Broken Earth Player's Guide (PFRPG) PDF

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Bombs fell. Billions died. Now you must pick up the pieces and rebuild this Broken Earth.

Broken Earth is an adventure setting that takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of Earth. It deals with a small fraction of the world, what was once the northern Midwest of the United States, and a tiny bit of southern Central Canada. As an adventure setting, Broken Earth includes many compelling locations and adventures, but also gives the heroes freedom to explore the world.

The Broken Earth Players Guide describes everything that players need to create characters for Broken Earth, including new feats, traits, powers, and setting rules.

This is the Pathfinder RPG compatible version of the book. It is also available in a Savage Worlds compatible version.

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An review


This supplement is 55 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 51 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

So what is Broken Earth? It is, essentially, a post-apocalyptic setting on our very own planet earth - the Great War has passed, and now the world is changed. Thus, one can assume a bunch of differences from traditional Pathfinder fantasy campaigns. So let's skip the basic introduction and its flavor for now and focus on the options available for character generation, shall we? First of all, it is recommended you use hero points as per the APG - why will become more evident later.

First of the "new races" would be the freaks - changed by radiation and genetically-engineered viruses, these beings get +2 to an ability-score of their choice, +20 to fort-saves against radiation (and no auto-fail on a natural 1), +4 to saves versus diseases and poisons and +1 to AC.

Simians would be just the race for fans of "Planet of the Apes" - these mutated, upright walking intelligent chimpanzees get +2 to Str and Dex, -2 to Int, low-light vision, a climb speed of 20 ft., +2 to acrobatics (and acrobatics and climb are always class skills), are never prone as a result from falling (and get +1 to CMD versus trip) and finally, receive improved initiative as a bonus feat.

If you'd rather go for a synthetic lifeform, the synths would be your race of choice with +2 Con and Int, -2 Cha, increased natural healing, 25% chance to negate crits, 10 ft. less falling distance for means of damage, +2 to two skills (which become class skills) and +4 to skill-checks when dealing with AIs.

All right, that out of the way, let's take a look at classes - and here you'll get a minor shock: No divine and arcane magic. None. That means only the barbarian, fighter, monk and rogue are available. This also means no Knowledge (arcana), Use Magic Devices etc., but Knowledge and Craft get some new subcategories. But before delving deeper into that matter, I feel obliged to note that barbarians get two new rage powers - one making him/her resistant to radiation, while the other grants a raging barbarian a RADIATION AURA. Yes. This is awesome. Fighters may opt for the waste warrior archetype, which essentially takes handguns and long arms into account as weapon categories, Living Weapons, i.e. Broken Earth's monks, become immune to radiation and also can actually temporarily fly at 12th level by virtue of their ki! In a world sans magic, rather awesome! Rogues of the Scrapper archetype can wilder in chemistry and psionics.

Wait...yep, alchemists are represented via the Chem-heads, who use chemistry instead of alchemy. Their extracts can be injected, transmitted via patches etc. Discoveries, appropriate extracts etc. are covered in this section as well. Cavaliers remain unchanged, whereas gunslingers (here known as boomers) also get a minor modification.

Now I've already mentioned psionics - and yes, this setting actually integrates Dreamscarred Press' superb psionics-rules, though once again, limitations to maintain the world's integrity are mentioned. In even more cool cross-3pp-support, Kobold Press' great Spell-less ranger and Rogue Genius Games' superb Anachronistic Adventurers are also mentioned, even giving a nod towards the Warlords of the Apocalypse book in planning, even though that might be considered direct competition. Superb sportsmanship and camaraderie from Sneak Attack Press here - two thumbs up!

As mentioned, we get new skills - two to be precise: Drive and Pilot and they do just what you'd expect them to. 10 new feats allow you to shoot burst fire, double tap with semiautomatic firearms, gain mutations, radiation resistance, affect vermin with your psionic powers, get subdermal blades as a synth, create super drugs or drive surface vehicles sans penalty. We also get a trait for a minor mutation and 9 traits assigned to 3 locales, usually offering additional starting equipment and also offering minor bonuses.

Now I've already mentioned mutations - these are determined by their mutation points, or MP. Mutations either offer you a cost in the case of beneficial mutations or a value in the case of mutation drawbacks. Mutations either are cosmetic, minor, major or drawbacks and a total of 37 of these allow for some mayor character customization - from unnatural eyes, darkvision to weak (and superb) immune systems, webbed digits, lost arms, tails, especially pronounced sense of smell to even growing to size large, there is quite an array of cool options, some of which can be combined - if a bite attack is not enough, you can always upgrade that with acidic spittle - just remember that kissing will never be the same...

We also are introduced to a new anti-radiation formula and 4 new psionic powers that deal with radiation and technology.

After this, we are introduced to the 3 sample communities mentioned among the traits, offering unique perspectives and flavor -from the primitive Axe Tribe to the Iron Shelter and the prosperous Wright Town, each gets a full-blown settlement statblock, interesting background info and even local slang - awesome.

What about gear? Well, to cut a long ramble short - there is A LOT of gear in here, including different tech levels and a re-examination of the basic firearm rules and proficiency availability. The concept of item rarity and proficiencies with exotic weapons like flame throwers are covered here as well as rules for autofire. Tons of weapons and items as well as rules for weapon accessories and yes, even ammo weight, are provided, as are various super-drugs. Beyond these, we also get 8 new vehicles to pilot with the drive skill, from bicycles and canoes to SUVs and harleys - a nice array, which btw. also includes fuel efficiency. It should be noted that Broken Earth presumes trade points as an abstraction for the relative value of items, allowing you to easily convert from gp-values. Oh, and there are mastercraft items, which, in the absence of magic, work as more varied degrees of superior manufacture.

The gear out of the way, next up would be rules for varying degrees of radiation sickness, overland hexploration/overland travel rules, harvesting and scavenging according to the item's respective rarity. Where the pdf starts shining excessively would be in the settlement construction rules, which not only greatly expand those provided in the glorious Ultimate Campaign book, it also offers equivalents of titles and a total of no less than 64 (unless I've miscounted) buildings, all with BP and lots, allowing you supreme construction options to create your own settlement and essentially run survival-themed kingmaker games in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Better yet: Community-events are covered in similar, massive detail and even mass combat army resources are part of teh deal here - glorious!


Editing and formatting are good - while I did not notice any significant glitches, some minor typos have crept in - though nothing too serious can be found glitch-wise. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard with neat b/w-artworks that thematically fit the setting's flair. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Matthew J. Hanson delivers a dauntingly conservative post-apocalyptic setting that comes alive surprisingly well thanks to the absence of magic - instead of trying to be too wide, the setting is narrow, concisely made and shows significant awareness for what's out there, allowing you to make use of all those cool rulebooks you have gathered without explicitly requiring you to do so. The Broken Earth Player's Guide is a massive post-apocalyptic toolbox, a supplement that works as a great introduction to the setting and its possibilities. Broken Earth is well-crafted and the book manages to make me excited to try for a settlement-building "stem the tide"-scenarios and more secrets on the DM-side about the world. And that is the hallmark of a good supplement. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars, missing the seal of approval only by a tiny margin.

Endzeitgeist out.

The horrible future you've so desperately wanted is here!


Weighing in at 55 pages, this has about 52 pages of content, offering up setting and rules adjustments for a post-apocalyptic world of the Midwest. The artwork is B&W, with a great Malcolm McClinton cover that nearly sells the book by itself. Editing and layout is decent; I think I only really saw one typo and nothing which would impede my understanding of the text.

Matthew Hanson provides a great adjustment to your Pathfinder game, giving you what you need to run a post-apoc campaign, with shout-outs to Kobold Press' spellless ranger and Dreamscarred's psionics rules. There are mutants, ape-men, and even ultra-rare synthetics.

He has rules for radiation, some modern equipment, and a great subsystem for mutations which mirrors the trait/drawback system. Some of these look powerful, or offer the opportunity for powerful combinations, but I think I'd want to see how they operate in play before I judge, because they look pretty cool.

Broken Earth gives us three different factions, each at a different level of recovery or survival and with different goals. He suggests several other groups which exist, but doesn't expand upon them in too much detail. One notable omission is a regional map-- sure, I could use Google maps or an atlas, but I'd love to have some ideas of each faction's range, of their influence, where friction points might be, and were points of interest might exist. It's a quibble, though, and one I can easily remedy.

This is also missing a healthy crop of story seeds or suggested arcs. However, Hanson does show how the community building rules from Ultimate Campaign can be adjusted to work, and suggests the core of a game might be the rebuilding, growth and survival of the characters' home, but he doesn't offer any storylines to pursue it. Honestly, though, I'm okay with that. There are enough ideas in the text to jumpstart any GM's brain, and I've got a half dozen just from reading it. Any GM looking for this material has stories in mind anyway, so I don't consider it a weakness.

One thing I appreciated was Hanson's light treatment of the apocalypse. Yes, there was a terrible nuclear exchange, but he doesn't say why, or if it was secondary to something else, like a zombie plague, or a comet impact, or something else, leaving it as an exercise for the GM. I think that's great, because it gives the GM room to personalize the world and add in the twist they want.

Overall, I'd give this 4.5 stars, but I'm bumping it to 5 because it scratches an itch that people have wanted for a while. And I think that this, combined with this summer's Tech Guide are going to make for some absolutely epic campaigns. Are you tired of waiting for other Pathfinder takes on the post-apocalyptic world? Want to plunge into a quasi-modern wasteland with your Pathfinder group? You want this book, it's going to be the best $6.99 you've spent in a long time.

(Side note, I'm definitely picking up the hardcover when it's available!)

EDIT! I realized this is the player's guide! In which case, everything I said is great, it makes sense why the plot points or the map aren't here, and really makes me consider picking up the PDF of the setting. While I was initially offput by the $15.99 price tag, now, I'm about to go get it.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available!

Any info on when this might be made available in print?

Webstore Gninja Minion

William Wood wrote:
Any info on when this might be made available in print?

Right now our distributor is listing April as a release date.

Interesting! I'm looking forward to picking this up in a little bit.

Somebody please review this if you got it. I'd love to be convinced to buy this or just get more details.

Is it possible to poke someone to see about a print/pdf combo preorder?

Any reviews for this one?

Review posted of the Player's Guide!


I've picked up this book now, so I'll try punching something out.


terraleon wrote:

I've picked up this book now, so I'll try punching something out.


Looking forward to hearing your take on the complete product. I'm tempted to pick this up, particularly with the Tech Guide coming out this summer!

I can't post a review of the PDF yet, for some reason, so I'll instead post it here, in the comments.

This book is 195 pages, with approximately 3 pages of cover and licensing. There's a lot of content here. The opening of the primary PDF is the Player's guide-- the first 55 pages are the same from what I can tell. That's ok, in my opinion, because as the GM, I'm going to need that information, too. However, if you're a GM who's only ever going to work on electronic books, you can save yourself $7, and just pick the primary PDF.

The remaining 140-odd pages are packed with 3/4 plot arcs and storylines utilizing the different factions, locales and npcs. While it doesn't get too gritty, it definitely sets the stage for games to go with a post-apoc vibe that's grimy, Mad Max rough, or swing Gamma-World-Paranoia softer. That's a range I can appreciate. There are relationships, motivations, lust, greed, and delicious existential dilemmas.

It's a sandbox loaded with buried treasure, waiting for the party to stumble upon the the first clues. The art is solid, b&w and appropriate, while the maps are hex-crawl-tastic, and understandably so, given the scarcity theme which runs like a constant, lightly fallout-tainted wind from the west. I wish they marked a few more larger towns near particular settlements for potential in-game scavenging sites, but given that Google Maps is part of your supplement shelf, I can forgive the omission.

The bestiary covers everything you'll hit in the sandbox, giant bugs, drones, as well as anything else. The art for entries which get it is black and white, too, but not everything receives a treatment-- again, given the basis and the amount of material here, I'm ok with that, as it keeps it scary while you play, leaving some to the imagination.

There are a few editing snafus (I saw a couple of "improtant" ones) but nothing that's going to hinder your enjoyment of the text. Otherwise, it's a fine, two-column layout with a light, print-friendly trade dress.

Finally, the book closes out with some appendices, covering high-tech traps, some wandering monster tables, generic minion stats, psionics, treasure tables-- excuse me, rare item tables, and then inspirational material followed by some calendar pages marking a few seminal events. It even has an index!

Really, everything you need to make this work (within reason) is waiting here for you, and when it's not, it's clearly indicated where you need to find it. Nothing listed beyond the text struck me as expensive or excessive, but then I own almost everything from Kobold Press and I signed on to the Ultimate Psionics KS. Still, this seems like $16 very well spent. I'd completely give it 5 stars and say that it gets me wanting to run the campaign set here. Shouldn't that be the goal? I'd say, "yes" and tell you there's a home run waiting for you-- just take the plunge.


Thanks for the review terraleon!

I think I'll be picking this up once a hard copy or hard copy/pdf bundle is offered. My primary group is reluctant to move away from the Pathfinder rule set for long term gaming, but I've been craving some good post-apocalyptic RPing.

Reviewed first on, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here and on OBS. Cheers!

Just a piece of errata... I noticed both the Fangs and Acidic Saliva Mutations make reference to a "Venomous Bite Mutation." However, the Venomous Bite Mutation does not appear in the Broken Earth PG. Any chance we can have the information for the Venomous Bite Mutation posted here?

Okay, odd, the Player's Guide seems to have taken over the product discussion - so yeah, now the CAMPAIGN SETTING is reviewed as well on, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted on Lou Agresta's RPGaggression, here and OBS. Cheers!

Anyone running a game of this? Would be curious to hear how about it.

Review is up. You can find it and more over on my blog.

Liberty's Edge

Does it have rules for using items from the Technology guide?

Qstor wrote:
Does it have rules for using items from the Technology guide?

Unlikely. This was released before the Tech Guide which came out at Gen-Con 2014 if I recall correctly. I'm haven't checked the PDF download since then, but I will take a look when I have a moment.

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