Midnight: Second Edition is a massive d20 campaign setting from Fantasy Flight Games. The single PDF file is over forty megabytes in size, weighing in at over four hundred pages. Being watermarked, your name appears in a small font at the bottom left corner of every page. There are no bookmarks, nor is the table of contents hyperlinked, which is a shame, considering the size of this book.
Midnight is a book overflowing with artwork. As this is a direct PDF version of the print book, all of the original art has been preserved, from the covers to the interior art to the backgrounds. Full-color artwork is fairly generous throughout the introduction, where even the pages have a colored background. The rest of the book is in black and white, but the art is no less numerous for it, and all pages have borders along the top and bottom. Unless you have a very strong printer and plenty of ink cartridges, you may want to buy the print book rather than try to print out this PDF.
The world of Midnight is very similar to that of Tolkienâ€™s Middle Earth in flavor, having low-magic and clinging to more classic archetypes of fantasy. Elves reside in deep forests, dragons are few and unique, and a shadowy evil god is present in the world. However, this last point is where Midnight is different, because here, the evil god, named Izrador, has conquered the world, defeating the great alliances of men and elves and dwarves who tried to keep him contained.
Magic is also different in Midnight. When Izrador was cast from the heavens to the mortal world, the Veil was erected, which keeps the world cut off from the planes. Because of this, planar travel and clerical magic are unavailable; only Izradorâ€™s priests, the legates, can access divine magic. Other than creatures with innate spellcasting, characters must use channeling, accessing the native energies in the world itself, to use magic. Channeling is different from standard d20 magic, as it requires taking feats to gain access to magic. Moreover, channelers are assigned a small group of spell energy points, rather than automatically being able to cast a certain number of spells per day. Other effects, such as summoning and calling, are also changed due to the planar isolation of the world.
While the book is divided up into numerous chapters, all of them fall into three sections. The first section is meant for the players, covering the new races, skills, feats, magic, etc. This is the part of the book that all players should read so that they can properly create characters for the setting. The second section is the meat of the book, providing large coverage of the world itself, going over various lands and kingdoms. It also covers what the characters would know about the world in general, its history, and such things as common knowledge about Izrador, the Night Kings, the legates, magic, and many other things. The final section is meant for Game Masters, discussing more of the changes to the d20 mechanics, introducing new monsters, and optional rules.
Midnight: Second Edition is a massive book, for a massive campaign. The depth and precision of its setting fluff and history is rich, and its use of the d20 mechanics is not only well-balanced, but pervasive as well, making this a truly high-quality work. The only real problem with this book is how it doesnâ€™t take advantage of its features as a PDF. Even navigating this can be a bit of a chore without bookmarks, and the lack of a printer-friendly version can be daunting if you want to print out even a single chapter. Still, this remains one of the single best campaign settings ever produced for the d20 system, and an epic realm of high fantasy. A serious setting for serious gamers, Midnight is a world that needs heroes to fight back the Shadow. Will your characters be the ones to answer the call?
[5 of 5 Stars!]