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Dream Askew / Dream Apart
Publisher: Buried Without Ceremony
by Lex P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/10/2018 22:55:19

A pair of wonderfully elegant games that I wish could've been my first. The writing is clear, evocative, and wonderfully supportive, acting not just as a rules text but as a gentle guide as to how to not make mistakes and reminder that it's okay if you do. Please take a look at this!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dream Askew / Dream Apart
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Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Rooms
Publisher: Magpie Games
by Lex P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/29/2018 18:40:37

The Book of Rooms is an incredible read, and a borderline-necessary companion for Bluebeard's Bride. I can't praise it enough, though keep in mind there's a variety of trigges in here for sexual violence, general violence, self-harm, body horror, dysphoria, and many other things.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Rooms
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Creator Reply:
Thanks so much for the review!
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Eagle Eyes • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/19/2016 14:48:48

Eagle Eyes is a prime example of all the wonderfully strange things you can do with the FATE rules system; take a setting (the Roman Republic), take a cinematic genre (gritty detective noir), and smash them together to create the game before you today. Eagle Eyes isn't overburdened with historical information (Wikipedia and any book store ccan give you a lifetime's worth of information on Rome), instead electing to give GMs and players just what they need to get the game rolling, then moves on to devoting the majority of its wordcount to investigative gameplay in FATE and offers a nice new subsystem for creating Conspiracies that need to be unraveled and exposed. Character creation is the usual for the system (High Concept, Trouble, and a couple neat Aspects unique to the setting), while the skill list is a rebranded take on the Approaches from FATE Accelerated, pitching them as Pleas to the Roman gods; while simple and straight-forward, I'm not in love with such a short list, but bringing in the Skills from FATE Core would be an easy task.

A shining proof of how versatile FATE is and a genuinely fun game to boot, I hope Eagle Eyes can be given another visit later on.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Eagle Eyes • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Sothis Ascends
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/18/2016 00:41:43

Sothis Ascends is not the first RPG supplement to use the past as its inspiration, but the choices it makes for the material within are what set it apart from the countless shining knights and Nazi-blasting heroes that line the shelves: Egypt during the reign of King Unas, last of the Fifth Dynasty; the entirety of the Mediterranean during the Bronze Age Collapse, as civilizations fall to plague, natural disaster, and marauders from the sea; Europe and North Africa at the very start of the "Dark Ages," as the world comes to terms with the death of Rome and the ascendance of monotheism.

Mummy: the Curse casts the player characters as amnesiac immortals from a lost empire, but Sothis Ascends is the book that finally hammers home the sheer scope of a story centered around characters who have lived through the span of human history. It's one thing to say that your character knew Egypt during its earliest days and quite another to play an extended flashback or even a full campaign set two thousand years before Christ. Sothis Ascends paints history with all the life and color it deserves, never straying into dry textbook territory but instead weaving occult secrets into its descriptions of peoples long dead.

If you love history, this book is a love letter to Egyptology and the lesser-known eras of the past, all wrapped up in a surprisingly gameable package. This book isn't one with mass appeal, but if you're part of the niche target audience (like me!) you'll love every single page.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sothis Ascends
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The Fate Codex - Volume 1, Issue 5
Publisher: Magpie Games
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/11/2015 14:20:10

The roleplaying game industry has some serious growing up to do when it comes to becoming an inclusive hobby. This issue of the Fate Codex gives me hope.

Fate Is A Safe Place is a wonderful essay about breaking stereotypes and providing an experience to everyone in the play group that they will enjoy and be comfortable with; it's this kind of meta-commentary that gaming as a whole benefits from, highlighting issues many folks don't even know exist.

Twilight Dames is the setting provided in this issue, a gritty detective noir world about queer women. It's wonderful to flip the idea of exclusivity on its head and putting players into roles they wouldn't often consider, building an LGBTQ-friendly narrative that manages to triumph from a narrative standpoint instead of just shallow political commentary.

Not to say the entire issue revolves around the topic, of course. The advice on running Fate with little prep is a godsend for a game as hectic as Fate can be, and I love the skillset provided for exploration-heavy games.

Pick this up, and look at the rest of the issues as well. You won't be let down.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Fate Codex - Volume 1, Issue 5
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Fate System Toolkit
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/18/2015 02:15:20

It's no secret that I'm desperately in love with the FATE system; I think it's elegant as hell, and use it for everything under the sun. How? That's where the Toolkit comes in.

With this book, you're looking at just shy of 200 pages worth of optional rules and game advice. Want to shake up the default skill list, or change the expected power level of the player characters? That's in here. Want a magic system in FATE? You'll get five different ones, plus cybernetics, superpowers, and advice for building your own subsystems. Need help turning FATE into a horror game? That's in the book, too. Class systems, squad combat, kung fu, social combat, swashbuckling, vehicles, mass warfare, help for setting design and character creation... if you can think of a topic, this book deals with it in an informative and easy-to-grasp manner.

The layout is clean, the art's functional (not great, not bad, but often unique; for every dwarf or wizard, there's a cybernetic gorilla or a six-armed alien swordsman), and the meat of the book is stellar. If you're playing FATE, you'll find something worth using between the covers. It comes with my highest praise.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate System Toolkit
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Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2015 20:41:07

FATE Core is my new favorite roleplaying system, and the most elegant thing I've ever run. It's getting to the point where I'm hesitant to play anything else, because it simply does the job that well.

FATE is a setting-agnostic rules-lite game with a heavy focus on fast play, cooperative storytelling, and the ability to do damn near anything you can imagine. The traditionally strong border between Game Master and player is broken down somewhat, with lots more power to shape the narrative given to players than usual. Modular mechanics are king in FATE, with the ability to add or strip out anything you could possibly want.

The game shines best when dealing with cinematic styles of play; I ran a pulp adventure game in the Eberron setting (normally from D&D; FATE shines in porting over existing settings with minimal effort) that had the players swinging through the jungle and swashbuckling on the rolling deck of a pirate ship with ease. FATE's rules are there to make play easier when they show up, and are otherwise unobtrusive and out of the way. Don't expect constant dice-rolling or rules memorization during play, nor any lengthy lists of equipment or spells.

Some will be put off by FATE's rules-lite nature, or the lack of a default setting. But for me? I'm head-over-heels in love.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
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Romance in the Air • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2015 20:35:06

Romance in the Air is a charming alternate history game that places its focus on faux-Victorian salon parties of the upper class and the Great Game played by the empires of a bygone age. For those who enjoy the trappings of the steampunk genre at its least-obnoxious, Romance makes for an entertaining read and a fun push for a night or three of play. The game doesn't do anything terribly innovative in terms of the FATE ruleset (a subsystem is briefly described for political maneuvering between nations, but it's not terribly deep; I'd love to see it fleshed out a a later date).

The art's not bad but not incredible, the fiction pleasant but a little bland, the rules functional but not fantastic. It's exactly what you'd want from the concept and nothing more.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Romance in the Air • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Book of the Deceived
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2015 20:30:39

I hated Mummy: the Curse.

That's not secret; from release onward, I complained about it incessantly. I abhorred the game. I thought it was an unplayable trainwreck of half-baked ideas that was more worldbuilding than roleplaying game.

Book of the Deceived changed my mind.

First things first, the book is /gorgeous/. The art is split between surreal photomanipulations and high-contrast ink character portraits, and both are a cut above what I've come to expect from art in roleplaying game books. Equally stellar is the writing quality; much of the book is just fiction. It reads less like game material and more like translated mythology, complex and arcane and beautiful.

I'll steer away from specifics, but the Deceived of the Lost Guild make compelling antagonists and strong protagonists. The rules within are fresh (if minimal), and the whole package made me want to dive into a Mummy chronicle as soon as I possibly could.

Book of the Deceived represents the new bar for Onyx Path Publishing's supplements, and I eagerly await future releases to see if they can match this work of art.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of the Deceived
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Hunter: Mortal Remains
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2015 20:05:51

Hunter: the Vigil is one of my favorite nWoD lines, and after the stellar quality of Night Stalkers, Slasher, and Witch Finders, I had high hopes for this book.

Which is why Mortal Remains is such a letdown.

While previous monster books presented a canon-agnostic approach to their chosen monsters (i.e. vampires didn't have to be the Kindred of Vampire: the Masquerade), Mortal Remains' tackles Prometheans, Changelings, Sin-Eaters, Mummies, and Demons as strictly what those supernaturals are in the context of their own lines. It's a disappointment after how great prior books were in this regard, as this material is practically reprinted (individual Promethean lineages are discussed, for example, rather than covering a grab-bag of reanimated and artificial humans) from the parent games.

Where the book shines is in the actual game material. Guidelines for building any monster you could imagine are included (along with a host of new Dread Powers), along with four new organizations (two Compacts, two Conspiracies; one of each for Mummies and Demons) and a rough rules update for H:tV in the nWoD Second Edition.

The organizations really shine, and are the highlight of the book for me - Middle Eastern cult deprogrammers, a tech startup that wants to build a utopia with occult technology, a fanatical brotherhood of those who eat the flesh of monsters to gain their power, and a gang of truckers, bounty hunters, and roadies, all empowered by angelic tattoos. It's a fun bunch that really encapsulates the best of the original thinking that makes the rest of the Hunter line so great; the only shame is that we didn't get similar groups for the other monster types in the book.

Buy it if you're a die-hard Hunter fan like me, but don't get your hopes up. Take it as a toolkit of stuff you can use elsewhere and you'll come away satisfied.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Hunter: Mortal Remains
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Vampire: The Requiem 2nd Edition
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2015 19:54:19

Vampire: the Requiem was a game with an identity problem.

As the first title in the New World of Darkness, Requiem had big shoes to fill; it failed to distinguish itself from its prestigious predecessor (Vampire: the Masquerade), and ended up rather bland. While later supplements bolstered the line, the core meat of it remained somewhat unsatisfying.

Requiem 2e goes a long way towards fixing that. This second edition (previous Blood & Smoke: The Strix Chronicle) is a game that oozes style; the fiction is evocative, the mechanics are a hell of a lot more elegant, and the sample settings within give new Storytellers a sound chance to step right into the game. The rules updates are welcome in a lot of places (updated experience point costs, revised Disciplines, an overhauled Humanity system that I'm just in love with) and slightly clunky in others (Conditions, Beats, and Touchstones all generally go ignored by my playgroup as unnecessary clutter), but the product as a whole is satisfying.

If you're willing to give Requiem a shot, this book might win you over. The Masquerade influence is definitely still there in places, but this is a game that can definitely stand on its own and start forging a legacy in future supplements.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: The Requiem 2nd Edition
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Psychedemia • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2015 19:49:06

Take Ender's Game, add psychic powers, and make the whole thing a lot friendlier; you've got Psychedemia. Players take on the role of young adult psychic prodigies training at a secret military academy to become the first line of defense against various alien races. The concept is fresh, but the setting is frustratingly vague, and I don't see a full-length campaign being born from the material. Buy it if you want a few simple psychic power Skills, because there's not much else in it.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Psychedemia • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Aether Sea • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2015 19:48:11

The Aether Sea is a sci-fantasy game that immediately brings back memories of old-school Spelljammer; classic fantasy races fly magical airships through the void. It's swashbuckling fun that doesn't have a lot of depth, but could definitely be built into a fun campaign with a lot of effort from the GM.

Where this product does shine is the airship combat system; the rules could easily be hacked apart and rebuilt into something for hard sci-fi, or a FATE take on Fantasy Flight Game's "Rogue Trader." Worth a look.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Aether Sea • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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The Secrets of Cats • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2015 19:45:45

Urban fantasy-horror where you play as housecats; The Secrets of Cats is devilishly clever, and does a lot of fun stuff. Somewhere between a modern dark fairytale and the "Warriors" series of young adult novels, Secrets of Cats is a unique little bundle that perfectly illustrates how FATE can handle pretty much any odd concept you can imagine. It's definitely worth a look.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of Cats • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Orpheus
Publisher: White Wolf
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/26/2014 18:08:59

Orpheus is a brilliant book, and a fantastic alternative for people who want a ghost game but felt like Wraith was a little too dreary. I'm a huge fan of this entire line.

Which is why this review hurts me. I bought a PoD hardcover copy of this product, and couldn't be more disappointed. Many of the pages in this book have black logos behind the text; these are messily printed, to the point where the whole pages are rendered unreadable. Combined with the overall cheap feeling of the pages, I've wound up with an unusable copy of a book I love. Stay away!



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Orpheus
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