By Thilo Graf
This instalment of Raging Swan Press‘s TRIBES-series is 25 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside of the front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC (containing a neat rhyme for your bard and e.g. tables like stats by CR etc.), 1 page advice for novice DMs on how to read statblocks, 1 page back cover, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 16 pages of content for the orcs, so how do the green-skins fare?
The TRIBES-line has delivered time and again classic tribes of humanoids with new twists and the orcs of eternal zenith are no different – when a sun-priest enchanted a holy tome with suggestions to end the orc’s eternal cycle of strife, he was captured, tortured and saw his plan come to fruition – in a terrible, twisted way. Today, the orcs of eternal zenith worship an unforgiving, all-consuming sun and those who adopted the new religion are not only trying to infiltrate the church, but have been cured of their light-blindness and seek to bring the sun’s furnace to the world in an apocalyptic, all-consuming conflagration. The tribe features rogues, inquisitors and uses burning weapons (especially) chakrams as an homage to their deity.
The tribe utilizes two feats to set weapons ablaze and scorch their foes (which rock), 2 new racial traits and as their chief is an oracle, he gets a cool curse (cackling megalomania – the reason why villains explain their plans!), a new oracle mystery and 11 new revelations and a new final revelation, focused on the power of the sun. The 3 new spells are sinister and work well, too, although Phototheurgy could use a clearer wording or example – I’m still not sure whether I understood the spell in the way it was intended. To make matters worse for the puny humans, the orcs have a unique shield + chakram (with neat artworks) and have constructed a doomsday device via their salamander-ally that shifts the local climate and can lead to the elemental plane of fire. Have I mentioned that the device is fuelled by fey?
With all this searing brightness, the former shaman of the orcs might make for an unlikely ally for the PCs and is thus included as well in the pdf alongside a female war-maiden of the tribe who might make for a new (albeit also evil) war-chief. All named NPCs get mannerisms, distinguishing features etc. in the best tradition of the TRIBES-line.
This pdf comes with a separate pdf that catalogues all the statblocks for use with the Raging Swan statblock library.
Editing and formatting are very good, although I did notice some glitches like a character named “Gnawfoul” being called “Gnawfowl”. Layout adheres to RSP’s elegant two-column standard and features some neat b/w-artworks. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks and a version optimized for use with e-readers. The Orcs of the Eternal Zenith are resplendent in every way – iconic, evil, unique, cool and most of all: Easy to use and yet different from your run-of-the-mill greenskin. I honestly didn’t expect too much, but I can easily see a whole series of adventures or even a whole campaign revolving around taking these brutes down and leading them back to old, more chaotic and less apocalyptic ways. Apart from a spell the could have used a less ambiguous wording and the aforementioned typo, I don’t have any complains. Seeing that writing-wise, this is my favourite TRIBE, I’ll settle for a 4.5 star and hope the file gets an update soon – without these minor glitches, this should be considered a 5 star+ Endzeitgeist seal of approval offering. Congrats to author David Posener!
Orc of the Eternal Zenith is available from: