What would happen to your campaign setting if it suffered a massive meteorite impact? The purpose of this book is to explore the effects and the possibilities for adventure that would arise. It's full of practical pointers to aid your planning and help you manipulate such an event to best effect.
Chapter 1: The Impact Site starts by discussing how to choose the most suitable location in your campaign setting to serve as the target for your meteorite. If you pick somewhere that's fairly central to the action, you have just wrecked a lot of the work you have already done on it, but the characters have a whole host of ready-made reasons to care about what's going on. On the other hand, if you have the impact somewhere remote, you can design the wreckage from scratch but then have to find reasons for the characters to have more than momentary interest in the news. And so on - each choice has implications, so it's worth thinking the location through before going any further. Then, of course, you need to decide what landed. Was it the conventional astromical lump of rock, or something more exotic? Two alternatives are described: the thaumaturgic meteorite, which is made of a magical substance, and the engram ark, which is a relic of a lost world with all manner of goodies - and monsters - encapsulated within.
Details decided, next to consider is the impact itself and its effects - including suffient information to let you give a graphic description, should the characters be eyewitnesses. They'd better be distant eyewitnesses, as anything two miles from the impact point takes 50hp damage from a 30-foot diameter meteor's impact! Apart from the sheer damage of impact, effects include strange weather, wildfire, a large crater; and who knows what might also happen in a world where magic is real? And that's with a mundane rock. Further discussion looks at the more exotic missle effects - such as an Ethereal-Material Pulse that acts as a massive wave of dispel magic, and the interesting debris that can be collected afterwards.
Next, Chapter 2: Integrating the Event looks at how to actually make the arrival of your chosen meteor a coherent part of your ongoing plotline. Is the characters' first knowledge of it a fiery screech across the sky above their heads, or do they find a prophecy or hear about events in distant lands? New cults may arise, old ones may lose (or gain) adherents, social order may break down, the landscape itself may be changed - all these possibilities and more are addressed with copious examples to fuel your own imagination.
Chapter 3: Prestige Classes does pretty much what it says - present several prestige classes which are connected to a meteorite impact. Some arise in the aftermath of the fall, other are actually a result of it. Astrogineers study thaumaturgic meteorites and practise astromancy, the manipulation of energy from such magical celestial bodies. The engram adept relies on the engram ark form of meteorite for his powers. The lord of silence is able to manipulate sound, more accurately the absence of sound; while ruin priests are chaos-minded spellcasters who harness the destructive forces of a meteorite fall and even attempt to call down more.
Chapter 4: Feats of the Afterfall looks at some of the new feats that may be acquired as a result of a meteorite strike. Similarly, Chapter 5: Spells lists new spells in some way related to one. Then Chapter 6: Magic Items is primarily concerned with those which are made from bits of meteorite - including the classic one of a weapon forged from meteoric iron, of course. Next, Chapter 7: Monsters provides some awesome beasts swept along with a meteorite that might come to land in your world as a result.
Chapter 8 is called 'I found it in the crater' and consists of five fairly detailed adventure ideas for you to use. Each is embedded in the concepts already presented and even if none appeal, they are a good example of how to weave events and adventures resulting from them right into an ongoing campaign, rather than just bolt them on.
If you have ever watched one of the popular 'natural disaster' movies, you may have wondered how it would translate from the customary contemporary setting to that of your favourite fantasy world. As well as providing plenty of ideas for a meteorite impact story, many features of this product provide guidelines for introducing a range of natural disasters as a source of adventure; and how to mix in fantasy elements rather than keep to a strictly 'normal' event.
Return to When The Sky Falls page.
Reviewed: 5 January 2008