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Mind's Eye Theatre Dark Epics
by Alex W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/03/2014 11:53:19


This book, while it gives some decent advice, is almost entirely skipable. There are a few common sense things that it spells out (or at least they were obvious to me), and a few decent ideas on how to handle influence.

If I were to go back in time to before I bought the book, I might not have. I don't regret the purchase, but it has not made an epic difference in my games... pun intended.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mind's Eye Theatre Dark Epics
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Laws of the Night (Revised)
by Alex W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/03/2014 11:49:13
Lets get a few things out of the way:

This is an old White Wolf book, so the index, while being there, is not as helpful as I would like. Any 'See Page XX' references, if they give numbers, are largely wrong, or are literally "See Page XX". Cross referencing is not a strong suit of old White Wolf books.

That said, its an Old White Wolf book, and I can't really ding the book for that, as I knew that going in.

The art isn't complete crap (in fact, its just some photography for the most part, and decent photography at that).

My real criticisms of the book is the layout. If you are going through the first time to create your character, the layout is actually pretty sane, but if you just need a quick reference, its tedious to keep jumping around the character creation chapter.

If you do classic WoD larping, you can't pass this up, and at the current price, why would you?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Laws of the Night (Revised)
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Geist: The Sin-Eaters
by Chris C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/27/2014 14:13:43
The good, the bad, and the ugly:

Man, this was a hard review to put together. Geist: The Sin Eaters has some really outstanding elements and some absolutely embarrassingly awful elements. To be kind, I’m going to start with the good.

1. If you’re a fan of Garth Nix’ Abhorsen Trilogy, the show Dead Like Me, or horror movies about ghosts, you’ll probably dig this a lot. I like all of those things, so I was willing to tackle the massive storyteller project that came with the setting (see below).

2. The really interesting part of Geist is its Morality system, which centers around ghosts rather than the living. This lets players do some horror movie-esque things that would cause Morality rolls with a lot of the other systems. Ethically, it’s a very interesting system.


And now the bad. Note that this is a longer list.

1. Right off the bat, experienced storytellers will notice that the setting seems to be comprised of “content chunks” and that they don’t fit together really well. I think that this is the result of different people handling different parts of the development project and maybe not working together as well as they could have, but that’s just me. I’d like to say that this is just conceptual and theme-oriented, but it’s not. In some places the rules contradict one another. No, I’m not going to get into it. Look at other reviews for the details.

2. If you research Sin Eaters you’ll see that the setting only slightly touches on that concept. I think they just didn’t know what to call it, so they grabbed “sin eaters” and slapped it on the book. I also suspect that’s why this setting isn’t called Sin Eater. Oh, and “geist” isn’t the player- it’s a little like a cross between the Avatar, the Shadow, and the Po. So the setting isn’t even really titled what they players are.

3. I think that at some point someone in the development/oversight staff said “This is really creepy and gloomy, do something to liven it up (har de har har) and make it appeal to a wider audience”. Thus was born the abomination known as the “krew”. Krews are groups of Geists, and someone thought it’d be cool to basically make them hipster gangs. Yes, you read that correctly. No, I don’t know why either. It’s SO bad it derails the core feel and vibe of the whole setting. Wow it’s bad. How bad, you ask? Krews refer to Charms as “death bling”. That bad. Oh, and one of the “community hub” domains of the Underworld has a wild-west theme. Really think about that for a minute. If you’re not trying to claw your eyes out, then this game might be right for you.

4. On that note, krews have their own rules for shared abilities. That’s actually fairly impressive, but you probably already know the problem with this: all but one of your players is willing to cash in on those abilities, but that one player already has their min/max plan worked out and won’t play ball. Or worse, the krew abilities figure into their min/max plan, and they’re glaring at the other players and thumping a baseball bat against their palm every time experience is dished out. The other problem with this, obviously, is if you’re running a solo campaign. Then it’s a real mess.

5. On your end, you’re going to have some hard systems to narrate to your players. PCs that can see when people are going to die sound fun, but can be a real nightmare for you (the storyteller). It’s hard to surprise the PCs without them feeling betrayed “Hey! I should have seen that coming!” You’re also going to crash headlong into a long debate about destiny and chance at some point (Was that man destined to die of cancer? What if he hadn’t smoked a pack a day?). Also, “and that guy over there! When’s he gonna die??” gets old.

6. The setting badly needs a supplement that covers manifestations rank 6-10 and Onyx Path tells me it’s not even on the horizon yet. If your players are hungry for real power in this setting (and it’s there; Sin Eaters can have attributes/abilities/manifestations up to rank TEN with proper progression) they’re going to hit a wall at some point until this comes out. I worry that the flaws in this setting are going to make that a long time coming and I may just design it myself, which paves the way for later aggravation. Time will tell.

7. Sin Eaters, compared to the other supernaturals, are shockingly weak. Most of their abilities have to do with scaring people, penalizing dice rolls, and damaging willpower. I said most, not all, but your PCs will likely either be clones of one another “Dude, you've got a fire geist too? No way! Hey, let’s go to the saloon and I’ll show you my death bling.” …or they’ll spend their first 4 points waiting for the attack that comes with the fifth point.

8. The innate abilities of the Sin Eaters are scattered, hard for PCs to remember, and difficult to incorporate.

9. There are no projected dates for expansions. I contacted Onyx Path and asked.

I tried. I really did. I even took the time to overhaul the systems and concepts to make it have a more “Wraith” kind of feel. In the end, it was just too much work for too little reward. There are too many concepts floating around without enough common ground to glue them together. The abilities are weak, and it was a nightmare creating game scenarios that actually used their effects. I finally took a long look at the Moros of Mage and said “why am I putting myself through this? I could do all this with a Mage legacy.”

Save yourself the agony. Let them fix it. If they pull together a 2.0 maybe it’ll be worth playing, but right now not so much.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Geist: The Sin-Eaters
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Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition
by Jose R. G. S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/15/2014 17:14:39
Definitivamente un libro extraordinario! Compre la edicion de pasta dura a color standard, no me arrepiento, es buena. Aunque si el bolsillo te alcanza para la de color premium deberias comprar esa, dicen que tiene hojas mas gruesas y colores mas nitidos, te repito la version stantard es buena pero es un libro que quieres tener al cien. La version en blanco y negro ni lo pienses, el arte a color hace que no quieras sacrificar nada de el tomo, es 1.4 veces mas grande que el manual basico. La pasta dura esta impresa de forma magistral, la impresion es buena aunque sigue pareciendo a inyeccion de tinta, las versiones en negro parecen de tonner de baja calidad (compre otros manuales), igual la version corre a cargo de lighting source uk ltd.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition
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Book of Nod
by Jose R. G. S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/15/2014 16:59:52
En los detalles de la compra dice color, pero todo el libro es en blanco y negro, yo compre la edicion de portada suave a "color", nunca habia visto el libro, es divertido e interesante aunque hubiera prescindido de el por el precio, en algunas partes es mas parecido a un fanzine que a un libro, las hojas son extremadamente delgadas, el tono de la tinta es negro grisaseo sin llegar a ser un negro intenso, la impresion que me toco corre a cargo de lighting source uk ltd.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Nod
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Dark Ages: Vampire
by Jose R. G. S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/15/2014 16:50:16
Tengo la version en pasta dura, impresion en color negro standar. Este libro no lo tuve antes, es mi primera adquisicion, aunque hare las mismas afirmaciones de la revision que hice en el manual basico ed revisada de la mascarada porque supongo que la comparacion respecto a las pulbicaciones originales es la misma, las hojas son extremadamente delgadas, el tono de la tinta es negro grisaseo sin llegar a ser un negro intenso (como si fuera impreso en tonner de baja calidad), el area de impresion como lo mencionan es mas pequeña y dejan un pequeño borde blanco en las paginas, las hojas promocionales y la hoja con el catalogo entero al final del libro obviamente no existen, la impresion esta a cargo de lighting source uk ltd. Tomando en cuenta eso y considerando que es la unica forma de reponer este manual originalmente, vale la pena comprarlo.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Ages: Vampire
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SAS Support Kit (interactive version)
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/12/2014 13:53:00
Let's talk about "support". What does it mean to say a game is "supported"? Normally when gamers say this, they mean that it has a long string of supplements, and more planned. There will be location books, character books, modules and campaign books. Maybe even an art book or a novel or two! Of course (since I am posting here) I have no problems with any of that (except the art book, look at me scowling, can you see how grouchy I am??), but I've always asked the question:

What would be more "supportive" of a game - a campaign book, or a collection of differently laid-out character sheets?

A campaign book is cool, you might play all of it, or some of it, or maybe you just pull a NPC or two out of it and enjoy it in pieces in your own home campaign. But a character sheet...a character sheet is literally the thing that all players will be looking at and using virtually at every moment of the game. If your layout on the character sheet is bad, or even just not to someone's taste, and you have an alternate layout that is better, or just fits the taste of a different audience, then I have a hard time saying that level of "support" is less than a 500 page campaign book. Paizo puts out a gorgeous-looking module with glossy pages and nifty looking art, but their character sheets and GM tools are still the same old d20-era stat blocks, ho hum.

Almost unheralded, though, in 2009, White Wolf, through Eddy Webb and Will Hindmarch, put out a collection of sheets that are stunning in their ability to actually assist play at the table, and shortly thereafter, this product, the interactive version, came out, thanks to White Wolf sheet superstar Mr. Gone.

The Storytelling Adventure System (SAS) was White Wolf's way of classifying and organizing it's adventure/module products, since, lacking a "for levels 3-5" label, it was sometimes hard to get across what the expectation of players in the game should be. It uses simplified stats for non-player characters and rates scenes according to the three types of attributes in the World of Darkness systems: Physical, Mental and Social.

For those like me who think that Conditions are one of the best things about the new nWoD mechanics in the recent updates to various games, the old SAS systems should give you some good ideas and show you where some of that thinking came from. On scene cards, for example, you put ideas for improvised weapons (with ratings), environmental conditions (with references to page numbers if you need specifics), bonuses and penalties that characters obtain from their interaction with the environment. As Feng Shui taught us (and FATE solidified the lesson), you are better able to inhabit your characters and imagine their environment when there's mechanical reason to do so.

The layouts include the dress for standard World of Darkness characters, World of Darkness: Innocents, Vampire: the Requiem, Werewolf: the Forsaken, Mage: the Awakening, Promethean: the Created, Changeling: the Lost, Hunter: the Vigil, Geist: the Sin-Eaters, Exalted (?) and Scion (?!?) Each game has a customizable half-page character sheet with blank skill and Merit lists, a four-to-a-page NPC sheet that uses the more generalized SAS NPC rules that have become the standard in most nWoD games, a half-page character relationship page, and four scene cards. There are a few others like a Charms page for Exalted, but those are the best.

Although the price is absolutely on target, and I'm over the moon for the ability to type in what I want on the PDF and print them looking good, there are many areas where the SAS Support Kit falls short.

Perhaps the most important is a failing that all White Wolf character sheets have had since the launch of nWoD (and somewhat even before). Just listing a single line and a rating is not, repeat, NOT a good way to get across Merits or supernatural powers. Merits basically are special, unique rules or options - and supernatural powers are often very precise and fiddly. Just putting (say) "Dominate 3" on a Vampire's character sheet actually means that Vampire has three separate powers, all with their own rules.

I've been putting Merits and Powers on index cards for my home groups for some time and it's been going well. But that's just the crude fumblings of a decrepit hermit - someone who actually knew something about user interactions and layout might have a better idea than me. Nevertheless it's SO much better than simply putting a single line on a card. Even the Charm cards for Exalted only put one Charm per line by default and that's just insane.

Another area for improvement is that the SAS ratings themselves don't truly provide much guidance. What I would like to see is some way for me to look at the character sheets of the group, note their priorities (say, 2 people were Physical-Mental-Social, one was Social-Physical-Mental and one was Social-Mental-Physical) and determine how, mechanically to set up interesting, challenging scenes that would be fair and address their interests in the game. This seems like it could be done with the SAS ratings as the first step (somehow) but right now those ratings are just arbitrary 1-5 numbers without even any particular context.

Nevertheless, you will find these forms extremely practical and helpful. You will likely use them more than that NPC that you really liked in that city book. You will use them a lot more and you will improve your game with them more. Your game will be "supported" by this product tremendously. And it's free.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
SAS Support Kit (interactive version)
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Call to Battle
by Heinrich K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2014 19:26:34
Of the Werewolf: The Apocalypse related novels, this one is in my opinion the worst.
The Mage: The Ascension elements of the story and the weird uniqueness of the protagonist spoil every other aspect of the writing. And while the book happens to have a story set in the World of Darkness, the plot doesn't revolve around Werewolf: The Apocalypse theme or acceptable character.
So, for everyone who wants to read Werewolf: The Apocalypse, skip this one, ans aim for the tribe novels or some older Harper Collins licensed novels. Or stick with the anthologies that are on DriveThru....

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Battle
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Vampire Translation Guide
by Chris H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2014 07:43:48
Originally I was going to give it a one star rating, but to be fair to WW, which I have been a ravenous supporter since 1991, and especially Matt McFarland, I revisited it to be sure what I remembered was still the case. I got the VTG because I had been putting together an old WoD TT game but wanted to use the new WoD system because at the time I thought it was better and this book would be invaluable. Obviously, right?

Actually no, not so much. Hence my bitterness. I had put so much thought and research into my new hybrid system that by the time this book came out I simply could not accept what Matt had done. Up to that point I had no problem with his previous work. Primarily my displeasure was, and still is, for the disciplines. In my extensive investigation regarding them, I had eventually come up with a very unsatisfying answer from the developers and authors of disciplines. The concluding reason for the seemingly random array of Attribute+Ability+whatever else that were sometimes and sometimes not vs a multitude of the same type of combinations that were also sometimes subtracted dice and sometimes contested rolls was......”just because” and/or “that's what we felt like doing”.

I know that the editing from WW has been lacking (minor or otherwise) since the beginning of time, but the new WoD seems to have taken it to a whole new level of frenzied C&P without regard for formatting. I am happy though that they stopped using the font for subheadings they did in the Vampire core book and the frequency of offensive mishaps also seems to have lessened of the years.

Also, the first time I read VTG, it felt like it was written in a weekend and till now had held onto that thought. This was evidently successfully done with H.O.L. And that book was friggin' awesome, but in this case I did not like. It gave the impression that it was pushed out for publication as a place holder or to fit a quota or something like that. After looking at it again, I have to rescind that thought, but not completely. It still seems to lack “Quality” (for lack of a better word) and that disappointed me quite a bit. I do acknowledge that a .99 cent price tag could alleviate a lot of that perception, I am a collector as well and purchased the dead-tree format.

Along those same lines, I think there could have been a lot more to it. Both crunch and meat for both the content that is there and that which was missed or left out intentionally. There may have been at one time, but what they published simply seems inadequate at best. I would have gladly payed more for more and would have been happier for it.

All that said, my favorite rule in all of the WW games is “the golden rule” which is basically, if you don't like a rule, toss it and make something that works for you. I have been using this almost as long as I have been storytelling and it works well. I have spawned quite a few ideas in other ST's from my own. In one instance, a completely new WoD setting was dreamed up from an idea I had. My point here is, even if the ideas and rules in this book are not for you (me), it still does have the potential to procreate others simply by presenting them. I get ideas for games from some of the strangest places sometimes.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire Translation Guide
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Tradition Book: Euthanatos (Rev Ed.)
by Johnathan W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/20/2014 11:40:35
The original Brucato Euthanatos Tradition book was one of my favorite Splatbooks in high school so i was initially weary on this new one. I happy to say it doesn't replace the old one but compliments it nicely in many ways, the main character in the book, Evelyn ( i think that's her on the cover too), is a neat take on a Euthanatos and lends weight to her oral retelling of the history of the Tradition. Although I do think the old book went a little deeper in the mystical aspect of the tradition.
The price was right for the PoD copy too as the original printing of this book goes for up to $40.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tradition Book: Euthanatos (Rev Ed.)
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Fallen Tower: Las Vegas
by Johnathan W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2014 16:18:33
First I just want to say the PoD version is well made. I was quite pleased with the quality of this PoD. While not as nice as the original printing and the margins around the edges make the book a bit larger when sitting on a shelf next to the old books, it is a welcomed blessing seeing as finding an original printing of this book is quite expensive new or used. My concern was since it wasn't made from the original electronic file, that it was a "scanned image" it would look subpar. I am happy to report it is very clear, the artwork pops, the blacks are hard black, and the greys in scale. They did some good work touching up a scan look like original copy.

As for the book itself.... It suffers from revised (3rd) edition-itis. Meaning it suffers from the rebooty-ness of the Revised edition metaplot. Which is a shame as this is the only proper city book made for mage. That said, it's still pretty decent although a bit tame and I would have preferred a Las Vegas on the verge of all-out ascension war. I'm still reading it though so maybe the story hooks give more options to have the technocrats and tradition mages go at it and have neon lit battles on top of casino signs (ooooo like the cover).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fallen Tower: Las Vegas
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Requiem for Rome
by Andrew V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/27/2014 19:20:25
Extremely well written, the most proof-read book I've read by far. I love this book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Requiem for Rome
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Hunter: The Reckoning
by Jason H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/27/2014 04:24:36
Hunter: the Reckoning is the ideal system to introduce any gamer or wannabe gamer to White Wolf's deep and diverse World of Darkness setting*. The reason for this is within the setting, Hunter characters are seemingly chosen at random by an unseen force and they know nothing about the forces and creatures that have been shaping their world since time immemorial. The focus with Hunter is for players to create "ordinary people" as characters; whether they be an accountant or a rookie police officer. This set up means that players with no knowledge of the setting or the powers/limitations of it's various denizens are at an advantage of sorts.

Now for the pdf itself:
The pdf copy is a brilliant white, well scanned copy making it very easy to read. One of the very nice features of this book is any page references made in the book, except the Index, are hyperlinked allowing for very easy navigation of the book. This is particularly useful because the Bookamarks in the pdf are limited just simple chapter/section headings.
The simplicity of the bookmarks is the only thing preventing me from giving this a top mark, though anyone with Adobe Acrobat Pro can add these features themselves, which I intend to do since it's the WoD system I run the most often.

*(WoD books published pre 2004 or most reprints by Onyx Path)

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hunter: The Reckoning
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World of Darkness Rulebook
by Jamey J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2014 17:54:15
This is a great game to play! The pdf are very well done.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
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World of Darkness Rulebook
by Chris D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/14/2014 15:22:14
A great sourcebook if not a little hard to follow. It takes a few read throughs in order to pick out the rules from the flavor text. This is not to say the flavor text is not well done, the text sets a great tone and draws you into the mechanics of being a Storyteller. I greatly enjoyed this product.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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