May 8, 2009

REVIEW - Scarrport

Scarrpot, City of Secrets is the first 4th Edition campaign setting produced by Reality Deviant Productions; the same group that brought us so many excellent d20/OGL and True20 PDF supplements already. This time, however, RDP really outdoes itself with Scarrport.

Briefly, Scarrport is a setting for players looking for a mix of steam punk, pirates, and intrigue in a 4E campaign. The PDF is chock full of details about the city - which is actually broken up into five boroughs, each with its own close up map, a list of important NPCs fully statted out for 4E, and plenty of hooks to get the story started. I also found it really cool that Scarrport's "5th Borough" was completely underground, thus providing for classic dungeon crawl settings in a pirate campaign setting. Finally, RDP also gives details about the surrounding areas outside the city as well as detailed info (including more NPCs) for several cults to serve as reoccuring opponents for the players.

Scarrport, City of Secrets includes three new races: The Ghodin (a giant race that includes several "lineages", like sub-races), Gremlins (yep... these guys are very cool), and Otterkin (name says it all, works well with the riverside/pirate campaign style). Overall, I thought the races were a bit overpowered - the Ghodin for example have a bear hug ability that, at Level 1, has the ability to do a sustained 1d8+Str damage for as long as the enemy is held. These points, however, could easily be houseruled to lower the powercreep. I thought the races were creative, although I'm not sure how many players will actually play an Otter. Oh, wait.... furries. Some weirdo's love furries....

Moving on...

The Elementalist is a fully developed new character class for 4E, including paragon paths, epic destinies, and tons of new feats for the class. Honestly, I didn't take the time to review this class from start to finish - but the general idea is that Elementalists are arcane strikers who draw their energy from the the river, earth and sky. Fire is in there too, although -- as a river based campaign setting this seemed a bit out of place. With the new PHB2 and Arcane Power out recently, this class seemed a bit redundant with additional Sorcerer builds included there; but nonetheless more options are better I suppose.

Chapter 5 features new equipment, some new magic items... and one new class of ranged weapons: FIREARMS. Now, there have been several firearms posted in the RPG blogging community already, so these aren't really that novel per se. But they do add the "Shot" weapon property which is an easy way to indicate the number of rounds a weapon can hold before needing to be reloaded. What? you say.. reloaded? Yes, these are not your early 14th century blunderbuss style goof-rifles. Scarrport presents some fairly advanced steampunk items and creatures, including precision rifles with a range of 40. Yeah.. 40 squares. In addition to weapons, you'll find some pretty cool steampunk armors (Power Armor being one of them), hand grenades made by gremlins, wrist rockets, jetpacks, stealth detectors, and even a steam powered horse.

At this point, can you see where I'm going? The steam punk aspects of Scarrport sort of ramp up towards the back of the PDF, so if that is not something you are looking for in your game you can either 1) avoid this PDF, or 2) simply not use all or some of the steampunk aspects of their campaign setting. I found it very cool, actually, to see such classic steampunk elements as waddling bombs, and windup clockwork guards to be redesigned with 4E in mind -- however, these elements also may prevent people from being able to easily drop Scarrport into an existing campaign. However, Scarrport, City fo Secrets ends with an adventure designed for characters level 1 - 3 and presents the steampunk angle front and center; titled "The Iron Lumberjack". The artwork is very cool for it -- but I'll leave it out in the hopes that you'll pick this up and support indy publishers.

  • BUY Scarrport, City of Secrets if you are looking for a new urban campaign environment that is rich with intrigue, steampunk for 4E, or just a very well developed city to drop into an existing campaign. Personally, I'll be adapting this for my homebrew campaign.
  • DON'T BUY Scarrport, City of Secrets if you looking for bog-fantasy D&D, hate steampunk games, and never liked the 1980's movie Gremlins..

Want to learn more about Scarrport? Read on...
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  1. Bummer, I should have participated in this one... since I have my own steampunk influenced setting with "gremlins" ('cept I spell them Grimmlyn). Be interesting to see how they used them.

  2. Nice. I love the Steampunk Genre. If someone around here were running this I'd play for sure. (Or someone on Skype *hint hint*)

  3. Heh... steampunk. I would love to give it a go; but time is so frickin limited these days I barely have enough for my own game.


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