Acceptance of Fate
Acceptance of Fate Capsule Review by Gary McBride on 28/03/02
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)
Substance: 4 (Meaty)
A Solid d20 fantasy adventure with a compelling plot. Minor flaws fail to undermine its overall strength.
Product: Acceptance of Fate
Author: Chad Justice
Company/Publisher: Otherworld Creations
Page count: 80
Year published: 2001
Comp copy?: yes
Capsule Review by Gary McBride on 28/03/02
Genre tags: Fantasy
At the GAMA Trade Show, only a week gone by, I bumped into the guys from Otherworld Creations and managed to score a copy of one of their d20 fantasy products, “Acceptance of Fate”. The module is the third of a trilogy called “Unto This End” and is set in their Diomin setting. It is designed for four to six characters of level 7 to 10. I have read none of the previous modules nor do I own the setting.
My first thought when I was handed this product was, “Great…the third part of a trilogy in a world I know nothing about.” I really expected to be completely bewildered. I think it is a testament to the strength of Mr. Justice’s writing that this did not happen. The plot is easy to follow and the setting generic enough that this adventure is ripe for adaptation into almost any fantasy campaign setting. Only once in the entirety of the eighty page module did he fall down in this regard. On page 18 the book mentions a race called the Hearthom who are “strange” and “stone-like”. That is their only description. There is no artwork or text that describes the hearthom any more than that. I can extrapolate that the Hearthom are humanoids with stony skin (and 2/0 damage reduction) reminiscent of Earthdawn’s obsidiman, but a brief description seems appropriate.
And here is another problem with the module. It contains mature subject matter. Part of the adventure is set in two brothels, there is some small amount of coarse language and one piece of artwork contains partial female nudity. Personally, I have no problem with adventures containing mature subject matter. In fact, I find it odd that many fantasy books crammed with scantily clad females are utterly devoid of characters actually interested in or motivated by sexuality. But I also realize that there are kids in this industry and perhaps more important, there are concerned and potentially vocal parents. This book should have a warning on its cover. It doesn’t have to be huge but it should be there.
Beyond that, this is a great d20 fantasy adventure. It presents a compelling story where the PCs get to do something genuinely heroic. It lacks some of my least favorite fantasy clichés as well – this is a module without random encounter tables, a trash heap or a dungeon full of monsters who live there for no reason. It is a fast-paced, dramatic, and action oriented plot that makes sure that the PCs have good cause to be involved in very important world-affecting events. The author also pauses occasionally to address what to do if the PCs get off the adventure's intended course.
I won’t spoil the plot here, but in brief the story deals with a very powerful magic sword created by the deities of good that has been corrupted by centuries of ownership by the servants of darkness. The PCs now have the sword and are being hunted by those who would reclaim it. They must reconsecrate the sword and use it for its intended purpose. The adventure has several interesting twists and is ripe for pillaging ideas and using them in your own non-Diomin campaign. Of course, if you are actually running a Diomin-based campaign this book is required reading.
Does the story have weaknesses? Sure. First of all, fundamentally this story is a good-gods-create-an-artifact-that-will-save-the-world-from-darkness-if-only-the-PCs-can-get-it-working story. If you are looking for gritty realism or moral relativism, look elsewhere. To quote Ronald Reagan, “this is about good versus evil, right and wrong…” If you are playing a campaign where your PCs aren’t the Good Guys, then this plot is simply unusable.
Second, the story lacks a strong central villain tying the story together. Each of the three acts has a different enemy. If I ever ran this adventure, I would add a single bad guy who accosts the PCs through out the whole story -- someone for the players to really hate.
In terms of print quality, the book is also very strong. The binding survived all the punishment that I and the Las Vegas airport baggage handlers gave it. The layout is clear and easy to read. The margins are neither too small nor too large, and the eighty pages are filled with lots of meaty text. The interior art ranges from passable to very good, which for a small press company is quite an achievement. None of it made me wince in pain. If only I could say that about all of my own products. And the maps are great, clearly being the work of an artist rather than the very generic “campaign cartographer” style that so many small press companies are using today. If I have one complaint about the maps, it is that they didn’t include a large scale map that connects all the locations together. I realize that this is probably in the Diomin main book, but still it would have made certain intermediary scenes easier to follow.
So, overall the book is quite a value for the price of $15.95. In a market where $8.95 will often get you little more than a 32 page adventure (more like 25 pages after the credits, OGL and obligatory ad at the back of the book), they packed roughly three times that material in one book.
I give the book a four for style (good maps, good layout, but some of the interior artwork is only so so) and a four for substance (good writing, compelling and interesting story, next time give me a good villain). Check it out at a game store near you! Gary McBride Freelance Writer and Co-Owner of LRGames