Arkadia – The Greek Setting for 5e is a DriveThruRPG product that resulted from a successful Kickstarter campaign. This review will be on the PDF from the DTRPG listing and will not address anything regarding the Kickstarter. That listing promises the buyer an epic setting inspired by Mediterranean locations such as Greece, Egypt, Persia, and Atlantis. Filled with new feats, monsters, magic items, races, and archetypes, Arkadia should be all you need to run an immersive 5E campaign in a Greek-inspired setting. I’m already imagining Perseus beheading Medusa or perhaps even Poseidon releasing the kraken! But I’m certainly anticipating meddlesome gods who just can’t leave mortals alone.
Arkadia – The Greek Setting for 5e
Writers: Eugene Fasano, Ken Roberts
Publisher: Arcana Games
Product Length: 101 pages
Growing up, I always preferred the Greek myths to most others. I think it was likely influenced by Desmond Davis’s Clash of the Titans. As a matter of fact, my first paladin was an Athena adherent. But that was as far as the Greek influence went in most of the sessions I played. Come to think of it, the only thing he ever encountered capable of petrifying anyone was a cockatrice. Otherwise, we mostly chummed around a setting that was essentially a Greyhawk derivative.
When Arcana Games reached out to me asking if I would be interested in reviewing Arkadia I got nostalgic for my childhood. I wanted to journey into this new setting and here was my chance.
This book has two sections. One is specifically for the players and the second is for the DM and serves as a combined setting and PHB. For me, the best parts are found early in Part 1 with some cool subraces and archetypes for the setting. Personally I don’t care much for the field dwarves but their cousins, the volcano dwarves, are a different story. While the former feel more akin to hobbits with a pronounced affinity towards stonework, the latter strike me as interesting, if slightly xenophobic, people who take great pride in their craftsmanship. By and large though, most of the races within this setting are what you’ve come to know from the official 5E PHB with the new subraces presented herein being distinguished. Indeed, it is only the Phaedran races (satyrs, sirens, gorgons, harpies, and centaurs) that are entirely unique to this setting.
As for the classes and their archetypes, there are no new classes here. But each pre-existing class has a new archetype that makes them all decidedly Greek. I love the cleric as a quasi-oracle.
Part 2 is the DM-facing section of the book that covers Gods & Titans, Cities, Magic Items, and Monsters. We get new gods in this part but I think it should be in the player section. After all, the PHB contains a host of several deities for the players to consider. What this book does that the PHB doesn’t though is give you a brief paragraph on each god followed by a depiction and suggested worshipers and sacred sites/temples.
Similar to the Gods & Titans sections, the Cities section is not inappropriate for players to access. There were no secrets I saw that the players shouldn’t be aware of. Basically, only the Magic Items and Monsters sections should be kept away. There are some pretty cool magic items and I like the heavy emphasis on bronze weapons and armor. It just seems so thematic to shift the focus away from iron and steel. Particularly helpful is the suggestion to only grant players access to common items and a small selection of uncommon ones if you’re going to focus on a more historical style campaign.
The creators did well to address typical Greek monsters. Charybdis and Scylla, Medusa and the cyclops, and Cerberus are all represented. My complaints regarding the monsters are that aren’t enough of them and the stat blocks are almost illegible because of graininess.
In a nutshell, Arkadia was an ambitious project that promises quite a bit but is a little wanting. Someone looking for a Greek setting will find pretty good directional material in this supplement. But the user looking for a fully fleshed out setting will not end their search here. The monster stat blocks notwithstanding, the product is professional quality aesthetically speaking. However, there are a good deal of typos. Additionally, while the subraces are definitely imaginative and fun, the base race entries for them have a lot of material that is copied, word for word, from the Player’s Handbook.
There was a lot of potential for a great product here. But the execution fell short of that greatness. The art is wonderful. The concepts are great. But this is a supplement that doesn’t save the DM work. As a matter of fact, the DM looking to start a Greek setting will find lots of work still left to do if they want to do it in Arkadia.
- (mostly) professional layout and design
- beautiful art
- inspirational content
- not a fully-realized campaign setting
- fair amount of content copied from the PHB without attribution