Shaintar: Legends Arise
Bias Warning: I know the author/creator of Shaintar personally and consider him a friend.
My introduction to Shaintar was also my introduction to Savage Worlds, and in a single convention setting I fell in love with both. Shaintar: Legends Arise is the newest iteration of a game that technically began decades ago when a few heroes went to a particular Keep near some Borderlands. The love the creator has put into this work shows through every page, but enough gushing let’s get to the product.
Legends Arise takes players through Novice to Veteran, leaving Heroic and Legendary to the next book Legends Unleashed. It opens with some general background to get everyone on the same basic page for the setting and feel of the game (classic High Fantasy) before kicking into the character creation.
Let’s get to races, we have eleven to choose from: Three types of elves, lizard people, cat people, three “monster races”, half-elves, dwarves, and humans. Pretty standard right? Except unlike almost every other High Fantasy setting I’ve read/played the only stereotype you’ll find here are the dwarves (which the author fully admits to). Those elves? Each is a distinct “type” with unique histories and worldviews, those lizard people (Dregordians) are master psionicists struggling with internal demons, those cat people (Brinchie) are a dying culture (via assimilation) of a self-exiled people fleeing a demon haunted land, you get the point. From the start of this book you’ll see a rich vein of stories to draw on, and we haven’t even gotten to the lore yet.
Then character options: alchemists, sorcerers, druids, psionicists, warriors, thieves, spies, ex-slaves, knights, etc. The author provides a long list of ideas for you to draw from to build any kind of character you can imagine.
While there is a “standard” starting point for your games, there is enough in just the Player’s Guide to take it anywhere run any kind of game you want. From standard monster slaying (though this would a grave misuse of the material), to court intrigue, to high adventure.
Throughout the book you’ll find little asides, direct talk from the author explaining the ideas and inspirations behind certain decisions, that really help you connect with the work that went into building the world.
Now I won’t cover every aspect of the book so let me break it down to this: Shaintar is what classic D&D should have been, instead of dungeon crawls and copper piece counting, it should have been battling Childer and stopping Necrolords. In a an over flooded market of classic fantasy with a twist, Shaintar is just good classic fantasy no twist just strong story. I can give no higher praise other than I wish that when I first started gaming it had been with Shaintar.
But really I don’t think I can say anything better than telling you to check out the book. And if you like it, then you should check out the Kickstarter for the Legends Unleashed book.
Evilbeagle Games: http://www.evilbeaglegames.com/products/shaintar/
[5 of 5 Stars!]