Review: Codex of Heroes

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Hello again guys and gals,

This week we are going to be doing a review! I am going to tackle the Codex of Heroes for the Arcanis: World of Shattered Empires RPG. This is a great splat book, and adds quite a bit of detail to the game. So without further ado, here is the review!

Overview: 

This is a well laid out 186 page book. The binding is strong, and the art is good. We would not be doing our jobs if we don’t mention that some of the art is reused from other sources. Doesn’t make it bad, but it does get frustrating from a design layout. Overall, the book adds quite a bit to the game, which we will cover below.

Codex of Whispers

This codex covers secret societies and guilds. This is a great section, since they don’t get a great treatment in the core rules. This section has a general layout that follows the following:
NAME
This is just what it sounds like! 
GOALS
This is the general goals that the group will set out to complete.
ACHIEVING THE GOAL
This is how the group will generally go about completing the goals.
ORGANIZATION
The hierarchy and structure of the society.
HEADQUARTERS AND SAFE HOUSES
Where the organization keeps its main HQ and what the safe houses are like.
JOINING
How to join the group.
ALLIES AND ENEMIES
Who the group likes and hates (and in return likes and hates them!).

So, who are these groups? There are 7 Secret Societies:

The Champions of the Silver Chalice: These guys are a group of paladin like crusaders who seek to keep back the dark, in regards to the final wish of King Osric (who died in the Sixth Crusade of Light).

Emerald Society: These guys seek to renew the secrets of the past so that they can enlighten those who live now and in the future.

The Feather Men: Wetwork, theft, planting evidence, or just about anything that you can imagine doing from a Thieve’s Guild (even though that is not what they are known as). The best way to put it is “If one were to draw a dot for every act that can be attributed to the organization on a piece of paper, no discernable picture would appear.”

Followers of the Azure Way: These guys are a group of masons who have taken it upon themselves to rebuild the ancient roadways and byways that made up the First Imperium.

The Laerestri: These Elorii plot and plan ways to stop humanity from becoming united. They are afraid that united humans could overtake the Elorii and destroy them.

The Mourners in Silence: These guys are suppose to empower mankind by setting it free from the shackles of superstition.

The Orthodoxy: These men worship the pantheon as a whole, as opposed to individual gods. This is a throwback to the time of the Golden Age of Man.

The Sanctorum of the Arcane: These members defend the gifted from the harvesters of Ymandragore.

This chapter closes out with a good set of rules on Renown and Faction. This includes how to move up in the group and how to grant those rewards from the GMs side of the screen.

Codex of Heroes

This section starts out with a good overview of the process involved in creating an Arcanis hero. It goes into the “20 Questions” (although they only use 10) that many RPG use to help develop a character.

The Codex adds three new races to the mix as well: Ashen Hide Ss’ressen, Ghost Scale Ss’ressen, Undir. These races are awesome, and help to flesh out some of the information about areas that are glossed over in the core. You find out more about the Ss’ressen that live in the Human lands (rather than in the more traditional clutches!) and you discover more about the Kio through the Undir, who are de facto slaves.

The book adds plenty of new backgrounds (everything from a Crusader of the 5th/6th Crusade of Light to a Veteran of the Altherian War). It also adds in some really cool new uses for skills. Again, this is all added onto the base in the core rules.

New Flaws and Talents take up quite a big chunk of this section. They add quite a few cool new ones. This includes adding in the Talent to take fighting styles, which is added into this section as well.

There is a handful of new pieces of equipment in there as well. The biggest part of equipment is the addition of Herbs and their uses. This does explain the use of poison as well.

Maneuvers get their own section in this section as well, adding some cool new ways to pull off tricks.

The last part of this section is a slew of new Paths.

Codex of Magic

This section adds bunches of new spells! It also adds in two new traditions: Blood and Pantheonistic (Priest of Sarish gain Blood magic and Orthodoxy members gain Pantheonistic).

This is really the meat of this section!

Codex of Faith

This section details how the faiths are practiced. It tells a little about the god, what their sphere of influence is, what their temple is like, and what the role of the priests are. Over all this is a great section for anyone playing a divine caster or a GM wanting to run a game based heavily on the divine.

Overall

This is a great book. It suffers from the same problem as the other Arcanis books, and that is that it is not cross-referenced very well. If you see that a talent has a prerequisite then you must check on the other requirements to make sure that they don’t have requirements of their own.  This can be fixed in two ways: an Omnidex or by simply putting in that information in future publications. I am going to give this book 4/5 for design and 3/5 for layout.

 

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