Lately I’ve been reading the other RPG by Anthropos Games called Early Dark and I think I can write a short article on what it is about. This book is fleshed out, well crafted, and the product of a newbie who learned a lot in making the game.
The first thing I want to talk about is the book itself. The pages themselves are acid washed and the book is double binded. Every page you turn to is the page that the book stays on. Now this detail is not a big deal in general. Even when a book tries to send you to another page we can use bookmarks or our beautiful hands, but it is the thought that counts. The thought of course being “What is it that I can do to make this book better for the people who want to read it?” That is a big deal because that kind of question tells me as a consumer that I am being taken care of. We all have RPGs that are falling apart, much to our sadness, but buying something you know is going to last makes me feel better about buying the thing, and it is the first piece of love that an author puts in a book.
Now that I have written about some good stuff in the book I would like to say just one thing negative about this book. The way that the information was organized makes things hard to find at times. There are rules for the GM written all over the book rather than in just one section. Recalling info can be difficult in the book so sticky tabs are a must for me in this rule set. When you go through your first read of this book do it with purpose and mark the pages important to you somehow.
Now that we have that out of the way let’s discuss the lore of Early Dark. This book covers five unique societies over the five ages that catalog their creation all the way to their established society. This is all in the effort to set the scene for awesome adventures for your party. The whole story is given to you narratively in the form of legends and mythos. This allows us as GMs and players to alter or even add mythos that we need. The lore does cover the first two hundred pages of the book and they feel like a good story rather than a compendium. The attention to detail is shown again in the story telling here. Each culture’s identity is shown in the style of writing for each period and made me feel more like I was connected to the world rather than visiting the world someone else made. It was a great setting made that I would recommend reading even if you do not run the game.
The last part to talk about is the mechanics of the game. The whole story is written in the perspective of the legend of the heroes. Experience points, powers, and ability are all measured in the memorability of the actions of the heroes and how in tune with the world around them they are. Beyond that players will use D10s to create tacks. These tacks are based off of a combination of two skills that narratively make sense. Pushing a large boulder for instance would be a strength-labour combination. Players roll dice and combine them according to stats in order to attack and counter-attack each other. The added effect of only having so many rolls per round makes a highly strategic turn in how you want to affect the battlefield, other monsters, and even other players. Checks also have a unique process that can run from the standard DnD style success or failure, but there is a unique multi success fail process that has players build tacks and at some points decide what is important for them to succeed.
On top of all of this the book comes with beautiful artwork, and full compendium, and a whole slew of player choices. It is a really great addition to my RPG shelf.
Thanks so much for reading my article about Early Dark. Be sure to check out more articles with the link below including our podcast that’s now on Itunes. Also be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter @nblogcollective. Thanks again for reading and as always,