Review by my buddy Nickolas H.
- Ryver, the Alchemist (Apothecary)/Ranger (Survivalist), a traveling Herbalist who knows how to survive in the wild. He has his trusty Pyroda, a fire affinity monster that’s kind of like a big firey red panda.
- Ilden, The Scholar (Breeder)/Mystic Concordant (Channeler), a sheltered adept from the Capitol sent out to the frontier to toughen up and put his book learning to use. His monster is the Mystic Affinity Dibbik, a little puff-ball with a single baleful eye known for being a parasite that feeds on other monsters.
The adventure opens up on the river town of Deepflusse where the New Empire, at the order of Emperor Zarasul the Renewer, has started a Binder Training Initiative. The player characters are the some of the first Binders to graduate after 4 months of training. Titus Mathews, an Imperial Ranger, runs the initiative and awards the PCs their first monsters in shiny new drajules (aka Dragon Jewels, the item that holds their monsters essence – think poke-balls but magic crystals). After that Titus challenged Ryver and Ilden to their first ever battle. This battle was designed for 3-4 players but I didn’t take the time to scale it back. It was a challenge but the young Binders beat Titus’ Stalagmaul…a larger grizzly bear like monster with stone claws and horn.
The system is great but there are a lot of moving parts. It’s a little crunchier than D&D 5th edition but that is not a hindrance. It will run smoother once I have all the rules/terms down. The system alone reminds me of D&D 5 Edition mixed with World of Darkness mixed with D&D 4th Edition, if you can imagine that. Binder’s have classes and skills but progression (for them) isn’t level based. The skills are broader and more nebulous and you have to fill in some dots. The dice used are 2d4, 2d6, and 2d8 generally (except for damage). The monsters do have an XP/Level based progression and the monster combat has a grid-based war game type feel with techniques being similar to power from D&D 4 Edition, only there is no limit to how often you can use each. There is no monster “basic attack” and each attack IS a technique.