by Delos

Fragged Empire: Review Part 4

Sorry for the radio silence. Life and what not happened. So I read through Equipment and while I could go into detail the quick gist is there is a lot of different types of gear you can get and most/all of it is customizable without having to house rule it. I’m going to hit on the setting and GM guide and call it at that. I’m only skimming the surface on a lot of what the author wrote and I’m skipping the stories he threw in. They are a great way to get into the setting, but me going through one by one would make this review way too long. So with that said…

Setting

So I’m facing down 100 pages that goes into the setting of FE. It starts of with the quick and dirty version of the history of the setting leading up to the start of the game. It goes

  • 10,000 years ago humans created Ley Lines which allowed faster than light travel
    • humans stopped making babies due to apathy
      • instead made the Archons to replace them
  • Archons decided to further technology not with electronics but with genetics
    • Archons make all sorts of new races, because reasons
      • Made the X’ion, which were praised as perfect
        • Then Archons changed their mind
          • X’ions not happy, started fighting Archons
            • All but 1 X’ion killed
              • It fled to space
                • I’m sure that won’t come back and bite them
  • X’ion came back with its own race, the Nephilim
    • It came back and bit them
      • Archons were destroyed
        • X’ion left because reasons
          • Remaining races kinda left to their own devices
            • 100 years after war remaining races start space travel again
              • Decide not to be dicks to each other

So that was the very quick version, then there is a short story for each race to help get you in the mind set of the four playable races. Those races being…

Corporation

These are the rejects of the Archons. No seriously, the Archons took one looks and went, whoops. So instead of nurturing and helping to improve this race, instead they were dumped on a planet, told not to space travel, and given laws about breeding.

…What a bunch of wankers…

Well after the Archons got hosed by the X’ion the race that would eventually become the Corporation discovered a long lost human civilization and dug up the religion known as capitalism. Here was something that a people who were told were inferior could grab on to. You succeed or fail based on personal merit. Well they ran with it. Next thing you know this new people known as the Corporation hits space and starts meeting new races and working on securing monopolies and resources. Corp cities look like a jumbled mess of Times Square and Hong Kong mashed together. For them, success and personal achievement is where it’s at.

These are the most human looking of the four playable races. Their body of government operates like a board of directors, where the 10 richest people in the Corporation are in charge. Now keep in mind the Corporation itself is made up of millions of individual businesses, but they work together as a cartel to ensure their race always has the upper hand. So every year the CEOs of the Corp whip out their ledgers and measure up. Biggest bottom line wins.

As for Corp law, there is no jail time just fines. You smoke a bum, you pay a few space dollars. Kill a CEO, which causes stocks to drop, you’re paying millions. Life insurance policies basically raise the fine it would be to kill someone. If you can’t pay, you work as a slave till you are paid up. Skip out on that you become a bounty. Basically if what you do hurts the economy, then you’re going to make up the difference.

tl;dr

Super Ferengi (Star Trek), but looks way more human. Kind of feels like space dwarves and space humans had space babies.

Kaltoran

Alright so here are the favorite children of the Archons. Pointy eared and wide eyed the Kaltoran were loved by the Archons, so when the X’ion came back it smoked as many Kaltorans it could. So the Kaltorans retreated to the bottom of oceans and huddled together in their underwater cities. They were in the dark for so long that eyesight was lost for a while. Sadly there wan’t enough resources for everyone so slavery, savagery, and cannibalism became a norm, until a new generation decided “The hell with that”. They fired up a nuclear reactor, turned on the lights, repaired their eyes, and went to the surface and discovered that the war was over. The new generations are being raised out of the ocean but due to the Kaltoran’s genetic memories, everyone remembers the horrors that their people went through.

Kaltoran’s are a tribal people, with the tribe being lead by an Elder, and the Elders getting together to come up with laws and direction for the race. There is no codified laws and generally the Kaltorans are considered Chaotic Good. Well except for the dark tribes, they are more Lawful Evil.

tl;dr

Space Elves, they even come with their dark brooding counterpart.

Legion

Now we’re looking at the Archon’s weapon of choice for the war. The Legion are big, strong, tough, and dispositioned for war. Their government is structured as a military. When the last Archon fell, the Legion decided to shack up on a frozen world that worked well for their race. Then they realized they needed to breed and farm. This caused some problems for this war like race. Eventually the Corp showed up and offered work for the Legion and the Legion was able to start picking itself back up with this influx of resources.

The Legion is kinda flat in terms of character. They are a military in every sense of the word, but without a home world to fight for anymore.

tl;dr

Space Dwarves in the body of Space Orcs

Nephilim

Here are the bad guys of the FE. Here we have the babies of X’ion. Creatures that are part mammal and part insect. They are kinda like the Zerg of StarCraft in that they seek genetic superiority and have a sort of hive mentality. Once X’ion took out the Archons it abandoned the Nephilim, so the Nephilim said “Screw that guy” and once the Corp made contact years later, the Nephilim decided that it was in their best interest to play nice with others if it wanted to build any sort of civilization.

The Nephilim are neat in the fact that they could destroy the other races if they so chose to but the Devwi-lch, their genetic leader, realized that the Nephilim will not survive alone and devolve to a state of feral-ness. So instead the monsters of this universe will work with the other races.

tl;dr

For the Swarm!

Places

Numerous planets and places of interest are listed next. There are a few quick descriptions and a bunch of one pagers of the more important places. Lots of pretty pictures and a quick run down of the geography and people of the planets.

Technology

The remainder of the setting chapter talks about the different types of technology that exist in FE. You’ve got everything from faster than light travel, cybernetic enhancements, genetic splicing, psionics, space flight, space stations, holograms, energy shields, mechs, droids, organic droids, and a few things that the book touches on but leaves vague for the GM to fill in for their own game.

In Closing

Wade, the author, took a few tropes that you see in a lot of RPGs and twisted them. Some of the races just feel like a space version of standard fantasy races, but there are enough differences to make them feel a little unique. The history is interesting in the sense that if most of the Elves, Wizards, the human kings, and Sauron left middle earth, how would things pan out with the humans, orcs, dwarves and the few elves that stayed. That’s where FE feels like it landed. The space gods were all killed and all that was left were their creations and monsters, who now have to find a way to work together or else end up devolving back into squander.

It’s hard to come up with something 100% original, but I feel that Wade took things we knew and put them in a situation that most haven’t considered yet, and for that I think the setting shows a lot of potential to allow for some great stories.

Thanks for reading. I’m hoping to wrap up with the GMing side of things next time.





Comments

  1. By Oliver R Shead

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