A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement The Fringe

The Fringe by AJ Kenning, Ramsey “Tome Wyrm” Lundock, Robert Hemminger and David Caffee and published by the Avalon Game Company is a campaign sourcebook for Infinite Futures 2.0, Avalon’s science fiction system based on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. With it being based on Pathfinder, the supplement is covered by the Open Game License and therefore some of it is classed as Open Game Content.

The book is available as a PDF from RPGNow at the regular price of $9.99 as well as a black and white print on demand book for $20, or both book and PDF for $20. The PDF is the version reviewed, which was purchased at the discounted price of $1. The PDF has 74 pages, of which one page is the full colour front cover, one page is the front matter, one page is the Open Game License and one page is an advert.

The FringeWhat is The Fringe? lists the necessary books, which are the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook and the Infinite Futures 2.0 Core Rulebook. Other recommended books are Infinite Origins and Aliens of the Fringe from Avalon, and from Paizo the Advanced Character Guide, the Advanced Player’s Guide, Gammastery Guide and Ultimate Combat. The section also has information as to using The Fringe with Infinite Futures and a description of Known Space and The Fringe.

Powers That Be has various different powers that can be found in The Fringe. These are companies, organisations and interstellar polities

Population covers the races found in The Fringe, and describes nine PC races and four NPC races (although all but one of these can be PC races, if the GameMaster wishes). Some of these races appeared in the Infinite Futures 2.0 core book, but there are some genuinely new alien races here. Each race has details on their homeworld, tech level, government and military and worlds occupied, including how much of a presence they have in the Fringe itself.

Stellar Geography is a brief section which has a map of the galaxy, with the location of The Fringe and the Core Worlds which they surround.

Worlds of the Fringe has a map showing the location of different worlds, and covers ten different worlds in the Fringe in detail. Most have an image of the world (the first, Archipelago, does not; this looks like an omission, rather than being deliberate). There is also a rough map of each solar system and details on the planet and population.

The Fringe in Review

The PDF has no bookmarks, there is no table of contents and no index. Navigation is, therefore, as bad as it can get – without actually reading the PDF there is no way of knowing just what is covered in it, and certainly no way of knowing whereabouts in the book it is; the sections as mentioned above are essentially guessed from the layout, but it isn’t known for certain if that is actually how the book is divided up.

The book usually has two columns of text, but occasionally swaps to one on part pages that have the remaining space filled with images. Sometimes, however, part pages have the second column filled with a page filler instead, and sometimes pages that could have been two columns are instead single. The effect lacks consistency to a degree. Some of the artwork has been reused from Infinite Futures 2.0, and there is also some black and white stock art as well as the vaguely electronic looking page filler seen across the Infinite Futures range. There doesn’t appear to be much, if any, genuinely new artwork done for this book. The writing is pretty much error free; something that is often not true for Avalon’s published material.

What is The Fringe? makes reference to two recommended books, Infinite Futures: Race Book and Races of the Fringe. In the next section it instead references Infinite Origins and Aliens of the Fringe, which seem to be the correct books. This discrepancy crops up a few times within the supplement.

The ten planets in Worlds of the Fringe are covered in a decent level of detail, with usually at least a couple of pages devoted to each, and comprehensive details on things such as population, major settlement, resources and government; enough to give each world character.

One thing that really lets the supplement down is that it desperately needs a table of contents at the very least, and preferably some bookmarks as well. At the full price of $9.99 it is a bit on the high side for the material contained, but this is common for Avalon products, although the editorial quality is higher than typical. Still, The Fringe provides a decent start to a setting which is also supported by many other supplements although not, by the looks of it, by any adventures.

 

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