Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.1.0 Introduction

Emer Atlas III: The Southeast is a Shadow World book for Rolemaster, and that’s pretty much all you need to know when deciding to purchase it or not.

1.1   Questions To Ask

Following are a series of questions one should ask oneself before purchasing this book.

1.1.1 Basic Questions

Does your group play a version of Rolemaster?

Do you already have the Shadow World Master Atlas?

Are you interested in a game where the day is broken down into a confusing framework of twenty-five equal parts “for reasons now lost to history”? (Seriously. Each “hour” is 57.6 minutes long for absolutely no reason.)

1.1.2 Timeline Questions

emerDo you enjoy over twenty pages of detailed timelines with entries such as this one from almost two thousand years before the campaign setting?

4165: The Loremaster Kimul Khama, suffering from an illness (partially mental), leaves his isolated home on Gull Island to live among the Tilamak Clan (his relatives of the Tukal Kuluku in the Sky-rock haven of Kalumi) and seek treatment with the powerful Shaman Kiku Makhala.

Would you like nearly half of this timeline marked secret, for the GM’s knowledge only?

1.1.3 How do you feel about chapter headings like these?

Rolemaster was a game that I played back in the mid-80s and this was a time when setting books like this were like this: big, elaborate timelines; detailed looks at the climate and geography of areas the size of Brazil; charts that spread across three and a half pages listing the various medicinal uses for various berries, leaves, and roots (poisons, venoms, and diseases get their own charts); overviews of cities and smaller locations; and maps, maps, and maps. The only difference between those Rolemaster books and Emer Atlas III is this one is in color. If you’re into Rolemaster and want a setting book and have the Shadow World Master Atlas, yeah, sure. Go for it.

2.0 But I don’t play Rolemaster! Should I get it for my favorite brand of fantasy adventure roleplaying game?

Gosh, at $18 for the PDF, no. While there are some twenty-seven pages of adventure material (including statblocks), Emer Atlas III is too tied into the mythology of the setting to pull apart and stick different aspects into a non-Emer world. (Random passage: “The Ahn sye Shan (OE. “Order of the Sun”) is one of the old Orders of the Emerian Empire that was corrupted, though in this case the Jerak Ahrenreth had nothing to do with it.”) There is a lot of crunchiness inherent in the Rolemaster system(s) to translate over to any system. The locations and cultures really didn’t jump out at me as something interesting enough or worth the time to port over to another game system.

3.0 Conclusions

This section contains strict instructions for purchasing or not purchasing the product. A notice about how a review copy was provided from the publisher is also in this section.

3.1 Should I get Emer Atlas III: The Southeast?

If you run a Rolemaster campaign set in Emer, and want to head to the southeast, yes. By all means, do. Here’s your link. If not, don’t.

3.2 Legal Notice

A copy of Emer Atlas III: The Southeast was provided free for review by Guild Companion Publications.