Review: Realms of Terrinoth
While it may not be the most original or exciting setting out there, Realms of Terrinoth is jam-packed with all the wizards, dragons and magic you could want from a generic fantasy world, making it an ideal starting point for a fantasy campaign with the generic Genesys system.
The heart of the book is around 60 pages of new rules and character options that take the the bare-bones approach of the core rules and convert them into something with a distinct fantasy flavour. This covers everything from new species’ to play as, such as elves, dwarfs and cat-folk, all the way to a greatly expanded magic system.
All these new options make for some truly incredible flexibility when it comes to building and developing a character. With a bit of effort it’s possible to create virtually any type of hero you can imagine, whether that’s a roguish assassin who uses shadow magic, or a career diplomat who can use her rapier when words fail to work.
It’s not the deepest or most comprehensive framework out there, but if the players and GM are willing to put in a bit of effort it’s certainly a great way to have fun.
This all comes together to help you to make the world and the adventurers feel appropriately epic and powerful. They come with the air of the main cast of a fantasy novel rather than a group of vagabonds who’ll be chewed up and replaced the next time someone fails their spot traps roll. The player characters even get to choose a special ‘heroic ability’ that allows them to stand out even in a world filled with magic, such as a connection to a signature weapon or the ability to recall useful titbits of knowledge out of nowhere.
Along with the friendly, colourful art, this all helps to set up Realms of Terrinoth as a setting focused on high-fantasy heroism that owes more to World of Warcraft than Game of Thrones. it encourages you to build characters and locations that feel both cool and fantastical rather than dark and gritty.
Having said that, however, the setting itself it perhaps the weakest part of the book. Terrinoth has been home to a long list of games published by Fantasy Flight, including Runewars and Runebound, but this is the first time the setting has been played host to a traditional RPG and it doesn’t do too much to excite.
There are well over 100 pages of lore and history in Realms of Terrinoth, and most of it is drier than the desert that hosts its Djinnis and Caliphates. There are occasional flashes in interesting ideas, or at least hooks for adventures or entire campaigns, but most of it is something that you might browse for fun in the evening rather than actually make use of in a game.
If you want to play a fantasy game using the Genesys system you should definitely pick up a copy of Realms of Terrinoth, but you’ll be paying for a lot of backstory that you may or not actually want.