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Nations of Théah: Eisen (Book 4)
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Nations of Théah: Eisen (Book 4)
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Nations of Théah: Eisen (Book 4)
Publisher: Chaosium
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/01/2016 08:03:37

The Introduction paints the picture of lands reeling from a generation of wars, seemingly no family untouched, awash in mud and blood and destruction yet still proud. Desperation and hunger are side by side with those who do good and seek to serve others.

First, Eisen tells about the country itself. Ancient history tells of a race of intelligent reptiles, the Drachen, that founded a civilisation but then disappeared. There are still 'drachen' in the land, smaller (still impressively big, though) and not at all intelligent. Perhaps they are related to the ancients, nobody knows. Centuries passed and men came, fierce tribesmen to begin with, then sweeping empires, but always a land fragmented, with tribe immediate and important, more important than a distant empire. Then the marvelous metal known as dracheneisen was discovered... Faithful to the teachings of the church, Eisen sided with Castille when the Third Prophet arose there, but a bit over an hundred years ago, a freethinking monk called Matthias Lieber promulgated ideas that led to the Objectionists: people who believe in the faith but do not think the established church is doing the right things - concentrating on amassing political power rather than caring for people. This led eventually to a vicious civil war that has wrecked the nation, and caused the leading barons to split it into a confederacy of seven self-ruling kingdoms. Now people are attempting to rebuild the shattered nation.

Next, Hero introduces some of the movers and shakers of the land - people who could make useful contacts, powerful patrons... or the deadliest of enemies. Here you find descriptions, personalities, objectives... if you want stat blocks or to find out their secrets, these are in the GM section at the end of the book. This is followed by Drama, where new rules material is introduced, including backgrounds, equipment, skills and of course, swordsman schools. This includes clearly-diagrammed ways of using the distinctive zweihander sword. You'll also find rules for mass combat here, should you wish to stage a full-blown battle.

Finally, Courage comes in two parts. The first contains information in playing an Eisen character to effect, useful for players wishing their character to come from Eisen and to GMs needing to manage Eisen NPCs. Next, GMs are regaled with secrets including the fate of the Drachen and the nature of dracheneisen, as well as those of the various kingdoms and the NPCs introduced earlier. There's a map of one town and some building plans - a map of the entire country showing the various kingdoms would have been nice - and assorted monsters, too.

Overall, there's a lot packed into this and should your adventures go near Eisen it will prove an excellent resource. Indeed should your party want to head in that direction, there's plenty to spawn ideas for plots there!

There are enough differences between the kingdoms that they appear to be completely separate nations, yet they are all clearly part of Eisen as well. Each is described in considerable detail, complete with interesting places to visit, local customs and laws, organisation and so on. And then there's Freiburg. A sprawling city-state with a very laid-back ruler and minimal law, a refuge for many, a cosmopolitan free town (and one worthy of its own supplement!). There are notes on general culture and on dracheneisen, including the secrets of its forging (or at least, details of who has those secrets!). Sculpture, opera, and literature are the prevalent art forms. You can also read how Eisen does war, learn of the mercenary warbands, or look at Eisen science and religion. Nationally-observed customs are also included, along with legends and notes on the 'monsters' that plague more remote corners of the land.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nations of Théah: Eisen (Book 4)
Publisher: Chaosium
by Brent M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/07/2007 06:28:34

I believe this book got three stars from somebody who ought to be locked up (and perhaps have torture inflicted upon them). I'm not here to give you all the reasons to buy this book. If you play 7thSea, you know it's essential.

I wanted to post a review here in case you don't know what makes 7thSea my favorite game of all time.

1) Drama Dice. You get dice in order to try things out of your character's ordinary reach. In short: be dramatic.

2) Cinematic style of play: Nothing is better than watching your friends swing from chandeliers or jump and fight between two out of control carriages. You can just about imagine every Swashbuckling movie in terms of 7th Sea's style of play.

3) Character Backgrounds and Arcana: These unresolved stories and Personality quirks give the GM all kinds of fun ways in order to get characters to fall in love with each other, avenge their relatives' deaths, foil their rivals every step of the way, and/or do the unthinkable in order to free themselves from horrific debts.

4) Brute Squads. This ought to be self explanatory...but how many times have you watched the heroes bowl their way through dozens of expendable extras before getting to the real deal?

5) Familiar Setting. The setting for the game is a brilliant twist on 1600's Europe, with all sorts of curious dramas from all eras of Europe's history. There are scheming Cardinals, Zorro figures, Emperors with power trips, Queens with privateer armadas, and Ivan the Terrible.

6) There are pirates. That's just awesome in and of itself.

7) There's some magic too, for those of you bent on wielding lightning, or teleporting, or bringing yourself back from the dead.

8) The system is simple enough to learn in a few hours, yet there is enough depth to character generation (and the host of other optional systems) to make it playable for multiple years.

I've had some of the best creative fun of my life playing this game. You might also.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nations of Théah: Eisen (Book 4)
Publisher: Chaosium
by john s. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/28/2007 20:07:35

Once again 7th sea has produced a well written, detailed addition to their game world.

And once again they have fallen into the three part folly that extends through out this game.

Problem 1) The writing is fine--but there is simply too much of it. The backgrounds are extensive--too extensive for myself and my players. I am simply not opging to ask them to read a book each time they roll up a character. The world is fascinating but reallty write the noivel for pity's sake and get on with it.

Problem 2) TGHe adventures are poorly written. Giving me the mysterious outline of seventeen characters is fantastic--the detail is once again very nice--now give me something to do with them. The whole concept of leaving the idea open ended isn't quite as cute as the authors hope for. Give me a beginning a middle and an end--I don';t have as much time as the creators to be "immersing" myself in a days long character study. Adventure--beginning--middle ---end---oh and whiole the City maps are really spectacular--how about something smaller and plot driven--

Problem 3) This -"oh I know you bought this book but wait for a future supplement to actually see what the mystery is all about is insulting and , frankly, the most mercenary little trick I've seen in a while. Have a little respect for your customers folks--when they pay to see the maguffin--you had better show the maguffin...give the stats--tell the whole story and let your customers decide what works for them.

Here's a hint-when you publish it--you have to let the reins slip a little bit.

So last purchase from this comapny for a while.

It's sumptuous--but ultimately sound and fury signifying nothing.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
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