Wednesday, October 1, 2014



We have a new review. Our new review is of “Spectrum Games” latest series book, “Crusaders of Sarillon” written by Steve S. Long.


The cover shows a strange wizard and three monsters confronting four humans. It's one of the better pictures done for a series. The one for “Punk Rock Saves The World” was kind of lame if you ask me.


After the cover, we get a page with the series name and blurb for the series, “Warriors of Justice in Magic Land Beset By Tyranny.” Then we get the usual credits and channel guides that's been use since “Iron Wolves.”

Then “The Series” part goes something like this: “Sarillon — a wondrous land of both sorcery and science! For years its people have been crushed under the brutal rule of the Council of Shadows: seven evil men and women who use their power to take what they please and destroy any who dare to stand against them. But now the eerie Eternity Portal has brought several heroes from the mysterious realm called “Earth” to fight for the people of Sarillon and free them from oppression!”

Following this is “Land of Sarillion”, covering the land of Sarillion; the mountain North section which the Snowrock Mountains dominate, the temperate Center Lands which contain the Blackspire, an enormous peak where the Council of Shadow meets, The South – which contains three landmarks – Sunscar Desert, Mazorian Jungle & Thorn Swamp; & the Underlands – tunnels that exist under Sarillion itself.

“The History of Sarillion” covered next as the book stated, “
Although only the wise and learned know it, the present day is actually the Third Age of human civilization in Sarillon. During the First Age, tens of thousands of years ago, a race of gigantic dragons known as the Drakon ruled the land. With bodies sometimes miles long, and wingspans that could blot out the sun, the Drakon were fearsome rulers who used humans as both slaves and food. For thousands of years they held humanity in thrall, until the brave warrior Alexandros and his sister, the star-sorceress Shirana, rose up against them. Leading humanity in rebellion against their draconic overlords, they fought the Drakon throughout Sarillon: in the air; on the ground; in the deep caverns of the Underlands. The war lasted many long years, and by the time it was done both Alexandros and Shirana were dead, their weapons and talismans shattered or lost, and most of humanity had been slain as well. But the Drakon were destroyed, and their hold over Sarillon removed forever. To this day some of their gargantuan skeletons can still be seen at various places throughout the land. The passing of the Drakon ushered in the Second
Age. The survivors of the war, pitiful remnants of the civilization of the First Age, remembered how the dragons used magic against them, and how magical conflagrations destroyed cities and towns, and for the most part turned their backs on the arcane arts. Instead they built their culture around technology, and studied science instead of sorcery. Over thousands of years they advanced, in time creating technological wonders
so amazing that the people of the Third Age cannot distinguish them from magic: flying cars; glittering cities whose buildings seem to reach for the very stars themselves; weapons that fire frost, lightning, or even stranger energies; robotic servants and soldiers. The people of the Second Age believed they had mastered the world, and that nothing lay beyond their grasp — not even the stars. But their pride proved their undoing. While on an archaeological dig near Mount Blackspire, the famed super-scientist Korbis Lascar unearthed part of the ancient Underlands. There he found a strange, crystalline artifact he couldn’t identify, but which fascinated him. Determined to unlock
its secrets, and thus perhaps develop a new type of technology that would create a golden age for the people of Sarillon, he studied it intently for years. At last in his arrogant confidence he dared to try to crack it open to unleash and control the energies within it. But those energies were beyond the control of any mortal. The resulting explosion killed Lascar, destroyed the city of Ambrosius, and created a sorcerous maelstrom that began to ravage the land. Other scientists, and even the few
mystics that existed, tried to disperse the arcane storm, but it was beyond their powers. Many of them died in heroic efforts to stop the storm, but they could not prevent the apocalypse. By the time the mystic maelstrom petered away, the land had changed. Millions had perished in the storm and the natural disasters that followed
in its wake. Entire cities had collapsed into rubble. Where once forests had stood, the storm had scoured the land and transformed it into desert or swamp. Mountains had risen or sunk, rivers changed course, rocks crumbled to dust. And yet in other places the storm left the land untouched, or enhanced what was already there instead of destroying it. Mount Blackspire, at the very heart of Sarillon, was one such area; its profile remained the same as in the First Age. The few people who survived the storm once again set out to rebuild the world. Today, centuries later, they have created a civilization that in many ways seems to meld those of the First and Second Ages. For the most part, magic reigns, and most folk live in villages and towns where low technology — horses, blacksmithing, swords, and the like — is all that’s available. But some nobles,
wizards, merchants, and other fortunate folk still command the advanced technology of the Second Age, though few of them truly understand it or know how to repair it when it’s destroyed or breaks down. Nearly a hundred years ago a group of strange,
powerful men and women appeared in Sarillon. No one but them knows where they came from. They may have fled from another world through the Eternity Portal (see below), or perhaps they’re survivors from the First or Second Ages who slumbered for eons in the Underland. Whatever their origin, they soon made their intentions clear:
they wanted power and wealth, and would do whatever it took to obtain both. Over the next twenty years, these powerful men and women took over Sarillon, one region at a time. Each one had his own special methods of fighting, their own tactics and schemes, and by working together they were unstoppable. At last all the land, and everyone living in it, fell into the grasp of their iron fist. To keep control of their new realm, the seven of them formed the Council of Shadows, the group that has ruled Sarillon ever since. Each one took one seventh of Sarillon as his personal domain, where his word was law and the other six weren’t allowed to interfere. From that day to this, the people of Sarillon have bowed their heads, suffered the yoke the Council placed upon them — and
silently prayed for a hero to save them the way Alexandros and Shirana did eons ago.”

Following that is a list of members of “The Council of Shadow” and their private goon squads: Baalset and his Eldspars; Warlord Kraal and his Invincible Legion; Princess Shadaria and her Amazons, Sorrdak the Sorcerer and his Scaraboath, Toryama and his Hordians, Varstang the Clever and his Shadowbeasts, Zargon and his Robotrons.

Next reveals that the heroes are normal “Earth” people that through the mysterious “Eternity Portal”, which appears as random as a typo in a poor written fan-fiction on the web. Everyone including the “The Council of The Shadows” want to knows The Portal's effect. As the PDF says, "The Portal is a gateway to other ways. Sometimes the portal allows strange monsters in find their way to Sarillion but the “The Council of Shadows” are worried about intellect being from other words that might threaten their powers. This is where the heroes come in – as they are doing their normal work on Earth, suddenly the Eternity Portal drops them in a distant part of Sarillion allowing them to meet up and form friendship before contending with the Council – which will try to capture, imprison, experiment on, and kill them. The Portal has one other effect that no one's aware of: it's enhances and magnifies the best qualities of a being passes though it. A person who’s strong and tough becomes stronger and tougher (though not superhumanly so). One who’s smart, or clever, or good at fighting, or handy with electronics becomes even better at those things. A monster that is fierce and vicious becomes fiercer and more vicious. Thus, the player characters are perfectly poised to become great heroes! Although the “attentions” of the Council will almost certainly force the heroes into conflict with them (and thus into the role of being heroes), returning home may also concern some of them (at least at first). Unfortunately this is difficult. There’s no way to predict where (or when) the Eternity Portal will open, or what reality it will open onto. No magic spell exists to transport someone across dimensions. However, it’s possible that such a spell once existed during the First Age, and could still be found. But any books or scrolls containing such lore are either well-hidden, or in the control of the Council of Shadows…"

The following “Allies” covers a few possible allies before the PCs get magic or super-science weapons: civilized lizard-man, one of the tribes of valiant man living in the Snowrock Mountains, a group of hardy humans who built cave dwellings amidst the mesas and canyons of the Suncar Desert, a group more or less of helpless humans living in the central region who needs the PCs protection but who can offer assistance in the form of special magic or a well-concealed place to live, a group of super-scientists cast forward in time from the Second Age living in secret in some of the ruins.

Vehicles” aren't a big part of the series, they are only two kinds of vehicle that the PCs will come across: anti-gravity flying vehicles from the Second Ages and enchanted flying chariots.

Episodes' begins episodes of with the one of the following five kind of plots:

  • One or more members of the Council of Shadows wants something that will make him/them more powerful or dangerous, and the heroes have to stop him/them from getting it.
  • One or more members of the Council of Shadows devise a scheme to “get rid of those meddlesome heroes once and for all!”, and after initially falling into the trap the heroes have to figure a way out of it and then turn the tables on him/them.
  • One or more members of the Council of Shadows is quarreling or fighting with another one over something; the side effects of this could have catastrophic consequences for the heroes or their allies, so they have to put a stop to it.
  • Some threat not connected with the Council (or perhaps subtly manipulated by the Council from far behind the scenes), like ogre raids in the mountains
  • Something dangerous comes through an Eternity Portal and must be dealt with, lest all Sarillon suffer.

Following that are 4 episodes: “The Robot of Doom” (a get rid of heroes episode), “Raiders of the Lost Arc” (a Council members want item that makes him or her more powerful episode), “Attack of The Necromancer” (A non-Council threat episode), “Time of The Hero” (A non-Council threat episode).

The following that is the PC Guidelines...which contains something like this:

  • Star Power: 3
  • Tier and Traits Points: Human; 18
  • Other Rules:
    • Theme Adherence #1: The player-characters start out as regular teenagers from Earth, ideally from a semi-fictitious 1980s United States. They are only just gaining familiarity with the world of Sarillon.
    • Free Modifiable Traits: In addition to their 18 Trait Points, each player-character gets one Trait automatically at a rating of 4 (world-class) upon fi rst entering the world of Sarillon. This is a Trait representing something they had already done, practiced, trained, or known on their home world (“normal” Earth, that is). Instead of a skill, it can also be a broad ability or characteristic like STRONG, SMART, ALERT, or HEALTHY. Such broad and generalized Traits cannot be further improved with points or Upgrades to raise them above 4. However, a more specific skill or area of knowledge (e.g. BIOLOGY or CLASSIC LITERATURE) could be raised up to 6.
    • Free Modifiable Traits #2/New Special Rule: (ONLY IN SEASON 2, AND AT GAME MASTER'S DISCRETION): Later in the series, each PC also acquires one Trait with a new Special Rule called Portal Power – for as long as they are physically in Sarillon. Such a Trait should be a different quasi-magical ability for every PC, and will automatically start out at 6 although the PCs are still Human-tier. The Portal Power can also be further modified and raised through Upgrades as per the normal character creation rules. A Portal Power Trait is automatically connected to the nature of the Eternity Portal. They are mainly plot devices, and may only manifest when the characters are near an Eternity Portal.
    • Theme Adherence #2: In the course of the series, it is very much possible that the heroes pick up gadgets and weapons based on forgotten Second Age technology. They do not suddenly become experts or engineers in that context, though. All Traits based on more powerful techno-magical contraptions, and items that the PCs found in an ancient Sarillon ruin, should ordinarily have the One-Shot, Oomph-Powered, and/or Situational Setback Special Rule.

The next has four ready-to-play PCs: Sadie, a plucky tomboy; Dolph, a hardy protector with a punk slant; Gina, a brave scouting adventuress, and Mich, a wise-cracking Tech Wiz.

Next pages has the stats for all seven members of the “Council of Shadows” and their seven goons squads. The following that is a map of Sarillion itself – then add for previous leased “Spectrum Games”.


This one is one of better ones. The Entirety Portal might be good way of having crossovers with some of the other series such as the following series: “Warriors of Cosmos”, “The Outlaws of Skull Gulch”, “Tin Justice”, and “The Mighty Mirror Masters”.