Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Review: Scheherazade The One Thousand and One Nights

I was given a PDF copy of Scheherazade The One Thousand and One Nights RPG by Umberto Pignatelli and Spaceorange42 for review purposes.

I want to point how stellar the book's layout and art is in this 171 page PDF. Both are beautiful and very evocative of the setting presented in Schereazade.

In the Introduction we learn that Player Characters in this game are folks that Schereazade met and that they told their tale to her. I find this a really cool set-up and it ties into the game's central goal: determine what happened to Schereazade and possibly wake her up to save the Caliphate of the Eternal Moon.

Schereazade is powered by the Unique System: The ranks of two Attributes and a Concept (if applicable) are added together and that many d6s are rolled, a 4 or better is a success and if you equal or exceed the Difficulty (from 1 to 10) then your action is successful. Additionally, one of the dice in the pool has to be a different color, it's value cannot be changed by Unique Gifts and if it rolls a 1, something negative occurs even on a successful roll. Further, if it rolls a 6, something positive occurs even on a negative roll.

The character creation chapter introduces us to Schereazade's three Attribute couples: Power and Precision, Courage and Caution, Passion and Reason. Resources is it's own Attribute.
   Characters have 12 Marks to spend on Concept, Attributes, and to acquire Magic by spending 2 Marks to buy the Gifted Status. You can roll on a table to randomly choose a Concept.
   Secondary Attributes are Life (hit points) and Energy (which powers magic).
   Next a Unique Gift is either created or rolled on a table and has two numbers associated with it. The first is the scope of Your Gift and the second is the Rank of your Gift. In the end a Unique Gift should like this: When the [Scope applies] I can do [the Rank of the Gift]. Here is an example, "I am really strong, I can expend Energy to have extra dice in feats of strength" or "I can become an animal once per session". It kind of reminds me of 13th Age's One Unique Thing, but it has a mechanical effect.
   Each character starts with 1 Moon point, they are very rare and very special and may be used reroll dice or create a story element. A PC can only have up to 4 of them a time and they can be earned by saving someone's life while risking your own, being really heroic, finding an outstanding solution to a problem, or telling a story between rests even between sessions. 
   Your character begins play with clothes and three pieces of equipment. Finally, you can create connections with another PC and reveal how they knew Schereazade.

Treasure obviously may be found during an adventure and are treated as Treasure Points, a special type of experience point. The can be spent to place Marks in resources or "burned" to "buy" a very costly item.

Gear in Scheherazade is handled Keyword Points that can have a positive or negative effect in game. Keywords range from Frail (an negative) to Entangling to Defense. It's an interesting concept and allows you to create items better suited to your character.

Casting spells requires the spellcaster to a set amount of Energy, may have special Components, and has both a Duration and a Range. I found the spells available to be useful and flavorful for the setting.

The running the game chapter has good advice for game masters of any level of experience and advises a "Session Zero" to start a game off and focuses on Campaign planning, hooks and focus, and special situations.

Opponent keywords and stat boxes are presented next and are appropriate to the setting. We have antagonists like Cannibals, Fire Jackal, and Skeletal Warrior.

The Story of the Goat, the Glutton, and the Shepherd is a beginning adventure and good introduction to setting. I will gladly use it for my first adventure playing Scheherazade.

This is a great game, it has compelling mechanics and feels authentic for the setting it presents. I heartily recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Aladdin, One-Thousand and One Nights, or Al Quadim.

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