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Veil of Truth: Space Opera Rules and Setting (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 2 ratings)

Our Price: $5.95

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The late 21st century seemed surprisingly similar to the mid 17th century. The world’s major powers clashed in controlled wars for the conquest of resources in distant colonies. Space was the new frontier, a savage land out of control of any one power. The race for the outer solar system was on.

There was only one problem: THEY were waiting for us.

Veil of Truth is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible product that brings the Space Opera into your table!

Inside you will find:

  • 7 new races: celonian, en, karizar, nabora, niterian, thoy'ykoth and yahidar
  • 4 alternate classes: engineer, medtech, psion and seeker
  • New uses for skills and several new feats
  • Tons of high and ultratech equipment
  • Everything you need to know to start your very own Veil of Truth Campaign
  • And everything without needing to learn a whole new game system!

This product requires the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. For best enjoyment of this product we also suggest you own the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Player's Guide.

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Product Reviews (2)

Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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It's Pathfinder in space, but it needs more

***( )( )

In over two years since its debut, Pathfinder hasn’t tried to stretch its wings very much where the genre of the game is concerned; it’s all high-fantasy, all the time. While many gamers may not miss this, those looking to take their favorite rules into another style of game likely feel that they’re missing out. It’s with those gamers in mind that Eridanus Books presents their sci-fi Pathfinder RPG, Veil of Truth. Let’s peek behind the veil and see what’s waiting there.

At twenty-eight pages long, Veil of Truth’s presentation is something of an exercise in minimalism. There are no bookmarks here, nor hyperlinks. The interior art is all black and white, and is passable, though a few of the illustrations of the alien races were slightly pixilated. All of the pages have plain white backgrounds, with no borders of any kind, making the book mostly printer-friendly as a default.

The text here is notably dense. While I wasn’t sure if the word font here was smaller than in other books, it may be that a lot of the visual presentation is helped by the pictures, tables, and sidebars that frequently pop up. It was only in the book’s last section, when most of these went away, that I felt like I was being shown a thick wall of text.

Veil of Truth takes the design principle that Pathfinder is, as far as a sci-fi RPG goes, mostly complete save only for some additions, subtractions, and re-skinning certain things. The first chapter reminds us of this in regards to races, even as it presents seven new ones. These races are presented with full Core Rulebook-style treatment, and do a good job of describing them. In terms of how they “feel,” six out of seven are humanoid in body type (though they’re apparently all of the humanoid creature type), so there’s little here that is too far removed from the old “humans with funny hats” meme.

It’s at the classes chapter that we start to see just how much Veil of Truth acts as a supplement to Pathfinder. There are six classes available, all of which are essentially archetypes of existing classes. The engineer, for example, is a variant of the Advanced Player’s Guide’s summoner, while the psion is a sorcerer, etc.

By itself, this is a pretty good idea. However, these go a bit further than most archetypes, to the point where it’s almost more worthwhile to call them alternate classes, a la the ninja and samurai. Unfortunately, given that this is the case, the book’s minimalist style works against it here, as there are no class tables to codify what class features are earned when; it’s all descriptions. It’s also notable that the relative power of the classes is altered somewhat in these new presentations, largely because “spellcasting” (which is really the use of psionic powers, nanites, and retroviruses) is devalued here – a lot of the more blatant attack spells (e.g. fireball, lightning bolt) simply aren’t available. The default assumption seems to be that because of this, classes that give away their spellcasting altogether (e.g. the aforementioned engineer), need less-powerful alternates to replace them. As such, while only the psion is a true caster class, you may appreciate the reduced overall power a lot of the classes have here.

Unfortunately, the book seems to be missing a section or two, and it’s in this chapter that we first get a clue as to that. The psion’s psychic manifestion abilities make reference to spending psionic power points, for example, but while it says it refers to these more in the book’s “third chapter” (and even references a table found there) said chapter is nowhere to be found; it doesn’t help that there are no chapter numbers here anyway. I also took issue with how the psion is supposed to gain a discipline power every odd level, but some of the disciplines had less than ten powers to select to begin with – that’s just poor design.

The book’s third section is a one-page coverage of skills in Veil of Truth. There’s no discussion of what skills are deleted here, save for noting the alternate applications of a few skills (e.g. Fly, Ride, etc.) and bringing in a few alternate skills (e.g. Psionics rather than Spellcraft). I should mention that the Psionics skill, which is barred from use by characters that don’t have it as a class skill (there’s a feat for that, by the way), actually lets you pull off some abilities that replicate actual spells (e.g. detect thoughts, cure light wounds) though only a few times per day. This is a notable bump in power, enough so that even with a feat-tax on most characters, it’s a must-have skill (especially since all of its uses are against static DCs).

Feats are similarly single-paged in their display, and while several are replacements for normal Pathfinder feats, a number are specific to the new races presented earlier.

The equipment chapter may be the most fun part of the book, simply because it’s cool to see a bunch of high-tech guns, and other items, in Pathfinder. These all fall into one of three new types of weapon proficiency, and all have a description, but there’s no listing as to whether they’re one- or two-handed, which is an oversight. There are also notably few armors, simply because most guns attack your touch AC at closer ranges anyway (a la the gunslinger).

It’s after these that the book begins to show some real innovation, as it then introduces us to ultratech items. It may sound odd to call these innovative, as they’re essentially re-skinned magic items, but there are some interesting spins on them here. For example, the armors here all have various spells that can be used on the wearer, but only so many before they have to be recharged; other ultratechs also need recharging, but are so large that they can only be mounted on a vehicle or be found as part of a building.

The last section of the book presents the Veil of Truth campaign setting proper. I found it to be a nice change of pace from the typical campaigns where humans are a dominant power. The gist of this is that Earth was basically treated as a nature preserve by aliens that were already aware of us, and gave us time to develop not out of altruism, but simply because they knew that most races that managed to make contact with galactic society tended to self-destruct from the extreme culture shock. Humans nearly did, but have managed to avoid total self-annihilation, and are slowly coming back from the brink. There’s more nuance than that, of course, and more information on the greater backdrop, but it’s still a pretty minimalist presentation – all the better for GMs to fill things in as they go along.

Overall, I found Veil of Truth to be a book that was defined almost as much by what isn’t here as what is. There’s nothing regarding starships or starship combat, for example, let alone things like planet-busting weapons, robots and cyborgs, genetic engineering, etc. I can respect that they stuck to adapting the Pathfinder rules as much as possible, but there are some things that aren’t so easily brought into a sci-fi game by just re-flavor-texting something from a fantasy genre. The fact that there are also problems with some missing things (mostly related to the psion’s use of psychic powers and abilities), and this book seems to serve more as a template for a sci-fi Pathfinder game than a fully-fledged game unto itself. Ultimately, there are a lot of ways to do sci-fi, but I wish there was a little more truth behind the Veil.

Sci-Fi Modern Rules at an Affordable Price...

****( )

A very interesting product with a surprising amount of content for the size and price. Reminiscent of some of the best Sci-Fi I have played (Fading Suns, Alternity, and even the Revised Star Wars Rules), nearly anyone running a future or post-apocalyptic setting could find value in it.

It also features a very streamlined Psionics system, which while nowhere near as robust as Psionics Unleashed, allows a fairly functional and complete Psion character with a minimum of fuss for a DM allowing the idea for the first time.

The art was interesting but suffered a little from re-sizing distortions.

Summary: If you are new to Pathfinder and want to run Sci-Fi this is a solid affordable buy. If you are new to Psionics and still unsure how much you want to add take a look at it. Otherwise an excellent springboard product to start a new Sci-Fi Pathfinder Game, but I would rapidly seek to find more complex support for it. Gift Certificates
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