruption“ ist ein zentrales Thema in Symbaroum und so auch als numerischer Spielwert abgebildet. Sie ist am ehesten mit der sinkenden geistigen Gesundheit von Call of Cthulhu SC zu vergleichen. Zaubern bewirkt Korruption. Dunkle Orte bewirken Korruption. Das Erlernen von Ritualen bewirkt Korruption. Sogar das Erreichen einer bestimmten Schwelle an Korruption bewirkt noch mehr Korruption.

Erreicht der Charakter die Hälfte seines Resolute-Attributs an Korruption, erhält er ein Stigma, das erst verschwindet, wenn die Korruption abgebaut werden konnte. Erreicht er den Wert seines Resolute-Attributs, dann ist es vorbei: Ohne weiteren Test verwandelt sich der Charakter in ein Monster und wird NSC.

Genauso wie bei den Trefferpunkten (Toughness) hat man hier nicht viel Spielraum. Nur wer einer magischen Tradition angehört, kann die Korruptionskosten senken, und das auch nur für die Sprüche und Rituale, die zum Repertoire der Tradition gehören. Priester, Hexen und Zauberer (englisch Wizard) können Rituale wirken, um sich von permanenter Korruption zu heilen. Die anderen Spruchwirker senken immerhin die Kosten für den Erwerb und das Wirken ihrer eigenen Magie. Völlig der Korruption ausgeliefert sind die Mystiker ohne Schule – sie haben weder den Zugang zu Ritualen, um die Korruption zu senken, und zahlen auch noch überall die vollen Kosten. Das kann sehr schnell heikel werden!

Noch schlimmer ist es für alle nichtmagischen SC. Es gibt Effekte, ob durch verwunschene Orte oder Monster, die Korruption bewirken. Temporäre Korruption kann man noch am Ende der Szene abschütteln. Aber permanente Korruption kann zum ernsthaften Problem werden und den SC unspielbar machen. Die relativ niedrigen Schwellen, gerade wenn man Resolute nicht besonders hoch gewählt hat, könnten bei Spielern schnell zu Frustration führen.

Charaktererschaffung

Mag Symbaroum sonst sehr viel Wert auf die Würfel legen, ist es beim Erschaffen einer Spielfigur streng deterministisch. Man kann für die acht Attribute entweder eine vorgegebene Reihe an Zahlen verwenden oder 80 Punkte verteilen. Kein Attribut darf unter 5, keines über 15, und nur eines genau auf 15 sein. Wer mehr Struktur will, kann sich an einem Archetyp orientieren.

Danach wählt man eine Rasse. Die Rasse gibt oft ein oder mehrere Eigenschaften (Trait) mit, manchmal muss man diese auch kaufen. So haben Oger z.B. die Möglichkeit, die Eigenschaft Robust zu wählen und so übermenschengroß zu werden.

Eigenschaften bleiben auf die jeweiligen Rassen beschränkt, allgemeine Fähigkeiten (Abilities) und mystische Kräfte (Mystical Powers) kann hingegen jeder erwerben. Hierbei gilt, dass man entweder fünf auf dem Rang Novice kaufen darf oder zwei auf dem Rang Novice und eines auf dem Rang Adept. Die Auswahl ist also zwischen Spezialisierung oder mehr Talenten mit wenig Tiefgang. Sollte man Rasseneigenschaften erwerben wollen, die ebenfalls einen Rang haben, so muss man dafür entsprechend weniger Fähigkeiten und Zauber wählen.

Hier verbirgt sich auch ein irreführender Fehler. Es wird insgesamt zweimal von „creation points“ gesprochen, eine entsprechende Regel findet sich aber nicht. Anscheinend ist damit die Anzahl der Ränge gemeint, die man in Eigenschaften, Fähigkeiten und Zauber investieren darf. Entweder wurde hier eine ursprüngliche Regelfassung unvollständig umgeschrieben oder beim Übersetzen die Terminologie inkonsequent gehandhabt.

Man bestimmt im Folgenden noch die Korruption zu Spielbeginn und die Farbe des eigenen Schattens, einer mystischen Aura, die Mystikern etwas über das eigene Wesen verrät. Nach Startausrüstung und Geld kommen noch die üblichen Sachen ohne mechanische Auswirkung wie Persönlichkeit und Ziele des Charakters. Es ist gut, wenn Spieler sich darüber Gedanken machen, belohnt wird es vom System jedoch nicht.

Später ändern sich nur noch Rang und Anzahl der Fähigkeiten und Zauber. Diese können je nach Rang – Novice, Adept, Master – für je 10-30 XP gekauft werden. Es gibt Fähigkeiten, die bestehende Talente noch um bis zu drei Punkte maximal steigern können. Eine Formel der Art „neuer Rang in Attribut * x XP“ kommt dankenswerterweise nicht zum Einsatz. Spielbarkeit aus Spielleitersicht

Es gibt einen SL-Teil, der das Übliche beinhaltet: Wie baue ich Geschichten auf? Tipps und Tricks. Eine Sammlung von etwas über dreißig Monster(-varianten) unterteilt in neun Kategorien. Monsterspezialfähigkeiten. Auf 58 Seiten wird die Spielwelt erklärt, der SL weiß aber kaum mehr als die Spieler. Es gibt jedoch Empfehlungen, welche Kreaturen wo anzutreffen sind und eine Liste mit den Details magischer Gegenstände. Spielbarkeit aus Spielersicht

Die größte Herausforderung an den Spieler ist die Wahl der Fähigkeiten und Zauber und somit die spielmechanische Entwicklung des SC. Der Rest des Systems ist für Spieler anhand der simplen Probenmechanik banal.

Die Wichtigkeit bestimmter Attribute mag den Spielern auf den ersten Blick nicht auffallen. Es gibt immerhin einen warnenden Satz in der Attributbeschreibung für Resolute, damit der Spieler erkennt, wie zentral dieses Attribut sein kann. Für Anfänger mag sich erst im Spiel entscheiden, welche Attribute nun wirklich am besten zum Konzept passen. Eine Verschiebung von Punkten nach Spielbeginn ist zulässig, zumal die Werte nur noch in sehr begrenztem Umfang steigen werden. Dies ist besonders zu beachten, weil es keine separaten Skills gibt, sondern nur Attributproben. Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis

Zumindest für das PDF ist der Preis von 18,99 USD angemessen. Die knapp 60 USD für das Print-on-Demand-Hardcover sehe ich dann schon kritischer, gemessen an der Seitenzahl von 264. Betrachtet man die schönen Illustrationen, kann eigentlich nur ein Premium-Hardcover in Frage kommen, sonst hätte man sich die Druckoption auch sparen können. Dass man dann für das PDF noch einmal 8,50 USD draufzahlen soll, ist mir persönlich definitiv zu viel.

Die Preisstruktur auf der Verlagshomepage ist ähnlich: 49,95 USD für die Printversion, da kommen nach Deutschland aber nochmal satte 19,95 USD an Versandkosten hinzu. Spielbericht Kein Testspiel. Erscheinungsbild

Das vielleicht Tollste an Symbaroum ist das Design und die Illus. Das Layout ist knackig, augenfreundlich, gut lesbar. Tabellen sind ansehnlich, auch die Blöcke, die Sonderfertigkeiten beschreiben, sind gut strukturiert. Als Indie (zumindest auf internationaler Ebene) muss Symbaroum ein geringeres Budget als die meisten Mainstream-Produkte gehabt haben, dennoch sind alle Illustrationen einfach nur gut, stimmungsvoll, inspirierend. Bei solcher Bebilderung hätte man sich glatt den Settingteil sparen können, da muss einem doch einfach etwas dazu einfallen! Die Bilder sind in Farbe und leicht verwaschen, vermitteln Eindrücke und Impressionen aus einer fremden Welt mit atemberaubender Landschaft und mit riesenhaften Monstern.

Um einen Vergleich anzustellen: Vom Artwork reicht es, in seinem eigenen Stil, an Numenera und The Strange heran, nur dass Monte Cook seine Produkte mit noch mehr Bildern bestücken konnte. Selten hat mir das Design eines Buchs so gut gefallen.

Bonus/Downloadcontent Keine Downloads auf der Verlagshomepage. Fazit

Ein großes Manko gleich vorweg: Symbaroum ist als Regelbuch nicht gut strukturiert. Relevante Informationen sucht man oft quer durch das ganze Buch. Selbst das Erstellen eines Charakters ist nur auf den ersten Blick klar wiedergegeben, nach den Details sucht man einfach zu lange, obwohl sie anscheinend eigene Kapitel haben. Ein Konzept wird an einer Stelle eingeführt, aber nicht erklärt. Seitenverweise führen oft in Kapitel, die auch nur die halbe Wahrheit enthalten. SL werden das ganze Buch strukturiert durcharbeiten müssen, am besten mit der Suchfunktion im PDF, um diese Unzulänglichkeiten ausgleichen zu können. Seit der Erstauflage von The One Ring ist mir kein Spiel untergekommen, dass so unnötig viel Verwirrung und Nachschlagen (und Suchen) erfordert hat, um das Zusammenspiel der Mechaniken zu verstehen.

Die Regelbasis von Symbaroum ist einfach und gut verständlich, die Abwicklung sollte weder Spielern noch SL Probleme bereiten. Hat man erst mal die Sonderfertigkeiten ausgewählt, kann schnell los gespielt werden. Das Steigerungssystem ist simpel, der Charakter entwickelt sich stetig fort. Individuelle Charakterkonzepte lassen sich gut umsetzen, es gibt im eigentlichen Sinn keine Klassen.

Die Welt wird (vor allem durch die Bebilderung im Buch) so manchen ansprechen können. Und wenn nicht, wird es sicher in Zusatzprodukten andere Gegenden mit anders gearteten Abenteuern geben. Die Ambrianer sind ja einerseits militaristisch geartete Kolonialherren, andererseits aber auch Flüchtlinge einer Katastrophe. Die Idee, eine Völkerwanderung zum Konflikt auszubauen, ist sicher reizvoll und setzt diese Spielwelt von anderen Produkten ab.

Trotz einiger handwerklichen Schnitzer macht das Gesamtwerk einen guten Eindruck. Die relativ hohe Verletzlichkeit der SC sowohl in Bezug auf physischen als auch spirituellen Schaden ist zwar ein Faktor, mit dem man bei Symbaroum leben muss. Als Spielsystem wird es aber sicher Anhänger finden.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Symbaroum - Core Rulebook
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Symbaroum - Core Rulebook
by Sylvain P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/19/2016 16:33:43

Here are my humble thoughts about the Symbaroum core book, a RPG product which left a grand impression on me.

Presentation

The first thing that caught my attention is obviously the artwork. In perfect harmony with the atmosphere and mood of the dark fantasy setting, the pictures, as well as the general visual presentation of the book, are breathtaking. Without the stunning artwork, I doubt that I would have taken the plunge and bothered to invest in yet another fantasy RPG, a segment of RPGs that is being obscured by the recent success of the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons. The paintings and their ambiance made me immediately think of the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim game. Not the cute, heroic high fantasy and whimsical depictions of generic D&D settings. No jolly hobbits singing and dancing on tables from Tolkien novels. This is a dark, mysterious world, filled with perils, where ancient threats lurk just outside of any attempts at the civilization of the untamed wilderness. So hooking us up with fantastic visuals was a perfect gateway to the actual setting.

Content

The world of Symbaroum is both a narrow/tight/localized sandbox, as well as an incredibly vast and rich campaign setting. It focuses on a particular area, with a short historical overview, and a few races and factions to populate this environment. Nevertheless, I can already think of hundreds of ways to make it work for years of play. It has incredibly compelling depth, texture, and atmosphere. The authors mentioned inspirations such as Princess Mononoke’s animism/shintoism and narrative about the conflict between nature and civilization, the aesthetics of Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy’s fantasy horror, and Swedish fairytale folklore as inspirations, among other sources. I concur. It is a beautiful mariage of grim, dark fantasy, echoes of European fairytales about nature and mystical powers, Japanese ubiquity of spiritual essentialism in all things natural, Scandinavian primeval nature and tribal folklore, and twisted horror tales which conjure Lovecraft and Moorcock’s work to the mind. This isn’t your cookie cutter Tolkien-esque epic fantasy, nor the high fantasy worlds of Dungeons and Dragons. More Warhammer fantasy than the Forgotten Realms.

Playability

The rules are a great compromise between highly narrative games and highly simulationist/tactical games. They are crunchier than Cypher System games and Dungeon World, and tidier than Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder (I may have too few modern references to compare with, apologies). There are obviously some confusions and questions that immediately come to mind, but some of the ambiguities have already been addressed by the erratas issued by the developers. Character generation is neat, the abilities, traits, and powers are all interesting. There is no filling with rubbish material. The rules are tight. There are no overpowering options to put your characters on a pedestal. This world is deadly. Accordingly, the combat rules are deadly. You will not come out of the Forest of Davokar unharmed or un-tained. You will bear scars and wounds. Some of which are not physical. Magic is mighty, yet it comes at high personal costs.

Overall Rating

I won’t go for a quantitative assessment. If I say 10/10, am I comparing this to the mainstream stuff, the few games I’ve played over the last decade, or the many games I’ve played back in the 80s and 90s, mostly? All of this matters not. For me, Symbaroum build up my enthusiasm from the Fall of 2015, when it was announced that a translation would be undertaken through crowdfunding, but being very busy, I only managed to read the core book from cover to cover during the holidays season. Then we started playing last weekend, finally. I’ll tell you this: I love this game. It is my favourite thing to come out in a long time. I think it looks fantastic. I think it reads fantastically. I think it plays very well. I am literally oozing with enthusiasm about Symbaroum, and my five players, with whom I have played and GM-ed D&D 5e over the last two years, are being contaminated by my sheer enthusiasm. I will happily purchase, read, and play every single product that the Järnringen team can translate. Hear that, Järnringen? You better put some of your designers and translators to work ;-) And please sell more of the artwork as posters. It is the most beautiful RPG artwork I have seen in decades.

tl;dr version: I love Symbaroum. Stunning, unparalleled and original artwork + a focused, atmospheric and immersive setting of dark fantasy themed around the concepts of the untameable and unfathomable power of nature versus the inexorable yet corrupting race towards civilisation + great low maintenance character creation and rules = awesome.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Symbaroum - Core Rulebook
by Graham S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/06/2016 16:07:07

Overview Symbaroum, named after the fallen realm of legend that new colonist powers and remnant barbarians inhabit, is a newly translated Swedish RPG heavily imbued with a dark Nordic flavour. The gorgeously illustrated 260+ page PDF provides you with a rich setting full of adventure, dominated by the ancient forest of Davokar, littered with the treasures of ancient lost Symbaroum and held under the protection of the watching elves and infested with the corruption of blighted beasts and monsters.

Content is roughly setting/players guide/GM guide in equal page count with an introductory adventure and ready to play PCs at the end. The game is evocatively written, focussing on a specific part of the game world to provide a detailed, rich and vibrant setting with enough spaces for you to make it something of your own. You can play civilised Ambrian settlers, barbarian clan, lone ogre, changeling, or short lived goblin, each arising out of the setting, providing motivation with which to start your adventures. The races and factions all provide immediate conflict and opportunity, before you even dare to gain a licence and explore the great forest.

Setting The pasture lands south of the great forest have recently been aggressively colonised by the Ambrians, fleeing their blighted lands of Arbeletor to the south, now cursed by the shrivelling dark magics that swirled over the battlefields of a great war fought against the Dark Lords. Now, returning to their ancient homeland and once the realms of Symbaroum, they are quickly establishing a new realm under the hero-queen Korinthia. The barbarians of the land, inheritors some say of the Symbaroum past, have been unable to stop the invasion and now look to their own ways and guidance of the witches to set their path as worlds change.

Goblin workers have rebuilt ancient Linderos into Ynderos, the new Ambrian capitol. Ambitious nobles create new realms and settlements, the barbarians recoiling, and the watch of the forests, the elves, warn of consequences if Davokar is sullied with the presence of the newcomers. Solitary ogres, unaware of their own past also find a home in the new realm, huge and brutishly powerful and yet seeking an understanding of who they are. It is said that it is the elves that steal and swap newborns with changelings. Why do they do this? As they grow, they reveal their elven nature and are either discarded or simply outlive their parents, needing to find their own way in a world that neither trusts or accepts them.

The setting is also focussed in on a few key settlements in the new realm. Thistle Hold, a new town on the border with the forest a haven for treasure hunters seeking glory by discovering the secrets of ancient Symbar, the new capitol Ynderos, and the plateau of Karvosti of the barbarians deep within Davokar itself. All nicely drawn (literally) with plenty to get a group of players stuck in. It's unlikely to be quiet or sedentary...

Rules These are my kind of rules. The system is a simple d20 roll under an attribute for a success. Attributes are opposed and modified by other attributes or a difficulty rating. Fundamentally, that's about it. Very simple to remember and, I expect to play. Only players roll dice, the GM simply describes and focuses on the scene and story. Characters and monsters are further defined by 'Abilities', which are known at one of three ascending levels. These provide extra capabilities and powers to improve the use of attributes and step the character up a notch or three. There are just the right number of abilities. Not too many that they become overwhelming, but enough to provide variety and flavour to PC design.

Look out for Corruption that taints and can, eventually, blight and twist you to abomination. Not pleasant, but if you will dabble with the mystical arts, or undertake the ancient rituals, well, I ask you!

Combat is simple and deadly, though swift adventurers with good defence ratings and stout armour are likely to survive, unless you are facing some of the larger and more terrifying denizens. Death saves give you chances to cling on before you cry your bitter last and are lost.

The magic traditions of corrupting sorcerers, pious theurge, witchcraft and wizardry provide for a nice array of competing world philosophies and mystical power. Any PC can use magic, but if you are not of a tradition (or a sorcerer who embraces the darkness), then this is the quickest way to gain corruption.

Before I enter Davokar... I like this game very much. It is a full package. A setting, beautifully drawn with scope for expansion (and more books may come), coupled with an unobtrusive game system that riffs off the place in which it is set. I didn't feel any urge to Savage/Fate/Wordplay/D100 it. It works very well as an integrated game and setting.

It’s not just a pretty thing, I’ll be running it at my FLGS RPG games day in February. Looking forward to it very much.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Symbaroum - Core Rulebook
by tommaso g. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/31/2015 18:03:19

fantastic game. Simple yet not "overly" simple, i will define better after my first try period is over (i am due a playtest the next weeks, so i will write a much more refined review after the conclusion of it). For now i can say the printed copy is absolutely a must have. Great graphic, great layout, very good translation. Can't stop to say i can't wait for more material to come out Thanks fellas, keep it coming !



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
MUTANT: Year Zero - Zone Compendium 2: Dead Blue Sea
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/28/2015 02:54:42

Dead Blue Sea ist ein schma­les Kom­pen­dium mit dem Thema Was­ser. Die Mutan­ten ver­las­sen dabei die Ark-Siedlung und kämp­fen auf offe­ner See gegen neue Mons­ter wie den Levia­than oder den Skla­ven­hal­tern von Cage Island. Hier wer­den inter­es­sante neue Muta­tio­nen, Arte­fakte und Frak­tio­nen ein­ge­führt, die aber haupt­säch­lich im Rah­men einer Meeres-Kampagne Sinn erge­ben. Als Aben­teuer gibt es das obli­ga­to­ri­sche Geis­ter­schiff und ver­sun­kene Schätze. Wie Lair oft he Sau­ri­ans ver­schiebt es ein wenig die Stim­mung der Spiel­welt, wirkt dabei aber wie aus einem Guss.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MUTANT: Year Zero - Zone Compendium 2: Dead Blue Sea
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