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Artesia: Adventures in the Known World
$39.95 $19.99
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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3 1
1 0
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Artesia: Adventures in the Known World
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Artesia: Adventures in the Known World
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment LLC
by Benoit L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/23/2018 19:28:09

Great book!

The art is fantastic!

The only thing I find challenging is the lack of support on content (other books).

I wish I had more to work with on my campaigns!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Artesia: Adventures in the Known World
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment LLC
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/13/2009 00:15:34

I am not familiar with the comic book that sparked this product.

What you get is 354 pages of material, and yes, that is 354 don’t-waste-space pages. There are seventy pages of pure background and setting, and the rest is a combination of the game system overlaid with more game setting data. This setting makes Harn look like a beer & pretzels game. Regimental lists of major nations, lists of cities, forts, rules, all packed in there. I’m not going to use the Fuzion system, but the setting is so imbedded into the system that you pick up huge amounts of information while looking over the rules. The amount of detail is incredible, vast, and yet worded in such a way that you can easily tweak it in the direction you desire with little effort.

In a nutshell, the Known World was created by a goddess and lesser gods of her creation that in the first & second ages carried on in a manner that world make Jerry Springer shake his head. The gods have drifted away from interaction in the last thousand years (in the manner of the Greeks, the gods are just super-charged people, neither all-knowing and nor completely invulnerable), and Mankind is increasingly on its own. The last few decades before the game start has seen a breakdown of major kingdoms into smaller states, and near-constant war, both between neighbors and in response to outside invasion. At the game start, a GM could easily announce that the leaders are ready for peace, ready for a massive all-out bloodbath, or a continuation of the feuding and fighting of the last half-century, all without any significant break from the tone of recent events. The set-up is extremely well-done. It feels right.

There is a good mysterious feel to the setting which can be exploited or ignored without breaking from the tone. On the one hand, swords of power, vitally important thrones, and the bodies of major villains all have vanished under odd circumstances; but at the same time, the descriptions of these events are such a GM can either shrug it off, or tie them together in a conspiracy of deadly intent. This is some of the best writing you’ll find in a RPG setting.

I have four points of negativity to report:

1) The maps are bad. They are hand-drawn, and while very pretty and strategically informative, they are low-resolution pages within the book and any attempt to zoom in blurs the names beyond the ability to read. The back of the book promises high-definition maps for download at the publisher’s site, but this is untrue. Nor are the hard-copy maps promised available. This is a major drawback. It will be hard to employ the detail of the setting with the low-resolution maps in the book.

2) There is no pronunciation guide, and the author has chosen nation and place names that have a good honest ‘look’, but their pronunciation is debatable. For example, a nation who make for handy villains are called the Isliklidae. The is-what?

3) Some details are not adequately explained, and some subjects are badly scattered. References are made to ‘seated kings’ being different from other kings, but I have not found out why or how. Worm Kings are a major form of Undead, but there is only a few facts available, and these are badly scattered. A free index is available as a download from the site, which is good because the author failed to provide one.

4) There is no print-friendly version. There is lavish full-color art throughout which strongly supports the subject matter, but it makes this pdf an ink cartridge eater. Even printing in B&W is going to pull ink faster than drilling a hole in the fluid tank.

Get past the above four points, and you’ve got a truly exciting work.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Artesia: Adventures in the Known World
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment LLC
by fabien m. m. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/24/2007 20:36:29

Great book all around. Custom game system, detailed words, illustrations, etc. A shining example in the fantasy genre.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Artesia: Adventures in the Known World
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment LLC
by Brian F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/07/2006 00:00:00

There are numerous reasons that this book won the Origins Award for the "Best RPG of 2005".

Here are a few quick thoughts about that:

  1. A deep and interesting world that rivals anything on the market today.
  2. A system of play that rewards the characters behaviours rather than actions that further the story-line. Experience is based on the actions the characters take. Instead of expirence points characters recieve Arcana points that can be used to spend on the character. To quote the book: "In order for the action to qualify for an Arcana Points reward, it must occur as part of the game?s narrative, as a reaction or contribution to the events, goals, and activities put forward by the Guide or generated by the Players themselves. The Known World rewards activity with purpose, actions taken towards a goal, rather than mere activity itself."

  3. The best character generation system I've seen in an RPG. New characters immediately have a large number of role-playing hooks that the GM can use.

<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Artesia: Adventures in the Known World
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment LLC
by John G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/10/2006 11:30:33

5 Reasons to buy this RPG:

  1. Mark Smylie. He designed, wrote, and illustrated this RPG himself. You don’t get that kind of creative unity in most RPGs. Having everything under his supervision really made for a faithful transition of Artesia and the Known World to a roleplaying game. Smylie’s art, which you can also find in the Artesia comic books and some Wizards of the Coast products, never fails to amaze. Some of the art is taken directly from the comics; much of it is original. It’s all outstanding, and it’s 99% in color. There is some nudity (male and female), but it’s tastefully done.
  2. The setting. (this RPG assumes you have not read any of the Artesia comic books, and introduces you fully to the world. You need never pick up the comics—but you should!) The Known World is a complex blend of innovative mythology and religion, well-realized history and politics, and a compelling sense of the fantastic. The entire first half of this 350+ page book is devoted to the setting; it really draws the reader in, and creates a world in which you can’t wait to adventure. There are beautifully-drawn color maps of the Known World, with detail maps of more central areas. Interspersed throughout are illustrations of people hailing from various cultures, giving you a good idea of what the various humans look and dress like. The various religious cults, and how they manifest in different cultures, are described in detail. I really enjoyed the equipment section—particularly the armor. There are over 2 dozen suits of armor, all with names that evoke a history (example: “Daradj three-quarter bannerman’s harness”). You can also construct your own from the various pieces—and Smylie has done his homework on armor (very cool if you are detail-oriented). There is a bestiary with more than enough opponents to get you started. The nations and their relationships are covered in detail—including the buildup to war. All in all, you get the feel of a world where something really important is about to happen, and you will be a key player. At this particular point in the Known World’s history, war is about to erupt, and there are many different possibilities for a party of PC’s to make an impact as history unfolds. And to really help you kick things off, there is an introductory adventure for beginning characters, “the Witch’s Price.” There are also several follow-up products slated for the coming year (including mass combat rules), so there looks to be plenty of product support available. The website has downloads, a forum, an art gallery, and a release schedule.
  3. The Fuzion game mechanic. Artesia is an example of the mechanic being creatively adapted to the setting, not vice versa. I’m pretty slavish to d20, but I have been inspired by the way the mechanic was adapted to the Known World. The result is that game play actually brings out the feel of being in the Known World. I think d20 really would have stifled this setting, and I’m having fun playing outside of the box. (For those of you who MUST have d20, I believe there will be a d20 adaptation soon).
  4. Magic. Magic in the Known World is not traditional (as in D&D traditional): any character can use incantations; magic is not restricted to wizards (although you can create and play a wizard, who would be more skilled in magic). Rather, magic is part of the natural world, tied to the gods and the spirits. As a result, magic comes across as more fantastic and unusual. More advanced characters are, of course, more skilled and have more options.
  5. Overall, this is a great book. The layout is beautiful—every page draws the reader in with color borders and backgrounds. Smylie succeeds in getting a lot of information across in a very presentable manner. (All the color will be hard on your printer cartridges; but then, so will printing any 350+ page RPG). I can’t say it enough: this is a beautiful book. I could read and campaign in the Known World for a long time.

My only beef with this pdf is that there are no bookmarks. For a pdf of this size, bookmarks are really a necessity. But the excellent layout helps to offset the inconvenience.

I give this book 5 stars. My previous reviews, all several months back, were done on a scale of what was available at the time. Artesia: Adventures in the Known World has really broken the curve for me; I haven’t been this excited about a fantasy RPG since 3rd edition. Buy this book, read, play, and enjoy!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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