Sunday, October 23, 2016

Last Week Today - October 17 - 23, 2016

Story Seed - Revelation

Nuts & Bolts - Review: Naphtha: Islands on Fire and Thora: Island of Bone

Gods of the Fall - Gods of the [Blank] Part 3 - Gods of Antiquity

Friday, October 21, 2016

Gods of the Fall - Gods of the [blank] part 3 - Gods of Antiquity

Thunderbolts of lightning, very very frightening, to me!

Classical Myths No-one Knows

You're the child of God and Man. Perhaps your mother was seduced by Zeus, or maybe your father managed to bed Aphrodite. Regardless of your specific parentage the end result is that you are more than human, but also far less than god. If you want to gain entry to Olympus you need to prove your worth and earn your immortality and godhood.

Character types should come from Gods of the Fall and in fact much of what hold true for the Gods of the Afterworld applies equally true for the scions of Olympus (or Asgard, or Duat, or whatever classical mythology you decide to use). Most Foci will be fantasy and magic based but some of the technological foci might be reworked to employ a sort of primitive steam and clockwork technology, especially when employed by characters sired by gods of forge and intellect.

The world is our own during the appropriate historical eras. A little historical research will go a long way. The gods are only rarely able to sire children among themselves but are far more fertile when one of the parents is a human. The monsters of the world, often children of the titans or other enemies of the gods, do not have such problems and so creatures like minotaurs, hydras, harpies, and the like are often the antagonists of human civilization and the gods as well. At higher levels your divine parent's enemies, including other gods, may rise to become your own enemies.

Adventure Ideas
The nemean lion was just one such beast born of animal and titan and another such creature is threatening your village or town. A great war between nations has erupted and there is opportunity for glory and heroism in joining one side, or the other. An angry god is tormenting a man, or a civilization, and your band is in a place where you can stop it, or aid the god.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Nuts & Bolts #95 - Review: Naphtha: Islands on Fire and Thora: Island of Bone

Buy it now
Buy it now


Published By: Ganza Gaming via the Cypher System Creator • 8 pages (Islands on Fire) & 16 Pages (Thora: Island of Bone) • $1.99 • B&W PDF with Full Color Cover

What's In It

The two Naphtha products present a new setting for use with the Cypher System Rulebook, or as sub-setting add-ons for The Strange (and possibly Numenera with a little effort). The first, Islands on Fire, explains the set up of the setting, a seemingly endless ocean dotted with islands that exists around a massive waterspout called the Pillar that spews elemental energy and cyphers into the air and sometimes rains destruction on the islands via elemental storms called Godsrain.

Islands on Fire presents a single confederation of aligned islands called the Phalan Alliance. The Phalans are a spin on classical Greece. Light on detail, there is little to make them unique beyond the setting itself which is similarly limited in detail to the inclusion of the Pillar. There's the start of a setting here, and the second product helps to flesh this out more and expand on the vague promises within. The handful of islands described are all part of the Alliance and so we don't get a sense of who the Alliance is allied against, nor is there much to infer story ideas for this setting from aside from mentions of an undersea kingdom that could have used a few pages of its own.

Thora: Island of Bone presents three more nation states for the setting, all of while are ruled by and populated with undead. Thora is a large island with a triplicate of city states, each ruled by a different flavor of undead, vampires, liches, and ghouls. The city states are reasonably well fleshed out with two to three pages each devoted specifically to them. Additionally there are a number of undead creatures, an Undead Crew (if you are using the Crews descriptor type) and a number of artifact ideas. Overall the level of detail presented in Thora is good and helps to make this a solid setting add-on.

Closing Thoughts

Overall these two products make for a nice start to the Nphtha setting. Thora gives you the bigger bang for your [two] bucks however as it is both twice as long at the same price but also a more original effort. Islands on Fire sets up the setting but fails to give you what you need to really use it with only a single nation state, and limited setting information to work with. There has been another Naphtha release and I suspect that this setting may (hopefully) mature well as it develops more.

Unfortunately these aren't perfect products. The biggest drawback on these products is the quality of the grammar. It's sad to say that editing appears to have been sorely neglected and I found many instances of grammar errors, and in the end they made reading these PDFs difficult. With a little bit of editing and polish these would both be more enjoyable to read. The issues aren't insurmountable, but they aren't pleasant either.


  • Naphtha Islands of Fire 60%
  • Naphtha - Thora: Island of Bone 70% 
  • Unfortunately marred by grammatical errors these two PDFs can be difficult to read, but if you are looking for a mashed up setting of classical antiquity with classical fantasy and a touch of seagoing adventure these may be worth the effort.

Author's note: A complimentary review copy of these products was provided for the purposes of this review.