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Races of the Shroud: The Apelord Review

Posted on October 7, 2008 by Flames


Available at RPGNow.com

Introduction
The Apelord is the first effort of new company ‘One Bad Egg’ and one of the first ‘proper’ 4th Edition D&D products to grace the virtual bookshelves. The Apelord is a new character race, with all the attendant options, but is also comes packaged with some monster ideas, numerous special abilities and a few adventure ideas. In short, it’s like an extended Monster Manual entry, such as were starting to become the norm at the end of 3.5.

Overview
The product is tightly presented and useful but seems to have been snipped out of something larger, like a broader setting book. No real explanation is offered as to what this ‘shroud’ is that created the apelords and that does make it seem a little disjointed, not that these apelords wouldn’t make a fine addition to any game.

Artwork
The layout itself is much like the new D&D books themselves, clean and clear and relatively crisp without so much of the distracting clutter that can afflict some RPG books. The choice of font is a little odd as the spacing makes one continually read ‘apelord’ as ‘A pelord’ and wonder what exactly a ‘pelord’ is, and hoping it isn’t a typo of ‘peelord’ – something I’m sure none of us want to encounter.

The artwork itself is a little inconsistent and the offering lacks a decent cover image, hence the lack with this review. Of the two illustrations the second one in the back – apparently some sort of apelord swashbuckler fending off zombies – is far superior to the earlier illustration which just seems to fall a little flat.

Writing
The writing is concise and to the point and given that most of the content is rules is clear enough, hampered only – in places – by the spacing of the chosen fonts, which can render the reading experience a little bit ‘bumpy’.

Rules
The rules presented all seem to work and follow the ape-man theme nicely, though most are fairly predictable given the nature of the apelords. The antagonists also seem balanced, though I haven’t had the opportunity to test them in actual play, and should provide a little excitement and novelty for any players who encounter them. There isn’t a great deal to say here this is all straightforward and seemingly well executed, not to mention useful.

Upsides

* Clear presentation.
* Good model for future releases.
* Good bang for your buck.
*

Downsides

* Font choice questionable in spots.
* Inconsistency in illustration.
* Out of context – WTF is the shroud?

Score
Style: 3
Substance: 5
Overall: 4

Review by James ‘Grim’ Desborough

Look for more D&D 4th Edition RPG items at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.

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