Welcome again folks! This week, we’ll be looking at some of the tomes in the Imperial Age series by Adamant Entertainment. The first one on the list is Imperial Age-Faeries.
Chapters 1 and 2
Chapter 1 is called “On Being Fey”, and details the basics of feykind and how the Victorians viewed them. The theories presented range from fallen angels to be reviled to the spiritual personifications of nature, allowing you versatility in just what you want your fey to be. It’s also very short, so moving right on. >_>; Chapter 2, “On Becoming Fey”, deals with player characters that are of the fey creature type. The fey here are presented as…racial classes. Oh dear. If you recall from my Savage Species review, I’m not too big a fan of racial classes as a concept. In any case, let’s dig in and overview these racial classes like I would advanced classes. I will, however, note how many class levels it has, since this directly shows how many hit die the fey will have if you build them as a straight up creature.
Daione Sidhe: The Daione Sidhe is a fey species that is essentially an Irish fey-touched elf. They are proficient in magic and gain a +2 racial Charisma bonus at the cost of -2 Wisdom, explained as their vanity coming before their common sense. This is a good fey to play if you want to be the dashing elven hero archetype. The full progression equates to a 5 hit die creature.
Fomorian: Fomorians are ugly brutes that are closer to giants than other fey; in fact, since they have d8 hit die, I’d probably stat them as feytouched monstrous humanoids instead of full-on fey if I made them as monsters. They gain a+2 Constitution bonus at the cost of -2 Intelligence, making them the textbook “hulking brute”. This isn’t hurt by the fact that they can cast the enlarge spell to actually get to giant-size. They also equate to a 5 hit die creature.
Brownie: Brownies are fast but ill-knowledged (+2 Dexterity, -2 Intelligent) house-dwelling fey that can cast the mending spell on objects. They equate to a 3 hit die creature.
Pixie: The pixies have the same stat bonuses and detriments are brownies, but also gain the benefit of having a fly speed. A higher-level pixie gains the ability to create a pixie ring that works as a hold monster spell. They, like brownies, equate to a 3 hit die creature.
Elemental Seelie: These gain random abilities based upon what element they are tied to. They equate to a 3 hit die creature.
Animorph: Animorphs, like elemental seelie, have no ability modifiers at base level. They gain abilities to speak to and transform into a certain animal. They are, once again, equivalent to a 3 hit die creature.
Goblin (Fey): Fey goblins are nasty little creatures that have -2 Intelligence and +2 Strength. They gain two unseelie traits (more on that later) and a fear-inducing aura. They equate to…you guessed it…a 3 hit die creature.
Redcap: Redcaps have the same stat changes as fey goblins, and essentially are sneakier versions of the fey-gobs. A redcap gains natural sneak attack rather than fear aura, though. Do I need to even say what hit die creature level they have?’
Ogre: Ogres are brutish beasts (+2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence) who have natural claw and diseased bite attacks, can regain hit points by eating the flesh of humans, and are considered both giants and fey. They are…yep, equate to 3 again. Look, I won’t say it again, I’ll just say if a creature class has DIFFERENT equivalent levels now.
Trow: These ugly brutes have the same ability score modifiers as ogres and are amphibious. They also have a reach as if they were a Large creature due to overly long arms as well.
The unseelie traits are shown afterward. They’re just the mutations from d20 Future with the serial numbers filed off, nothing more, nothing less. This is interesting, because the idea of a fey goblin with wings is awesomely enticing as a GM.
Chapter 3 has new talent trees for the base classes, ones that are specifically designed for fey utilization. These are the Smite tree for the Strong Hero (essentially the Paladin’s smite finally given d20 Modern live), the Backstab tree for the Fast Hero (bonuses to flanked foes, eventually leading up to allowing a character to deal 1 point of ability damage instead of hit point damage), the self-explanatory Spell Resistance tree for the Tough Hero, the Lore talent for the Smart Hero (as per the Bard ability), the Blessing tree for the Dedicated Hero (a buff to Defense and saving throws), and the Charm tree for the Charismatic Hero (more Bard-style stuff). I really like these…really, really like. This is about all you need to get a real D&D feel for the d20 Modern base classes (sans the Barbarian, which I’ve made a talent tree of rage for). I would personally remove the fey requirement, though; it’s a silly prerequisite, and one of the few things I’d remove outright.
The feats present aren’t really anything to write home about, but give a bit more D&D flair as well. A big example of that are feats that give you a favored enemy or favored ally out of either seelie or unseelie fey (you can choose both for both feats, allowing it to go either way in the struggle between the two courts). There are also several occupations, but they are all renamed versions of those from Urban Arcana. There’s also another racial class placed out here, the changeling. I wouldn’t use it, to be honest. It’s much less glamorous than the changeling template from Urban Arcana, and that’s not my bias against racial classes speaking…all it grants is a +2 bonus to a skill and the ability to exchange one feat taken for another feat not taken by spending an action point.
Chapter 4 is the bestiary. There are two templates here, anthropomorphic and mythic animal. First of all, unlike the anthropomorphs of modern lore that are often human-sized animal-folk, the creatures made with this template do not change size; that means that a mouse with this template is still mouse-sized and will be running around with little mousey weapons. Mythic animal makes a bigger, more powerful magical beast version of a normal animal, like the Nemean Lion and its ilk in Greek legend. The rest of the fey are fairly standard fare, from the shapeshifting kelpie to the Unseelie Champion (a feytouched unseelie Strong Her0). There’s nothing I can complain about or truly praise either way right here.
Chapter 5 deals with campaign ideas, including ideas for both an entire Plane of Faerie and fey in the various parts of Earth. I cannot fault their thoroughness, and I applaud their ability to make an interesting campaign idea around just a single creature type. There are also two advanced classes present; the Faerie Knight, who is a cool fey-defending Paladin type, and the Jack-o-Tales, a Bard-like traveler.
The art is elder stock pieces, a glimpse into the Victorian past. It’s nice and mixes the quaint with the magical.
I cannot fault the attempts of this tome to get a single creature type and run with it as far as possible. I admit that I don’t really like racial creature classes, but otherwise this is pretty solid. I’d get it if you like fey…hell, I’d even get it if you want to full integrate Dungeons and Dragons class features into d20 Modern beyond what Urban Arcana managed. 9/10.