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Of Predators and Prey: The Hunters Hunted II Anthology
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2021 13:46:06
Hunter or hunted? - a Mephisto review

Of Predators and Prey

Of Predators and Prey has been released as a companion short story collection to the Hunters hunted II sourcebook for Vampire V20. A total of nine stories are dedicated to the theme of vampire hunters and, as the title suggests, play with the question of who is the hunter and who is the hunted. Thus, sometimes vampires meet surprisingly well-prepared hunters, sometimes unsuspecting humans stumble into misfortune, and sometimes the line blurs as to who the real monsters are.

Thus, the stories cover a wide spectrum of hunters, sometimes ordinary humans who stumble into the vampire menace, and sometimes professionals who are totally dedicated to the hunt. Just as varied are the vampires they must face. In most of these hunts, the outcome is uncertain. The stories are varied, surprising, and exciting and offer what one expects from short stories: entertainment with a few surprises. However, those who expect greater mysteries or connections of the World of Darkness in these stories will be disappointed. With few exceptions, the hunters know so little about the World of Darkness that this background plays only a minor role. In my view, this is also consistent and does not detract from the stories. Those who expect mysteries and strong references to the setting from this book will probably be disappointed. However, if you are looking for a few vampire hunter stories that are worth reading and that also provide inspiration for hunter characters (as protagonists or as antagonists), you will get an entertaining short story collection here.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Of Predators and Prey: The Hunters Hunted II Anthology
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The Making of the Art of Children of the Revolution
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2021 13:42:34
Just a making of - a Mephisto review

The Making of the Art of Children of the Revolution.

Even though the term art appears in the title, this volume is not a typical artbook, but focuses on the "making of" aspect. As such, the book is comparatively text-heavy. In addition to the sketches and stages of development to the finished results of some of the illustrations, sorted by illustrator, one finds the email conversations in the exchange between art director and illustrator.

In this respect, the book could not really appeal to me. While the sketches' development is interesting, the book focuses more on the intermediate stages than the final results. While it's interesting to get a glimpse into the discussion about the motifs, the collection of emails - in the typical colloquial form (including various typos) - may be authentic, but it couldn't captivate me. I was more convinced by the approach of other artbooks to the World of Darkness - personally, I would have liked an artbook representing the whole range of V20 much better.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Making of the Art of Children of the Revolution
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W20 Art of Werewolf the Apocalypse
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2021 13:40:05
Glimpses of the Werewolf's Apocalypse - a Mephisto review

The Art of Werewolf the Apocalypse

Part of the product line of anniversary editions to the World of Darkness are several artbooks. Subtitled A Visual Guide to Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition, this book gives an impression of the world of werewolves. Divided into six chapters, the book introduces key aspects of the Garou world: transformation, their role as defenders of Gaia, the three central powers of Wyrm, Weaver and Wyld, and the Umbra. In this book, the images are the main focus; the texts are only short explanations of the subject and the mentioning of the illustrator. Unlike other artbooks, this one is not about the process of creating the illustrations but primarily about the graphic representation of the Garou's world in selected illustrations. As expected, a wide range of styles can be found here, but what all the images have in common is that they depict the werewolves' struggle against their enemies in a very vivid way - with large, fearsome werewolves, grotesque monsters, brutal fights, and mysterious spirit worlds.

The book provides an atmospheric insight into both the wide range of illustrations and the game world. Those who already own the Werewolf Anniversary Edition books will, of course, already have the illustrations in their collection. Still, those looking for a focused look at the graphic design will get an artbook worth seeing here, with the commentary focusing on the game world rather than the artistic creation process - which, in my view, is the better approach.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
W20 Art of Werewolf the Apocalypse
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W20 Art of Changing Breeds: A Visual Guide to the Fera
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2021 13:38:06
The art of Fera - a Mephisto review

The Art of Changing Breeds - A visual Guide to Fera

Several art books have been published for the World of Darkness roleplaying games' anniversary editions, each with a slightly different focus and approach. For the graphic companion book to Changing Breeds, the subtitle sums up the approach well: A visual guide to the Fera (the other shapeshifters beyond werewolves). After the introduction, the book works its way along the various Fera types, and the author, Mike Chaney, provides some insights on the choice of illustrators. In doing so, he also juxtaposes the briefing information the artists received with the results, comments on the artists' selections, provides little anecdotes and offers insights into the approach to the various Fera. Through this and some illustrations from older books, the reader also learns how the presentation has changed over the 20 years leading up to the anniversary edition. At the heart of the book, however, are the illustrations themselves. Here the reader is presented with various highlights, the signature characters, and studies of the various form that the Fera can take. In this respect, the reader actually receives a visual guide to the various Fera. Besides, sketches and preliminary designs show the path from the idea to the finished illustration and offer a glimpse behind the scenes. Although the little glimpses into the creative processes are interesting, it's the stunning illustrations that make this book. And even though Werewolf was never my favorite of the World of Darkness games, the book managed to pique my interest in the Fera.

Unlike the 'real' sourcebook, you have to do without any game information in the artbook, but you get insights into the graphic process and the illustrators' work. Graphic fans will get a nice insight here, which is worthwhile if you don't own the sourcebook itself and just want to enjoy the graphics.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
W20 Art of Changing Breeds: A Visual Guide to the Fera
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MÖRK BORG CULT: FERETORY
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/02/2021 13:23:24
More horror for Mörk Borg- a Mephisto review

Feretory

Feretory, the first expansion to Mörk Borg, once again presents itself with a cover that looks like a warning sign - and probably that's a good thing. While the first two pages provide random tables as a monster generator to describe and assign statistics to horrible monsters, it continues with a wild mix of material. Roads to Damnation allows for calculating travel times and making journeys more "interesting" with random tables. In Eat Prey Kill, rules for hunting and corresponding creatures to hunt follow. The "game" to hunt is appropriately bizarre and dangerous and doesn't whet your appetite for a roast in any way. The Death Ziggurat is a scenario for an adventure with cultists and other horrors. The second adventure, The Goblin Grinder, leads to the goblin epidemic in Galgenbeck. Since being injured by a goblin causes the victim to become a goblin themselves (unless they kill the goblin), the goblins spread like a plague - though there seems to be a cure (of course, the truth is much more terrifying). Also, there are 100 items to roll and terrible and bizarre items with The Tenebrous Reliquary d66. In The Grey Galth Inn, there are tables to roll for food and other items in a tavern (including a dangerous drinking game). At the end of the book, there are several new character types: the Cursed Skinwalker (a shapeshifter who is rarely a classic werewolf), the Pale One (an alien creature with special powers), the Dead God's Prophet (whose dead god gives him bizarre powers), and the Forlorn Philosopher (who has a special item and the new Tablets of Ochre Obscurity). At the end, there is another threat in the form of the Black Salt.

Feretory is a potpourri of wild ideas and expansions that stay true to the game's extreme style. Importantly, much of it is fan material, proofread and illustrated, but is also downloadable for free from the website. As a small addition, there is also the roleplaying game Dark Fort, which with its 4 pages was more or less the prototype for Mörk Bork. If you play Mörk Borg, you will get a fitting expansion with two adventures, four new character types, and various additional material - all in the dark, brutal and crass style that characterizes this roleplaying game.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MÖRK BORG CULT: FERETORY
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Mörk Borg English
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/02/2021 13:16:24
Dungeons and Doom Metal? - a Mephisto review

Mörk Borg

A game like a doom metal album, a spiked flail to the face - that's how Mörk Borg describes himself on its bright yellow cover. The game promises to be light on rules and heavy on everything else. Basically, Mörk Borg is an old-school Renaissance-style roleplaying game that uses the rules of an early D&D as a starting point and presents a gritty setting on top of it. There are dice tables for all sorts of things like names, treasures, weather, etc. Characters are rolled out within a short time (which is good because they probably won't survive long). Four game statistics are determined by 3d6 and then converted into bonus values, which are factored into the roll of a d20 against a difficulty. The game master determines when a character improves - there are no formal levels, nor are there experience points. And even then, the dice decide what the improvement is. Magic exists just in the form of scrolls, but a character can use only a certain number of them per day. Besides, characters have bonus points, called omens, which they can use to maximize damage, re-roll dice, etc.

Besides the completely free character creation, there are optional character classes like Fanged Deserter, Gutterborn Scum, Esoteric Hermit, Wretched Royalty, Heretical Priest, or Occult Herbmaster. These classes have modified creation rules and quite unique features. For example, the Occult Herbmaster can create random potions every day, while the Wretched Royalty may have servants that are limited in reliability (or helpfulness).

The world of Mörk Borg is on the brink of the apocalypse prophesied by the two-headed basilisk. It is a world sinking into filth, death, and despair - full of the undead, madness, brutality, and ruin. Depending on how long you want to play, you roll different dice to see which, if any, of the dark prophecies will come true. And as soon as the seventh prophecy is fulfilled, the game ends with the end of the world...

While these are the facts, Mörk Borg's goal seems to be to overwhelm and/or shock the reader with its presentation. Typography, illustrations, and layout can best be described as creative chaos. Various font styles and garish colors clash with gritty illustrations and classic styles, and many of the motifs can only be described as blatant. Weapon statistics, for example, are explained by an illustration in which a character is hit and pierced by a good dozen weapons.

In terms of content, some monster statistics and a dungeon adventure complete the book. Also, in the adventure Rotblack Sludge or the Shadow King's Lost Heir, the characters get into a dungeon that offers enough deadly threats that there is, fortunately, no time to ask why....

Personally, I have a hard time rating the game in the end. Mörk Borg consistently and uncompromisingly goes the old-school route: virtually everything is roll out with dice, and any unnecessary rules ballast is dropped. Even if the bizarre setting is described vaguely, you still get a good impression of the degenerate game world. And the presentation is definitely impressive - though definitely not to everyone's taste. For me, Mörk Borg is more a product for collectors than a game you want to play. The authors and illustrators have taken their vision to the extreme here, which I find impressive, even if the style doesn't appeal to me personally.

If you like the gritty, exaggerated, and crass style, you'll get an impressive product here. Those who get a weird feeling just looking at the cover are probably better off just keeping the book closed.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mörk Borg English
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Forbidden Lands: Raven's Purge
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2021 13:30:04
The Forbidden Lands will never be the same - a Mephisto review

Raven's Purge

With the disappearance of the deadly Bloodmist, the Forbidden Lands' situation has changed greatly, as now traveling in the region is no longer a deadly danger. Accordingly, the time has come for the power structures in the region to change. Various factions are striving to defeat their enemies once and for all or to take over the region. From the ancient, monstrous ruler Zyterra, to demons and a dwarven princess, to the emerging orc empire, various power groups pursue their goals and pursue ancient legends - including the legend of the elven crown Stanengist, which promises dominion over the Raven Lands...

Raven's Purge is an extensive campaign module for Forbidden Lands. Still, it stays true to the game's basic principle of providing a sandbox for the players and letting the player characters drive the stories. The book first explains the legend of Stanengist and introduces the various power groups and their interests. This is followed by twelve locations that are comprehensively introduced. Each of these places offers different introductions, different characters, maps and descriptions, and events. What exactly happens in these places, however, is up to the players. Few of these locations offer the players a clearly defined goal. Rather, they provide a stage for the adventures and goals of the player characters.

Thus, even the various non-player characters cannot usually be divided into allies and enemies. Rather, the encounters in these places and the characters' goals over the course of the campaign define the relationships so that there are allies alongside enemies in the end. Even though the locations provide parts of the larger story, they are mostly independent of each other. Only one location is set aside for the finale, taking a bit of the freedom away from the players, although the outcome of events can vary even here. Even if some of the individual locations only tell small stories and legends, the campaign itself turns out to be epic and will forever change the Forbidden Lands.

I enjoyed Raven's Purge concept and realization immensely. Of course, the book is more of a construction kit with locations that offer glimpses of the larger game world. This kit means work for the game master and the players: Here, the players have to drive the plot, and the game master has to bring together an epic campaign from the ideas and the players' plans. Although many of the locations can enrich the game beyond the epic campaign, this book is perfect for harnessing the open game approach's potential and the background for an epic campaign. For Forbidden Lands players that want to experience the canonical setting, this volume is thus mandatory.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forbidden Lands: Raven's Purge
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Forbidden Lands: The Spire of Quetzel
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2021 13:21:04

The Spire of Quetzel

In the open world of Forbidden Lands, many places are waiting to be explored by the player characters - and The Spire of Quetzel is just one of four places introduced in the sourcebook of the same name.

The book focuses on four locations: the tower of a demonic mage that reaches through several worlds, a prison where some demons are imprisoned, a forest inhabited by witches, and the final resting place of giant lizards.

All locations use the usual format for Forbidden Lands: they introduce the legends, present the layout of the location, describe the characters and monsters, and provide story ideas to go along with them. This gives gamemasters and players places to explore freely because there is no set story or predefined goals for the players, unlike regular adventures. What the player characters do with the place is up to them...

The four locations of The Spire of Quetzel are very varied and offer exciting, puzzling, and, above all, outstanding places, for which it is not surprising that legends have grown up around them.

The focus of the locations is different in each case: sometimes the exploration of a mysterious place is in the foreground, sometimes the player characters can get involved in the web of relationships of some non-player characters, sometimes they are confronted with a mysterious situation. What all places have in common is that they are potentially very dangerous. Personally, I particularly liked the Hexenwald, which makes it very clear how much these places rely on the player's initiative.

From my point of view, this sourcebook is a excellent addition with immediately playable adventure locations or inspiration for your own locations. With its ideas, the book shows how unusual the world of Forbidden Lands can be.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forbidden Lands: The Spire of Quetzel
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The Secret of Vinsen's Tomb: A Pugmire Jumpstart
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2021 13:14:35
Introduction to a world of dogs and dungeons - a Mephisto review

The Secret of Vinsens Tomb

The Secret of Vinsens Tomb is the starter book for the Pugmire role-playing game, containing the reduced rules, sample characters, and a short adventure. The role-playing game presents itself as a typical fantasy role-playing game based on the classic D&D. Accordingly, character development focuses on attributes, and there are the typical rolls such as ability rolls, saving throws, and attack rolls. Besides, characters can get bonuses based on their level, and there is also a mechanic for luck (which is a common pool that players can use to reroll dice rolls). Furthermore, in addition to these basic rules, the combat rules are presented in a compact form, and there is a brief look at spells. Thus, the rules section takes up just under 20 pages.

What makes The Secret of Vinsens Tomb unusual, however, is the approach that in this fantasy world, players take on the role of dogs, which have apparently evolved after the disappearance of humanity and now rule the world along with cats and other animals. Even though the various breeds of dogs play a role here - at least in the atmosphere - the animals have evolved to the point where they can walk upright and speak, making them very humanized. While the rule base of the role-playing game is classic, the player background is thus special.

The second part of the book is made up of the adventure, where the players have to follow the trail to a tomb in a few scenes, where the showdown takes place. In this respect, the scenario is also classically structured and leads beginners with detailed explanations through the story. The book concludes with several sample characters connected by their background to form an immediately playable group.

The Secret of Vinsens Tomb does a good job of introducing the basic rules and general setting of the role-playing game and making it immediately tangible in the form of a playable adventure with sample characters. Even though the approach with dogs as player characters is unusual, this setting does not meet my personal taste at all. However, it is conceivable that young beginner gamers - i.e. children - will find an interesting incentive here.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Secret of Vinsen's Tomb: A Pugmire Jumpstart
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Fate Horror Toolkit
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2021 13:08:39
A toolbox of horror - a Mephisto review

Fate Horror Toolkit

The adaptation of the role-playing game Fate to the horror genre is thought to be not quite easy. This is mainly because Fate provides players with far-reaching possibilities to influence the game's plot directly. This approach can be quite detrimental to a horror atmosphere in which the characters should be rather helpless. However, while the topic has already been touched upon in subsequent publications after the basic rulebook, the Fate Horror Toolkit now provides a specifically dedicated kit to genre adaptation.

The book first takes the time to analyze the horror genre and define what actually constitutes horror. Above all, the sensitive topic of dealing with the players is addressed comprehensively: A horror game round should definitely get close to the player's fears - but definitely not too close.

After this introduction, the book initially revolves around rule adaptations. Attention is paid to what is needed in character creation to generate characters appropriate to the genre. Of course, aspects such as the death of player characters are just as much a topic here as, for example, the idea that deceased player characters continue to play along as ghosts or shape a legacy aspect with their death. The question of how to create suitable non-player characters is also discussed. Other new ideas include a collaborative Fate point pool and expanded rules for compelling aspects. In particular, the concept of using cleverly worded aspects to set up a dilemma so that player characters are faced with difficult decisions is presented in detail.

A separate chapter is devoted to the question of how confronting horror changes player characters and what scars in physical and psychological terms these encounters leave behind. It introduces, for example, trauma aspects and discusses how to deal with the sensitive topic of mental illness. Even the topic of splatter effects and their effect on the player characters are discussed.

No sourcebook of this type would be complete without a chapter on creating appropriate monsters and enemies and skillfully implementing them within the Fate rules and representing them in the game. Some classic creatures exemplify the whole approach. Even the genre variant, in which one's own body becomes the enemy, is given extensive space.

This is followed by several chapters specific to setting conventions - for example, games where it is clear that the story is heading towards inevitable doom or campaign basics focused on survival horror. The comparatively new topic of so-called feminine horror is also addressed. More surprising, there is a chapter for young players, which describes in game terms how to implement more humorous ghost stories à la Scooby Doo within the framework of this rulebook.

The Fate Horror Toolkit is a very comprehensive book on the genre, discussing elementary topics as well as adapting Fate's rule base accordingly through rule modifications and additions. If you plan to play Fate with a horror background - or want to add more horror elements to your existing Fate campaign - you will not only find a toolbox full of helpful adaptations, but also various ideas and, above all, tips and tricks for a coherent atmosphere, but also for a good interaction with the players. Even if, as with most books of this kind, you will probably never use all rule aspects in the game, this book seems to me to be a well-made tool that can greatly enrich a corresponding Fate game.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Horror Toolkit
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Wolf's Head • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2021 12:20:11
A merry bands of outlaws - a Mephisto review

Wolf's Head

Medieval England is a cruel and unfair place - and so not all commoners are always willing to bow to the unjust nobles. They become outlaws who oppose the powerful - some for idealistic motives, some in search of wealth, and some simply to survive. Wolf's Head is a setting that transports players to Norman England in the year 1106. The player characters are outlaws, and the background is not coincidentally reminiscent of Robin Hood.

Wolf's Head provides only a few new rules mechanics, namely a few adjusted rules for dealing with treasure and support from the people. On the one hand, the outlaws don't have a steady income but have to steal riches to strengthen their financial resources. On the other hand, it is important to gather the local population's support and thus become some kind of local heroes. Even though the setting touches on the old gods and magic, witchcraft is reserved for non-player characters.

The largest part of the book is made up of the setting, in which various locations and various characters, including game stats, are described. Adventure ideas are provided not only indirectly, but with concrete suggestions. Thanks to the example characters, you can start immediately.

Wolf's Head's special feature is that the game has a defined end: If the outlaws have attracted too much attention and thus become too much of a target for their powerful enemies, the game ends. In the end, it is decided what positive contribution the characters' actions and legends will still have in the future.

For Fate, Wolf's Head is an almost conventional scenario that offers a well-developed medieval background without introducing major rule changes. Anyone who has ever wanted to take on the role of an outlaw à la Robin Hood will find a good hook here.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wolf's Head • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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The Agency • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2021 12:13:30
How many agents fit in one head? - a Mephisto review

The Agency

The Agency is a mysterious and extremely efficient secret government organization whose agents have saved their country and the world from great harm. The Agency's problem is that its opponents have neutralized all of its field agents in a surprise strike - back in the late 1970s. However, the Agency had an artificial intelligence named Alice that stored the personalities of the agents and has now single-handedly found a way to upload those personality profiles into human bodies. One catch is that the personality profiles will have to get used to their new role. Even more serious might be the problem that several agent personalities have to share a civilian's body - who is also present and has his own opinion...

The Agency is a Fate setting that once again starts with an extremely unusual background. On the one hand, the game is designed to play agent stories in the style of James Bond, where the agents have to stop the insane plans of dangerous enemies. On the other hand, with the artificial intelligence and the approach that the initially quite incomplete player characters have to share a body, there is a comedy element, as The Agency presents its setting with a good dose of humor.

Of course, The Agency needs new rules because several personalities - both the agents and the civilian - share one body, so character creation goes very much its own way. The rules regarding who has control over the body at which time also play a crucial role. At the same time, The Agency provides simple concepts to map the hierarchy levels of evil organizations, their head villains, and their subordinates. In many cases, they are handled as simple aspects. Of course, a short adventure about saving the world is not to be missed.

The idea of The Agency is very strange but quite funny and provides some exciting approaches, at least for a one-shot or a short campaign. Whether one actually wants to play in this bizarre world for a longer period of time seems questionable to me. But an agent story, in which specialists with unusual abilities and the handicap of sharing a body have to stop typical James-Bond-style villain's plans, seems at least to be an exciting approach for one or two game nights to me.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Agency • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Liminal: The Eyes Have It
Publisher: Modiphius
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2021 12:04:01
Eyes on London - a Mephisto review

The Eyes Have It

The Eyes Have It is a short case for Liminal that builds on the role-playing game's London setting. The player's crew is tasked with solving the murder of a Member of Parliament who was privy to the supernatural world - a case that P Division is not allowed to investigate due to conflicts of interest. As usual for Liminal, the case is summarized in just a few pages, providing the basic facts and starting points for the game master to adventure with. A larger storyline is hinted at in the background and between the lines, but this adventure only touches on it. The Eyes Have It is quite an interesting adventure - especially against the London background - but it feels like a bit more concrete information would have been good for the story.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Liminal: The Eyes Have It
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CTHULHU: Umringt von Freunden
Publisher: Pegasus Press
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2021 13:33:40
Feinde und Freunde - eine Mephisto Rezension

Umringt von Freunden

Bereits vor längerer Zeit ist mit Feind meines Feindes eine kleine Cthulhu-Kampagne erschienen, die sich besonders dadurch auszeichnet, dass es an den Spielern liegt, wer ihre Verbündeten und wer ihre Feinde werden. Während in diesem Band viele Rätsel und Fragen geklärt wurden, hat die Geschichte dort allerdings keinen richtigen Abschluss gefunden. Das soll nun Umringt von Freunden nachholen. Die Herausforderung hierbei ist, dass je nachdem, wie die Spieler im ersten Band gehandelt haben, die Beziehungen zu drei verschiedenen Organisationen sehr unterschiedlich sein können. Daher rekapituliert der erste Teil dieses Buchs nicht nur die bisherigen Ereignisse, sondern liefert auch mehrere unterschiedliche Ansätze, um die Spieler wieder auf Kurs zu bringen. Hierbei werden im Grunde genommen drei Orte vorgestellt, an den es zur Auseinandersetzung kommen kann. Dabei können die Spielercharaktere theoretisch auf jeweils beiden Seiten des Konflikts stehen. Ist dieser Einleitungsschritt abgeschlossen, kann es richtig losgehen: Die Investigatoren werden nach Marokko gezogen, wo nicht nur ein Bürgerkrieg gegen Rebellen tobt, sondern eine alte Bedrohung zum Vorschein tritt. Es liegt nun an den Spielercharakteren, sich im gefährlichen Bürgerkriegsszenario die nötigen Informationen zu beschaffen, hinter die Bedrohung zu kommen und diese dann zu besiegen. Auch hier können die Spielercharaktere wieder unterschiedliche Verbündete gewinnen oder sich Feinde machen. Der dritte Teil des Abenteuers hingegen führt in entferntere Gefilde, die nicht mehr von dieser Welt sind, wo die Spielercharaktere endgültig ihre Gegner stoppen müssen.

Das grundsätzliche Thema dieser Kampagne ist prinzipiell spannend. Auch die Idee mit den verschiedenen Machtgruppen und ihren Zielen, die schon im ersten Teil überzeugen konnte, wird hier weiter ausgebaut. Sehr gut ist der Ansatz, dem Spielleiter zu helfen, abhängig vom Ausgang des ersten Teils die Kampagne wieder auf Kurs zu bringen. Mit dem Szenario in Marokko gibt es einen spannenden Hintergrund, der sowohl Intrigen als auch Action verspricht – aber durchaus Fantasie der Spieler und des Spielleiters erfordert, um aus den Ansätzen und Ideen die Story zu entwickeln. Der dritte Teil des Abenteuers ist eine Expedition in unbekannte Gefilde, die in erster Linie durch Zufallsbegegnungen und -ereignisse, sowie das Managen der Expeditionsressourcen geprägt ist. Dieser Teil konnte mich nicht überzeugen, da gerade durch die Zufallsereignisse und ihre teilweise gefühlt generische Natur die Besonderheit der Expedition für mich verloren geht. Trotzdem ist Umringt von Freunden ein fordernder Abenteuerband, auf den man nicht verzichten sollte, wenn man Feind meines Feindes zu einem echten Abschluss bringen möchte.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CTHULHU: Umringt von Freunden
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CTHULHU: Das Weinen der Frau aus den Hügeln
Publisher: Pegasus Press
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2021 13:31:15
Horror im Amerikanischen Bürgerkrieg - eine Mephisto Rezension

Das Weinen der Frau aus den Hügeln

Auch wenn die 1920er das Standardsetting für Cthulhu sind, wird der Kampf gegen die Großen Alten und ihre Diener in vielen Epochen ausgetragen. In Das Weinen der Frau aus den Hügeln wird daher der übliche Hintergrund durch einen Ausflug ins Amerika zur Zeit des Amerikanischen Bürgerkriegs ersetzt. Das Abenteuer vor diesem Hintergrund besteht aus drei Teilen. Im ersten Teil geht es darum, dass die Spielercharaktere per Schiff von Europa aus die amerikanischen Südstaaten erreichen. Im zweiten Teil besuchen sie mit Freunden deren Plantage und treten der Armee der Südstaaten bei, um erste Gefechte gegen den Norden auszufechten. Das dritte Abenteuer führt zu einer weiteren großen Schlacht mit stark veränderten Bedingungen und konfrontiert die Spielercharaktere sehr konkret mit dem cthuloiden Grauen, das zuvor eher im Hintergrund gelauert hat. Mehr soll über den Inhalt nicht verraten werden.

Interessanterweise warnt bereits das Vorwort, dass dieser Abenteuerband für Cthulhu untypisch ist und als Experiment auch die historische Simulation des Amerikanischen Bürgerkriegs versucht. Im Kern des Abenteuers steckt außerdem eine interessante Idee, die den Mythos über irischen Aberglauben mit dem Bürgerkrieg verbindet. Zudem liefert das Buch in der Einleitung ein paar Hinweise, wie die Charaktere für diese ungewöhnliche Epoche zu modifizieren sind. Während der grundsätzliche Verlauf des Abenteuers stimmig ist, sind insbesondere in den ersten beiden Teilen die Mythos-Aspekte eher zufällig und stehen gegenüber dem Bürgerkriegssetting sehr im Hintergrund. Dafür wird im dritten Teil der Mythos recht brachial entfesselt. Tatsächlich gehen die Abenteuer sehr detailliert auf einzelne Aspekte des Bürgerkriegs und dessen Schlachten ein. Der Fokus liegt oft auf diesen Kampfszenarien. So steht im Grunde genommen im Mittelpunkt jedes Abenteuers eine Schlacht – mal eine Seeschlacht und dann eine Feldschlacht, die extrem detailliert und mit komplexen Regeln ausgearbeitet sind. Im dritten Szenario werden die Vorbereitungen auf eine Schlacht, die sich über einige Tage hinziehen, auf insgesamt acht Seiten beschrieben. Zudem habe ich als Leser oftmals das Gefühl gehabt, dass die Spielercharaktere eher Zuschauer bzw. Statisten in den historischen Ereignissen sind. Entsprechend erscheint ihr Handlungsspielraum begrenzt– oder hängt komplett von ihrer Eigeninitiative ab. Auch wenn ich die Idee des Settings und auch die Grundidee der Kombination mit dem Mythos durchaus interessant fand, liegt das Thema Bürgerkrieg und insbesondere die Details der Schlachten und beteiligten Personen mir so fern, dass mich die Ausarbeitung nicht in den Bann ziehen konnte. Zu haarklein werden die Kämpfe in historische Details heruntergebrochen, und zu oft hatte ich das Gefühl, dass ich erwähnte Personen besser kennen sollte, um den Kontext zu verstehen.

Wie das Vorwort dieses Buch schreibt, ist dieses Abenteuer ein Experiment, was für mich allerdings nicht funktioniert hat. Hier darf man die Warnung durchaus ernst nehmen: Wer mit dem Amerikanischen Bürgerkrieg nichts anfangen kann, wird auch mit diesem Band nichts anfangen können. Ich vermute allerdings des Bürgerkriegsenthusiasten in dieser Ausarbeitung genau die historischen Details finden, die sie suchen.

(Björn Lippold)



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CTHULHU: Das Weinen der Frau aus den Hügeln
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