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Cavaliers of Mars Core Rulebook
by Maxime L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/01/2021 14:37:47

This feels like it could have been a great game, but it's more of an outline than anything. The mood and initial premises are great, but everything is described in such broad strokes as to be near useless. It feels like the setting might have been clear in the author's mind, but she forgot or decided against explaining most of it, and we're left with a vague impression. A pity.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Cavaliers of Mars Core Rulebook
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Demon Translation Guide
by Anton G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2021 17:21:21

EDIT (October 2019): After some reflection, I feel it necessary to amend that this review came from a place of frustration and disappointment. I stand by what I said (though I was wrong about the Lores, their entries DO include the relevant dice pools), but it's also fair to say I was rather hyperbolic. I still think that the supplement should have been given more attention, but I understand that the book had only one writer, and that OP is still growing as a company. That said, wouldn't mind seeing some updates to this product, if that's possible.

If you're a die-hard fan of Demon: the Fallen like I am, and practically had a heart attack when you saw that this was getting made, then let my words spare you the coronary: this thing's a bust. What we have here is a valiant, but ultimately slap-dash attempt to construct a translation guide that instead comes across as an incredibly one-sided and imbalanaced. It pains me to write this, as there are some solid things going on in the book, and some neat ideas in play, but Onyx Path simply didn't put in the effort necessary to make this what it needed to be. There is a lot to say, but I'll keep my critique to three main points.

  1. Poor organization: The TG attempts to give fluid rules for porting characters between systems, but unfortunately ends up creating a slurry of information, where Descent info blends together with Fallen info, making it hard to keep the two separarate. In addition, there are some strange redundancies with some things, particularly Merits (Pacts are still listed as a Merit, but that Merit has been replaced by the Thrall Merit, which is itself difficult to find). Further, none of the Lores have explicitly spelled-out dice pools, and attempting to decipher which Attributes and Skills are needed for each is tedious and inefficient. Overall, the book shoud have been organized with greater distinction.

  2. A lot of missing data: the TG covers character conversion and basic powers, but says nothing about some of the most critical systems from the old game, such as empowering Thralls, rituals from the old Player's Guide, or rules for exorcism and the devouring of demons by their peers post mortem. These missing pieces of info make attempting to run D:tF with the new rules incredibly frustrating, as players have fewer rescources to give their characters, and STs will be left struggling to help their players complete common demon-related tasks.

  3. The Apocalyptic Powers: possibly the most infurating part of the whole book, instead of going through the Demon Player's Guide and methodically converting each power for the sake of clarity and conciseness, and perhaps altering or trimming some away to keep things clean and efficient, OP instead opted to simply convert some powers and treat the rest as rebranded versions of powers from D:tD. This causes a host of redundancies as well as some bizarre alterations to the designs of some powers that in no way mirrors their orginal function or intent, and can potentially derail a character concept. This is the most egregious sin, for not only does it make porting a character over incredibly messy, but it undermines Fallen in favor of keeping Descent at the fore, and makes it seem as though OP is putting Fallen in the backseat in favor of highlighting Descent.

In conclusion, the Demon Translation Guide is a competent work, and the rule conversions therein are a fitting update for bringing Fallen into the CoD system, but its glaring flaws and poor organization make it difficult to use at best, and an absolute nightmare at worst. I leave here an open statement to the staff at Onyx Path:

Dear Mss. and Messrs.,

I understand that creating works like this is a monumental undertaking, and your efforts must not be overlooked, but if you want to create something that fans will appreciate, and more importantly buy, you must ensure that the necessary effort is put into it. If this means putting more writers on the project, prolonging development, or even making a Kickstarter page for it, then do it, because I guarantee that a legion of loyal patrons and fans like myself are ready and willing to contribute to see the game we love so much be reborn, and you will enjoy both critical praise and financial success in the long-run.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Demon Translation Guide
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Nyx and Her Children
by DSC T. G. C. .. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2021 12:01:22

Great little product which expands on the divinities of the Greek pantheon. These are must have divinities if you are running a greek themes scion game.

The tabletop Gaming club enjoyed the divinities presented in the product and recommends this product to others.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Nyx and Her Children
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Lords of Elysium
by DSC T. G. C. .. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2021 11:59:03

This is a great little book if you are looking for a few new divinities to add to your scion game.

The Tabletop Gaming Club enjoyed the concept and had fun using these divinities in our game. We recommend this product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lords of Elysium
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Truth Beyond Paradox
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2021 12:11:28

It's worth to go beyond - a Mephisto review

Truth beyond Paradox

The title of the anthology Truth beyond Paradox is a direct allusion to the first short story volume published for Mage: Truth until Paradox. In this new volume, the authors again set out to illuminate the highly diverse world of Mage with their short stories. Accordingly, as diverse as the role-playing world is, the short stories also turn out to be very different in terms of plot, characters, and backgrounds. However, a common denominator is that they all generally focus on individual characters and disregard the larger metaplot of the game world. Here, it's not about the large groups of mages that clash in the Ascension War, but rather the individual paths to a mage's enlightenment.

For example, Wildfire Sky describes a mage for whom magic literally means playing with fire. Here, her personal interpretation of magic is much more important than the actual plot of the story. In Theogenesis Gimmick, the reader experiences the spontaneous and somewhat bizarre awakening of a mage. Famished Road, in turn, is about the confrontation of a mage and his friends with a dangerous threat from the spirit world. Each other story finds its particular topic. From my point of view, however, the highlight of this anthology is the last story. A Firm Place to Stand describes the rise of a young mage. Here, the larger organizations and their far-reaching goals in the world of Mage play a role. What is remarkable here is that the focus is not on the Traditions, but on the Technocracy - and that the portrayal of this organization is quite different from what one might expect.

As with most World of Darkness short story volumes, the focus is not on the system's metaplot or the larger game world. Instead, the stories present individual mages and thus a multi-faceted spectrum of backgrounds, ideas, moods, and characters. Therefore, even if no great metaplot secrets are revealed here, Truth beyond Paradox does an excellent job providing inspiration for Mage players. Alternatively, you can simply enjoy this collection of entertaining and well-written stories.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Truth Beyond Paradox
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The Strix Chronicle Anthology
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2021 08:16:46

Monsters for monsters - a Mephisto review

The Strix Chronicle

The Strix Chronicle is an anthology set against the backdrop of Vampire Requiem, focusing on the new enemies of the role-playing game's 2nd edition, the Strix. 13 stories tell the clash of the vampires with these ghostly creatures, which are described as shadowy owl-like creatures with a burning hatred for the vampires. At the same time, the stories are quite diverse. While the early stories focus on vampires being confronted with a threat they do not understand - and here the reader probably knows more than the characters in the story - the vampires in the later stories are in many cases much better prepared (which doesn't always mean things end up better). Most of the stories are entertaining and well-written — offering a varied range. There are fascinating ideas to be found, such as Lullay, Lullay, which is told from the point of view of a ghoul who is like a father to a powerful child vampire. In Noblesse Oblige, the vampire calling himself Count Dracula makes a rather over-the-top funny appearance. Some stories offer well-done twists, like There Are No Owls in Seattle or even Second Chance, which put their own spin on the theme.

From my point of view, The Strix Chronicle is a great collection that offers a broad range of stories despite the narrow common theme of confronting the Strix. Unfortunately, the anthology does not — as some might expect — really clear up the mystery of the Strix. However, from my point of view, this keeping the mystery fits the very entertaining collection of stories.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Strix Chronicle Anthology
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Silent Knife
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2021 08:14:34

Vampiric intrigues in Boston - a Mephisto review

Silent Knife

Because she was able to prevent a betrayal in the right place at the right time, the young vampire Ariadne has been appointed sheriff in the city of Boston. For her Prince, Liliane, she is the precise tool that, sword in hand, stops the traitors to the high ideals of the domain. Despite her young age, the vampire is a cold and efficient killing machine. However, when she meets a person from her past and remembers the person she once was, the problems begin. Not only proves the fight against the traitors to be more difficult than planned, but other vampires are also causing trouble. In the prince's court, some vampires envy Ariadne her position, and members of Invictus from outside the city sense the domain's perceived weakness.

While Silent Knife initially lays it on a bit thick with the stereotypical image of the young, attractive female vampire in a bodysuit elegantly slashing her way through enemies with her swords, the story does develop well, even if some twists are predictable. The battle against Prince Liliane's enemies, the looming dark threat that also draws the city's mages into the story, the intrigues of the other vampires, and, last but not least, the protagonist's confrontation with her former humanity combine to create an entertaining story. However, the references to Vampire Requiem are vague as neither clans are mentioned, nor do covenants beyond the Invictus appear. Whether this is a real disadvantage depends on the viewpoint, but I think a bit more reference to the role-playing game would have been fitting - but Silent Knife is certainly an entertaining read.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Silent Knife
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Trinity Continuum: Pets
by Phil H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/27/2021 05:52:23

This is a micro-supplement for Trinity Continuum: Aeon which is designed to provide the option of taking an animal (or sometimes robot) companion as one of your character’s Edges. The book goes to 14 pages overall, with the last being the credits page, and contains two pieces of art.

In terms of what we have here we start with a very brief introduction before moving into discussion on where a character lives will influence the type of pet he or she may have. Someone living on Earth will have different priorities in a companion than someone living on another world or on an orbiting satellite. The next section talks about different types of pets, not in the sense of the species but rather in terms of how mankind may have changed them or created them whole cloth. Natural animals include simple products of natural selection and selective breeding programs but will also include those genegineered to have specific advantages. Robot animals and other companions as well as animals created via bioware or natural animals enhanced by cybernetics are discussed, and then finally alien fauna which has been domesticated to act as a pet. All of this is written with an eye on the setting and some discussion of where certain types of pet will be more or less accepted.

The next section provides Storyguide advice on integrating pets into the game as well as brief discussion of how they might work alongside the Talents in the main Trinity Continuum rulebook. From pages 8-12 the book then takes in a variety of stat blocks setting out the basic in-game statistics and costs for various animal companion types. These run across birds, cats, dogs, and reptiles and cover various size profiles both as natural and genegineered versions. The stat blocks are done in the style of antagonist/storyguide characters with primary, secondary, and desperation pools. Immediately following the stat blocks are details of how the pet being cybernetic, robotic, bioware, or Qin bioware will modify the stat blocks and the costs. The book then rounds out with some new Edges (including the Pet Edge which is kind of important) and anomaly powers.

For the size of the product and the price being asked this is absolutely bursting with content. Although written for Aeon the material here would have utility in a modern Trinity Continuum or Aberrant game if those were your preference. Totally and wholeheartedly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trinity Continuum: Pets
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Trinity Continuum: Pets
by Zachery N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2021 20:57:42

I will say upfront, I'm not a Sci-Fi person and have never played Aeon. Reading this Tasty Bit doesn't change that and I won't be rushing out to find an Aeon game. I do now have stats for my Aberrant's soon to be pet tiger though so that's nice.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Check the Gate and Other Cinematics
by Zachery N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2021 15:03:30

I mean, who doesn't want more cinematics for their game of They Came From Beneath the Sea!?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Check the Gate and Other Cinematics
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Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras Companion
by John M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2021 21:21:37

Could not have enjoyed this book more; the greyscale illustration added a lot of theme to the story sections, and holy cow, the different chronicle ideas situated throughout various time periods really blew my socks off. Of the lot, the Revolutionary Russian Demon material, the Promethean Year without a Summer stuff, and the Four Horsemen chronicle ideas were, by far, my favorites of the bunch, whereas I'd say the Reconstruction period fell flat to me (primarily because of the connection to Beast, which I feel is some of Onyx Path's weakest material, not the overall content of the period coverage in said chapter). Overall, I am very pleased to have gotten the standard hardcover; I don't feel that the premium copy would've added anything significant in terms of the overall quality, which was excellent, as the colors were already rich.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras Companion
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Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Storyguide Screen
by Nanouk H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/11/2021 07:19:09

The Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Storyguide Screen is a single PDF file, featuring 3 pages of art (the player facing side), 3 pages of tables (the storyguide facing side), then the same art and tables condensed into a single wide landscape page, then 8 pages of B&W comic strip reproduced from the main book (where it's colour).

The tables are mostly useful, although you'll need to reference tables in the Trinity Continuum Core Rules fairly often, so it would have been nice to have some of those reproduced here.

It's worth noting that the Trinity Continuum Storyguide Screen comes with an 8 page booklet that reproduces useful rules sections and provides a summary of the character creation process, all reformatted for the booklet.

Overall, the Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Storyguide Screen feels as though it has been phoned in. Art from 1st Edition? Check. New tables from the book? Check. What are we going to put in the remaining 8 pages? A list of Mega Edges, Tags, or Powers? Nope. a summary of character creation? Nope. Expanded examples of how to use the Aberrant Scale rules? Nope. A reprint of something that the storyguide will already have paid for by default? Yes!

This screen could be greatly improved by removing the comic strip and replacing it with any of the following: A list of Transformations, Mega Edges, Tags, and Powers, maybe with a brief description (Quantum Minimum, Action, Cost, Dice Pool, Range, Duration) A character creation summary Expanded examples of how to use the new rules in play Selected rules from the Trinity Continuum Core Rules book

I'm really enjoying Aberrant, but disappointed with this SG Screen



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Storyguide Screen
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M20 Technocracy Reloaded
by Alexandre S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2021 19:11:40

M20 Technocracy Reloaded have a big identity problem. I understand that this book wants to please the most gameplay style and the most varied interpretations of the Technocracy possible, but this have the side-effet to dilude the focus to a point that this book feels empty. Takes a new player picking this book : can he say was is the Technocracy after reading this book ? I hightly doubt it. A clear focus on what is the Technocracy, with a wealth of option to customize it would have made a better book. Also, for a book about the various options, this book missed a lot of options on previous editions factions and groups. For exemple, the Syndicate's SDP, Revised's Panopticon and the Cult of the Machine are all missing. These omissions, on a product line as M20, open to the various "future fates", is a baffling, especially when the main draw of the book is supposed to be "Technocracy is everything YOU want it to be". On the bright side, there is various interesting lore options, but the lack of focus on these options made the Technocracy less interesting.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
M20 Technocracy Reloaded
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Flowers of Hell: The Demon Players Guide
by Christopher S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2021 14:58:59

I really do enjoy the Demon: The Descent gameline, and would rate this book a 5, because it is a great resource. My slightly lower rating is because this book is almost required to understand the original Demon: The Descent book! The first book was such an absolute, poorly explained mess, they needed to write a NEW book to explain it to players. At least this book also adds powers and stuff, but a lot of this is just basically "Hey, we did a reeeaaal bad job on the first book, and rewriting it would be hard. Please buy this one to make the first book less confusing."



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Flowers of Hell: The Demon Players Guide
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Trinity Continuum: Aberrant
by Ryan H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/02/2021 16:32:17

I've spent the last decade trying to find a Superhero RPG to run. This quest didn't lead me to the first edition of Aberrant; however, it gave me hands on experience with my fair share of superhero RPGs. If you're looking for a superhero game to run, you don't need to read the rest of this review. Buy this. This is an insanely good superhero game.

Let me explain why. 1) Differentiated options in smooth narrative play. Fire attacks do persistent damage. Arrows can be swapped out on the fly to whatever payload you need. Speedsters might go splat if you hit them but good luck getting that hit off. The characters you make feel different; however, the underlying system also allows improvization on the fly. You spend your bonus successes on stunts. These stunts give you options. These options can be predefined and have mechanical goodness. Alternatively, these stunts can be poured into narrative bonuses or narrative complications for the enemy. This allows the joy of building your character with plenty of options to pour xp into, but it also allows you to truly play an adaptive roleplaying story game and not a grindy board game.

2) Setting. My quest for the perfect superhero RPG initially struggled with the system. There's a lot of systems with a lot of flaws. Eventually, I found plenty of options. Cortex Prime, Mutants & Masterminds, Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition. These are all great RPGs to run a superhero game. I then stared wide eyed at a blank sheet thinking "what do I do now?". When players have ultimate power, it's so hard to figure out how to direct them. How do you challenge someone with the combat skills of a legend? How do you keep a campaign going when the players can fly to the objective? What do players do? Aberrant has a setting already developed. It tells you who the players could be. It tells you about the challenges your characters might face. It doesn't just tell you how to run a superhero game. It tells you how to weave a superhero story.

3) The Batman/Superman answer. Different games have their ways of answering the age old superhero RPG question. How do you have Batman and Superman in the same party? Different systems have their own ways of addressing this. I think each of the systems I listed above tackles them in a competent enough way. Aberrant addresses this by outright telling you- Novas (the super powered player archtype) will forever be stronger. They get additional experience at character creation, and they even score successes on dice rolls easier than Talents (the mortal but skilled Batman archtype). Talents instead get luck manipulation. They can edit scenes and introduce story details. Their Gifts (feats specifically for Talents) allow them further luck manipulation. This is so fun to play with. The mortal character never hits as hard the super powered character, but they are contributing to the story in an incredibly meaningful way. You want the person without any powers on your team.

If you're looking to pick up a new RPG and like superheros, I highly recommend Trinity Continuum: Aberrant.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trinity Continuum: Aberrant
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