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They Came from the North Pole!
by Matthew O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/24/2021 01:51:12

A great amount off fun. perfect for a family Christmas game. The themes are great for invlovling younger players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
They Came from the North Pole!
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Party Beach Creature Feature! (A Jumpstart for They Came From Beneath the Sea!)
by Zachery N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/19/2021 21:32:48

This is a great jumpstart. Gives you everything you need to run a game and a story that's fun for new and experienced Players.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Party Beach Creature Feature! (A Jumpstart for They Came From Beneath the Sea!)
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Heroic Land-Dwellers!
by Zachery N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/19/2021 18:48:17

I agreed to run a one-shot of They Came From Beneath the Sea! on short notice. Most of the Players haven't played before and I picked this up so we could jump right into the game. This supplement gave me plenty of characters to choose from to make things easy. It served it's purpose and delivers on what its presented as. Can't ask for more than that.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Firestorm Chronicle Anthology
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/19/2021 10:57:17
From monster to humanity - a Mephisto review

The Firestorm Chronicle

The Firestorm Chronicle focuses on the Prometheans, those creatures from the role-playing game of the same name that were created and animated by humans like Frankenstein's monster. The first of the ten stories still revolves around creating such a being from the point of view of humans. The other stories in the anthology volume take the perspective of the Prometheans and address their central theme, the path to humanity. The Prometheans thus presented cover a broad spectrum – from the merciless cartel killer to the cautious casual laborer. However, the theme is always how these beings relate to their freedom, their origins and past, humanity, and their own quest for humanity. Thus, the inner action of the characters – their thoughts, fears, hopes – is usually more important than the outer action, which only serves as a catalyst. Therefore, The Firestorm Chronicle turns out much quieter than the other anthology volumes, but this fits the theme perfectly. Since the individual stories always elicit new aspects of the theme and are generally excitingly written, The Firestorm Chronicle is not only interesting for Promethean players, but can also definitely arouse interest playing the game.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Firestorm Chronicle Anthology
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The God-Machine Chronicle Anthology
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/19/2021 10:55:19

# The inner secrets of the World of Darknes - a Mephisto review

The God-Machine Chronicle

In the first rule book of the Chronicles of Darkness, the so-called God-Machine was hinted at in a short story. Except for this single reference, however, this seemingly larger background of the game remained only a small fragment in the mysteries of the new World of Darkness. However, with the second edition of the Chronicles of Darkness, the God-Machine has become more central, and thus the title of the associated anthology volume.

Accordingly, the book begins with the story Voice of the Angel, which tells an origin story of the world from an entirely different point of view. The humans were the servants of another species, who, in turn, were closer to the God-Machine that created the world. Humanity eventually rebelled against their masters and destroyed them. The few remaining specimens of this ancient race who swore revenge on humankind have left their dark mark on history.

Furthermore, like Voice of the Angel, some of the other stories in this anthology originally came from sourcebooks. While some of these short stories do hint at the God-Machine theme, not all of them revolve around it. The God-Machine remains mysterious, seeming to be the machine-like inner mechanics by which the world ticks and that tolerates no deviation of its cogs. Other stories revolve around how people are confronted with the supernatural phenomena of the Chronicles of Darkness. Sometimes, a policewoman's sister stumbles into her monster-hunting activities; sometimes, a man learns the secret of a dying street; sometimes, someone fathoms the true gist of some of his uncle's scary stories.

The stories are very well-written, and what they have in common is that they eschew the major supernatural groups of the Chronicles of Darkness – vampires, werewolves, mages, etc. – for a very personal, mysterious, and sometimes somewhat bizarre horror themes. The topic of the name-giving God-Machine is touched upon and expanded slightly with a few stories. However, the topic's mysterious aura remains – and the God-Machine is neither explained nor necessarily made the central pivoting point of the canonical Chronicles of Darkness.

As for the stories, they are worth reading even without the background of the Chronicles of Darkness. Above all, they can serve well as a source of inspiration for both concrete adventures and atmosphere and themes of a game in the new World of Darkness.

(Björn Lippold)



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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They Came from the North Pole!
by Zachery N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/16/2021 21:27:14

When the group I steam with asked if there was any interest in doing a X-mas eve game I found They Came from the North Pole! Within the first few pages I knew I made the right decision. The holiday themed cinematics are great and the antagonist are both entertaining and well researched. I can't wait to run it.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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M20 Book of the Fallen
by Paul Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/16/2021 16:41:05

Honestly, I found it it to be a great exploration into what I find to be the 'real villains of Mage'. I expands into Nephandic lore, adding good additions of types of Nephandi to plauge the modern era, my favorite example being the Heralds of the Basilisk. While some complaints on the use of an inverted Kabbalah are valid, I see it as another in universe example of Nephandi 'corrupting that which is good', at least that's my opinion. The fact the it presents the Nephandi as the worst humans can offer and adding the Ascension War really makes one think it they are the true antagonists of the WoD metaplot as a whole.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
M20 Book of the Fallen
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Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition
by Charles C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/15/2021 15:20:12

I just got my Hardcover Standard Edition book. I was so excited to finally get it. I rush home, rip open the package like a kid on Christmas day, only to be disappointed. The pages came off to spine of the book as soon as I opened the book.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition
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Trinity Continuum Core Rulebook
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2021 22:46:47

Storypath is a good system. It has neat ideas, a solid core mechanic and is in many ways a very nice middleground between old-school Storyteller games and more modern, meta-aware systems like FATE.

This book is really bad at explaining Storypath. It is many places overly verbose, contradictory, and fond of putting important details in the middle of big paragraphs. Several of the attached systems (such as crafting) are often poorly explained, or burdened with design issues. Like how by the way it's written, the jury-rig action for building devices immediately isn't exempt from the rule that all crafted items become available the session after they're finished. Somewhat counter to its point of "build thing to solve an immediate problem". Easily solved by presuming they meant for it to be exempt, but it's emblematic of the often sloppy editing on display.

Many of the featured examples are likewise troublesome. For instance, the example for the sprinting action is several paragraphs long, full of narrative flair, references to other mechanics, and ends with the character failing to use the sprint action and thus making it entirely unhelpful for the purpose of demonstrating how said sprinting action actually works. Which is a problem, since the action mentions letting you move multiple range-bands and requires a roll, but doesn't tell you if there's a limit to how many range-bands, and if such a limit is in any way related to how well you roll.

Ultimately, this book reminds me of many of the early old world of darkness books, and not in a good way. It's imminently playable, but it requires you to read it with a constant running tally of "oh, I'll ignore that rule" or "Oh, clearly they meant for this to not do that". Which is shame, because the latest Exalted books and many of the 2nd edition nWoD releases demonstrate that Onyx Path is exceptionally capable of publishing well edited, clear, concise rulebooks.

But Trinity Continuum's core is not one of them.

It's a good system, and both the setting present in this book and it's companions are all rich, well-detailed, interesting worlds full of potential. But getting to all that requires a lot of work from you as a reader, and it will often feel like work you shouldn't need to do.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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M20 The Rich Bastard’s Guide to Magick
by William M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/04/2021 05:49:16

This book does a good job of looking into the impact of wealth, but doesn't address as much how players might attempt to acheive it instead of what they would do if they had it. It has a number of rotes and items which are incredibly solid, but also is somewhat mixed with respect to consistency as to what wealth is and how it works on the largest scales. My views, to be fair, may be slightly unrealistic on the subject as someone whose degree and day job are in accounting. It's a very fair depiction from the perspective of being able to run a game for people who don't study the field.

I like the characters introduced for potential inclusion in your games, the sample chantry, and the general considerating of the impact of being rich, or becoming rich. The various clubs and organizations are a very useful resource to play in the shadows of your world of darkness. More importantly, it reminds us to look at the ways that someone without magic can change the world as much as the canniest mage. That makes for good stories.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
M20 The Rich Bastard’s Guide to Magick
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M20 Book of the Fallen
by William M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/04/2021 05:41:30

I have a lot of mixed opinions on this book. My largest complaint is it had an entire chapter describing how all Nephandi are bound by a certain type of Jewish mysticism after saying that it wasn't antisemetic. The treatment of system effects on a number of rotes wasn't consistent with the M20 Core book. A lot of it felt like a love letter to playing a Nephandi mixed with lots of notes to not actually do so.

it had a great deal of updating older concepts from the Books of Maddness, which I appreciated, and if some of the elements had been edited out it would have been a much stronger and more useful release. Still, 2/3rds of it is worth reading.

Charles Siegel has a much more in depth review here. I agree with his opinions essentially.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
M20 Book of the Fallen
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Scarred Lands: People of the Snow
by Alain G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2021 02:07:06

A nice collection of peoples and subclasses, with a couple of spells. Most of them have a very "Fenrilik" feel, but could be used in other parts of the setting (for examples, asaatthi are described in the old lore as having mastered the art of weather magic, so here is that).



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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M20 The Rich Bastard’s Guide to Magick
by Terry R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/28/2021 00:59:22

This is a book like Orphan's Survival Guide or Masters of the Art in that it outlines an area of Mage that one can infer must exist but that we've simply not gotten information about. The open fiction outlines the world of rich and powerful mages and the rest of the book keeps on with it. This is not a book that everyone needs, but given that you're going to have money as a consideration in your game, this supplement helps a lot of the lifting.

Here's what I enjoyed:

  • The fiction pieces are good. They transmit flavor in a way not all books manage to
  • Every entry is a story idea. There's little space in this book for things like the loved but rarely focal Ionic Cloth so even though something may be listed as a Wonder it's really a plot hook. They wonderfully balance unexplored places in the Mage world with things we already know. It's entirely reasonable that Porthos made a grimoire and now we get information on it!
  • The book brings back some of the high-energy and over-the-top bits of 2e that M20 seemingly tamped down on. An object that grants a sixth dot of Computer? Yes please. A mage country club only open to billionaires? Yes. What it's like to have your own town? Thank you.
  • Good ST tools on wealth and making characters justify their resources.
  • Information on how money can more or less make things coincidental.
  • Details on how each Tradition relates with money. I think this is the first place that we find that the djinn are all over the financial sector along with the Taftani and that the Virtual Adepts are now rolling in it.

What I wished for:

  • Iyeoka Sophia is on the cover AND MAKES NO APPEARANCE IN THE BOOK. GHAA GIVE US STATS.
  • There are very few systems. At this level, you kind of need a system for Resources. I get that no one wants to necessarily talk dollars and cents but you can come up with a Resources system that simply scales or is strictly narrative but I still want systems for it. At least Masters of the Art gave us systems implict in having XP buy Arete and Sphere dots.
  • The art is interesting but staid. It's fun but it's a lot of Michael Gaydos chapter fronts and I'm just done with that.
  • The Paradigms are meh.

Mage the Podcast spoke with two of the authors if you'd like more talk on this book



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
M20 The Rich Bastard’s Guide to Magick
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Class Collection
by Alain G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/24/2021 03:13:26

This book provides new classes and a few warlock patrons for the Scarred Lands.

These new classes offer a nice distinctive feel, and do a great job at filling gap between existing core classes. For example, the Tomb Raider is somewhere between the rogue and the ranger, with a focus on exploration, without the surnatural elements of the ranger class or the sneak attack of the rogue (which in my opinion makes the rogue more of a combat class than an exploration class). The Warrior is somewhere between the fighter and the barbarian, someone who has learned to fight and survive "on the fly" rather than through long hours of practice or by being angry all the time.

The subclasses are well-thought and provide distinctive flavors to each class. They aren't tied to any organization or tradition in the Scarred Lands setting, which allows players to take them freely, without much constraint on their backgrounds. In addition, there are a few warlock subclasses, inspired by iconic monsters of the Scarred Lands.

There is just one thing that seems missing in that supplement, and which I believe would have made it near-perfect, is that I would have loved to know more about how these classes are integrated in the setting. The official core classes in the Scarred Lands are very strongly tied to one element or another of the setting (for example, the fact that druids extract their powers from the Earth Mother, the last remaining titan), and I believe the authors could have expanded a bit more on that front, for example by providing some suggestions on which cultures, nations, or organizations favor these classes (but still keeping it open-ended enough to not shoe-horn the player in one very specific cult or another). Several ideas sprung to my mind while reading it, but then I have a rather strong knowledge of the setting, maybe such addition would be helpful for people that are not as familiar with the Scarred Lands.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Collection
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M20 The Rich Bastard’s Guide to Magick
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/24/2021 00:49:37

I had forgotten that Mage books could be fun. So many of the books in the M20 line have been unrelenting misery porn and hopelessness (reaching the peak with Book of the Fallen) that this is just a breath of fresh air. A quick Chapter by Chapter review below:

Introduction

This is really the main place where the book acts like the fun police, reminding you that money corrupts and all sorts of bad things. But...it's like 2 pages.

Chapter One: Money and the Mage

The main thrust of this chapter is to describe how the various factions view money and how it influences them. It has a little scolding, but also a bunch of great ideas, like Akashayana Action Accountants.

Chapter Two: Creating Rich Characters

This chapter is a little thin, mostly it's on talking about where wealth comes from and adding some new Archetypes (and how wealth impacts old ones) and new Merits and Flaws.

Chapter Three: Monetary Magick

Here's where the good shit really gets going. This book contains 27 Rotes, 3 for each Sphere, and they're split up to be useful. One of them is a 1-2 dot rote, one a 3-4, and one a 5, so whatever power level you're playing at there's something for you. And they're generally creative and fun. It's hard to pick a favorite, but Company in a Box has to be mine. Just...create a Primal Venture from nothing, but over time, you can make it real. Including turning people you created into real people with normal lives integrated into society. It's a wonderful plot hook in the form of a Master of Prime (read Primal Utility) rote. The chapter also includes some Focus elements, most of which are good, though I dispute the description of Cryptocurrency in the early version I've got for technical reasons.

Chapter Four: Membership has its Privileges

An interesting chapter on what groups of super wealthy mages are up to, many of which cut across faction, because at Resources 6, a Progenitor and a Hermetic may have more in common than they do with the hoi polloi of the Union and Traditions.

Chapter Five: The Best Money Can Buy

Wonders. So many Wonders, and they're ridiculous and over the top in all the right ways. A painting made by cutting up ten masterpieces. A tactical war cloud. A Wonder that makes making Wonders easier. It's all here. I had to stop several times to show something to people, because this chapter is just...well, to be a bit on the nose, solid gold.

Chapter Six: Storytelling the Rich and Famous

Suggestions for how to handle the sort of wealth this book talks about in your game. How characters can acquire it, what makes it worth opening this box, plot hooks, etc.

Overall, a solid book that I can't recommend enough, especially to counter the "Nephandi are everywhere and they've already won so what's the point?" feeling that many people have complained about throughout M20.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
M20 The Rich Bastard’s Guide to Magick
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