Sunken Empires - Any good?

In this dark time, new heroes must arise to claim the crowns of Midgard, and restore the jewels to her scattered thrones...
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Big Mac
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Sunken Empires - Any good?

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:57 pm

I was looking around, when I noticed that DriveThru have Sunken Empires on Print on Demand. The blurb looks fairly interesting:
DriveThru RPG wrote:Sunken Empires
From Kobold Press
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Lost Worlds and Sunken Mysteries
The life of an adventurer should be full of great daring, and little is more daring than retrieving the sunken treasures of the Underdeep! Sunken Empires is heaped high with glorious new magic, monsters, and rules for lost technology and abolethic horrors, including:
  • History of the Aboleth by David "Zeb" Cook
  • Full Ecology of the Aboleth
  • Glyph magic and seaborne familiars
  • Feats and gear for Net Fighters
  • Lost technology from Lightning Spears to Lemurian Coil Rifles
  • More than 10 new coastal and undersea monsters
Come learn the secrets of the coral drake and the dangers of the goblin shark!

With advice on designing your own lost civilization and hundreds of hooks and story ideas to scatter along the coast for beachcombing adventurers to find, Sunken Empires is one Pathfinder RPG sourcebook you don't want to miss.
Does anyone have this book?

The history of the Aboleth stuff sounds great, but most of the rest of the sections sound a bit more like generic rules than something that is specific to Midgard.

Is there content in these sections that give information on actual Sunken Empires in the campaign setting? Is there enough here to run an Underdeep campaign? Is there an Underdeep map? Are there other (maybe later books) that give more information about the Underdeep?

Looking at this the other way - from the generic angle - how easy is it to use this stuff with other campaign settings?

I'm guessing the Aboleth stuff would work on most D&D worlds.

Does Glyth magic require any radical changes to arcane or divine magic?

What is Net Fighting about? Is that fighting with fishing nets?

What's with the lost technology stuff? Does that require some sort of science-fiction undersea civilisation?

What do you think of the new monsters? How flexible are they?
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Re: Sunken Empires - Any good?

Post by ripvanwormer » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:19 pm

From what I can tell from these reviews, "History of the Aboleth" isn't about their history within the world of Midgard, but their publishing history in the real world. David "Zeb" Cook invented the aboleth for his adventure I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City (1981), and this looks like a short preface where he discusses how his monster subsequently took off and is still popular today.

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Re: Sunken Empires - Any good?

Post by Big Mac » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:05 am

ripvanwormer wrote:From what I can tell from these reviews, "History of the Aboleth" isn't about their history within the world of Midgard, but their publishing history in the real world. David "Zeb" Cook invented the aboleth for his adventure I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City (1981), and this looks like a short preface where he discusses how his monster subsequently took off and is still popular today.
Thanks for that. I didn't realise he had invented the Aboleth. I started out with 2e and I heavily associate him with the 2e core rules, so I sometimes forget that he predates those rules.

I'll be interested to see what Echohawk says when he gets to the Aboleth in his Monster ENCyclopedia project. :)
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Re: Sunken Empires - Any good?

Post by Tim Baker » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:01 am

I took a look and can confirm that "A History of the Aboleth" is a two-page article by Zeb Cook where he discusses the publishing history of the aboleth.

Chapter 1 starts with lost cities of our own world: Atlantis, Lemuria, and Mu, with sidebars for Ys and Cantre'r Gwaelod. It then covers a lost city in Midgard, including a new city built on top of the ruins of the old and a full-page map.

Chapter 2 covers Pathfinder mechanics for underwater characters. This chapter is almost entirely mechanics, so there's not a lot there if you're not interested in Pathfinder (although you may be able to convert to D&D 3.5 fairly easily). Most of it would apply to any underwater Pathfinder characters, but vril (ancient technology utilizing life force as an energy source) is specific to Midgard. Glyphs are more important in Midgard than in most other settings, so these options may not work in a more generic setting.

Chapter 3 lists all sorts of underwater weapons and equipment. While there are Pathfinder stats, much of this content could be used in underwater adventures in any system. There are Midgard-specific vril or Cassadegan weapons and Ankeshellan armor, but the rest could be used in any setting.

Chapter 4 contains spells and magic items. There are a few vril items or glyph spells that are Midgard-specific or more likely to be used in the setting, but this is nearly all setting-agnostic.

Chapter 5 discusses underwater adventuring. This would apply to nearly any underwater setting, and much of it would provide ideas for any system, although there are some Pathfinder stats in there.

Chapter 6 is a fairly sizeable bestiary (17 pages) with 4 pages dedicated to aboleths and their ecology. It's mostly Pathfinder-specific, but I don't see much that would limit its usefulness to Midgard.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Sunken Empires - Any good?

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:06 am

Tim Baker wrote:I took a look and can confirm that "A History of the Aboleth" is a two-page article by Zeb Cook where he discusses the publishing history of the aboleth.
I think I'd enjoy reading that, although I would love to see Kobold press publish a history of the Aboleth race in Midgard.
Tim Baker wrote:Chapter 1 starts with lost cities of our own world: Atlantis, Lemuria, and Mu, with sidebars for Ys and Cantre'r Gwaelod. It then covers a lost city in Midgard, including a new city built on top of the ruins of the old and a full-page map.
I bet there are a few RPG products that feature Atlantis.
Tim Baker wrote:Chapter 2 covers Pathfinder mechanics for underwater characters. This chapter is almost entirely mechanics, so there's not a lot there if you're not interested in Pathfinder (although you may be able to convert to D&D 3.5 fairly easily). Most of it would apply to any underwater Pathfinder characters, but vril (ancient technology utilizing life force as an energy source) is specific to Midgard. Glyphs are more important in Midgard than in most other settings, so these options may not work in a more generic setting.
Underwater characters might actually be useful for water worlds in Spelljammer. ;)
Tim Baker wrote:Chapter 3 lists all sorts of underwater weapons and equipment. While there are Pathfinder stats, much of this content could be used in underwater adventures in any system. There are Midgard-specific vril or Cassadegan weapons and Ankeshellan armor, but the rest could be used in any setting.
That sounds useful.
Tim Baker wrote:Chapter 4 contains spells and magic items. There are a few vril items or glyph spells that are Midgard-specific or more likely to be used in the setting, but this is nearly all setting-agnostic.
That also sounds interesting.
Tim Baker wrote:Chapter 5 discusses underwater adventuring. This would apply to nearly any underwater setting, and much of it would provide ideas for any system, although there are some Pathfinder stats in there.
I don't think there are too many underwater campaign settings out there.
Tim Baker wrote:Chapter 6 is a fairly sizeable bestiary (17 pages) with 4 pages dedicated to aboleths and their ecology. It's mostly Pathfinder-specific, but I don't see much that would limit its usefulness to Midgard.

I hope this helps.
I bet the aboleth stuff would be very interesting to anyone who uses those monsters elsewhere, but I really do think that an in-character article about aboleths, from Zeb Cook, would have been a lot more useful to aboleth fans.
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