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Dark Ages Clan Novel 2: Assamite
by Juanita N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/13/2015 12:55:35

Intriguging page turner.


I love how the author grabbed you from the first chapter and held you all the way to the end. The author took the three sects of the Assamite clan and blended them into a cohesive whole against the backdrop of the fall of Constantinople. He peppered it with some rarities and made a very interesting and intriguing characters. I highly recommend this for anyone interested in such a secretive clan.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Ages Clan Novel 2: Assamite
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Legacies: The Ancient
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/12/2015 08:02:34

Opening with some decidedly adult fiction in which mages and ordinary mortals mix at a convention with unsatisfactory results for just about everyone, this book is a second collection of legacies adding to the rich tapestry of mage society and perhaps offering a path which your mage character might like to tread.


The Introduction: Long Ago and Far Away explains the significance of legacies in a mage's journey through life, how they can contribute to his development as an individual and Awakened mage. The focus of this book is the ancient traditions, those that trace their lineage back through the mists of time or which seek to rediscover ancient truths lost to modern mages. Thirteen legacies are presented here including a couple from the Left Hand Path, teaching their adherents dubious practices which make them more suited for NPCs than player-characters and so best left for Storyteller use.


The bulk of the book is given over to detailed discussions of the thirteen legacies, providing ample material for anyone wishing to play a mage embracing one of the legacies or a Storyteller who wants to embroil that legacy in the storyline. Although necessary game mechanics are included, the main gist of each one is the underlying mindset and concepts involved, helping the reader to understand how a mage will grow and develop as he pursues that legacy. Each one includes the attainments a mage gains as he advances within it and a sample character should you wish to make use of it as an NPC representative of the legacy (or as inspiration for building your own character or NPCs). There are also story hooks based around each legacy which can be woven into the plot or even used as inspiration for an entire chronicle focussed on it.


Reading through the different legacies gives an idea of the vast and magestic sweep of history that lies behind magic within this game. Like its companion book Legacies: The Sublime this one delves deep into the underlying philosophy and addresses the core of the game: the development of the individual as a wielder of magic in modern times. Many of these legacies involve mastery over something - the elements, dreams, even death itself - and speak to the need of many to control things around them, something that lies at the very heart of magical power. Others address the equally powerful urge to create, be it in stone or metal or music, or to understand the underlying pattern.


This makes for a fascinating read, once you have got past the opening fiction which will be a bit too explicit for some readers. The legacies are varied and provide valuable insights into what it means to be a modern-day mage, and for those who choose to follow them provide a vehicle to develop characters into potent practitioners of their art.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legacies: The Ancient
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Tri-Stat dX: Core System Role-Playing Game
by Dave R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2015 08:52:08

I really like this system. I found it extremely intuitive without being crazy bogged down.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tri-Stat dX: Core System Role-Playing Game
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Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition
by lee m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/28/2015 07:46:05

What an amazing book. Packed full of information and very useable without the need to buy other source material...well at least for a while



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition
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New World of Darkness Rulebook (1st Edition)
by Jacob S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2015 09:03:42

Very happy with the softcover I bought, much cheaper then I can get elsewhere and came in great time considering I live in the UK. Very crisp print making the text easy to read.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
New World of Darkness Rulebook (1st Edition)
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Mage Noir
by Michael B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2015 06:02:12

Short, focused and inspiring.


Mage Noir manages to deliver with a relatively small word count, tons of atmosphere and information about 1940's america and how the Awakened fit into it, all with an eye for the noir style. The book is jammed with storyhooks and ideas about a variety of possible mage stories set in the period. And while it focuses greatly on the large American cities of the time, there's enough material to visit the small towns of the south or the battlefields of europe.
When talking about the war against fascism, Noir tends to depict the Awakened as divided along similar lines by their opposition to the Seers of the Throne. But there are enough throw-away clues to hint that this wasn't a clear-cut dichotomy. The horrors of that war a constant theme in the book, as is the cynicism those horrors carved into the men and women who lived through them.
The book uses a new legacy of mages practicing covert magic almost exclusively, as the focusing lense of the book. This legacy embodies the spirit of the age, and the short adventure in the book is tailored to a cabal belonging to that legacy.


The only downside I see to this book is the art. It is serviceable. But nothing there really captures the eye or the imagination.


An enjoyable and informative read. Full of advice and ideas.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mage Noir
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Changeling: The Lost
by James L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/14/2015 23:09:12

I have been a long time fan of White Wolf games Vampire: The Masquerade, Changeling: The Dreaming, Werewolf: The Apocalips and Wraith: The Oblivion. I'm very happy that they made Changeling: The Lost.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Changeling: The Lost
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Veil of Night
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/06/2015 21:58:52

Having been a follower of Classic Vampire the Masquerade, I found it confusing that the book refers to the Cainite Clans by Arab knicknames, especially since they did not create new blood lines. I had to create a cheat sheet to follow along.


The book seems to take that stance that the Clans are mostly European lineages, forgetting that Mithras(Dark Ages Europe/Dark Ages: British Isles), Arakur, Sire of Tiamat(Bloody Hearts Diablerie: London), Michael(Constantinople by Night) are all characters were middle eastern when embraced by their Antediluvian (3rd Generation) Sires. So the Ventrue and Toreador were in area well before the Roman Empire and should not be outsiders. The Children of Haqim and Followers of Set seem to at once be center and outsiders in an area always associated with them.


Overall I liked it.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Veil of Night
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Dark Ages: Vampire
by Vivien W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2015 06:50:11

Nice edition, too bad there is some problems of white square with the illustration (for example, page 65 with the foot of the Brujah).



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Ages: Vampire
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Tribebook: Silver Fangs (Revised)
by Fenix P. P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/31/2014 13:45:11

It has an error, but it's an awesome book anyways, I just want the other books of this perfect franchise to become available in PDF.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tribebook: Silver Fangs (Revised)
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Orpheus
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2014 18:08:59

Orpheus is a brilliant book, and a fantastic alternative for people who want a ghost game but felt like Wraith was a little too dreary. I'm a huge fan of this entire line.


Which is why this review hurts me. I bought a PoD hardcover copy of this product, and couldn't be more disappointed. Many of the pages in this book have black logos behind the text; these are messily printed, to the point where the whole pages are rendered unreadable. Combined with the overall cheap feeling of the pages, I've wound up with an unusable copy of a book I love. Stay away!



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
Orpheus
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Legacies: The Sublime
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/19/2014 02:52:51

Opening with a poster for a gig and an evocative piece of fiction, a tale about a young musician-mage who in desperation is directed by her future self to seek guidance from a strange old man, thus leading in to the concept of legacies as introduced in the core rulebook but now to be discussed at length in a book dedicated to the subject.


The Introduction: Reaching for the Supernal explains how whilst mages know that there's a lot more to the world than 'ordinary' folk (or Sleepers) might realise, they each have to find their own routes to understanding and mastering it. Fundamentally, working magic comes down to the mage's will and his soul but there are many images and theories used to explain it and various powers, called attainments, that mages can learn in their quest to mould their souls and work their wills. Many develop themselves, Awakened and having chosen an order, by training in a legacy or perhaps even creating their own. The legacies are so named because that is what they are, the legacy of an earlier mage's efforts to craft their own soul and master their magical powers.


This book describes, in considerable detail, some thirteen of these legacies which are all linked by in some way referring to 'the sublime'. Some are organised and widely-recognised in mage society, others chaotic or followed by but a few determined souls. Mages following these teachings aspire to become in some way sublime themselves. Perhaps they dream of becoming gods, wish to ascend to a better world or improve the one they live in. Maybe they'd like to wield magic unheard of by any of their peers. It is amazing enough to have one's soul Awaken to the Supernal World, but those mages who choose to follow a legacy seek to become exceptional even by Awakened standards. It taps into the essence of this game, the core concept of opening one's eyes to the realms of possibilities inherent iin the use of magic in a modern world.


The bulk of the book is given over to detailed discussion of each of the thirteen legacies presented herein. Most are available to player-character mages but two follow the so-called Left Hand Path, strands of knowledge so abhorrent that mage society recoils from such teachings and those who practice them. These can serve as outright enemies, rather than the political rivals others present in the continual dance that is the intrigue upon which mage society thrives.


For each legacy there is extensive discussion of the underlying philosophy: what kind of mage is attracted to it and will thrive in its ranks. There's the history and of course the attainments, the legacy-specific powers that practitioners gain. There are also details of what the typical adherent might look like and behave, and how they are regarded by and interact with the rest of mage society. Rites and rituals of the legacy and even story hooks and ideas based upon them are included. A neat item is a fully-developed sample character complete with backstory, quotes and stat block - a ready-made NPC should you require a member of that legacy.


The really fun thing about all these legacies, however, is the underlying philosophy, the theories by which each explains their magic. Studying these, and embracing the thought-patterns of your chosen legacy, will help you begin to think like your character.


After introducing such a wide variety of legacies - including a couple of really dark and destructive ones that are best followed by NPCs - there is an Appendix: Shaping the Soul that explains how to design your own legacy. As some of the legacies presented here are of recent origin, there are bound to be potential new ones springing up so if you fancy a go at writing your own philosophy of magic, here is your chance. Game mechanics are made clear, but the spark of imagination will be your own. As a player, this is a chance for your character to make their own original contribution to mage society. As a Storyteller, you can craft legacies to tell your own stories in your own way, devising allies and antagonists around a premise of your own devising.


As with the extant legacies, the whole process is embued with the underlying philosophy of magic. This drives the development of the new legacy, the relevant game mechanics follow later as a matter of course. Characters who carve their own paths in this manner may be consciously absorbed in the process or it may be a natural progression from the development of their interests as they progress as mages... for this is but the first step in actually creating a legacy, only time will tell if other mages will choose to follow. Creating a legacy should be a slow process, one of spiritual growth and change, not something done on a whim merely to create a more powerful character.


If you really want to get into a mage's mind, studying this work gives some insight, even if you do not choose to have your character join one of these legacies or have a go at creating one of his own. If you are the Storyteller there is plenty here to help you create a rich tapestry of mage society as a backdrop for your stories whilst the legacies may suggest some actual plots as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legacies: The Sublime
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Vampire: The Masquerade - Revised Edition
by Joseph P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/16/2014 20:10:38

The book and material itself is great, and honestly, I think I prefer it t the 20th Anniversary edition over all. The main issue is that this scan is poorly done. Pease redo this for quality, and also add in some bookmarks please. Still, it's a great product and worth the price. It's just in comparison to other White Wolf/Onyx Path products I've gotten via DriveThru, the digital aspects are on the poorer side.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: The Masquerade - Revised Edition
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Mage: The Awakening
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/15/2014 08:32:43

Mage: The Awakening is a tale of hidden powers, ones that are hidden in plain sight in a world almost our own, a tale that is yours to tell. It opens with the musings of own newly awoken to his powers, a guide to those going through the same process. Becoming a mage is much more than a career choice, but once awakened a life of study and training awaits. The basics are simple a mage taps into a higher power, drawing on an area that is inaccessible to most people, the original home of the soul from which most of us are irrevocably separated. But not mages. Hay can reach across the abyss between this higher plane and the ordinary world and drag mystical power back to do, well, pretty much whatever they want. The abyss is a bit of a problem, though. Therein lies madness, hence all the training, to be able to access power without going out of your head.


Once past this opening, we reach the Introduction, which explains the nature of the alternate reality of this game. It's a heady blend of power and wisdom, the power to work magic and the wisdom to know when it is right to do so. But power corrupts, that is one of the underlying themes of the game. Mages are not all virtuous, noble souls, few are good at sharing and they all like to get their own way. Ancient mysteries beckon, and this game is about the exploration of self as well as of solving them.


Chapter 1: Arcanus Mundus continues in similar vein, expending on the world-view, reality as it is viewed by mages (in as much as they agree about anything, that is!). The basic idea is that although we ordinary people may think that we understand the world, we are but sleepwalking through it and it is only mages who are awakened to its true reality. This may explain why mages tend to be an arrogant bunch, it also satisfies that feeling most of us have that there is some kind of underlying pattern or logic if we could only but see it. Get into this mindset and you begin to understand what makes mages in this game tick.


There are tales of the origins of magic as practised today, scoffed at by some and held to be literal historical truth by others. Then we hear how magic developed and the different strands that arose over time leading to the various factions through which the modern mage must navigate his way. The fundamental truth behind it all is that mages can bend reality to their will by force of mind alone - but it is a dangerous thing to do any many the mind, if not life, has been lost in this quest.


Mages refer to their discovery of their powers as Awakening, often a period of great stress as - to begin with - most are not even aware of what is taking place. Often it is more akin to going mad. Then it is a matter of learning about reality, understanding the strands of the tapestry - for until you understand them, how can you hope to manipulate them? The overall sweep of this chapter, however fanciful, has a coherence to it that leaves you feeling that this just might be real, creating a solid grounding for the alternate reality of the game... for if we did not dream we would not be role-players.


The discussion then moves on to details of the various factions and groupings, the philosophies and paths that mages can follow, the organisations and fellowships that they might join. Coverage is extensive: the intention is that you will be provided with all the information you need to make appropriate choices during character creation.


In Chapter 2: Character we find most of what we need to start building a mage character. For the rest, you will need the core World of Darkness rulebook. Here, though, is the process of creating characters along with the traits and systems necessary to perform the task. It is all about creating a rounded, realistic character - not just the most potent mage you can manage, but a believable individual to be your alter ego within the alternate reality of the game. The basis for the process is your concept of who your mage is, how he came to be awakened and what his intentions are now that he can wield magic.


The actual process of applying a mage template to a World of Darkness character is explained, but the main thrust of the discussion remains focussed on creating a detailed and rounded character who is a lot more than the magic he can wield. The option is also available to create a 'normal' character who has not yet awakened and include this pivotal moment in your game, or as a prelude to it which will be played out in full rather than treated as something that has happened already. Perhaps you will already know, from the previous chapter, which order and path you will choose, or this may still be open to discussion or even chance to decide as he awakens to his new capabilities.


Mechanically, everything is quite straightforward. You start with attributes - physical, social and mental - choosing which of these is your primary area of ability and so on, allocating dots as appropriate. Then you pick skills - these all the regular mundane things that the character knows how to do, be it ride a bike, cook a meal or construct a legal argument that will stand up in court. It is only then that you start to look at the magical aspects of path and order.


The discussion moves on to the differences between each path and each order, in both game mechanical and more philosophical terms. This enables you to think about your choices in terms of the sort of person you want your character to be as well as to enable you to fill out the character sheet appropriately. More follows - traits, merits, virtues, vices - to empower you to determine the style and substance of your brand-new mage.


If you have chosen to play out the character's Awakening in a prelude - usually played one-on-one with the Storyteller - there then follows all the details that the both of you need to make this happen. It is all about setting a scene, and as much about establishing who your character was and who he will become as the pivotal moment that changes him for the rest of his life. There is a lot more information to absorb, but character creation in this game s intended to be approached in a reflective and thoughtful manner - although once you are used to it the actual mechanics are relatively speedy to implement.


Next, Chapter 3: Magic - unsurprisingly the longest chapter in the book - delivers an extensive discussion of how magic works, covering both in-character magical theory and practical game mechanics. Yet it is more than mere spellcasting. Mages can sense things others cannot, they are aware of the active presence of supernatural beings or even operational spells even without trying. Once they pay attention, they can discern much, much more. The purpose of this chapter is to get you to think like your character does, do not just skim through in search of the mechanics of spellcasting and other powers but study it to gain an understanding of the nature of what your character can do. Because to cast a spell it is not sufficient to know it, the mage needs to imagine the effect that he desires to have upon reality before it can take place. This means that with sufficient knowledge and visualisation a mage can concoct new spells, even on the fly.


There are two types of magic: vulgar and improbable. The difference is in the appearance - is it obviously magic or can it be explained away as a natural (even if unlikely) occurrence? Wise mages are subtle, not letting on what they can do. To do otherwise risks a paradox, a rebellion of nature itself against what the mage is doing to it, and that has bad consequences for the mage himself. There are loads of examples and tables to help you figure this all out, although as they are mixed in with the discourse you do need to work through it all to be able to use the spells to effect. Both players and the Storyteller need to understand what is going on for this game to play well. It is complex, and intended to be so - in this game magic is the focus, rather than a useful tool to achieve other ends, even if in the course of a game mage characters will use their magic to achieve self or Storyteller set goals.


Once all the various procedures, processes and options involved in actually casting a spell have been detailed - and brought together in a useful summary of the sequence to be followed, marrying the mechanical bit of rolling dice with the concept of what the mage is trying to achieve, we move on to a vast list of existing spells. Of course, this is just the start. Any mage can 'improvise' if he has a clear vision of what effect he wishes to create, and if he likes the results can continue to hone it until it's a recognised spell that may be taught to others. The variety is great, but no mage can cast all of them - some are specific to a particular order and all require the caster to be able to cast spells using the specific arcana (areas of magic) involved in that particular spell. Mages develop their understanding of each Arcanum separately, thus giving a high degree of personalisation to their abilities. A neat point is that there are often several routes to achieving the same effect.


Appropriately, each Arcanum is discussed in turn, with an overview followed by an extensive list of spells in increasing order of power, complete with descriptions of what they do along with the game mechanics necessary to cast them. These are followed by a discussion of paradox and the fates that befall mages who manage to create it and various other matters - resonance, making magical items, fighting arcane duels and more - even creating your own spells from scratch. Players need to study Chapter 3 almost as intently as their characters study magic, or they will find themselves at a disadvantage, unable to wield magic as the game intends. Finally, Chapter 4: Storytelling and Antagonists looks at the art of running, rather than playing, the game. Unlike many game systems, however, players are actually encouraged to read this chapter rather than being told in no uncertain terms to keep out. It's intended to be a collaborative game, with Storyteller and players working together to tell a tale. This does not mean that the Storyteller has no secrets or does not provide enemies to work against them, but the general terms of what a Storyteller does is of use to all at the table in creating and maintaining the alternate reality of a Mage: The Awakening game.


You are referred to the appropriate chapter in the core rulebook for general advice in running the system. The material here supplements that advice and puts a particular Mage spin on it. It starts by looking at appropriate themes. It's an occult horror game, basically, but there are many directions in which your group can take it, depending on their interests. One common theme is that power corrupts - and if there is anyone with power, it's a mage! The central story, though, is that of the mages themselves. Take a wide view here, find out about family and friends work colleagues, people who knew the character before he awakened - and of course those who do not like him - and weave them all into stories that involve the character as a person, not just a mage nor a series of dots on a character sheet. Of such things are the most memorable games made. Mages are political animals, and even if intrigue is not a major strand in your plots the activities of other mages, especially the powerful ones, may have an impact on your party. Above all, create the alternate reality in which magic is real - let the players have a glimpse of the wonders that their characters behold and can create. There's loads of advice here to help you make this happen.


After detailing just some of the many threats that mages face in day-to-day life - from the political manoeuvring of other mages to other supernatural beings like werewolves and vampires to agents of governments and corporations who may be aware of their existence - the discussion moves on to actually running the game. The basic World of Darkness approach holds good: the characters settle in an area, get to know it and begin to make their mark in the hidden society that's just outside normal humans' understanding. Several broad themes and plotlines are suggested to get the Keeper going, but ultimately it will be up to them to devise a suitable situation with which the characters will interact. There's also advice on the mechanics of introducing and running the mighty powers that mages are heir to - something that can be quite a challenge to begin with, and detailed discussion of an array of adversaries and antagonists, beginning with other mages.


That's it for the main part of the book but there are some appendices. The first deals with Legacies, further knowledge and training more advanced mages may acquire often through ornate ritual and within fraternal organisations. Several are detailed here, but for those who really wish to delve, they are more fully covered in other books, or you can create your own, following the rules outlined here.


The second appendix presents a setting: the city of Boston. Not all mages are urban souls, but the New World of Darkness tends to base itself around cities and Boston has been selected as the exemplar for mage society. There's a bit of history and an overview of contemporary life including a rough sketchmap. However as it is based closely on the real Boston you will be able to find more detailed maps with ease should you require them.


There's a lot here, particularly pertaining to the underpinning intrigue that is rife in Awakened society Even if your game takes another path, that intrigue will be there in the background and the wise mage ignores it at his peril. A couple of atmospheric fictional snippets round off the book.


Visually it is quite a delight with some excellent line art that fuses magical and modern themes and highlights of gold - not always as legible as they might be. Ghost images occasionally occlude the text but not too badly, likewise there are some typos and jumblings of the text that a thorough proofread ought to have caught but you can generally work out what is intended. Overall it is a masterly presentation of an alternate reality so compelling that you begin to wonder if it might just be out there somewhere!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mage: The Awakening
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Hunter: The Vigil
by John N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/26/2014 17:38:14

First physical order from drivethru and I'm very disappointed with the quality. Ordered normal print since that was the only option available. Paper quality is what I'd call draft paper and the book isn't even the same size as my storebought WW books. I may purchase pdfs in the future, but printed copies are to low quality for my taste.


Just a fair warning if you're used to storebought books and expect normal quality to mean normal and not draft paper.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Hunter: The Vigil
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