The short summary of quality: Dream Pod 9 just keeps making great things even better. Don’t let them get their hands on chocolate – they might turn it into an addictive narcotic.
The big concept: Crisis of Faith was a masterpiece. Blood on the Wind is better.
Within the last week I have found the time to plunge once more into the wonderful Heavy Gear game setting after a long absence compounded by “real life”. To ease myself back into things I took a look at the eye candy which is Making of a Universe. Then I devoured the second edition of Life on Terra Nova (a book which has sat, neglected, on my shelf for far too long). Then I took the time to re-read Crisis of Faith. Pausing briefly to write reviews of each of these products (all of which can be found elsewhere on RPGNet) I picked up Blood on the Wind, the second storyline book and one which has been taunting me for over a month now.
I thought Crisis of Faith was a pinnacle of excellence. Much to my surprise I discovered that Blood on the Wind had not only built upon that success, but improved upon it.
First, what has remained the same. The story is still told through the collected notes and data of Nicosa Renault – a master spy who has “retired”, but remains interested in understanding why things happen on Terra Nova. As a result you get to hear the story of Terra Nova told through the thoughts, conversations, video logs, and journals of Terranovans – all gathered by another Terranovan who has an actual personality (and is not merely an excuse for Dream Pod 9 to gather up a bunch of useful stuff).
The product still tells a meta-story of immense proportion, power, and potential – taking full advantage of the roleplaying medium (see my review of Crisis of Faith for a fuller discussion of this). It accompanies this with a visually stunning presentation which demonstrates, once again, that Dream Pod 9 knows how to put a book together. (There aren’t quite as many images as in Crisis of Faith, but if quantity is all you’re interested in your still going to find more here than anywhere else you might care to look.)
So, what’s different? The smaller format of Crisis of Faith has been abandoned in favor of an 8.5 x 11 format (although it is turned on its side, so to speak, from your typical roleplaying supplement). Additionally, an appendix has been added including a detailed timeline of events and a “Who’s Who on Terra Nova” – both valuable resources for any roleplaying or tactical campaign (moreso the former than latter, but that’s to be expected). Also, the color sections found in Crisis of Faith have been abandoned in Blood on the Wind — probably due to cost considerations. I am sorry at their loss, but can understand that the Pod People simply had no choice in light of the negative market performance of Crisis of Faith due to its format. Finally, the layout and organization of this product is clearer than in Crisis of Faith. It’s a subtle improvement. If Blood on the Wind had never existed you’d never have known that anything was “wrong” with Crisis of Faith, because its really just a matter of degree in quality – not a “have and have not” situation.
I could go on at length about the wonders of this product, but I would largely be reduced to either repeating what I said in my review of Crisis of Faith and providing spoilers of the material found within. I choose to do neither.
So you’re wondering if you’ve understood me correctly: Crisis of Faith was one of the best products ever produced in the roleplaying industry. Blood on the Wind took every one of those strengths, eliminated the two small problems which might mar it in the opinion of some, and the only drawback is that I lost the full-color sections of the book? Plus I get more material? Plus it’s cheaper?
Yes, that’s right.
Plus if you thought the last six pages of Crisis of Faith were mind-blowing, wait ‘til you check out the first two pages of Blood on the Wind. Those are big. Then you get to the last four pages of the storyline book proper…. Welcome to a whole new level.
Author: Philippe R. Boulle
Company/Publisher: Dream Pod 9
Page Count: 80
Originally Posted: 1999/04/13
For an explanation of where these reviews came from and why you can no longer find them at RPGNet, click here.