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     " The level of detail is incredible and should please even the most stolid gamer "

      Title: Promised Sands by BBRACK Productions

      Format: Middle Eastern RPG

      Reviewing Monkey: Reader Michael S.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Story and Drama: This game is DEEP, no question about it. The story reaches back thousands of years and presents a world that seems completely real and plausible. Real and plausible, of course, if you accept alternate races, magic, psionics and all the other expectedly unusual aspects of an RPG.
          Set in a fictional middle eastern desert world called T'nah, Promised Sands provides a rich setting and literally hundreds of creatures, races, npcs, and other paraphernalia to fill the void often left by rpg core books. And while it lacks any actual plot or other direct conflict issues, it does provide a considerable amount of intrinsic drama of a lavishly detailed land, lots of optional rules, and general mood and ambiance. It is a complete volume and requires no other books to play or understand. 4 out of 5

      Layout and Presentation: It is a classic layout, nothing unique or surprising. The artwork is medium to good, though there are a few issues with blurriness on some images. Overall, the artwork gave a good, solid sense of the world from many varying perspectives. It is refreshing to see more than one dominant style throughout the book, as though you are seeing the world through many different eyes. There is a nifty banner that changes height with each chapter to make a handy thumb guide for finding the chapter you want.
          The only real drawback in layout was the sheer volume of foreign text in the book. Often written using, I'm told, accurate middle eastern names for objects, effects, and equipment, many whole paragraphs in the book become unreadable unless you stop and hunt the rest of the book for the definitions to unnecessarily complex terms.3.5 out of 5

      Playability: At first the book looks daunting, with almost 400 pages of very complex rules and world information. But the actual play was near instinctual, easy to pick up and play and should become second-nature to anyone with roleplaying experience within the first few hours of play. The level of detail is incredible and should please even the most stolid gamer, which is a wonderful find in a first time introduction to the world. Some will be put off by the system detail, but I ate it up! 4.5 out of 5

      Desired Content: This book has much more than I expected. I expected a padded, pretentious, overstuffed volume with more fluff than worth. What I found was a book that's really several books in one volume. Gamemaster (called a "Bard") and Player information are both included, so is a full (and unique) bestiary, a versatile spell creation system, two styles of "magic", a complete (and I do mean COMPLETE!) setting with a dozen races, 25 cultures and oodles of playable classes. A truly amazing amount of information that left me wanting almost nothing. 5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       This book definitely gives its money's worth! I wish some of the artwork had been done better and that it had some persistent plot concepts but all in all it's definitely worth having. I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of product for the money. The $36 cost was a little high, but when you realize the information and page count you're getting for it, it's not bad at all.


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