Game: Neiyar: Land of Heaven and the Abyss
Publisher: Bards and Sages
Review Dated: 4th, March 2005
Reviewer’s Rating: 10/10 [ Breathtaking ]
Total Score: 18
Average Score: 6.00
Well, I won’t claim this in an unbiased review, so instead I’ll call it a preview. Neiyar: Land of Heaven and the Abyss is a stand alone campaign setting for the d20 system. Set on an uncharted island, it can be used by itself or as a supplement to an existing campaign. GM’s can easily drop the island in any ocean and use it to trip up PC’s who think they have the game all figured out.
The island is populated by its own unique races. The humans, or native Neiyar, are a matriarchal society gifted by their gods with special abilities to deal with their enemies: the demonic hordes of the demon-god Nephar. The Krakodons are a humanoid race that claims to possess the blood of the ancient dragons that once roamed the island (but mysteriously vanished). The Mahaultae are a catlike race who believe they were created by the union of the Tiger Lord and the Warrior Goddess Francisca Mahault. The Amphikin are a froglike, tribal race that lurk throughout both the jungles and alleys seeking easy wealth. Auronnes are a race of swanlike humanoids who, though not native to the island, believe the gods of Neiyar helped save them from their slavers and brought them to the island.
Elves, dwarves, and the standard PC races are also present on the island. These Outsiders, as the natives refer to them, arrived on the island via shipwrecks or teleportation magic gone wrong. Some strange magic prevents most of them from teleporting or using magical transport to escape the island. And the surrounding seas are home to a creature known only as the Green Death, and it prevents ships from entering or leaving the island.
The gods are extremely important to the Neiyar, and clerics receive special abilities from their patrons, from poison immunities to bonuses to AC to inate spells. The Neiyar also practice Hearth Magic, rituals that can be learned by anyone that defy the laws of arcane and divine spellcasting. These powerful rituals are purchased with skill points, so while potent, they are expensive and PC’s need to plan for them.
Neiyar also introducing flaws to the d20 system. Flaws represent certain handicaps or penalties imposed on PCs. Besides making for interesting roleplaying, flaws also allow PC’s to earn bonus feats. PCs can also benefit from joining societies or organizations, but the benefits of membership have a price in how others react toward the players.
Neiyar includes two new classes: the trapper and the Tiger Shaman. Trappers are hunters who excel at the use and detection of traps. The Tiger Shaman is a human male worshipper of the Tiger Lord, and he develops the ability to transform into tigers and eventually a weretiger. There are also a variety of new prestige classes. Arcane Rogues can use spells as part of a backstab attack. Aracane Warriors are masters of both spell and sword. Healers manifest supernatural powers to heal and protect others. Soulreapers channel the divine will of the destroyer goddess and bring fear to the hearts of their enemies. WildWalkers understand the Wild Places in ways normal humans cannot, and have an affinity for the monsters that live there. Shadowblades are dangerous criminals who can not only meld into the shadows, but actually emulate the frightening abilities of certain undead.
The book also features a variety of new spells, magic items, and mundane items, as well as new monsters designed for an exotic jungle environment. Corpse-Eater Lilies use there roots to trap unsuspecting prey. Fleshcutter Ants swarm into camps tearing at adventurers. Undead Choovoo roam the jungles in search of human flesh. Chardara birds swoop down from their nests to burn the flesh of prey.
But its not just the monsters adventurers have to worry about. From strange molds that devour human flesh to quicksand to diseases spread by common insects, the jungles of Neiyar are a dangerous place to explore.
Detailed information is provided on all the major cities, villages, landmarks, and ruins of the island. Explore the Holy City and immerse yourself in the politics of the Neiyar. Travel to the Shapu region and explore the ruins of Dazu, home of a legendary dragon. Uncover the secrets of the Pyramid, a strange structure that just appeared and made of materials not found on the island. Head to Nephar’s Mount and search for the mythic Allomonda’s Mirror or fight demons trying to escape through the volcano.
More information on the game can be found at http://www.bardsandsages.com/neiyar