Author: Dave Blewer
Producer: Triple Ace Games (originally produced by Pinnacle Entertainment Group)
Price: Setting $34.99 (book) $24.99 (pdf), Players Guide $14.99 (pdf)
While killing time the other day I went into the Dragon's Lair in Austin, Texas. I remember now why I don't go into game stores often: cuz I buy stuff. At one point I had Deadlands: Reloaded, Rune Punk, Pirates of the Spanish Main and Sundered Skies in my Troll claws. Eventually I put two of the books back and walked out of there with Sundered Skies and Pirates.
The Pirates book still sits on my bookshelf, waiting patiently while I devour the contents of Sundered Skies. I have to admit, I really like this settings.
The history of Sundered Skies involves a god's war between the gods of the elves, dwarfs, humans, orcs and drakin and the Demon King. Five heroes, one from each race, rose to the challenge and defeated the Demon King cutting his indestructible heart out. The gods then shattered and reformed their world around the heart.
The gods named the new world Heartland and created a Soul Shield around it with the souls of those who worshiped the Demon King. The five heroes paid the ultimate price and also merged with the shield to ensure its integrity.
Millennia passed but the demons finally found Heartland. Heroes once again rallied to save the world but realized, too late, that the demonic attack was a trick. The demons real goal was to suck the world of Heartland into the Abyss. They succeeded.
The Demon King's Heart, sensing its body nearby, began beating again. This shattered the world of Heartland killing millions. The gods were cut off from most of their power and were weakened by the lost demonic battle but still they did what they could creating the Sundered Skies from the remnants of Heartland.
Some of gods went insane. The god of the oceans became the Glow, an ever present light in the Skies. Prolonged exposure to the Glow drives one insane. The god of the elves has been corrupted and while the elves aren't completely evil, they are lead by a queen with dark intent creating slave races of Ferals and Wildlings.
Other gods took their race in a new direction. The god of the orcs tamed (somewhat) the race. While the orcs still enjoy battle and cloak themselves in honor they have, for the most part, given up their lives of nomadic raiders and live alongside the other races in relative peace.
The god of the dwarfs did the most to save those it could and was the chief architect of the Skies.
Now islands float between the icy above and a fiery below. Sky Ships sail the winds between the islands held aloft by some unknown force of the gods. Each race has its own type of ship. Elves grow their ships that have huge leaves as sails. Dwarfs have steam driven iron clads complete with cannons. Human fly galleons much like those of Europe's 1600s. Orcs have huge war rafts powered by goblin slaves. The draconic Drakin build ships shaped like their dragon cousins powered by large wings.
I found the book well laid out with nice artwork. The pages are parchment colored with clearly readable text (something that is not always true of the Solomon Kane production). Note that the book does not contain the core rules. You'll need to purchase those separately.
Only half the book contains rules. The remainder is setting and scenarios (lots of scenarios) and creatures. Many of the creatures are those affected by glow madness and transformed into raving, rending versions of their former selves.
Quite a few pages contain information about the trapped gods, both sane and helpful and insane and baleful. Each god/goddess has specific trappings for the spells they grant the priests of their order. Since the gods are trapped within the Skies characters chances of interacting with them is higher than a normal fantasy setting.
The creators of Sundered Skies recently separated from Pinnacle forming their own company named Triple Ace Games. They have two product lines: Sundered Skies and Necropolis. In my opinion this will hurt Pinnacle due to the loss of two very talented writers but the fact that Triple Ace only has these two product lines (at present) I suspect that means lots of supplemental products for Skies and Necropolis will surface soon.
I don't like the fact that the core rules aren't contained in the setting book. SW rules are fairly brief and so it wouldn't have added greatly to the cost. At the same time I understand leaving them out due to space and cost considerations. It will be interesting to see if the rules are contained inside the Players Guide.
Sundered Skies is a quality product. The setting is incredibly rich but has an incredible amount of room for a GM to claim as his own with new sky islands and ships.
The product gets four out of five dwarf skulls for quality and content.