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A Shattering Experience With The Shattered Dawn RPG

Funded for just over $10K internet bucks, chances are good you missed out the Shattered Dawn Kickstarter by Shattered Tabletop Games. While I’ve written plenty of reviews the last couple of years, it’s rare that I find myself immediately contacting the publisher about the material, within the very first pass. I reached out to ensure that the print copies of the Shattered Dawn Player Guide & the Archmaster Guide, were representative of the finished product. Through a brief email exchange, it was confirmed that my copy was consistent with the final products.


With Shattered Dawn you get a somewhat unique medieval(ish) fantasy setting, Earythe; and this setting is presented in three historical ages. Each of these includes major events per age and are likely designed to sow the seeds for the Archmaster (GM/DM) to start a campaign and create adventure ideas from. Certainly it’s a disjointed style, in how the presentation of the historical material jumps about, but what’s written is serviceable (for ideas). Specifically in each age, major events are sometimes hundreds of years apart and most events are only described in brief. All of it within a medieval but technologically speaking, non-progressive sort of timeline, which isn’t to uncommon with RPGs, but since the three ages span thousands of years…

There are 12 major races each of which players can make characters from and though similar there are no elves, dwarves and the like. Shattered Dawn is a classless system and there is a respectable amount of options for players to cater characters, including a fully fleshed out magic & customizable skill systems. Also a lot of restrictions known to other fantasy systems (D&D/Pathfinder) are off the table. If you want to play a magic-user wearing full plate armor or a rouge wielding wand and axe; this is possible. Levels cap out at level 50, but play beyond this is certainly possible. Though balance is somewhat thrown out a window, admittedly there are some interesting ideas here, in how to create characters.

The system mechanics utilize the D100 and are very, very simple; maybe, too much so. Also damage is essentially static based on the total above an attack roll. Whether characters are preforming a skill, attempting combat or magic, every roll in this game is either percentage based or total based (rolling higher is good) with modifiers dependent on character aptitude, and the situational difficulty.

Admittedly, I like the art and style of the hardcovers on my desk. The pages are rich brown coloring with black lettering, with grey scale, charcoal style art. Though the writing is verbose in spots and occasionally meanders beyond the section header, but the writing is decent.
Overall, Shattered Dawn is a bit indeterminate in the presentation of the rules and guidelines to give this one the thumbs up. One specific instance of this is how character progression functions, while progression is specifically listed in points (2nd level: 11xp; 3rd level: 23xp, etc.) how the Archmaster should choose to distribute points be it by heroic deeds, or slaying monsters is unspecified. Another point as to why I’m not giving this a positive review is that there’s a healthy dose of material which is copy and pasted between volumes. The total content is a good measure less than the actual page count. There are a few inconsistences beyond this, but most of what is lacking are relative details that most will need to run this RPG successfully (my opinion). I recommend passing on Shattered Dawn.

Disclosure: This review uses affiliate links. Shattered Dawn was provided by the publisher free of charge of the purpose of this review.

contributed by Jeff Duncan
 

Comments

Ath-kethin

Explorer
"If you want to play a magic-user wearing full plate armor or a rouge wielding wand and axe; this is possible."

I have to say, a wand and axe that wields makeup as a weapon is exactly the sort of offbeat character I would enjoy playing. I might have to check this one out.

(Emphasis mine in the quote cited)
 
As Ath-kethin pointed out rather sarcastically, this article is in dire need of a good proofreading. I counted over a half-dozen errors and wasn't even trying. Really, you made some good points, but it is painful to read. Please take a little more time to edit next time before you hit the submit button.
 

Kobold Boots

Villager
I guess I'm more tolerant of bad proofing on the Internet. Especially when the largest problems are a word that wouldn't be caught by a spell-check program (rouge), use of punctuation and paragraph spacing.

Better to have information and have to accept that all people have different levels of communication ability, than to not have the information at all; assuming good faith representation of the product.

What I'm getting from this is that the finished product can be favorably compared to white box D&D but not stand up to the quality standards of Pathfinder. That's good to know.
 

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