Uresia: Grave Of Heaven (BESM)
Publisher: Guardians of Order | 2004 | ISBN: 1894525337 | Pages: 112 | PDF | 3.19 MB
Summary: Fantasy, anime style
Five stars and deserving of everyone one, even on Ross' own scale (five being, "I want to run it now" to one, being "sorry, no"), this is a fun setting. With Uresia, Ross takes the console RPG game/Japanese fantasy anime and returns it to it's table top RPG roots. Uresia owes more to Slayers! and Record of the Lodoss Wars than to Tolkein. It's a world where deadly monsters hold an elven kingdom in thrall and where satry pirates stage panty raids on passenger ships.
This book is typical of the BESM sourcebooks, relatively short, direct, and to the point (personally, I could have gone with twice the book easily, it's a fun setting to read about). This brings me to the one thing I think this setting has over a number of others I've seen over the years: fun. This world looks a blast to play in, where deadly drama can give way madcap happenings in the blink of an eye. Ross encourages that style of play, as it's right out of the source material.
While epic's are possible to play, they're not manditory. A good game could be had where the players investigate the local surroundings, and defend there homes, or if epic is your favorite style, they canb go on great quests to protect the world from evil, or maybe they just sail around to ports, delivering cargo, and doing odd jobs, just travelling around… ;) (Two geek points for getting that reference, it's easy).
The world is a very open ended place, and well thought out. For once, there's actual a logical reason (well, a reason anway, it involves gods, and when the gods get involved, logic is often left to the wayside) for dungeons to be there, and for dungeon crawls. The lack of gods also means that the fate of the world is in the hands of its people, for all the bad and good, they have no one but themselves to blame. This open ended nature extends to races, character types, and homelands, in the console game tradition.
Physically, the book is well put together (as is to be expected of GoO), and the artwork first rate. Ross did the maps, and like the rest of the book, it shows what a labor of love this world is for him. As such, Ross will be publishing supplementary material through his in house imprint, Cumberland Games. Currently there are plans for a closer look at pirates, and you can download the fonts he used on the book, including runes, and map items so you can make your own Uresian style maps.
If you want a fun world to play in, this is the best I've seen in a long, long time. BESM is an easy system to use, so the rules details won't get in the way. Even if you don't like BESM, buy this book anyway to mine it for ideas, if you're a gm, you owe it to yourself.