So much for that marshmallow test moment.
Anyway, since I have it, I might as well take a peek and share my thoughts on it, yes?
The book opens up with a neat little letter from Wil Wheaton, the creator of the setting. Everyone knows him from his incredibly impressive Geek credentials, and Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is a big feather on his cap as it is the realization of his own wild imaginings in the 80’s (a decade near and dear to my own heart.)
Chapter 1: Valkana
The first Chapter of the book gives a run down on the history of the world of Valkana. Those that have watched the Tabletop videos will be familiar with this as Wil pretty much narrates this in vivid detail. It’s a solid introduction to the setting, and a lovely backdrop for the current state of unrest (and opportunity) for the player characters.
The book focuses its attentions to describing one region in particular: The Tasmetra Basin, which is graced by a lovely poster map. The Tasmetra Basin contains three city states: Nestora, Karros and Vorakis.
Each of the city-states is given thorough treatment, with a look at their history, rulership, people, notable citizens and locations. Nestora in particular enjoys a two-page spread city map, something that I wish we could have seen for Karros and Vorakis.
Chapter 2: Characters and Equipment
Being a setting book for Fantasy AGE, Valkana diverges in key points from the default of the Fantasy AGE book. Most notably in the form of a new race: the Saurians, and the existence of certain weapons that are more science-fiction than fantasy.
Saurians have a full race write-up in the same format as Fantasy AGE and anyone familiar with Fantasy AGE will get this without any issues.
The game also introduces a few Class Modifications that will apply towards the default classes of Fantasy AGE, such as different starting weapon groups to account for the new weapons in the game.
New Focuses and Talents are also introduced, mostly to allow for interaction with the advanced technologies available to Valkana’s science-fantasy setting. The technologies themselves are introduced next, from blaster weapons to special armor and even handy tools like flashlights and binoculars.
Chapters 3 to 10: The Adventure
The rest of the book is a complete campaign that traces the entire plot of the Tabletop campaign. I won’t go into too much detail here as I don’t want to spoil anything to those who haven’t watched the show.
Each chapter is broken into multiple scenes, each of which is labeled as as Combat or Roleplaying encounter. There’s some “read aloud” text now an then, but plenty of little asides for a GM to use in his own game. The formatting for the adventures are very well done with enemy statistics appearing exactly when they need to be visible at the point in the game.
The adventure is a solid one, with interesting locales, conflicts and more than just fighting involved to get through the conflicts and more than it’s fair share of plot twists.
The book ends with the character sheets for the 4 protagonists from the show, which can appear as NPCs, or serve as pregenerated characters for new groups.
TitansGrave: The Ashes of Valkana is a splendid setting that gets the whole Thundarr: The Barbarian vibe across in a consistent world. The setting is very cool, especially for an 80’s kid like me, and the artwork is an absolute joy.
The additional mechanics are very sparse but definitely useful for branching the AGE system into sci-fi stuff, without adding too much complexity.
The adventure is the key component of this product and it is perhaps one of the most fun-looking I’ve read up on in a while. At this point I’m already tempted to call up my gaming group to ask them if we could run this right away.
My only nitpick about it is that I wish it covered more ground in the setting. Still you could have more than enough fun romping around the regions detailed in the book so far.
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where this line might develop into and how they plan to expand it. Bottomline? Buy it. It might just be your new favorite science-fantasy setting.