Saturday, June 16th is Free RPG Day ‘12
and with it comes a slew of new and interesting little releases. They can usually be divided between tasters for new games that will be released at Gen Con this forthcoming August and support for existing RPGs or pieces of gaming ephemera. In general, the tasters for the new, “hot” games are highly anticipated and on the day itself, in high demand, but come the day, it would be remiss of us to ignore the less-in-demand titles. Many of these it should be made clear, are worth your time and effort to make it to your friendly, local gaming store to get hold of a copy. One such title is Shadowsfall: The Temple of Orcus
, published by Jon Brazer Enterprises and designed to introduce its Shadowsfall
Shadowsfall: The Temple of Orcus is written for use with Paizo Publishing’s very popular Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is scenario designed for characters of fifth level. It begins in the village of Dronabar, whose inhabitants have learned of late to retire early and bar both their doors and windows. Passing through, the party is approached by Ari, a distraught villager whose wife and children have not returned from the nearby market town. Soon after setting out to search for them, the heroes discover an upturned handcart and a trail leading off into the undergrowth. The trail quickly leads to a new plane of peril known as the Shadowsfall, a dark reflection of the Prime Material plane filled with the abandoned and forgotten remnants of societies and lands. Once within the land of Eternal Night, the party must rescue Ari’s family before the villain of the piece sacrifices them to his dark master, an entity right out of classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, First Edition.
Shadowsfall: The Temple of Orcus goes into detail about explaining the nature of Shadowsfall plane as well as providing four sample characters. These are either Outsiders or Extraplanar creatures, but are all humanoids. They include a Dhampir champion of innocents, a former angel seeking arcane agents and a lost love, a bomb-throwing Kobold Alchemist native to the Shadowsfall, and a Fetchling Ranger. All are of fifth level, so could be used to play through the scenario, although since as written, the scenario assumes that the heroes are entering the Shadowsfall from the Prime Material Plane, their use would be a little odd. Rather, they are intended, like the scenario to showcase characters typical of the setting created with options using content from the Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player’s Companion just the scenario uses monsters from Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow.
Physically, Shadowsfall: The Temple of Orcus is decently presented and written. Its art is equally as good, but its cartography is somewhat uninteresting and it does need another edit in places. Overall, Shadowsfall: The Temple of Orcus does a good of introducing the new setting.