Tuesday 4 May 2021

Tales From the Fallen Empire

Tales From the Fallen Empire is a setting book written by James Carpio, with Michael Curtis, Chris Lites, Colin Chapman, Mary Lindholm, Michael R. Smith, and Walter Adam Rinehart with additional contributions by Matthew Millman. Art is by Eric Quigley, Doug Kovacs, Michael Lavoie, Scott Ackerman, Alyssa Faden, Ben Morgan, Bradley K McDevitt, Darkzel, Gary Dupuis, Lenka Simeckova, Veysel Kara, and Tsolmon.  Some artwork is copyright William McAusland and used with permission. Some artwork  is copyright Skirmisher Publishing, LLC and used with permission. The publisher is Chapter 13 Press.

This is the first setting book, to my knowledge, which was produced for Dungeon Crawl Classics, and as such it is a combination of brilliance and banality in a way that is in turns frustrating and glorious.  The Endzeitgeist review was particularly focused on where the product fell short, and it is worth reading as a counterbalance to this entry.

The review is not wrong in imagining that the concepts of the setting book are more ambitious than the actual implementation is.  This came out in the early days of Dungeon Crawl Classics. and that does show. The setting is intended to be gritty, but is a bit more Lin Carter than Robert E. Howard. Some of the mechanics and ideas may have clear d20 System lineage. But there are also some good ideas, and a lot of material worth stealing and/or reworking into your home campaign.

Tales From the Fallen Empire introduces seven character classes: the Barbarian, Man-Ape (Ooruk), Marauder, Sentinel, Draki, Sorcerer, and Witch. For my money, the Sorcerer and Witch classes are the best of the lot. Sadly, there is no occupation table to create 0-level Man-Apes or Draki...again, early days. The Draki is a kind of sentient dragon/velociraptor. 

The book also includes rules for sanity and the lack thereof (Lore and Lucidity) , sea faring and naval combat (which will require a great deal of judge ruling to work, but this is DCC, right?), ritual magic, and creating magic items. You may wish to take inspiration from the examples of magic item creation, but the system itself is a lot more d20 System and a lot less Appendix N than it could be. There is a lot of meat here for ideas, even if you do not want to take the material exactly as presented.

Tales From the Fallen Empire includes five patrons, but all are given very minimal write-ups. These are Naaz-Ibhax (The Elder Eye and the Shapeless One, Chaos Lord), Tsernobog (The Tongue of Hod), A'goth-Amon (Abyssal Prince), Aakaanksha (The Granter of Pleasures), and the Horse Goddess of Shesh. At the time the book came out, any new patron information was desireable. Now, however, there are many patrons available and these beings will take a lot of work to fully flesh out. Still, they are valuable for their flavor.

The Bestiary does include useful creatures like djinn, golems, and sidhe. There is advice (and statistics!) for dogs and falcons, which are useful. There is also an optional rule, Advancing Animal Companions, which seems somewhat familiar.

The book also contains two adventures, The Slave Pens of Maxus and The Horrors of Hod, which Endzeitgeist has covered in his review. Overall, this is a book that I am glad that I have in my collection, but it is not one that I refer to often. I have never actually run a game set in this milieu, or run either adventure from the book.

1OO years have passed since Mankind revolted and slew the Sorcerer Kings of old… Now, the survivors of seven kingdoms begin to start new lives and hopes on the ashes of old. However, even as life continues, an ancient and forgotten evil stirs awaiting its moment to strike against mankind.

 Join the struggle for survival in a war-torn land where new empires arise to impose their will upon the masses. Vicious warlords fight to control territories carved out of fallen kingdoms. Imposing magicians emerge claiming the legacy of the Sorcerer Kings. High Priests of long forgotten gods and goddesses amass wealth in the name of divine right while Warrior-priests, devoted to a banished god, patrol the lands bringing justice to people abandoned by their rulers.

Within these pages is a detailed post-apocalyptic fantasy setting taking you through an ancient realm that is fighting for its survival and its humanity. Seek your fortune or meet your fate in the burning deserts of the once lush and vibrant land of Vuul, or travel to the humid jungles of Najambi to face the tribes of the Man-Apes and their brutal sacrificial rituals.

Tales From the Fallen Empire is a post apocalyptic swords & sorcery setting created for use with the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG by Goodman Games.  It introduces new classes, setting inspired spells, new optional rules for swords & sorcery play and more.  Tighten the straps on your sandals, grab your weapon, and head forth into a land of trouble and turmoil. Adventure  awaits those foolhardy to enter the wastelands or for those who fear not the unknown. 

Setting Features

Within the campaign setting you will find:  6 new classes: Barbarian, Witch, Draki, Sentinel, Man-Ape, & Maurader.  Adding more choices for play in the setting and within the DCC RPG.

A revised Wizard Class (The Sorcerer) - A fiendish master of the arcane who draws energy from the living to perform powerful magics.

New Spells - Magic inspired by ancient Babylonian & Egyptian folklore and mythology

New Creatures - Monster befitting to classic swords and sorcery.  Battle savage dinosaurs,  ride into the unknown on a war trained moa, or match wits with the tribal man-apes of the southern jungles.

A detailed setting inspired by the works of Fritz Lieber, Robert E. Howard, Lynn Carter, H. P. Lovecraft, Roger Corman, and Michael Moorcock

Get It Here.

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