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Valkyrie Magazine and RPGnet are happy to provide this review.


The Clerics' Sourcebook
Sourcebook
Torg
West End Games
[sterling]12.50 - ???pp

In theory, this book contains everything you need to know to run clerics in any of the Cosms or realms of the Torg infiniverse. What this means is that you get a run-down of the basic rules, then a section on the religions of each cosm, then extensive lists of spells and rituals, followed by - and I think this may be the first I've seen in a West End Games product - a proper index, with page numbers and all. Don't start cheering yet, though - it only references the entries in the spell lists, not those in the sections on religions. God forbid we should actually be able to find everything we need in one go.

There is a lot of overlap between the spells in this book and those in the basic and "world" books. Some do appear to be new, but it's impossible to be sure without access to all the books. There's also evidence to suggest that the spell descriptions have simply been copied from the original manual to this one. For instance, the ritual Call Giant Wasp goes straight into "...is used every sixth Darooni cycle by the priestesses..." This was fine in the context of the Land Below world-book, but is hardly enough explanation in a general spell-list. In any case, this ritual is only available to only one kind of player, so reproducing it here simply increases the amount of cross checking people have to do. Me, I'm still waiting for the system that has completely different clerical spells for each religion (or better, a system that's totally independent of spell lists).

The other big gripe I have is the limited amount of space given to descriptions of the actual religions. Each cosm gets about three heavily ilustrated pages (Core Earth gets just over two, the Land Below/The Land Above and the Cyberpapacy get a big six). These are then divided between however many religions there are, and include complete spell lists. So you really aren't going to get a huge amount of description of any one religion. The basic ideas behind the various faiths are explained, but not, for example, the organisation and hierarchy of the organised religions. This is true even for the Cyberpapacy, which gets the most space. It's all very well to say that a PC is most likely to be a heretic, or at least some kind of maverick, but this approach gives the referee who wants to force some interaction with organised religion very little to go on. Then again, you can always buy the world books...

Overall: So, all in all, this is one of those books you probably can do without - but won't, if you're a dedicated player, because there's always the chance it'll have something you need buried somewhere in it.

Review by Liz Holliday

Product supplied by Hobbygames

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