Posted on September 25, 2004 by Flames
Written by Micah Skaritka & Dav Harnish, The Apophis Consortium, Ltd. (AP00103)
Obsidian fans first received a glimpse of the Zone setting in the core book. Inside the Zone expands upon that setting. A thriving, multi-faceted community that is realistic in all aspects, Inside the Zone is great for anyone who pays close attention to narration.
Fans of the Kult aspect of the game will be especially interested in the development of Zone sub-factions within each of the Kults. The sub-factions are written as nuances to the original Kult. When you read this section, you get a feel for the difference between what motivates humans and what Daemons actually want. Pay special attention to added details, like the Circle of Pestilence. This section really ties together the societal weave inside the Zone. A collage of different artwork styles appears as photographs throughout the book. It’s as if the artists, Thomas Manning, Mark Jackson and many others, have all taken their inspiration from living within the Zone, itself.
Those Obsidian-bent on creating a mosaic of ethos, socials, and contractors will find pages of new information in this book. Additional play settings are described, brand-new rules, Daemonic characters as well as essentials for everyday life. Character backgrounds are easily flushed out with the amount of detail and options provided. One character aspect is the pursuit of religion through Quiet Faiths. The faiths could be regarded as a counter-measure to the Kults and sub-factions, or they could be regarded simply as a remaining function of pre-Zone society. Whatever the reason, this section does a great job of describing what is at the heart of every religious philosophy. Surprisingly enough, Obsidian developers did this several times. It is almost as if the developers wanted a free-thinking forum that include characters from all mantras and philosophies.
The contrast between Daemonic and human desires is not the only theme covered in this book. Due to the Zone’s Daemon-infestation, physical descriptions of how humans and Daemons co-exist are also provided. You can imagine yourself as a rich socialist feasting on Daemon blood. Or you can envision yourself as a pharmacist testing Daemonic blood in order to enhance any number of drugs.
While the physical realm is where most of the game is played, Obsidian also involves that element of the unknown. The Spirit Dimension, or Terradianeme, is another setting in which characters may play in. By creating this setting, Obsidian developers give us a sense that there is life after death, but with different rules. If you happen to outlive your Obsidian character, you are given the opportunity to continue playing. Inside the Zone covers all the rules on how to play within the setting, including potential spirit Daemon sightings.
Outside the spirit realm, the monolithic structure of the Zone is a maze of pipes, lifts, sectors and sub-sectors. There are areas, within the sub-sectors, that are available for investigative or fantasy-based play. There are also areas that focus on Legislation, Corporation, and the Law. Obsidian continues here what it does best; it provides a believable setting that characters can play in. Their descriptions of the Zone are precise and functioning. Spheres of daily living appear to play out automatically in different areas of the Zone. This makes it extremely easy for a character or team to travel within in the Zone. While you never know what you may encounter, you will definitely have some idea of where you are going.
Fans of technology as well as Silesia followers will find themselves first opening the book to the Chapter on technology. The guns shoot farther, the cyberware is tougher, and the vehicle upgrades are cutting-edge. Characters playing Contractors and members of the Law will want to read this section. The available technologies are a must-have and will improve combat ratings all across the board.
To play within the Zone, players must first understand the design of the setting. Inside the Zone does a great job of describing its highly efficient structure. But the book does more than describe its physical setting. Layers of religions, Kults and politics intertwine with one another throughout the book. It is almost as if you are a god watching the inner workings of Zone society. The book is a must-read for anyone who wishes to play in the Zone.
Reviewer: Monica Valentinelli
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