Posted on October 27, 2006 by Flames
-The following email was sent to the designer of The Crossroads of Eternity mere hours after publishing the core rule book-
Dear Travis Brown,Just to keep this quick: thank you for this wonderful RPG. Too long has my gaming group swam through seas of RPG material (usually 25+ books) in order to get a full scope of the game. But in a single book, you have outlined a combat system with a healthy dose of cinematics and realism, a wonderful array of races and professions, and a magic system that reflects a (in my opinion) realistic learning curve for magic users. You have lain the groundwork for great stories and adventure, without detailing every corner and shadow of the world so that my players can exploit the info more than I can find ways to use it. (When outnumbered 5+ to 1, the battle is very much uphill.) You have not bogged down the system with so many side rules and player/GM options that I feel confused just by being familiar with the system.
I’ve just recently lost my interest in large press products, and your book is the first small press that I picked up at my local gaming shop, and I am very pleased with my choice.
Thank you very much,
-I am the author of this email, and I gladly post this review for other interested gamers to read. I do not suggest taking my word at face value: go to your local gaming store, pick up this book, and skim through it. The races are exciting to read about, each with diverse backgrounds like ancient races of magic and slave races created for specific uses by their masters. (The use of a minotaur as a PC race was wondrous!) The “classes” (called “trades”) were also well thought out and diverse! Anything from a merchant or a noble to a vampire hunter. The races all have Legacy abilities that give them unique edges over other races in certain circumstances, and each trade gets a special ability that reflects their expertise in their trade.
The most praise that I have is for the magic system. It reflects the dangerous nature of magic (as well as it’s unpredictability) and the steps needed to advance along your arcane studies. The power of spell casters is minor in the beginning, but just by looking at the math of any mid/high level spells you can tell that they will one day be capable of easily destroying hordes of enemies. In short, magic is taxing, dangerous, and a life long learning process, but well worth the effort in the end.
The combat system is fast, realistic, but with just enough cinema to make legendary fighters seem like more than “one hit wonders.” The system of parry/block/counterattack makes for interesting (if not a little unrealistic) combat sequences, but does reflect the fast-action brutality of weapon masters without slowing combat to a crawl. Ranged attackers must make a few more rolls than their melee counterparts, but have the advantage of not being hacked to pieces every other round. The potential for massive damage by criticals it almost obscene, but accurately reflects the skill of veteran warriors by allowing them much more damage via skills and abilities bought with XPs over the course of their careers.
The world has an amazing and epic history, ready to be brought to a head by the prophecy. The supplements available at the website give you enough overview of the world to make sense, and still leave plenty of room for the GM’s adventures. Anything from PCs being minor local heroes to becoming great champions of the land, the GM has the freedom to act out whatever scenarios he wishes.
The core rulebook includes a bestiary with multiple possible antagonists. The basic abilities (attributes, attacks and damage, armor and HP) are present, with most special abilities (flight, breath weapons etc) left up to the GM to decide. (This should make your players worried. No longer is the power of a creature based on a chart in a rule book, but has the ability just because the GM saw fit to add it to the creature; whether as a challenge to the PCs or as a little spice to a story.) And the Nosferatu clans make for good villains too, with most of them drinking the blood of humanoids and acting to bring about the reign of Lucifer’s son… Yeah, it’s that bad in there.
But that’s okay, you have a Noble that can talk his way out of any crisis, an Elementalist Wizard that can create vast waves of flame, a Minotaur with a trained ‘attack bear’, and a ninja that can become a whirlwind of death.
I hope you will have as much fun with this game as I have.