Oathbound: Eclipse (PFRPG) Print Edition

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Seven years now I have known myself, and though to many it may seem I have been idle and slack, I have in fact honed my craft and filled my head with the phenomena of the land I fashioned in my imprisonment, a land much apart from the rest of this Forge. Eclipse, it is called—a land at the top of the world, the whole of which lies in an impossible crater, a break in the earth. Shunned by both suns, the land knows only shadow. Its inhabitants are those who do their work in the dark: thieves, cutthroats, slavers, shapechangers, vampires... yet the dark has its lighter side as well, drawing artist, musician, and philosopher for its candlelight and clarity.

This is a domain of wild fungus forests, impossibly deep caverns, ink-black seas and shimmering cities. Here are long-forgotten horrors that defy description, hiding in the darkest of dark places. Here are reckless pioneers, hoping to bring order to this realm that they might profit from the secrets and treasures hidden deep in the shell of the Forge.

Here in Eclipse I have walked, at times as a blind beggar, others as a thoughtful nobleman, and even rarely as my Seraphim self, gathering knowledge, personal accounts, illustrations, and even the odd recipe. I have drowned myself in politics and plant life, spoken to children, kings, warlords and have even risked conversations with the few here who might be capable of harm to one such as me. The wealth of knowledge I have gained could fill a hundred volumes, but in this short tome I will lay out for you what is best suited to allow you to make of the world what you want. All that I have complied here from my disparate writings and humble illustrations, to the works of slaves, concubines and conquerors is presented for your pleasure.

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Oathound Revisited

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Disclaimer: The review is based on my perceived production value for a GM not familiar with Oathbound setting. Otherwise, one is strongly encouraged consider the book to be a collector's item with rating of 4.5 to 5 stars.
The following review is intended to raise visibility of Oathbound campaign setting. It contains spoilers and should be read with care by prospective players.

(Spoilers! Final warning!)

THE PREMISE

Your character died and instead of going to afterlife, they got sent to inescapable prison with a chance get rich, get weird or, most likely, die again trying. However, before you die, you are going to see epic things, experience vast and wonderfully rich world and partake in one of ultimately futile attempt to change destiny through war, epic quest or millenia-spanning intrigue.
Oathbound is a vast setting. It spans millions of years of a world much bigger than Earth. It has superpowerful immortals (millions of years...), 1:1 scale diorama realms (i.e. artificially made models made millions of years ago) and civilizations living on a pile of ruins of previous civilizations (at least hundreds of thousands of years). Amidst other things it has a half-a-mile high city built on a pile of rubble (hundreds of thousands of years...) and perpetually dark cavity in the ground of the size of a large continent, into which oceans fall: the Eclipse.

THE BOOK

Oathbound is back with style. The full color book is an account of super-epic ex-power-turned-tourist revisiting domain of Eclipse. As per traditional presentation of Oathbound realm, you get an introduction, an overview of general realm layout followed by more specific entries on chief points of interest, followed by cast of characters, pieces of random stories of Eclipse denizens and selection of factual information (items, generic NPCs).
The word “traditional” is to be taken quite liberally – my experience with Oathbound is limited to 3.x days, with basic Oathbound book and the Wilds.

While entertaining, the book suffers from two major presentation issues. The first one is that of font choices. Some parts of the book written in character tend to use very small handwritten fonts against vividly colored backgrounds. While the pages look nice, the act of reading become quite a choir, and so I skipped the affected content.
The latter issue is that the book is very general. There is no adventure, no story seeds nor detailed specific NPCs – picking the book and running a story is not an option.

THE CRUNCH

A few monster stablocks and advanced NPCs, several spells and the end boss. New races (some already present in other Oathbound publications). New basic and prestige classes. And new evolutions/adaptations.
The evolutions and adaptations are still very problematic – while conceptually simple – trade level-up experience for a new ability – they break CR system. Your characters grow horizontally in terms of power while remaining at the same level. Additionally, since some powers are not combat oriented, adjudicating creature's CR is even harder. Just like under 3.x edition of Oathbound.

GAMEMASTERING IN OATHBOUND

Let me get the most important issue of my chest first – Oathbound does not play nice with d20 system. The evolutions and adaptations are the most obvious problem here, however it gets more profound once you dive deeper into the setting. For example, many important NPCs are millenia old. Correction: tens of thousands of years old. With immortals in charge running their business for millions of years. That's why I would find their levels to be higher, much, much higher.
Speaking of millenia, how come that the civilizations of Oathbound are so primitive? And if the gods cannot properly access the world of Oathbound, who grants spells to clerics?
Personally, as the book is light on mechanics I would recommend using any streamlined and pulpy system like: Savage Worlds, core World of Darkness/Exalted or FATE, or even Castle Falkenstein. We have used Arcana Evolved but, for the reasons listed above, had problems with maintaining our suspension of disbelief.
All these issues can be worked around with sufficient tweaking or using system allowing for greater amount of scaling.

The other problem for game masters – the book is too vague, too general to use straight away. Once you read it, you have a grasp of various cultures, entities and sources of large scale conflict. You, as a GM, need to provide NPCs, adventures, stories, maps... basically, you need to create PC level information from the scratch. It's not a great problem – we, game masters, are a creative bunch who enjoy coming up with things. It's just that for such a big book it is something of a let down.

Oathbound is epic at every level. The wars span continents, the cataclysms rend nations and history goes back hundreds of thousand of years. Always start big, and from there progress to bigger. Remember, that the ultimate goal of any PC in this setting will be tackling tricky issues of ascension to godhood... and then trying to gain freedom.

POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS

I realize that my vision is unlikely to reflect that of setting authors. However, if I were to develop a book for Oathbound, I would made damn sure that adoption of the setting would be a lot easier. To achieve this, I would:

- rid of doom and gloom perspective. The PCs should be freely able to leave the world of Oathbound, however the loss of Oathbound powers and possible other persistent penalties (“Joe, your characters is no longer immortal evolved vampire.”) should be sufficient to entice them to come back.

- provide information at PC levels. Specific NPCs with statblocks, adventure seeds, maybe a few simple adventures, or, using an excellent idea from Savage Worlds – provide a plot point setting. Describe a single default city in details sufficient to run it. Add statblocks for a few villains and potential allies. Add map for a few locales worth adventuring (no data, just a map and short description).
no handwritten fonts. Adhere to minimum size of 8pts.

- either publish simplified rules for epic creature advancement or avoid statting epic creatures altogether. As published, the Feathered guys (or ancients, or vampires) are not appropriate.

- offer evolutions and adaptations at preset levels to everyone for free. Add guidelines on what kind of power should be right and when. My opinion here is that all combat abilities should require standard action to use (thus precluding combining them with spells and attacks), swift action to maintain. Noncombat abilities should follow Wizard utility spells with regard to their power.

- explain the deal with divine spells.

- do not offer new classes or prestige classes. Archetypes are more convenient and it is harder to break their balance.

VERDICT

My favorite 3.x settings are Scarred Lands, Ptolus and Oathbound. Of these three, I could not run the last one because it does not mesh well with the other two, but friendy GM ran it for us using Arcana Unearthed (and then Evolved) rules, and we had a blast.
It feels terrific to see it again after all these years, and there is a chance, I'll reacquaint myself again with the world.

4/5



Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I cannot wait to get this one in hand. This setting is a rich and vibrant landscape of possibility with a driving meta-plot and engrossing support characters. And now its going Pathfinder!!!


Is this an rpg book or a novel?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Is this an rpg book or a novel?

Its a RPG book describing a campaign setting for the Pathfinder RPG. It will be accompanied by another release called Oathbound: Seven that has a ton more of information about it. The setting revolves around seven mysterious beings that are both the keepers of a strange multiversal prison world and among the most bound by its power. More info can be found at: www.epidemicbooks.com


Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Is this an rpg book or a novel?

It's a rpg sourcebook, it has a setting, new mechanics, new races, new templates and lots of fun stuff. Plus it's full color and VERY pretty, I'm looking any my signed copy right now that I got from GenCon. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nylanfs wrote:


It's a rpg sourcebook, it has a setting, new mechanics, new races, new templates and lots of fun stuff. Plus it's full color and VERY pretty, I'm looking any my signed copy right now that I got from GenCon. :)

Sweet! I'm looking forward to this as well...


Nylanfs wrote:
Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Is this an rpg book or a novel?
It's a rpg sourcebook, it has a setting, new mechanics, new races, new templates and lots of fun stuff. Plus it's full color and VERY pretty, I'm looking any my signed copy right now that I got from GenCon. :)

Hey Nylanfs,

What are some of the new races in it? Loved the original Oathbound setting!


Brutorz Bill wrote:


Hey Nylanfs,
What are some of the new races in it? Loved the original Oathbound setting!

Lets see, flipping to pg 32.

There is the Camo which is a small humanoid chameleon
The Deep Fey, which is an underground fey and I think I remember seeing it in one of the previous Oathbound books, maybe Arena?
The Molice which are a race of mice with wings and slightly larger ears. They are Fine sized, and only one in a million or so are intelligent.
The Thole which are kind of a Small wolf/bat hybrid which are primarily focused on having and recording dreams

Then there are the Templates & Prestige Races, which Greg & Todd are going to start calling "Evolutions".

There's an Adaptation called the Pale which is a genetic adaptation in the 5-6th generation on people living in Eclipse. Generally it's a bunch of abilities that let the person live easier in the unending darkness.

And there's the Evolution: Werran, Vampire & Ancient.

The Werran is a catch phrase for all types of lycan creatures. Wolves, Bears, Big Cats etc. And it's really well done so that they aren't over-powering right out of the gate. The infected can choose to pay xp when they level up which will increase their Werran abilities. It's the same with Vampires, although it's more tied to age categories.

The Ancient is a person that continuously uses the god-dust that is mined in Eclipse it is HIGHLY addictive but many will pay the price for immortality, and like the Vampires their abilities are based of their ages

I'll try and get to a review of it when I'm done reading and making notes. :)


Thanks for the info!
The Werran sound awesome as does alot of the other stuff!

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

This is definitely on my watch list....

Dark Archive

Not sure if it was meant to or not. But it sounds a little Planescape. Or to me a bit InNomina which is a game I adore.


It has definite Planescape influences.


This is FANTASTIC!!!

I have the original campaign book, plus a few of the other supplements and despaired when the Bastion Press disappeared and any chance of other books detailing the world wouldn't be produced. I'm super happy about this and can't wait to get my hands on the copy.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Cool. I just got shipping notification on my pre-order. I'm looking forward to this one.


Hey all Todd Morasch here,

Just wanted to say hi and thanks for all the positive buzz cannot wait until you all have eclipse in your hands and for that matter oathbound 7.

Greg and i are hard at work bring back to life the world we built back at bastion press and we could not be more excited about continuing the Oathbound campaign setting. Writing and illustrating Eclipse was a labor of love and i could not be happier with the way it came out, that being said i am even more exited about the plans we have for the future,

Thanks for all your support and be sure to look us up at www.epidemicbooks.com and check out all the previews and cool stuff we have there. You are also welcome at my own art website www.toddmorasch.com

it is so good to be back.

Todd


Oathbound is alive again? AWESOME!


My Oathbound Eclipse review

I am in no way a professional reviewer but I cannot help but give my two cents on the stunning work that is Oathbound Eclipse.

For starters let me say I was a huge fan of the original Oathbound products back in the day and in particular those helmed by Greg Dent. They always will draw compassions to Planscape and Ravenloft, but I feel that ultimately they were extremely unique in both there over all execution and there incredible detail. I am going to try to be brief so I will not go into the setting look it up and read about it, If you haven’t, its amazing.

So I did not go to Gen Con this year but my best mate did and he returned with two suit cases full of book, most for pathfinder, I was totally unaware that Oathbound was returning so imagine my shock when I saw the spine of a black book with Oathbound Eclipse in one of the piles, I think I flipped my chair over standing to get to it. I new Eclipse was the land at the top of the forge and could not imagine that Oathbound and Eclipse could be in the same spine and it not be a new book. Even as I reached for it I feared I may be wrong. One look at the cover and I knew my dreams had come true, but Greg dents name was not on the cover rather that of Todd Morasch one of the original creators and someone I assumed only did art for the books. I was quick to the credits page and almost squealed like an anime school girl, when I saw that indeed, Greg Dent was involved, yet sure enough the lead designer was Todd, so was this going to be good, or a case of an artist just assuming he could also write, would there be all the wonder and quirkiness that Greg always brought, or did he just sit back and give orders, I could not wait to read it, yet I feared it would not live up to my long unfulfilled hopes.

First impression
So if you have not seen this book the first think that grabbed me was the layout. Once again Oathbound has returned to full color and not the dim colorless books that seemed to flow from bastion press the moment Greg left the company. The whole book is gorgeous put together like it was a scrape book set to ash paper and filled with tons of in game documents that look like they could have been lifted from the libraries of Penance’s itself. The whole book is filled with loving care and each chapter has its own feel and theme to the pages that match the mood perfectly.

The Art
Look the whole credits page reads like someone hit repeat and kept pasteing Greg or Todds names everywhere, I cannot imagine the hours these two put into this book but other than three other writers (one being Darrin Drader, also a bastion press alumni) and a handful of artist, Greg and Todd did it all. This means the bulk of the art as well as the lay out is Todd Morasch’s. I have a confession to make I never like Todd Morasch’s art in the old oathbound books it was stretched and exaggerated and flat, sure there was the odd monster or spiked toothed thing that looked good but I think I actually said to a friend “this guy needs to give it up”.

Well I am eating my crow by the pound full now, I do not know what Todd has been doing the last 7 years but I imagine a lot of drawing and painting because he is a completely different artist now. Gone are the inked lines and the odd anatomy, replaced by amazing watercolors and detailed, often times sexy characters. His work is some of the best I have seen in years thank god he did not give up. There are some amazing works in this book in particular I loved the Deep Fey, the molice, and the vampire queen. The other artist all pull there weight as well, with just a few odd misses that still manage to fit in with the scrape book theme. After all if you made a guide to your town and gathered documents, fliers and post cards would they all have perfect art.

The Writting
So it looks great, feels great, and even smells great, what is all that without good writing and exciting content. Well I am here to tell you that Hell Yes Oathbound is back! I have read the book cover to cover twice and a few chapters a good deal more, in short this book rocks hard. I have no idea who wrote what and Greg did edit the book and I can feel is flavor and imagination all over it, but considering that Todd gets top writing credit I have to imagine he wrote most of it and so the guy can write and draw, I wonder if he also flies planes and dates supermodels. There are some inserts in the book that are almost literary master pieces and I have nothing to base this on, but I have a feeling these were written by the one name I have never seen and could not find on an RPG website, Jeff Welker, if so what a mind. If there is any failing in the writing it is that I found the high mark chapter a little dry but then even that fits with the theme, as it is the city for your atypical goodie goodie adventurer.

The break down and the highlights

we learn that not only is this book set up to look like a scrape book but it is written like one to by a very powerful and amazing character of the oathbound myth who I shall not name so you can find out for yourselves. I was not sure I was on board for a guide book to a realm, written by someone who lives in that realm, but I was not only won over but could not imagine reading it any other way now. In fact take a hit out there and do this, everyone. There is even a cleaver way that they fit the rules in, all based around who this book is written for, and guess what its not us. This gave the whole thing a voyeuristic tension that at times made me feel a feathered fowl was going to break threw my door and off me. (very lovecraft)

New rules for vision and tons of setting flavor

Oh hell yes a full spread map of Eclipse, total must have and really sweat looking. Tons of that old Oathbound charm new plants animals and critters, all so amazing they deserve there own books, I love Polly Picker (buy the book you will see why I want to marry a three foot tall lizard) Oh ya an overview of the land.

6 new races for oathbound, well maybe 5 we have seen the lunar but this is there home land and they get top treatment here, I also loved the Molice what a great idea they are mice with wings and only one in a million is smart somehow the collective consciousness of all their dimmer relatives, what can a mouse with wings do, just wait and read.

Rules for vampires and werewolves that are smart and comprehensive, the write up of the vampire is the best I have ever read about there kind, they not only get it right they brought up an idea that might made even a vampire freak (old school not twilight) like me think twice about becoming one. They say that the soul binds with the body forever thus with the aid of consuming life giving it immortal youth, this means if the body goes to dust, so does the soul, that’s a commitment.

5 new professions like dancer and the Slaver, a very mean class if ever there has been one, oh ya this book is for adults if I haven’t already said that, oathbound is for big people with understanding of the true adult nature of a brutal fantasy word. The picture of the Slaver class says it all as she is selling Children who all look as though they have suffered cruel abuse.

A history and detailed explanation of the feathered fowl who rules this land, amazing. Golden pages from his own journal are everywhere in this book and they feel like you are reading something stolen from the study of a god. There is also a tragic and well told tale written by a woman who is in love with Colopitiron, I wonder if this is written by the one female writer who appears in the credits.

A city of thieves with a functioning economy that is all based on stealing and it works, trust me, I read the chapter on Baradume like five times, I so want to live there.

A Vampire City with a menu and detailed interviews with the most powerful of their kind, this chapter scared the hell out of me, some of the wheels with in wheels that these ancient creatures function in are just wild, forget “Inception” this is really high concept stuff. Like “The Kindly One” who never kills but instead runs a school for gifted mortal in the hopes that they reach enlightenment, only one in every 50 thousand do and those are also the only ones he eats, in secret of course.

There are tons of tales and adventure hooks for cliffs and caverns and just as many towns and new cultures talked about. More than any other Oathbound book I felt this one was very Lovecraft influenced all in a good creepy mysterious way, yet they still, more than not, take you beyond the veil and manage to deliver.

Oh did I talk about the two page insert that teaches you the local short hand sign language, ya I am going to make my players learn it.

Or the water chapter that has one of the funniest sections about a group of senior citizens who run there own shipping company,

Or did I mention the Sythian a new and terrifying monstrous race that make the Aliens from Aliens look weak.

I could go on and on but I think I said I was going to be brief

Closing
Buy it, get it, or if your like me, pay your friend double price for his copy you will love it. Greg and Todd if you out there thank you, you rock and you made my whole year, cannot wait for Oathbound 7.

Jasonisthatmymonkeyhopenot


Dammmmm you! I was going to wait, I was going to be patient, take my time, and wait until this fit my monthly budget, but now I will get this ASAP. Hopefully that will coincide with my new monthly budget, next month.


Ok, I just received my copy of Oathbound:Eclipse about a week ago, and I've spent practically every waking hour utterly engrossed in it. It's that kind of book, for real. Cancel anything you have planned for the next few days, go out and get this book, just sit down and let yourself get blown away.
First and foremost, this thing is gorgeous to behold. Full color, art on practically every page, most of it of excellent quality. But the cool thing is, literally every page is unique. There's watermarks, or splatter patterns, or textural differences throughout. Not a single page repeats. Frankly, its a feat of artistry that is a breath of fresh air in the normally stodgy world of game manuals.
Secondly, this reads like no other manual you've ever read before. It actually functions more like a guidebook. Arranged in the form of a scrapbook, it is filled with original and clever ways to introduce aspects of the world to the reader.
I don't want to get too geeky about this, but I cannot express how awesome the vampire class is. Without doubt, the book is worth the price of purchase simply for this section, which to my mind *should* be the definitive source on these creatures from here on.
The utter originality of this work cannot be overstated. There are things in here that I could never have dreamt up, and the fact that there are SO DAMN MANY of such things here is nothing less than a testament to the creative geniuses of Todd Morasch, Greg Dent, and the other writers and artists of OB:Eclipse.
This book draws you in from the first page. The comparisons to Planescape, of course, are many and well-deserved. This is an amazing world to bring your favorite characters to, a place where they can thrive and grow greater.
And, IT'S PATHFINDER COMPATIBLE. Which is totally awesome.
The creatures and new classes are so cool, ranging from mice with wings to mind-raping slavers (sorry, I don't have a problem with the "grown-up" stuff in this book) the new stuff is stellar, the fan favorites are still here and in most cases improved.
All in all, you're an idiot if you don't buy this book and love it.
Plain and simple.


OB: Eclipse looks promising, and if it's anything close to the quality of the Oathbound Seven product, then I'll definitely be looking forward to getting my hands on it. The only issue I have with it is that there seems to be no pdf version. I hope that they'll release a pdf copy in the near future, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next release for the Oathbound setting.


To Dark Mistress:

Oathbound is one of the most creative settings of 3.x. It's a shame it was not known as widely or well as it should.
There may have been several reasons for its demise, but I'd list two:
- it disregarded CR system.
- there were too many general products, and not enough adventures.

CR
Oathbound was about being epic at every level. Your characters, in addition to normal levels, got access to new powers (evolutions), and so design of an adventure was very difficult.
It was also a killer system. Self-improvement was a major theme of the setting - you needed to grow stronger and stronger. And remember, every little thing could have been further evolved than you. And killed you.

Killer Setting
The setting was killer in both meanings of this word. You had to tread carefully and, at the same time, you were a witness to beautiful things.

Wish I had more time to cover it in detail. Sorry, need to buy the book now.

Regards,
Ruemere

PS. The only reason I haven't purchased PDF of Seven was that it was a PDF-only product.

Scarab Sages

I just received my book and have not gotten the chance to read it much yet, but I had to come on here right away and state how BLOWN away I was by the art!

Now I wish it wasn't so expensive for the POD of Seven...


Product reviewed.

Regards,
Ruemere


Looking at buying this next month, is it hardback or softback?

Contributor

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Looking at buying this next month, is it hardback or softback?

It is a softcover book.


Does anyone know if anything new is being done with Oathbound? It seems that acquired the Oathbound IP. Then did a few new books dropped D20/Pathfinder in favor of their own system and then nothing imo.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

A company called DragonWing Games announced recently that they had a licensing agreement with Epidemic to produce more Oathbound material. I haven't seen any more details yet.

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