Fantasy Flight Games is offering its Midnight campaign setting (2nd ed.) in pdf form for a mere $10. At that price, I'm prepared to buy an interesting-looking product that I otherwise wouldn't bother with and I'm glad I did. The 2nd edition of Midnight has been adapted for D&D 3.5, unlike the previous edition which was d20. I would describe the setting as Middle Earth if Sauron had won. The Gods were forced to cast down one of their own, the dark god Izrador. Unfortunately, they accidentally closed the heavens to the world of men, elves and dwarves in the process. In effect, they locked mortals in a cage with an evil god who was defeated, but by no means dead. It was only a matter of time until Izrador regained his strength and conquered the world. Now men serve Izrador, either willingly or as slaves, while his orcish armies hunt elves and dwarves to extinction.
In a world as dangerous as the one in Midnight, even heroes are rarely up to the task of resisting the power of the Shadow. Only those with some sort of special heritage can survive in such an environment, and so all characters have a heroic path, similar to a bloodline which gives them special abilities. These heroic paths come in several varieties, some are true bloodlines such as dragonblooded or feyblooded, while others are more of an inherent aptitude so potent, it gives the character supernatural abilities.
Other than heroic paths, the only other significant change from the standard D&D 3.5 rules is how magic is handled. There is only one spellcasting class, the channeler, although there are three subclasses, the charismatic channeler (who casts bardic spells), the spiritual channeler (who casts druidic spells) and the hermetic channeler (who casts wizard spells). There is no spell preparation, rather the channeler has a pool of spell energy points to spend to cast any spells he knows. In general, a channeler will know fewer spells than a standard D&D 3.5 wizard, but more than a bard.
Besides the channeler, the other core classes in Midnight are barbarian and rogue, both of which are largely unchanged, defender (which greatly resembles the monk class), wildlander (which is similar to ranger) and fighter (largely unchanged from D&D 3.5, but much rarer except among dwarves).
I do have a couple of minor complaints. There are a couple of places where the page design was messed up, resulting in the loss of some text under some of the interior art. Also, the quality of the maps is a bit substandard for a product of this quality. Still, for the most part, I am greatly impressed by what I have read of Midnight so far. It adeptly captures the feel of a conventional D&D campaign setting in which events go horribly wrong.
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