grandexperiment (grandexperiment) wrote,

Amethyst arrives for D&D5e

Over 5 years ago, I came across the setting Amethyst by Dias Ex Machina for D&D4e and spoke about it here: Though I loved the setting, D&D4e's finely tuned system meant that it was not a great fit for me ultimately. As I said back then, I was keen to see if the setting would make it to a more flexible system like True20 or Savage Worlds. I even spent some time considering using the 3e version to convert to True20.

Following a KS a year or so ago, DEM did exactly that, opening up Amethyst to FATE, Savage Worlds, and finally D&D5e. Given my enthusiasm for Amethyst, I was willing to persevere with my lack of enthusiasm for the first two RPGs in order to play in the setting. However, with the release of the D&D5e version, I can now combine the setting I love with a system that I really like too. The marriage (mechanically at least) is still not perfect TBH but its good enough for me.

Here's my review of the book:

Amethyst is a setting for D&D5e set 500 years in the future following the apocalyptic return of magic. In this new world, technology and magic clash as those that wield them struggle to survive.

The book is over 400 pages and provides a complete overview of the setting, including a wealth of mechanical tools needed to add technology and other setting specific elements to the base D&D5e system. The book is also lavishly illustrated with top quality art from just two artists, providing a clear and consistent view of the setting.

The setting is not just throwing D&D into the modern world: it isn't even a merger between the two, such as in Shadowrun. Instead, the setting is built from the ground up around its core conflict and creates a setting with strong narrative flavour filled with dramatic tension and weighty decisions. Unlike many built for RPG settings, Amethyst feels more like settings found in works of fiction like Shannara, Attack on Titan, Nausicaa, or even Hunger Games. Humanity clings to its technology in massive walled cities, progressing it far beyond what is capable today. Outside those worlds is the world of magic, where kindgoms, monsters and fae roam. Despite the fantastical nature of the setting, the book spends a lot of effort to ground its concepts in reality, extrapolating from science, religion, and other real world concepts.

Mechanically, the book is filled with new options from new technology based classed, new fantasy races, a bestiary, setiing specific backgrounds, and a robust equipment chapter including vehicles and exo-armour. In a number of instances, such as the background chapter, I considered that less may have been more. However, more is better than not enough. The mechanical additions all work within D&D5e's framework. There are some excellent design decisions like equating vehicles and exo-armour with existing rules for armour, and introducing organisations for group resources. However, it also shows its 3e and 4e roots in places. More could have been done to bring the mechanics in line with 5e. For example, I was left feeling like the techan classes could have been combined making the existing classes branches inside those classes. 5e is built with expansion in mind (which Amethyst does recognise with the Warden being added as a Fighter speciality), where as 3e and 4e required new classes for new concepts.

The book is well written and engaging. There are a number of typos similar errors, but they never effected reading comprehension.

Overall, Amethyst is a great setting and I feel like D&D5e is a good fit for it, compared to previous editions of D&D.

There is also a trailer using art from the book:

Tags: amethyst, d&d

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