By KImberly Moser
Source: GMS Magazine (http://s.tt/12y9Q)
The Path of Kane by Pinnacle Entertainment Group is part of the Savage World campaign setting which is based on the work of Robert Howard. This particular product is 225 pages of adventure goodness. The aesthetics of the work are beautiful. The typesetting and graphic design are bold and endearing. The artwork is brilliantly selected – it is raw and untamed which reflects the setting.
The Path of Kane is a collection of tales which are plot point adventures. These are insertable into the Savage Worlds campaign without upsetting the balance of play or interfering too greatly with the broad tasks the DM may be broiling for the players. The book is separated into seven distinct sections: The Table of Contents/Prologue, Introduction, Europe, The Dark Continent, The New World, Cathay and the Orient, and the Index.
The table of contents is clearly laid out and easy to use. This is followed by a short two page prologue introducing the reader to the setting by relating a short story based in the Savage World. It is dark, hopeful and fatalistic. This was a very good flavour piece and was very well written.
The introduction explains how to use the material found in the product and describes the chronology the Savage Worlds campaign is based upon. It also introduces game masters to the history based portion of the background and encourages outside reading to increase understanding of the culture and setting on which the game is based. The introduction also discusses the adventure links and rumours included within many of the adventures. Adventure links are common elements that some adventures may have – though each adventure is designed to stand on its own. Rumours are sidebars that seed to other adventures or are simply gossip that may be gleaned on the streets.
The next four chapters are the actual adventures. They are set in Europe, The Dark Continent, the New World, Cathay and the Orient. Each particular section begins with a wide overview of the continent and then within each chapter are smaller divisions for a few countries or cities of note. Superstitions and culture points are offset from the regular text in boxes similar to rumours and adventure links.
The actual adventures are about three pages in length and are cut and dried instructions about who the PCs are to meet, their tasks and the crunchy bits each bad guy or monster has to invoke. Within the text, set off in boxes, are special notes, artefacts or adventure maps. Everything needed for the scene is provided. The plots are straightforward, go in – kill this person and everyone around him and another mark is erased from your soul and redemption gets one step closer. These are the bulk of the product and run for 214 pages.
The index is surprisingly thorough and includes entries for the different countries, monsters, adventure links, rumours and artefacts. This part of the product is only a single page but is set in four columns.
The product is set after the Solomon Kane stories, so having read the books is not a hindrance. In fact it could help as it gives a deeper understanding of the setting and the drive for redemption. The product does not provide much in the way of story flavour and it will take a skilled game master to evoke the proper mood. This one negative I found in the product. The game master is instructed on the bare minimum for each adventure. This becomes very formulaic and one adventure reads much like the next and the next and so on. The voice in the writing was more like an instruction manual rather than a gaming guide. It would be nice to have a little more ‘show’ and not all ‘tell’.
This is a very nice product and is definitely in-line with the core book. With just the core book and this product I am confident a Savage Worlds campaign will thrive for many months maybe even years. I give this an eight out of ten stars (or four out of five). This is a solid, well-researched and thought provoking product and highly recommended.