Designed as a collection gathered from the underbelly of Exodus, this work leaps straight in with an analysis of the monster race of Aneishi, looking at how they would work when played as characters rather than pure monster cannon-fodder. Both concepts and game statistics are presented, although it's not explained how they rise above being barely senient - or if they actually are more sentient than they appear to be. Exodites present rather more promise for conversion from 'monster' to 'race' - they are not only humanoid, but demonstrate individuality, ambition and other features that suggest real sentience. Similar treatment is given to the Khaynites, who are dedicated to the service of their evil deity, Khayn, the snake-like Kobura, and the crocodilian Kroca.
Next comes a section - it's not quite organised enough to be a chapter - on Feats of the First Ones. Quite a few are plain nasty, while others instil fear and dread in your enemies, spit poison at them or drain them of their lifeblood. On the other hand, Escape Plan is rather neat, by always keeping an eye on the exits it gives you an advantage when you have to leave somewhere in a hurry. It's quite a useful selection, some are based on the racial characteristics of the races described earlier while others could be useful to anyone of evil intent, and some could be of more general use.
The next section presents the Spells of the First Ones. Naturally, you wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of most of them, but some would be pretty horrific even to an observer. Anyone looking for some choice evil spells could do worse than look here.
The work ends with a NeoExodus character sheet and some counter sheets of the various races, which could come in handy if they mount a mass attack.
Overall, while it creates some interesting potentials for using some of the First One 'monster' races more fully as characters, the book seems a bit incomplete, as if the narrative holding it together had been omitted leaving the good ideas for races, feats and spells on their own. A useful adjunt, though, for any NeoExodus game where you want the opposition to have more personality and neat tricks - or if you are looking to play on the other side!
Return to Bitter Fruit of the Tree of Woe page.
Reviewed: 8 November 2008