CCC Review: Heir of Orcus III (Anthony Joyce): 5 Stars
In Duerradin the characters confront agents of the Heir of Orcus within Ios’s consciousness in order to prevent them from stealing valuable technology that would allow the cult to create an endless supply of souls.
The Heir of Orcus (Third of its Name) is the next installment in Anthony Joyce’s ENnie-nominated CCC series that takes players through the rise of Orcus’s heir and return to power. With extremely high production value, excellent narrative, and fast gameplay, this product exemplifies the perfection that a 2-4 hour adventure can reach.
Production Value. The production value of this product is absolutely amazing. Stunning art and maps, nearly perfect layout, and perfect editing all lead to an enjoyable read, and you may even stop to admire the quality of the art. If I have one complaint, there is some weird overlap between the “heading 1” capital letters and the following text, but it in no way limits readability–it’s more of a personal preference. The product also includes handouts and a Roll20 file, making this extremely well priced.
Narrative. The narrative continues from Verses I and II, but you don’t need to have played them to enjoy it. It is both self-contained and expansive. The plot is interesting (with heavy “cyberpunk” influences), engaging, and meaningful to both the players and the world at large. The players should feel a sense of urgency as they play through the product and their choices will carry lasting consequences for their characters as they carry them to different games.
Choices. Like the previous volumes of this series, Joyce offers a choice concerning which faction players can side with. With the ability to aid the Knights of Holy Judgement, the Cult of Zariel, or trying to cause as much Chaos for Lord Cthulu as possible, there’s a path for everyone, and the choices have meaningful consequences in what happens during the story and even effects what awards you get. If you played Verse I or II, your choice is already locked in, but new characters can choose a side before proceeding.
Encounters. Combining balanced and exciting combat, meaningful roleplay, and skill checks, the encounters scattered through this adventure has something for everyone. Not only will they be enjoyable, but each roll within in the party will have their own ability to shine at various times. In the flexibility presented within the product as a whole, Anthony Joyce really shows his excellence as a narrative designer.
There are very few instances where a “practically perfect” product comes along, but this is surely one such case. Mechancially, narratively, and from a production standpoint, there is nothing that detracts from the overall experience of reading, playing, or running this product.
The Heir of Orcus is a quality product. It is rated 5 Stars and is Highly Recommended for anyone who enjoys AL style play, or who wants a perfect one-shot to play for their non-AL group. You can pick it up by clicking on the picture below.