Another setting but this one is quite a bit different. It is not fantasy. I have done a fair share of reviews on fantasy settings and read plenty more. A change of pace is always good. No orcs and goblins invading, no magic or gods to fear; just good old technology and people exploring the world they live in. With d20 Modern and d20 Future both out there for setting to be built from I am hoping to see more of these modern and futuristic settings.
Dawning Star is a futuristic setting by Blue Devil Games. These guys have done a few really good PDS and this is really the first big release from them. Dawning Star is a two hundred and eight page PDF. It is black and white but very well laid out and with some great art. The product has high production values and is very professional in look. The book is well book marked and comes with a great index something not usually seen in PDFs. The cover of the book is a separate PDF and is a really cool full color cover.
Dawning Star is a futuristic setting. Basically in the late 22nd century a large object is seen coming toward the Earth and people have to evacuate. One of the great big evacuation ships encounters an alien space platform that transports it with all of its crew and all of its cryogenically sleeping passengers thousands of light years away. There they find an inhabitable planet and start a new life. The planet does have some native intelligent life forms as do seemingly some other planets in the system. There are spaceship wrecks of a few different racial designs and ruins of a civilization long ago. The new plant has many new and interesting things for the humans to explore as the set up their new lives.
The Dawning Star Campaign setting is filled with a variety of different play style. It can have a very western feel as there are boom towns being set up and places of lawless activity. The settlers are going out into the world and away from the safety of the established government. There are other small forms of government people have set up and in many places the law of the land whoever has the power. The game can also have a very strong pulp feel. The ruins are deep and hold great secrets and bits of technology for people to discover and find. They can travel to unexplored areas and be the first people to brave these new and dangerous places. The game can be set up to be even more dangerous. The atmosphere can be a little more hostile allowing for equipment to breathe it. The aliens can be more mysterious and unknown allowing for a dark campaign style of unknown beings with impossible to understand motives. Lastly, the setting can emphasis the space side and be more space opera. There are other planets in the solar system to explore. The DM can also have other space fairing aliens from other places in the galaxy show up and just use this as one planet of hundreds the players can visit. The setting was specifically designed to be versatile and they succeeded on that very well.
The book starts off with a nice timeline of events. It starts with the after effects of some nasty global events on Earth and the discovery of the great rock that eventually kills the planet. It details the discovery of the planet Eos where this campaign setting takes place and through the many years of setting up a community and scientific endeavors to make the plant livable. The time of the players the humans have been there for a while though most where still in cryogenic sleep during a lot of the early ears.
There are plenty new mechanics in this book designed for the campaign setting as well as for sci fi campaigns. There are nineteen new talent trees presented here with at least three new ones for each of the six basic classes. There are thirteen new occupations, plenty of new uses for skills, lots of new feats, species classes, advanced classes, and prestige classes. Species classes are like the racial classes Unearthed Arcana and other books for the fantasy game have in them. They are just levels in one?s own race and one gain abilities suitable for that race. There are lot of new and interesting character options in this book that can easily be adapted to other d20 sci fi campaigns.
The game has lots of great intrigues, mysteries, options, and plenty of great adventure potential. However, when the curtain was drawn back and the secrets revealed I just was not that happy with the way it goes. Pretty much all the secrets of who the aliens are, what their relationships are , and what happened to them are spelled out in the book. This is not always a bad thing but for me I was just not that impressed with it. I am not going to give it away here but I was just hoping for something different. Like a movie that has great build up and great characters, but the end just does not live up to the rest of it. That is how I felt with this book. But unlike a movie the end and reasons can easily be molded and changed to fit the DM?s vision and one is not locked into the way it is presented here. And obviously, I do think there are plenty of people who will like it as is. It is well thought out and creative, just not what I wanted to have happen.
Aside from the reveal that did not like the book is really well done. Plenty of adventure ideas from exploring ruins, to alien technology, to dealing with survival and humanity await players and DMs in this book. This I do believe e is he first setting for d20 Future. Anyone looking for something to use with d20 Future has got a good product right here for them.
<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>