“Valraven: A Song of Blood and Iron” a role-playing game by The World Anvil and Black Box for the Monad Echo system. We have already thoroughly introduced the setting and part of the game system in the article on Quickstart and in the review by Evolution Pulse Rebirth, so in this review we will focus on the work that has been done (and is still being done today) to complete all the stretch goals unlocked by the Kickstarter.

What happened after the Kickstarter?

Of the many supported Kickstarter projects, I must admit that I have rarely seen a punctuality, an update frequency and explanations like those of the Valraven team. Updates arrive to backers approximately every two weeks, with an extensive illustration of the status of all jobs, including those that are awaiting editing, those awaiting layout, printing, etc ...
Absolutely admirable that the team behind Valraven is parallelizing the work where possible, allowing us backers to receive the product as soon as possible.
Another precious thing are the actual play, which allow those who have questions about the game or who want to get an idea to observe a small campaign.

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What does the digital manual look like?

The manual has 304 pages, divided into five parts plus the maps and cards section, which cover everything you need to know to create a good story in the world of Valraven, build your own company of mercenaries, the characters who will go there to enrich and their adventures.

The basics of the Monad Echo

Unlike the Quickstart, of which I had complained about the lack of clarity in some points of the rules, Valraven's manual is absolutely exhaustive in its explaining the mechanics through examples and repetitions of concepts. The Monad Echo confirms itself as a very light system that provides all the people at the table, from those who play with the characters to the narrator, all the tools necessary to manage the random component (very rarely punitive). After reading systems such as the Monad Echo, the TinyD6 and Not The End, all very different from each other, I believe that in the future we will see more and more systems based on tags to be put into play and not on simple statistics.

The lands of Valraven

This section is strongly recommended for storytellers who are looking for ideas for one-shot or short campaigns, as in addition to describing the companies that make up the world of Valraven, it offers excellent ideas for adventures or campaigns for each npc presented. By playing "only" the ideas presented in this section of the manual, a mercenary company would have adventures for different campaigns without ever getting bored or leaving the setting.
This section leaves little holes in the lore to allow storytellers to adapt their ideas and insert them into Valraven without risking clashing with what has already been written. The same campaign cue can therefore be approached from several angles, especially those on the Church and the Abyss.

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Game management

As a narrator I found this section really useful because Valraven proposes steps during the adventures and these pages help the master to understand them so that they can be brought back to the party. A section that proves to be modern also for the way it treats the first scene, the conclusion of the campaign, which points to keep in mind as a "mantra" and what to avoid absolutely.
Being a raw game, which is strongly inspired by Berserk or Dragon Age, the chapter on violence is also important. It can be an excellent narrative tool but this cannot ignore the sensitivity of the other people at the table. As always, the solutions are the simplest: talk about it first and have security systems.

What are we most waiting for from Kickstarter?

Surely the Book of Eclipse is what most Valraven players are waiting for, due to the additional information on the lore and all the darker aspects related to the setting. The Kickstarter page promises:

Part I: The Other Face of War, allows you to experience the conflict on the side of the Darokar invaders or in the service of the dark forces of the Hand on the Abyss. The Other Face of War includes rules and background information to experience a game campaign in which you will not fight for the safety of Valraven but for its destruction. Plus, you'll find useful insights and rules to better characterize these opponents in your classic campaigns.

La Part II, The World of Spirits, offers an in-depth overview of the arcane part of the setting, bringing dark spells into games, and the power and knowledge to create powerful artifacts. The whole includes a complete bestiary, illustrating the fantastic beings who have found their place in the lands of Valraven.

La Part III, Winds of War it is an insight into the Borderlands, the region most tormented by the eternal war between Dormas and Erenwald, and the starting point of many campaigns. This section includes the decaying city of Widmar, the borders of Erenwald and Dormas, a series of Scenarios, and useful characters and situations for each game group to start stories of blood and conquest.   

Valraven Kickstarter page