Kisarta: the review of the horror setting for D&D 5E

Kisarta is the new setting for Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition published by the team of Illyon Island, RPG publishing house that has localized products such as City of Mist and Ryuutama into Italian. Kisarta is a setting horror dark fantasy in which players take on the role of the Souls, the dead awakened from their tombs near the terrible and immense City of Limbo.

Welcome to Kisarta, where death is only the beginning!

Our review of Kisarta

In Kisarta everything starts with the end. The PCs of the setting, in fact, are Anime who wake up after the death in a place, in principle, completely unknown: the Cemetery of the Souls of the Limbo city. The fact of playing dead characters is, perhaps, the trait that immediately captures the attention of us players, but Kisarta is a setting with horror colors that hides many more intrigues and surprises, giving life to an intricate and mysterious network of relationships, nightmares. and secrets that characterize this dark setting.

What’s new in the manual

In addition to being able to play all the races and classes of D&D, in the Kisarta manual we will find: 5 new ones Stingray, 5 new Classes, and new Subclasses for all basic D&D classes. Here is a small summary:

  • Races: Forgotten; Disembodied; Dissognator; Effigy; Fetish
  • Classes: Abomination; Bewitched Knight; Demiurge; Ravager; Traveler

In this universe coexist, for example, the Forget it, thin-bodied humanoids with large hands and a face devoid of eyes, nose and ears; the Disembodied, real living statues; and Dissognatori that feed on the thoughts of others. Among the more particular Classes we mention the Demiurge, a scholarly mystic committed to understanding the ultimate reality of Kisarta; and the Ravager, a tormented being whose only way not to lose his mind is to turn his frustrations on his enemies. In short, a nice group of characters to meet in the tavern!

Also among the Subclasses there are very interesting ideas such as the Bardic Colleges, among which is the College of the Dead, the Domain of Madness for Clerics or the martial archetype Herald of the Damned for the Warrior. Ah, right, for the Wizard there is the Arcane Tradition Forbidden School with which at the 2nd level you acquire the reassuring Curse with Suffering!

At this point a question may arise: since the PCs are already dead, can they die again? The answer is ni. In Kisarta each character defines his own in creation, through the launch of 3d6 Soul score (which cannot be less than 10). Each time a character dies according to the classic D&D rules he will lose a Soul point and after a period of time at the GM’s discretion he will return conscious and stable at 1 Hit Point. This is as long as the PC has Soul points available: when his score is 0, the next death will be final and the GM will take control of the character.

The Soul score will also be used per session to activate Shaping Fate: By spending 1 soul point, the PC can subjugate fate or alter the surrounding environment by getting +5 on an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check. Soul points are earned each time you level up and, at the GM’s discretion, in some special game situations to reward the PCs.

Another addition of the manual to the basic rules of D&D is the Realistic rest: 8 hours of undisturbed rest grant the benefits of a short rest; a long rest instead requires the characters to get away from stress and conflict for a full week.

In short, already from this initial information it can be seen how the rules of Kisarta underline that this is not an easy setting to face: in the Domains the gloomy atmosphere is inextricably linked to clashes, difficulties, unclean beasts and cities rich in corruption and mysteries.

The manual also contains other very interesting rules: new ones Background (Seeker of Glory; Unfinished Destiny; Unearthly Sage; Sidereal Gaze; Rape of Limbo); rules relating to Great Game (such as the Glory Score); Goals; Folly and damn it. Also, at the end of the volume we will find a list of new ones Objects And Spells it’s a’adventure for 3rd level characters entitled Scars in the stone.

The setting of Kisarta

The setting of Kisarta is one of the most fascinating elements of the manual. In fact, in the volume we will be able to read a complete and detailed description of the Domains of the setting, i.e. all those places that can be explored on Kisarta starting from the City of Limbo.

  • Domains: The nameless Abyss; The radiant Citadel; The Crucible of the Damned; The Desert of Whispers; The Forest of Lamentations; The Ocean of Souls; The Well of Eternity
  • Forgotten Domains: The Ethereal Tomb; the void; the Dream Space

As you can presumably imagine it will not be trips to pleasant and peaceful places, but the Dominions will be able to catapult the PCs into inhospitable, terrifying places, full of pain but also of mysteries and intrigues. These places on Kisarta are linked together by a complex and mysterious thread called the Great Game, a dense network of pacts, connections, conspiracies and conspiracies involving the Kisarthi, from the Lords of the Black Circle who dominate the City of Limbo, to the last of the Souls awakened in the Cemetery.

All this (and much more information!) Is described in the part of the manual dedicated specifically to the setting. The peculiarity of the setting of Kisarta, however, is that its setting is not only the description of the places, cities or characters that inhabit it, but it is also a description, or rather, a revealing of the truth behind Kisarta. What is Kisarta? Why do unfortunate souls who have passed away awaken right here? Is it possible to get out of Kisarta, and how? In short, the questions are many and we will be able to find answers by reading the manual.

First impressions of the game

I tried Kisarta for the first time on the occasion of the Play Modena 2021 at the Isola Illyon stand thanks to the guys from The Agency. It was a one-shot with characters from 3rd level (Barbarian, Rogue, Cleric, Warlock, Ranger and Warrior).

The game session was very engaging and got us into the Kisarta mood right from the start. In fact our PCs have awakened in a cell without windows or doors and tied by the ankles; the only thing they saw in front of them was a ritual circle with a bizarre statue in the middle. I will not go into details (maybe someone will play it in the future!), But I must say that it was a good session in perfect horror style in which moments of panic, difficult choices, blood And clashes.

All the PCs had many innovations contained in the manual on their cards (Spells, Talents, BGs etc.), so many that we didn’t really have time to try them all! For example, my PC was a cleric who followed the domain of madness with spells like Fragment the mind (when a creature the cleric can see and hear fails a Wisdom saving throw imposed by the cleric, the creature becomes frightened) or Omen of the mad (Channel Divinity can be used to uncover truth in madness). Or, the Barbarian (played by Mario) followed the Way of the Sanctuary with Swear to Protect (Whenever the barbarian gets angry, he can choose a creature other than himself that falls under the effect of the Sanctuary spell.)

In short, all the PCs, despite being at the 3rd level, had skills not only perfectly in line with the atmosphere of the setting but also very useful and very strong in some cases. But this didn’t stop us from taking a loud beating: I, as a cleric, used all my spell slots to heal, and yet we came to the end of our journey with a character on the ground unconscious.

This shows that the “mortality” in Kisarta can be very high and that careful control by the GM is needed to balance the challenges in order to make the game engaging and fun. In fact, it is easy for the PCs to have very strong abilities, yet they cannot have an easy life in a setting of this type; on the other hand, inserting too difficult challenges could be frustrating given the horror and dark content of the setting. It will be interesting to try a long campaign and see how it balances even at the higher levels.

In conclusion, Kisarta is a manual which, although starting from a non-innovative idea, manages to define the setting in a very original way (which is not as trivial as it may seem), also adding rules that are able to well represent the atmospheres and tones of the setting without reducing it to a fight for treasure or for survival. The manual was made very well, with a good one editing and excellent illustrations, and contains plenty of tips for the GM to set up and run a Kisarta campaign; these are essential advice given the tenor of the setting. Furthermore, Kisarta is proposed as a setting for D&D that can be used in different ways: separate campaign, filler, but also as an interlude in a longer campaign in the event of the death of some character or total party kill.


Kisarta is the new setting for D&D 5E published by the Illyon Island team. It is a dark fantasy horror setting in which players take on the role of the Souls, dead awakened from their own grave near the terrible and immense City of Limbo. Kisarta is a manual that, although starting from a non-innovative idea, manages to define the setting in a very original way (which is not as trivial as it may seem), also adding rules that are able to represent the atmosphere and tones of the setting well. without reducing it to a fight for treasure or survival. The manual has been very well done, with good editing and great illustrations, and contains many regulatory additions and tips for the GM to set up a campaign. Especially recommended for lovers of horror atmospheres: you will not be disappointed by the Great Game of Kisarta!


Excellent manual for those who love horror and dark atmospheres: both the setting and the rules are designed to create a state of perennial anxiety and dismay


It needs a good balance on the part of the GM both for the challenges and the enemies, and to maintain the tone and atmosphere of the setting

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