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Mask of the Other
Publisher: Greg Stolze
by Conor M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/18/2023 12:52:56

We're in the closing days of 2023 and this was certainly the best horror book I've read in 2023, but I think it's the best cosmic horror novel I've read in quite a few years.

There's a real challenge in horror to writing capable protagonists while maintaining the tension and fear, and Greg Stolze absolutely nailed that balance here. The characters are likeable (though interestingly flawed) and competent, they are not just one-dimensional cyphers the writer pushes from one peril to another. They make a lot of good decisions (some bad, too!) and they would probably breeze through a lot of other difficult situations.

A particular shout out to a passage about young lovers exploring an abandoned town, which had the sides of my e-reader groaning because I realised I was squeezing it from the tension.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mask of the Other
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Ready....Fight! An Unarmed Combat Supplement for Genesys
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Conor M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/10/2023 14:24:06

Excellent, 100% professional supplement.

I was talking about how I'd like to run a Genesys game in a kind of Streets Of Rage setting with some Professional Wrestling elements and someone said "Uhh...that exact supplement already exists."

To be clear they are separate settings (Beat Em Up setting and Pro Wrestling setting) but they are completely compatible as far as I can see, and they are both great.

The unarmed combat rules are meaty and deep, maybe not allowing as much development of /specialisation in moves as I'd like, but it's a minor quibble.

Overall I loved this, and it's also an easy and breezy read.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ready....Fight! An Unarmed Combat Supplement for Genesys
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Something Strange: Genesys Modern Horror Setting
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Conor M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/22/2020 23:14:15

As other reviews have said this is a toolkit rather than a setting, and that's exactly what I was looking for.

The careers here are my favourite I've seen in a Genesys book, and the expanded talents for supernatural creatures are everything you could need.

I was so impressed with this. As a final bonus: it's a breezy and easy read, getting across a lot of useful rules stuff in an entertaining and approachable way.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Something Strange: Genesys Modern Horror Setting
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Fate Horror Toolkit
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Conor M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2020 23:06:36

Fate is my favourite system but for years I never ran or played horror in it, because I'd so often heard people say it just wasn't suited.

I bought this because I was curious, and a couple of weeks later I ran my favourite horror one-shot ever, in Fate Core with some modifications and tools I'd gleaned from this book.

I've now run several more and I wouldn't hesitate to run a horror game in Fate these days: with a little tweaking and thinking, the system becomes a great fit. The Fate Point Economy was maybe the one thing I feared would break horror the most, but the advice in the toolkit helps you turn Fate points into a desperate version of the "how much do you want it" central question they usually embody.

It's an excellent Fate sourcebook, but honestly it's far more than that, it's a great piece of writing about what horror in gaming really is, the different flavours of it, why it works when it works and why it doesn't when something is off.

I've been playing and running TTRPGs since 1991 and Evil Hat remains the company I hold in the highest esteem.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Horror Toolkit
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Genesys - Shadow of the Beanstalk
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Conor M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2020 23:00:02

In almost 30 years of gaming, I was always waiting for a cyberpunk setting that felt just right to me. Shadow Of The Beanstalk is that Goldilocks bowl.

It's intentionally somewhat generic, so that it feels like a place to tell my own stories rather than a place to respectfully repeat someone else's. But it's also full of enough ideas to prompt a thousand game sessions.

This setting's take on artificial life is my favourite I've seen in a cyberpunk game, and it's presented with a nuance that I've seen interpreted differently by different friends, which I think is a sign it's succeeded. A central question in the game is what makes someone alive, and the book gives you a lot of ways to explore it without answering it for you.

The art is absolutely beautiful and the book design in general is superior. One thing I'll mention is I bought the PDF, and the design looked gorgeous on a tablet, kind of making me feel like I was holding a futuristic device rather than just my regular old tablet.

If I deduct one star from an otherwise glowing review, it's because I'd have happily paid an extra few dollars to have all the required rules in this book. I do also own the Genesys Core book, but it would have been nice to have it all in one for less back-and-forth.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys - Shadow of the Beanstalk
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Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Conor M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2020 22:53:21

Fate Core is my favourite game system, having played more than I can recall going back to 1991. It’s the best system I’ve seen for modeling fiction and it’s the easiest and most fun to play too. The Fate point economy creates a flow in the game, one friend described Fate as having the potential to mix a great RPG with the feeling of a game of poker.

It's true that it's probably not a system that can handle absolutely anything, but I've played and run most genres I can think of in it and it's always performed incredibly.

The Fate Horror Toolkit is also very worthwhile, it's a great guide for horror in Fate, but it's also a great guide to horror in gaming. I used advice from it to run my favourite horror game ever, in Fate.

Quite simply, Fate deserves every bit of praise it’s had.

Oh and if you like it, consider buying the hard copy book, it's a lovely chunky piece that's a pleasure to read cover to cover.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
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