The author's preface explains how a fascination with the conflict that arises when an established 'civilisation' finds more barbarious neighbours nipping around their walls and an interest in the more fluid chaos of multiple factions and goals led him to create the world of Asatania, choosing role-playing rather than straight fiction because of the multiple viewpoints lots of players bring to an unfolding story. He's designed a campaign constructed of several story arcs, and here we sit on the threshold of the first one, which is called Crashing Chaos and consists of eight adventures. This covers a series of events which are already in motion and that will ultimately change the world.
This work is intended to provide players with background information that their characters will know, and it launches off with an account of recent events on Tere, the continent on which the campaign is set. The established civilisation of the Farasene has experienced coastal raids up and down their eastern seaboard by folk they have dubbed Kan Demon, believing that they come from a mythical continent far across the sea called Kan. Raids died down during winter, and the Emperor put the time to good use raising a Home Guard Regiment to defend his shores. Now it's early spring and the regiment is mustering at Bray's Bay... a place towards which the characters are travelling as the first adventure opens.
Now it is time to create your characters. We are informed that magic use is somewhat of a myth on Tere, however you can play a spell-caster without any limitations save that you will have kept the fact that you can do magic a close secret! You also, spell-caster or not, need to come up with a reason for going to Bray's Bay, with some example reasons being given to get you going. Character background options are presented, based on the race that you have chosen (most standard ones are available)
We then move on to learn more about the geography of Tere and what it is like to live there, with information on topics as diverse as coinage, the calendar and public holidays, arts, commerce and daily life. The culture is remarkably stagnant, perhaps due to an empire that has been governing for over two thousand years. Most people work the land or ply a trade, with education limited to what you need to know to do your job... and exploration of the ocean and lands beyond being actively discouraged! Religion is more about community and stability than piety, with the gods fairly distant and not very interested in what their worshippers do, although unless you are well off, the priesthood is the best place to get a decent education!
Providing a good overview of the campaign setting and current situation, all you need do is read this and create some characters ready to play. The assumption is that you are part of the 'civilised world' however: the adventures do not offer the opportunity to be a raiding 'barbarian'... at least, not yet. Who knows what will come in the future. For the time being, at least, there is a peaceful somewhat stagnant land in dire need of heroes... will you answer that call?
Return to Player's Guide to the Crashing Chaos Campaign page.
Reviewed: 11 May 2017