Prelude to War
An Earthdawn Epic

  • Product and Story Concept: Greg Gorden, Robin D. Laws, Jill Lucas, Mike Mulvihill, Jim Nelson, Louis J. Prosperi, Sean R. Rhoades, Sharon Turner Mulvihill and Jordan Weisman
  • Number of Pages: 120
  • Year of Publication: 1996

Rating: *****

It's hard to write about Prelude to War without giving too much away, but Barsaive is neverPrelude to War is the first (I assume by the 6401 product number) Earthdawn epic, which is divided into four separate sections.

Each of the section covers a major event in Earthdawn, none of which I'm going to describe because I don't want to give anything away. Each event can be run on its own, or linked together to create the aforementioned epic. I think FASA uses the word epic to describe the product, not because the length that these vents take, but their impact on Barsaive.

Each section contains a story to introduce the event, followed by a general description of it and its consequences, including background and how major players react to the event. This is followed by a description of all the major characters including statistics. This is followed by the crux of the section, the adventures making up the character's involvement in the event. It starts by giving prequels to the events, mainly in other Earthdawn products allowing you to weave multiple threads together. This is followed by the main adventures (three or more) which unveil the event and its impact using the standard FASA format. Some smaller adventure ideas are also presented which connect well with the event as well as some loose ends -- which detail the after effects of the event.

Three our of the four events are excellent, and the fourth is good. This product should only be played with high level characters -- the book suggests fourth or above, but I'd suggest at least sixth -- and works best if the characters have a lot of connections and aware of current political situations around Barsaive.

The epic is well presented, with the framework (detailed above) for each event easy to read as well as giving GMs enough information to run the adventures but freedom to integrate them in their campaigns. The artwork dotted throughout is excellent, breaking up the monotony of the text.

Summary: This is a fantastic product, recommended to all GMs who want to take the game to the next level. I like the emphasis shift from the Horrors to the new political landscape of Barsaive. This is the next generation of Earthdawn, and leads well into FASA's The Theran Empire.

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