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Hunter: The Vigil Quickstart (The Hunt)
by William C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/15/2013 12:23:46
Hunter the Vigil Quickstart is a great way for you, your GM, or your players to dip toes into the nWoD. The primary reason I like it is, while I can come with action scenes and crazy skill check encounters I always struggle with the investigation and social aspect of games. This quickstarter a wonderful teaching guild on how a well rounded game looks in the Storyteller system.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hunter: The Vigil Quickstart (The Hunt)
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Clanbook: Nosferatu - Revised Edition
by Paul H. D. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2013 13:50:20
The underground society of Clan Nosferatu is brought to light. Everything about them is unearthed, from their past, how they became what they were to the current practices of their society. Buy this book if you want to see what lurks in their havens, how it works and why the Nosferatu choose the subterranean world instead of the one above ground.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clanbook: Nosferatu - Revised Edition
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Clanbook: Followers of Set - Revised Edition
by Paul H. D. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2013 13:45:12
Sinister, subtle and utterly depraved, the Followers of Set gain new ground in this book. How they came to be, their worship of their God, come across as believable and compelling. For the destitute, and, or, the deprived, this clan makes for a cunning ally and a deadly enemy to the unwary mortals who stand in their way. Ancient drives and aims are well described, giving an informative account of the Independent Clans most insidious lot.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clanbook: Followers of Set - Revised Edition
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Clanbook: Gangrel - Revised Edition
by Paul H. D. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2013 13:41:47
The bestial, primal side of the Vampire is expertly exposed. The artwork casts them in an impressive light and their history is covered in admirable detail. The relations with other clans and why they split from the Camarilla are well explained. The wild vampires are given full treatment that portrays them both literally and artistically with the kind of attention to detail that will tell and show all about them.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clanbook: Gangrel - Revised Edition
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Clanbook: Giovanni - Revised Edition
by Paul H. D. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2013 13:34:57
How Vampires can deal with and control the spirits is neatly explained in this supplement. The Giovanni come alive with great flare for the dramatic and even the profane. A very well written book that incorporates the Italian spirit into the Kindred with admirable authenticity. Would be embraced of Italy, the Giovanni are a force to be reckoned with. Their disciplines are unique and horizon expanding. Learn from them and you will know life beyond death.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clanbook: Giovanni - Revised Edition
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Ghouls
by Paul H. D. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/05/2013 16:04:46
The deeper, darker depths of human psychology and craving can be found in this book. The ghoul is a subtle metaphor for the voracious side of humanity that is hidden, but still as much a part of it as the positive one is. A highly reliable supplement for beginnings, who need only purchase the Requiem, a covenant book and one of the clan books to form a solid foundation. Take care to read the proverbs and quotes. They tap into the most profound beliefs and feelings of human beings, using the most inventive of people from this world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ghouls
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Werewolf: The Forsaken
by Paul H. D. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/05/2013 15:58:43
Werewolf The Apocalypse was a complex RPG that was of the innovator of all that came after it. Every entity, from the Vampire to the faery owe their existence to the ideas that were put to paper back in 1992. The Forsaken is a similar, yet different animal. The concepts of the genre are more or less the same, but they are more condensed. The auspices, fetishes, totems, tribes and packs have survived the transition into this remake very well, while doing away with the breeds, the lost tribes changing breeds and reducing the overall number of tribes, to make the diversity of the werewolves in this universe less prolific and more to the point. The style of writing is as potent as the one used in the predecessor's and for people who want less to assimilate and more straightforward material, Werewolf the Forsaken is ideal.

In terms of content, the Tribes of the Moon can be considered an off-shoot of the Garou Nation. They are less prolific in their organization, but fascinating in their mindsets. Warriors, reformists, territorial guardians, domineering alphas, students of metaphysics, the Uratha have as much to offer as their Garou counterparts. I see the Forsaken line to be something of a case study in the various ways an RPG can be reinvented.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Werewolf: The Forsaken
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Nightmare on Hill Manor
by Petrina C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/03/2013 21:03:12
I incorporated this SAS into my current campaign. My players had two previous sessions based on a plot of my own making and it had focused heavily on social/investigation aspects, with only a little physical. The plot of this story fit well with the beginnings of our campaign, so I fit it in as an opportunity to practice combat. Adapting it to fit was no problem and it is flexible enough to allow for that kind of thing.
However, there is a LOT of detail missing from this story. The story teller has to fill in a LOT of material, by way of description... of every apartment and each of the residents and the spooky encounters etc. It's not a scenario that you can just pick up and go. The general plot is there. There are some good descriptions of spooky "moments" or tableaus. But the storyteller has a lot of work to do by way of making this place and the various encounters come to life. Unless you are exceptionally good at improv, you need to put in the prep time.
Even with all my prep... incorporating NPCs they'd met elsewhere, picking up threads of their backstories to create character-specific events, etc... my players complained that it was far too combat heavy and didn't have enough storytelling. Now, this may just be a personal preference thing but I have to agree with them. There are a lot of skills that simply never get used or are used in only a cursory way (social and mental). My group didn't like that.
Additionally, I don't know if this was simply a function of my characters not having equivalent stats as the pre-gen characters... but they were completely out-classed by the boss. We were on the verge of a party-wipe when a character rolled a hail mary and was miraculously successful. I used some creative license to make it work, because otherwise they were doomed to fail.
So, overall:
- flexible enough to be stand-alone or to be adapted and incorporated into an existing campaign
- good plot that makes enough sense that the characters don't see gaping holes in the narrative
- the boss-fight might be a little tough for newbies
- the whole thing is VERY combat heavy... it felt at times more like a dungeon crawl than a WoD narrative
- it is nowhere near ready-to-play. There's quite a lot of planning and prep-work required by the storyteller in order to make it good. Even with prep, requires a lot of improv of descriptions and encounters.
At the end of the day, I would still recommend it. It's a solid storyline for mortal characters, and if your group likes combat they will love this story.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Nightmare on Hill Manor
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Vampire: The Masquerade - Revised Edition
by Paul H. D. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2013 09:34:47
I don't know why the quality issues of this product were raised. At times, the pages are somewhat slanted, but the text of the book is legible and the artwork is fully intact. At times, yes, the text is somewhat blurred, but this only occurs on the pages where watermark images are set against the background and the words can still be read if you concentrate just a little more. The lack of bookmarks is unfortunate, as they would have made navigation throughout the document easier. A scan of the book with modern equipment and filtering could have eliminated some of the blurs and made certain parts a little smoother, I must admit, but otherwise, the book is well recreated. Readers are advised to zoom in to 150% in order to see the text properly.

In fact, the (3rd) revised edition is in parts better than the 20th anniversary edition. The descriptions of the titles are a little more comprehensive and less condensed than the ones in 20th. At times, I thought the book were too thin. The missing names was a little annoying, given the immense volume of 20th. The 3rd edition, on the other hand fleshes out everyone and everything very extensively. All the parts are well formed and come together to make a very complete whole.

View this book with a reputable reader, such as Foxit and on a big screen, so the document can be given a wide berth and for the most part, you won't be disappointed with this product. You might actually find more to like about it than the current edition, which, by all rights is a fine book, but unfinished in places, which the revised edition would fill in.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: The Masquerade - Revised Edition
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A Hunger Like Fire (Vampire: The Requiem Novel #1)
by Devon K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/19/2013 12:42:03
This was a fun book to read. It provided me a look into the world of the Requiem, something I've craved as I love the game, but have never had an opportunity to play it. The politics were interesting if at times a little difficult to follow. My only complaint is that the book doesn't follow a coterie, so it doesn't serve as a How-To when it comes to playing Vampire: the Requiem. It does, however, inspire a ton of story ideas.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Hunger Like Fire (Vampire: The Requiem Novel #1)
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Nightmare on Hill Manor
by Nathaniel R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/18/2013 12:22:09
This product is perfect in format and legibility. I am very happy with it.

The adventure is interesting and genre-appropriate.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Nightmare on Hill Manor
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The Shining Host
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/15/2013 01:43:37
When you consider live-action games, there is a tendency to rate the appeal of the tabletop game first, and only then consider the viability of gameplay in the live-action medium. Yet the tabletop and live-action offers different opportunities of gameplay and has different advantages and disadvantages. For example, Wraith's live action game - Oblivion - doesn't quite capture the 'personal horror' motif as well as the tabletop game because the Shadow Play is run by Narrators (rather than other players). Similarly, it's actually quite hard to play live-action Werewolves or Mages.

The Shining Host, on the other hand offers real roleplaying opportunities in a setting and premise that is ideally suited to the live-action medium. Playing Changelings in an imaginary world, replete with their petty conflicts, intrigue and adventures can provide a very clear appeal of essentially being able to play the role of children. It's arguably a better premise than playing Vampires. It's like the bright sunny day compared to Vampire's bleak night.

The writing is top notch, and although it's not as colourful as the tabletop version of the game, it's neat enough in presentation. I prefer it to the tabletop game in all other respects.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Shining Host
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Clanbook: Tzimisce - Revised Edition
by Paul H. D. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/07/2013 15:20:30
Black miracles, the more cerebral side to the Sabbat, the different forms of vampires and the more twisted psyche of the vampire are a creative touch that the Tzimisce manifest. This book helps expose their psychology, their methods and explains what their goals in life are. White Wolf has thus far given every clan expert coverage. Clanbook Tzimisce is no exception in any way. The seeds of narrative for the Eastern aristocrats can be planted if you read this volume. I recommend you to look at it after reading about Lasombra. Once you have, the two clans can complement each other and work together most inventively.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clanbook: Tzimisce - Revised Edition
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Clanbook: Lasombra - Revised Edition
by Paul H. D. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/07/2013 15:12:10
The dark desires and ambitions of this clan and how it relates to everyone else is very intriguingly written. The history of the Sabbat is given greater depth. The first person narrator that describes how Lasombra regard other vampires and humans alike is very charismatic and helps add authenticity to to the text. Combine this book with the core rulebook, the only other source material that deals with Lasombra, to get the best picture of this clan.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clanbook: Lasombra - Revised Edition
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Mummy the Curse-Kickstarter Edition
by Jose B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/06/2013 12:38:49
In December, Onyx Path, the publishers of the World of Darkness and related table-top games, launched a highly successfuly funded kickstarter for their new role-playing game Mummy the Curse. Icontributed and supported the kickstarter so I got an early PDF version of that book. This is a summary review of the game based only on the core rules (further expansion supplements are planned as tier rewards for the Kickstarter).

Mummy the Curse is a game where you play Immortal and ancient undead creatures from an era prior to the rise of Egypt, roughly 6,000 or so years before recorded history, also referred to as the Nameless Empire. Driven by ancient gods of the Underworld, these immortal beings seek artifacts, destroy unholy monsters, and strive to remember who they once were. Powered by an ancient ritual, the Rite of Return, which reanimates them from death and makes them impossible to permanently destroy, they are the undying servants of the ancient Sorcerer-Priests who made them.

Typicall of Onyx Path’s books, this one begins with some introductory fiction. The material is flavorful and hints strongly at the strengths and weaknesses of mummies. One thing I found interesting was that for the most part the viewpoint character is not a mummy but one of his mortal servants. I think this serves to better highlight the peculiar personality of a mummy who has just woken from its slumber.

As I’ve hinted one of the major themes of the game is the recovery of Memory, which is the template's Morality trait. Mummies, who are many thousands of years old, have lost most of their memories of both their human life and previous periods of activity, which harkens to Vampire the Requiem's Fog of Ages, but more dramatic. Mummies spend most of their existence in a state of death from which they recall nothing. Only when they are summoned by their cult's (or a Sothic Cycle) to perform a task or an intruder disturbs their tomb do these beings Awaken. When they arise, they rise as cadaverous, sometimes mummified remains, of incredible power and almost no vestige of humanity remaining. It is only with time that they recall their human past, and in so doing regain a semblance of their human self's.

So a major focus of the game is the reclaim of its lost humanity and knowledge about who they were. In contrast to other games of the Storyteller system, mummies do not get a prelude, but instead begin as near god-like automatons. They also have Memory codified as a morality trait, one that begins horribly low and can get lower still with further “deaths”. Therefore, players are encouraged to raise their Memory, not only to regain a semblance of their breathing days and make social interaction with mortals easier, but if only to avoid devolving into merciless tools of the Judges of the Underworld.


These 42 Judges have charged mummies with a purpose. All mummies are driven by a purpose and without it they quickly weaken and return to a state of death. Usually this purpose is clear upon a mummy reviving: kill the intruder disturbing the tomb, recover an artifact, or aid the cult who has awakened you. The only time a mummy becomes active without a purpose is the turn of a Sothic cycle. This 1460 year cycle exist to give the game a reason to have multiple mummies all active at the same time. It also cleverly explains why no mummies have been visibly active prior to the release of this game, which is the year 2012.

When a mummy first awakens it is incredibly and god like powerful. In game terms, a mummy's power stat, called Sekhem, begins at 10 unlike other World of Darkness supernaturals who begin at 1. This allows them to boost their Attributes, particularly Strength and Stamina, to superhuman levels in addition to other potent effects. A mummy typically begins in their tomb with their artifacts and easy access to their cult who are charged with protecting them and aiding their work.

As the game progresses their Sekhem decreases reducing them from automatons serving the will of their Judge of cult to supernatural beings with individual agenda's and pursuits, such as fulfilling the functions of their Guild (all Mummies begin with Guild Status 1, which is required to access Guild Affinities).

As with other Storyteller games there is a division of political-social groups (Guilds) and inherent aspects of the character (Decree), a five by five Axis that the mummy fits into. Guilds are the ancient groups of craftsmen that the mummies served in mortal life. Briefly they include the Engravers of Amulets, assistants and secret police of the Nameless Empire; the First Alchemists, workers of potions and the source of the Empire’s wealth; the Inscribers of Texts, scholars and judges; the Shepherds of the Shell, funerary priests who mastered the dead; and the Builders of Effigies, masons and engineers who used monumental architectural to build the Nameless Empire. The guilds give an Affinity, an innate power of the mummy, as well as the ability to handle certain magical artifacts, called Relics, more easily. These represent the typical Archetypes found in many other Storyteller games: priests, soldiers, craftsmen, etc.

Further slots are defined by the Decree, that Defining Pillar of the mummy’s soul which he or she proclaimed before the Judges of the Underworld. In Mummy there are five parts to the soul: Ab, the heart which controls feeling; Ba, the spirit which drives them to do great deeds; Ka, the constant essence of a soul; Ren, the true name of the soul; and Sheut, the shadow that dwells on magic and secrets. This relates to basic Egyptian mythology about the nature of the soul, check Wikipedia :-)

Finally each Mummy picks a Judge who defines their Decree and provides access to Affinity powers and Utterance rituals. There are 42 judges which might seem a bit overwhelming except that most Judges only hear a single type of Decree. The mummy gains another Affinity based on their Judge.

The powers of a Mummy are fairly potent. Affinities cover a range of powers with each Affinity tending to give three or more lesser abilities. These range from being able to interact with ghosts to animal companions to lowering the target number for successes on a die for a certain class of actions.

More potent abilities are Utterances. These potent “words of power” start off weak but their upper levels (powered by mummies with 4 or 5 dots in a Pillar) can cause Biblical destruction. As an example one power allows you to know where you are by looking at the night sky. But with further Pillar expenditures, you can use it call down a meteorite from the sky. At its highest levels, you can use it to learn hidden secrets or call down a swarm of meteors over an large area.

A mummy’s innate abilities are potent as well. As mentioned above they can raise their attributes with Sekhem. As undead, they are resistant to bullets. They also have a potent healing ability that exceeds that of Werewolves. By spending a pot of Pillar they can heal three bashing damage per turn as well as a lethal damage per turn. But more importantly, while healing they can not die. It is impossible to kill them. Only after the healing stops do they finally die.

And dead mummies always come back.

Mummy the Curse has a separate Storyteller section. Since Memory is a strong theme of the game there needs to both be secrets about the setting that the players don’t know and a definite past for them to learn. I’ll be keeping my spoilers to a minimum for this section.

Chapter 1 begins with several pages of exposition by way of a series of letters. I’ve mentioned before how I dislike this. Thankfully this section is fairly brief and does not say much new about the setting. The rest of this chapter then delves into the truth behind what happens when a mummy dies or seeks to break the cycle by reaching Apotheosis.

Chapter 2 of this section discusses the antagonists of the setting. There is little on the hinted sixth guild, the one destroyed while the Nameless Empire still stood. A selection of groups includes some disturbing monsters made from stitched together animals, or Amhkhata, and who haunt twilight looking for relics to feed on.

One type of Lifeless, the Shuanksen, is actually quite similar to mummies (Bane mummies?). These enemies have a serious tie to the darker bits of the mummy back story, things most of them no longer know. They also possess Bane Affinities, cursed affinities with disturbing powers. Other foes include other mummies, mortals, and wayward cults. A sample cult is described: Last Dynasty International, which has become an evil mega-corporation. This details what cults look like at various modes of play (Tier one, two and three, which is introduced in Hunter the Vigil). Finally we get new ghost numina powers, plus the option for playing a ghost as a full character. The new abilities greatly expand a ghost’s capabilities and the character rules would be a great addition for a mixed group of mummies and other “immortals”. As a Wraith the Oblivion fan, this makes me pretty happy.

Chapter 3 details relics, which are artifacts Mummies seek either for their own ends or to take back to the Underworld for their Judges. Many are detailed in this section and can be used as templates for players and storytellers to create their own.

The final section of the book is the Storytellers Handbook, which deals with running the game: building a campaign world, creating a cult for the players, developing antagonists, additional antagonists powers and sample enemies. At the final section of the Storyteller Handbook is a Storyteller Adventure System (SAS) module titled Eve of Judgement. This module also provides details of what a typical Mummy Nome looks like and it details briefly the signature city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.


In conclusion, Mummy the Curse is an excellent game. This game harkens to old Hammer horror style of play and there are clear inspirational links to HP Lovecreaft and the pulp era of the Cthulhu mythos. IN fact, one could easily see the Judges as near cosmic Old Ones, who have little interest in human affairs and use their agents to thwart each other. A solid, solid addition to the World of Darkness and one that will become a clear winner come award season.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mummy the Curse-Kickstarter Edition
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