Iron Crown Enterprises
Arabian Nights! I may have been asked to review some strange products for the
magazine but this has to be the strangest. It arrived and I ripped off the
cellophane , anticipation rising all the time. Memories of all those Sinbad
films with their now famous special effects is flooding back to me. This really
is what role playing should be all about; evil wizards, huge monsters with
fangs that look even bigger! Some time later, having read the thing, I was left
feeling a little let down. Not that all the much anticipated things were not
contained within said tome, but more the fact that if there was ever a role
playing book that took itself just a little too seriously, then this was it.
It has all the usual ICE quality of production, what is there cannot be
faulted. As per normal there are a large number of black and white line
drawings. These are all perfectly good, however, once in a while it would be
nice to see a little colour. FASA products are a great example of just how much
more interesting they can be made to look with a little effort.
So, what is it exactly that left me feeling a little let down? Well, owning all
of the others in the series, I had a fair idea of what it was going to be like.
A number of these genrebooks appear to read more like a school history text
book. This is fine as at least you can tell that a great deal of attention has
been paid to it. This one was different, well different in as much as it read
more like a text book on the Islamic faith.
While I realise that it can be considered a central theme to the campaign
setting, it could have been made a little easier to digest. Most competent
referee's don't need to read the whole of a text before knowing which portions
of it they're going to use. I can see no way that anybody could avoid having to
read the whole of this book. This heavy dependency on religion could make this
supplement very difficult to insert into an existing campaign.
Rolemaster is not one of those games that has a clearly laid out pantheon, the
religious systems of each game therefore are likely to be different. In defence
of the product, and the author in particular, it seemed to me that as this is
set at much the same time as the previous issue in the series, Vikings, it had
to be compatible in a big way. This is mentioned early in the text while the
political position is being outlined. In most other ICE products there is
usually something new for the players that would be of use in the normal games
that they play. This may be new spell lists or possibly a new character class.
I can't even say that there is anything for me in that particular respect.
Overall: Well written but reads too much like a text book on the Koran, and
this makes it hard work. I could not recommend this to anybody but the keenest
of fans of the genre. ICE should try to make any future books in the series a
little more fun, afterall, we are actually trying to enjoy ourselves with this
Review by Indiana Gnome
Product supplied by Hobbygames