Secrets & Societies
Secrets & Societies Capsule Review by Wes Johnson on 09/12/02
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)
Substance: 4 (Meaty)
A great book for a DM looking to add some detailed prefab groups into their campaign.
Product: Secrets & Societies
Author: Brohman, Carriker, Hubbard, Luove and Timmins
Company/Publisher: Sword and Sorcery Studios
Line: Scarred Lands
Page count: 96
Year published: 2002
Comp copy?: yes
Capsule Review by Wes Johnson on 09/12/02
Genre tags: Fantasy
Secrets and Societies is a supplement for the d20 campaign setting Scarred Lands by Sword & Sorcery Studios. Not reading the entirety of the campaign setting was not much of a deficit, as this book stands well on its own. Inside there are 13 organizations that could be plugged into almost any campaign as needed. Some are good, some are bad and some fall somewhere in the middle.
Generally speaking the writing is solid and detailed, but not so much so that it could not be edited to suit a DM. The art is generally well done and the production values of the 96 page, perfect bound book are solid.
I will give a very brief overview of Secrets and Societies’ chapters, there might be a spoiler or two but I will try to eschew that as much as possible. The surprise is part of the fun when using groups in a campaign.
The Accursed: An interesting take on were-creatures who oppose evil.
The Black Dragoons: A group of crack soldiers whose evil is as great as their skill, a good group of heavies.
Cortesans of Idra: A neutral ring of spies.
Cult and Order of Ancients: An order of assassins who’s followers are very split along beliefs.
Horsemen of Vabgal: Sort of like the four horsemen of the apocalypse and gengis kahn, not much of a secret and REALLY a society with some 24,000 members.
House Asuras: An evil and filthy rich mercantile house. This was one of my favorites because they could be a heavy or even benefactor…maybe both in a campaign if you apply the current events of the house.
Incarnates: A group of druids out to heal the land. If you need a druidic order with a purpose, this might be a good group to plug into a campaign, as druids seem to get little play in the d20 games I am involved with.
Legion of Ash: A somewhat lawful, slightly evil mercenary army whose rituals guarantee soldiers for life and beyond. Some interesting concepts, might make for a good group of adversaries or allies.
Legion of Crimson: Another mercenary army, whose members are misfits who could not make it in other mercenary outfits. Something of a slightly different take than the Legion of Ash, but maybe something different than another somewhat lawful, somewhat evil mercenary army could have better served the book.
Order of the Morning Sky: A band of undead hunters, whose methods could be perceived to be nearly as bad as what they fight. Could be interesting adversaries or enemies, especially for a good party.
Paladins of Corean: Rulers of a city and dedicated fighters of evil. A good example of a paladin order that could be ported to any game.
The Scaled: A well organized and wide spread thieve’s guild who take care of their own…of course that is paid by their protection, racketeering, smuggling, prostitution, blackmail, theft, etc.
Overall, Secrets and Societies is a great book for a DM or the D20 gamer who likes the Scarred Lands setting. If you fall into either camp pick this book up.