Review – NeoExodus: A House Divided Campaign Setting

1 January, 2012

NeoExodus is a fascinating and radical departure from the standard quasi-medieval fantasy setting.  If you want a different sort of campaign world, this will fulfil that need.  Equally, it is a great resource if you want to add some exotic and unexpected material to your campaign world.

NeoExodus: A House Divided Campaign Setting is a 166-page PDF (159-pages if you remove the cover, credits, OGL page and ads) designed by Jean-Philipe ‘JP’ Chapleau with Louis Porter, Jr and published by Louis Porter Jr Design.  This is core setting book for the NeoExodus line.

The layout is a standard page in two columns with the strange NeoExodus font used as section headers.  The cover is full color as is much of the interior art.  It has no index but a comprehensive table of contents and is extensively book-marked.

It begins with 15-pages of history of the world which sets the grand backdrop for the setting.  It then moves into describing the world itself, emphasizing the features that set NeoExodus apart from the mainstream of fantasy settings, such things as: magic is common and widely used and that the world is full of new unique races (more on them later).  This section hits the pieces of NeoExodus that are inspiring for adventure and campaign, the transit network, nefarious organizations, places, unique hazards and plot hooks.

Next it moves into the mechanics, starting with the races unique to the NeoExodus setting and unique they are including: the rat-like Cavians who share a psionic hivemind, the crystal skinned-Cynean scholars, the humanoid plant Dalreans, and many more, providing a major contrast to the ‘traditional’ fantasy RPG races.   Nine new races in all along with information on the various nationalities of humans provide a wealth of interesting play opportunities.  But because some of the races are so far outside the norm, a Games Masters should familiarize themselves with the unusual traits of the races before allowing them in play.

The following chapter is Heroes of NeoExodus which covers the details needed for character creation, starting with the religions of the world.  This is followed by class options and archetypes for the campaign.  Languages of the world are noted.  Then there are six Prestige Classes, four of which are extremely combat focused, but all are tied into the setting and help to flesh out how the world functions.

Feats and Magic comes next with a wealth of both.  However, many of the feats are tied directly to the various races of NeoExodus making them less immediately useful for other settings but several interesting ideas there all the same.  The spells include a new subtype, First Ones, that calls upon the inner darkness of the caster making them powerful but potentially corrupting to use.  The Necromantic spells are especially interesting (and often creepy) though the power level on a few of the spells seems off, they are quite useful both as written and as inspiration (but again, a GM’s will want to review these spells before allowing them).  This section concludes with new armor, weapons and equipment, alchemical items and poisons, magical items and books and tomes (which have a very clever mechanic associated with them).

The last section is Terrors of NeoExodus, an introduction to the monster and dangers of the world including a variety of templates.  Some of them are quite intriguing including a set of battle golems fielded by the powers of the world.

Lastly there are a set of useful forms including NeoExodus framed character sheets, combat trackers and more.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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