Review: Ruined Empires

Ruined Empires Cover Ruined Empires is an 43-paged adventure for Abney Park’s Airship Pirates (read my review here) written by the games’ authors Peter Cakebread and Ken Walton. And as in the rulebook Abney Park’s Robert Brown was responsible for the Cover Design and overall layout.

The adventure was designed for a party of three to six players and serves in my opinion as a perfect introduction into the post-apocalyptic world of the game. I don’t want to give too much away about the plot of the adventure, but rest assured there’s something for almost everyone in the adventure. The story begins in Isla Aether, where they players are given the task by a powerful patron to find a treasure for him. But when they return victoriously things in Isla Aether have changed… and not for the better, when the players are concerned.

The adventure is split into three parts and at the beginning of the book the GM gets an overview of what is supposed to happen in each of the parts. After that each part is described in detail. NPCs are listed close to where they are mentioned in the text, so you don’t need to flip through the book to find their stats.

What I also like a lot is that there are quite a few maps included. They are not overly fancy or anything, but they do their job well. In too many adventures you have to guess how the places the story is set look like, but Ruined Empires’ maps do a great job giving you some hints on what the locations look like.

A big plus in my book is the fact that the adventure is full of interesting and often flamboyant characters. That’s exactly how I expected characters in Airship Pirates adventure to be and Ruined Empires doesn’t disappoint here. There are a lot of opportunities for the players to roleplay their characters, but there’s also a lot of action, especially in part two.

Even though the adventure is a railroading the story a bit, it still leaves a lot of opportunities for veteran GMs to do things their way. I haven’t had the chance to run the adventure myself, but I am sure it should be enjoyable for both players and GM alike.

You can get Ruined Empires as a print+PDF bundle from Cubicle 7 for $14.99 or as a PDF from RPGNow for mere $7.99. Ruined Empires is a solid Airship Pirates and if you are planning to run a campaign, it definitely is a perfect way to introduce your players to the world.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

2 thoughts on “Review: Ruined Empires”

  1. “…as in the rulebook Abney Park’s Robert Brown was responsible for the Cover Design and overall layout.”

    This is true – Captain Robert did the cover design, and a mighty fine job he did with it! But the artwork on the cover of Ruined Empires is the painting “Skin Horse” by MANDEM ( MANDEM did a lot of the artwork in the core rulebook too.

    Just giving a shout-out to the artist along with the shout-out to Captain Robert’s amazing design work.


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