A massive expansion for Monster of the Week - a Mephisto review
Tome of Mysteries
Monster of the Week not only describes an approach to series where each episode focuses on a new type of monster but is also the title of a roleplaying game based on the rules of Powered by the Apocalypse. In Monster of the Week, player characters act as monster hunters, constantly confronting new monsters.
With Tome of Mysteries, the first expansion to this roleplaying game has been released, which further expands the rules system and setting. It starts with new rules that revolve around the traits of the Weird trait, which depicts typically magic. But now Weird can also be used for unusual techniques, psychic phenomena and the like. This way the game master can adjust the setting, whether magic or other phenomena are in the foreground here (or both exist side by side). Thus the possibilities to use the property Weird become more extensive.
Phenomena is also a new type of mystery, where the focus is not on a monster that needs to be hunted, but on a strange phenomenon, artifact or other threat. The idea here is to be able to depict more adventures in the style of The X-Files. The special moves for the use of Luck are also examined in more detail, and the special move for investigations is modified so that the questions a player can ask with this move are more flexible.
Players will also get more material in the form of four new hunters, namely Gumshoe, a classic private detective, Hex, a witch with forbidden powers, Pararomantic, a hunter with a romantic relationship with a monster, and Searcher, who dedicates his life to the search for the unusual.
The second part of the book consists of essays. They are about clear tips on how to improve the game, how to play Monster of the Week with the short time frame of a convention or how to deal with alternative game themes like gothic horror or children as protagonists. Even though some of these game styles are quite special, you will find very well elaborated and new tips that are not only suitable for Monster of the Week.
The rest of the book - well over half - is made up of about 30 mysteries which cover an extensive range and are sometimes based on well-known inspirations. You can find an adaptation of Wells' time machine, a mystery about Elvis and Nixon or the mysterious computer game Orbital Funk Princess.
The Tome of Mysteries provides extensive material for a Monster of the Week campaign. While the rules and the new playbooks are a nice addition, the focus of this book is actually on the tips and above all the suggestions for mysteries. With no less than 30 of these ideas for adventure (as befits a Powered by The Apocalypse game, these only provide the basic information, but never a defined sequence of events) there should be something for every gaming group to help you play Monster of the Week in the long run - or use this material as a source of inspiration for your own campaign. In my opinion, Tome of Mysteries is an excellent addition to a perfect and very exciting roleplaying game, which is highly recommendable.