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Origin of the Species: Classic Fantasy $7.00
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/07/2015 06:58:04

This supplement is about adding classic fantasy races to Spycraft. Now you may think that dwarves and elves and the like have no place in a contemporary espionage game... but what if, for some reason, they did? You may choose to run an alternate world in which they do exists - have you ever wondered what Greyhawk or the Forgotten Realms would be like in modern times? - or perhaps the sudden emergence of such beings is going to be central to your plotline. 'Ordinary' human characters serving as agents of their government might then be tasked with finding the answers to such questions as Where do they come from? Are they a threat? and so on. The potentials are enormous if you are willing to give this a go!

This, of course, presupposes that the fantasy race(s) you choose to incorporate are NPCs. It's also possible for players to have characters of non-human stock, depending on what sort of game you are intending to run, and all the resources needed for the generation of such characters is included here. If non-humans are not integral to your campaign world, an interesting twist would be for players to portray the first few dwarves (or whatever) encountered by regular humans in a world similar to the real one, turning the sort of investigations mentioned in the first paragraph upside down.

The races covered here are dwarf, elf, orc and pech (basically a halfling/hobbit-style race). For each, the modifications from a base standard of 'human' are enumerated, and all the necessary game mechanics are provided to create and run characters of these races. Due to the completely open-ended nature of how they are present in your modern world, however, there is none of the background material common to most fantasy games. This is something you will have to invent for yourself, or turn to fantasy resources to provide.

Each race has an associated master class to aspire to, the Legendary. Before they get that far there are assorted specialties, abilities and feats that can be chosen to reflect the fact that they are not merely humans with pointy ears, short stature or whatever, but a completely different race altogether.

Finally, there are not only sample NPCs but a neat idea called 'character seeds': outline concepts for characters which you can then flesh out to finalise the design of the character that you will play. It's a good way to help steer you through the bewildering array of options available.

I must confess I opened this book thinking that it might not be a particularly good idea, now I'm having ideas for campaigns flooding in! This is one of the delights of reviewing: the opportunity to study concepts that do not initially appeal often reveals hidden gems you might have passed on at a first glance. It won't be a classic James Bond spy game, but used with thought the material herein could create a very enjoyable and memorable game.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Origin of the Species: Classic Fantasy
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