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Left-Hand Path $13.99
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Left-Hand Path
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Left-Hand Path
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jonathan M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/25/2013 19:29:10
The book opens with an explanation of what gets a Mage labeled as Left-Handed and also offers some new tricks for Apostates.

The second section details the Mad (those whose Wisdom drops to 0) and the effect they have on the Fallen World as well as rules for creating and running such characters.

The third section looks at the Scelesti, the Abyss, and Mages who follow even darker creatures. I felt this section was the weakest but not a waste of space.

My biggest draw to this book was the new information on the Tremere (the fourth and final section) and this book delivers. The Legacy gets an expanded origin story and its organization gets broken down and explained.

My biggest complaint was that the book was so short. The information about Apostates, while good, didn't feel like it belonged with the rest of the material. The Tremere were given enough depth to require their own Order book but everything was so compacted I felt like I was reading the Introduction to a much larger book. The same can be said for the Scelesti (perhaps another Night Horrors: the Unbidden needs to be written to cover that aspect).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Left-Hand Path
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Nenad R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/22/2012 06:31:08
Left Hand Path deals with the rebels and outcasts of mage society, those that are isolated from the Pentacle and Seers, often with very good reason. The book is divided into four, dealing with the Heretics, Mad, Scelesti and Reapers.

It starts off by explaining how the pentacle and seers deal with the Apostates, and how to become one, before looking at the individual factions.

The Heretics and Apostates are those that have rejected the teachings of the Pentacle or Seers, but still remain “normal” mages. As such, they seem to be most likely to be used as player characters. There are some good ideas about how to use them as protagonists and antagonists in your stories, as well as several story seeds focusing on them.
The Mad remind me of the Marauders in the old world of darkness, although they do get a very new world of darkness spin on them. They are based on the gothic idea of madness that stems from moral decay, and some of the details about them manage to be disturbing. Ideas are given how to use them in a chronicle, as well as some suggested Mad. I think that they have a lot of potential, but I found the section on them a bit sparse and lacking.
The Scelesti are a bit of a stereotypical villain group, in the fact that they want to end the world as we know it, possibly to replace it with the Abyss. The information in here expands on the Mage rulebook, and presents other factions of the Scelesti, as well as some ideas about their structure, organisation, and practices.
Finally, the Repers are discussed, with a long section on the Tremere, although I find the two new factions intorduced in that section far more interesting, especially the (Legion), which have the right mix of interesting and creepy to be used in most games.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Left-Hand Path
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Philip F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/19/2012 23:04:58
Largely unimpressive.
I bought the PoD version of Left-Hand path and can't say for certain that it was worth it. This book is at best informative and at its worst Tedious. Ascetically it's a disappointment aside from the cover art most (all?) of the interior art is borrowed from other sources unfortunately it's not very impressive. The text in the PoD version is tiny and the headers for each paragraph are blurred and faded, making them almost impossible to decipher.

As for the actual contents, for me the Fiction sets the tone of the book and what's presented doesn't seem entirely coherent. I think it had something to do with (Legion) which is mentioned all over the book and finally detailed at the very end. In other WW books there's fiction for every chapter, not so in Left-Hand path. It starts with a choppy perspective and flows right into the Introduction.
This should be considered it's own chapter with how winded it is and it reads something like High School history book. Which is what the Intro is, basically a history and explaining which each of the Left-Handed Paths are, even so this entire section could have been cut down into a glossary with space given into the books few saving graces.

Chapter 1 is all about the Apostates, but it also takes time to mention what the different left handed paths are; again. The Apostate get a few new Merits and there's a few pages about what the orders think about them. Spoilers! They don't care much for their existence. The only redeeming aspect of this chapter is the Legacy provided at the end. The rest is negligible.

Chapter 2 covers the mad. But I honestly had to look it up again while writing this because I had forgotten what the chapter was about.

Chapter 3 brings us to the Scelesti. It takes 59 pages to get to a point in the book were it becomes worth reading. Chapter 3 doesn't merely expand upon the Abyss worshipers it peels back the curtain of the fallen world and saturates the pages with a preternatural inky blackness. The new abilities that grant the Scelesti control over paradoxes may be the closest we'd ever get to a full Abyssal Arcana but their undeniably awesome. The only think I found lacking, is I would like to have a new Legacy or two. Or perhaps attainments for already existing Scelesti groups.

Chapter 4 is the Reapers. Most of this chapter is about the Tremere Liches, which is a good thing. The chapter gives character reasons to want to be part of the Liches and opens up whole new slew of possibilities. The inclusion of the Houses was a nice throwback to CWod's V:tM, this includes the nod of the head to the Nagaraja. The only fallible thing about his chapter is that it seems too short. Really most of this books space would have been better suited to the Tremere.

Is it worth it?
It's no Tome of the Mysteries. But you could do worse.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Left-Hand Path
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/19/2012 06:14:07
Left Handed Path is one of those must have books. You could say that with a lot of Mage the Awakening books, but this one offers a lot for your money.

Left Handed Path of course covers those mages that follow paths to magic that go against the Pentacle mages, or the Seers of the Throne. The mages are either outlaws, having broken Consilium law and caused trouble, the mad, Abyss worshipping Scelesti, or the soul devouring Reapers and Tremere. With all these groups covered in detail many new options are provided or expanded upon, give plenty of ideas and suggestions for antagonists for your games.

Read the rest at http://darkerdaysradio.posterous.com/#!/left-handed-path-rev-
iew

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Left-Hand Path
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/16/2012 06:19:51
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/11/16/tabletop-review-left-ha-
nd-path-mage-the-awakening/

It’s been a while since White Wolf released something for Mage: The Awakening. I think the last piece was Imperial Mysteries back in January. It’s too bad, because M:TA has been my favorite branch of the New World of Darkness. Also releases for M:TA are sporadic at best, they tend to be high quality and Left Hand Path is no exception. This book lets you see how the other half lives, doing the same for Left Handed mages that the Sabbat books did for the Camarilla’s archenemy back in second edition Vampire: The Masquerade. Now Storytellers and players alike can learn more about corrupted legacies, Mad Ones, and all the other different Nefandi out there. I should make it clear that unlike the aforementioned Sabbat, Left Handed mages are not organized by any means. Sure there are some groups out there like the Tremere, but for the most part they aren’t large clutches. It tends to be small groups or solo mages that have gone their own way for a myriad of reason, even good intentioned ones. Even more importantly for the Storyteller, you can see how someone can be Left handed to a degree and yet still an active member of the Consilium.

For those who have never played Mage: The Awakening, I realize that first paragraph probably read like gobblygook. Basically a Left Handed mage (Or Nefandi, in vulgar argot) is a mage who has lost their way. Perhaps they’ve left the large collective of Mages because they didn’t like the rules, because they went mad, because they were a psychopath, or even had good intentions that could only be achieved by breaking the laws of their specific Legacy. The spiraling road down to Left Handedness is a very diverse one. There is no one particular path. Each Left Handed mage has a story all their own, and although they can fit into a neat little stereotype, like a Scelesti, that doesn’t mean they are all the same. A Good Storyteller will use Left Hand Path to help aid them in creating memorable antagonists and excellent stories. Remember, the best “bad guys” are those that believe they are right. This book does more for Mage: The Awakening in terms of helping one understand the Antagonists of this system than anything else yet released for the system.

So what do you get in Left Hand Path? Well there are four chapters, a fiction story to start off the book and a long introduction that’s as long as some of the other chapters so it really should count as one in its own right. The fiction story is terrible, although there is a wonderful piece of art to start it off. It’s badly written and quite dull, so skip it and get to the good stuff.

The introduction is oddly the true meat of the book, where you get explinations and an in-depth discussion of what it means to be “Nefandi.” You are given a rough background on terminology, various groups that Left Handed mages can fit into and how some are more tolerable than others. You are given Storytelling advice on how to play various Left Handed mages and a very important reminder that this doesn’t necessarily make them evil or even antagonists. Honestly the entire intro should be required reading for anyone running a M:TA chronicle.

Chapter One is entitled “Heretics and Apostates.” These are the Left Handed mages that are on the fringe of the Consilium. The ones that are still in it actually. These tend to be the mages that disagree with bits of the order or feel certain rules don’t apply to them. Its their own personal Hubris that brings them down. These aren’t the guys that will be devouring souls or making deals with demons…yet. This chapter goes into great detail about what starts a person down the road to Nefandi and their eventual break with their order. You also get some new merits, flaws and backgrounds for Left Handed mages and some sample characters.

Chapter Two, “The Mad Ones” is about exactly what you think – insane mages. Of course, insanity is relative and some of the Mad Ones are convinced of their sanity, as are others, until that one crucial moment when their façade drops. Being insane doesn’t mean being like those terrible Malkavians we’ve all encountered at one point. Madness takes many different forms and this chapter is VERY clear on that. You have three core types: Malefactors, Savants, and Walkers, but a antagonist Mad One doesn’t necessarily have to fit into one of these categories. As well, you’re given the sample characters and some mechanics for these guys as well.

Chapter Three is “The Scelesti.” If you’re new to Mage: The Awakened, these are the equivalent of your demon worshipping mages. Scelesti have a particularly perverse relationship with the Abyss and they definitely are considered evil. These guys are NOT meant to be player characters and the book even has a sidebar devoted to the fact that playing a Scelesti (or allowing it in your campaign as a PC) is borderline stupid. This chapter is best left for the Storyteller or simply to help a player flesh out the world his character lives in. There’s some great information here and honestly, this chapter could easily have been its own sourcebook. There’s so much more that could have been covered.

Finally we come to Chapter Four, “Reapers.” This is the chapter Mage players will be most familiar with due to the Tremere. I should add a caveat to Old World of Darkness (aka The Onyx Path these days) that these are NOT the Tremere from Vampire: The Masquerade. Same name, somewhat similar core concept, but a completely different delivery. These are basically Liches, mages kept alive through magical absorbing the souls of others. As the Tremere are the most common antagonists in M:TA, players and Storytellers alike should be well familiar with them. Because of that you’re probably wondering why there is a full chapter on Reapers. Well, Tremere aren’t the only Reapers out there. You’re given a look at several kind of Reapers, information on how to deal with soul loss and so much more. In regards to the Tremere, you get a lot more information on them and in a nod to V:TM, there’s even a way to crossover the Tremere from Mage: The Awakening with Vampire: The Requiem. Fans of both versions of the World of Darkness will love the Tremere back story here and how one will see shades of the other in it.

All in all, Left Hand Path is by far the best supplement for Mage: The Awakening I’ve come across. The one black spot on the book, besides the terrible fiction at the beginning, is that it is littered with typographical errors. Words or even whole phrases are missing from sentences at times. The good news is your brain fills in the missing bits, but when you read the book with an editor/reviewer’s eye, you find far more than should be in any professional publication. Aside from that, Left Hand Path is a must buy for any fan of Mage: The Awakening and even V:TR players can get a good amount of use out of Chapter Four. Definitely consider picking this one up.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Left-Hand Path
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Shane A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/14/2012 22:48:27
I don't tend to write reviews of products often (in fact, I think this is the first time I've done so), so take that as a mark of how strongly I feel about this book. Left-Handed path contains a lot of information about the Mad, Scelesti, and Tremere (and other soul-eaters) that pushes them from being monster-of-the-week opponents to being complex and scary enough to serve as the subject of an entire story.

Left-Handed Path also goes into a lot of detail concerning how mages view their Left-Handed cousins, and how mages can be seduced by the Left-Handed Path. Useful stuff, for anyone running a game concerned with those sorts of practices and (particularly) Legacies.

The book isn't a catalogue of Legacies, unlike The Sublime and The Ancient, but it does include a few (and expands tremendously on the Tremere Legacy). It's more of a philosophical treatment of the ideology behind the Legacies, treating each of Heretics, the Mad, Scelesti, and Reapers (the new name for soul-eaters of any stripe) as factions unto themselves.

If any of this interests you, I highly recommend this book!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Left-Hand Path
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Matthew D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/13/2012 05:55:23
After the resounding success of Imperial Mysteries, this book helps to bring focus back on the main driving focuses of the game; the personal struggles against madness and mystery as mages seek to advance their own causes and desires in competition with their peers and conflict with their enemies, and the temptations that beset them therein. To that point, Left-Hand Path successfully presents its dark and strange magics as things to draw and repulse characters in equal measure, while also driving prejudices and rationalizations within mage society.

The Introduction gets off to a good start by carefully going into the terminologies surrounding Left-Handed magic, the basic drives of why mages pursue it, and the views of other mages surrounding it, integral tools for creating properly evocative setting and characters in a chronicle incorporating it either for players or antagonists. Advice for how Left-Handed mages can be utilised by Storytellers for various kinds of play experience are also included.

Chapter One focuses on heresies within the actual Orders themselves, as well as those mages who reject or fall away from Order affiliation. It does well for describing dark practices in terms of modifications within the strange philosophies of the Orders, and how they might proliferate and survive, and helps fill out notions of the taboos and traditions that would drive mage society. By presenting apostasy as a matter of irreconcilable difference with the Orders (even after having joined one), it helps to add some depth to them in terms of being potentially problematic. Some nice Flaws are given to help add flavour to these character types. Of particular note is presenting a concept of Nameless Orders, widespread alliances of apostate mages with their own particular minor benefits for joining, something that should be interesting to people who were always disinterested in the presentation or nature of existing Orders.
The chapter also helps reconcile a few previously disparate bits of the Mage cosmology, while also filling them out in a way to make their attraction to mages feel sensible.

Chapter Two codifies the Mad, now defined as mages who, having committed some particularly severe atrocity, have their souls break in a manner that causes magic to leak from them, warping the world in a manner informed by how they broke. The Mad are made quite disturbing as irrational antagonists who are potentially capable of things outside of the usual system, and represent a disturbing end point for particularly driven characters. The systems given for the Mad are highly detailed and interesting, allowing one to tailor such mages to the specific needs of a game or character type, and some specific Storyteller advice is given to help the depiction of this particularly idiosyncratic form of Left-Handed mage.

Chapter Three fleshes out the Scelesti, adding an extensive set of their own mythologies, motivations, philosophies and culture (including recruitment methods and forms of social terminology and organisation). Abyssal forms of magic are redetailed from Tome of the Mysteries, albeit cleaned up a bit, contextualised in terms of Scelesti perspective (and hierarchy), and added to a bit (particularly in the form of a new pinnacle based around the power to deliberately harness Paradox). Scelesti Legacy formation is given new systems for development and joining, and Scelesti cults are incorporated according to the Nameless Order system. Overall, it does a good job of making the Scelesti seem like an appropriately horrifying but understandable group.

Chapter Four covers Reapers, mages who manipulate souls for power. This begins with a useful errata for the effects of soullessness on mages, in order to allow those whose souls have been tampered with to still have a part in the game. Most particularly, the chapter massively fleshes out the Tremere, giving them an elaborate history, mythology, social organisation (highly distinct from that of apostates and Scelesti), and driving and highly distinct philosophical goal. The apparent contradictions of the Tremere state are "resolved" (if only be adding more mysteries), and a number of systems are given to make the Tremere path more attractive (most notably the capacity to essentially steal Legacies). Overall, the Tremere are remade as an intriguing and complex antagonist for regular Mage games. To round the chapter out, two Reaper Legacies are given for the Pentacle Orders.

Overall, the book does quite well to detail the ideas behind stories involving Left-Handed magic, not just in terms of what it can do and why and how mages might be driven towards it, but in the greater context of the Mage setting. For those who wish for a greater variety of Mage antagonists, different story options, and new temptations or questions for players, or to overall inject some humanised horror into their games, the book is a must have.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Left-Hand Path
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by william p. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/10/2012 00:59:31
Ever wonder why someone would make a bargain with the Abyss? Why someone would use the admittedly substandard method of immortality in the Tremere Legacy from the Mage Corebook?

Did you ever want to play an Apostate?

This book is for you. In fact, even if you never wondered about these matters, you should still look into it if you are at all a Mage fan. It will provide you as a storyteller with a great deal of material to work with, but don't mistake it for just an antagonist book!

As a player, you could get just as much out of it with the right mindset.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Left-Hand Path
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Matthew E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/08/2012 13:25:19
A wonderful book that provides insight on how to make 'Left-Handed' characters compelling antagonists or dark-protagonists of a chronicle. The only fault I could find was the name-dropping of certain Legacies without providing the standard Legacy write-ups, but I undertsand that when it comes to word-count certain tough decisions need to be made. Overall, this a great product, but I would definately pay more for a supplement that fleshed out these mentioned Legacies.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Left-Hand Path
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/07/2012 19:36:57
Mage: the Awakening is one of those games with a massive number of potential opponents. From the Seers of the Throne, to Intruders from the Abyss, Ghosts, Demons and Malevolent Spirits of all sorts, Mages always have their hands full. But among their opponents are a special class of Mage, willworkers that practice twisted magic. These are the Mages who walk the Left-Hand path. This isn’t a single way, but an entire gamut of different (and all disturbing) perversions of the use of the gift of magic. Whether through self-interest or the saintliest of intentions, these Mages use methods that are downright abhorrent.

Left-Hand Path, the latest supplement for Mage: the Awakening Explores these antagonists, tackling each one in turn. Starting with Heretics and Apostates, and moving on to the Mad, the Scelesti and finally the Tremere liches.

But before all that the book goes on to discuss the Left-Handed paths in general, going into the history of the term, as well as the term the preceded it “Nefandi” (definitely something that rings a few bells to the Mage: the Ascension crowd.) It also goes to discuss the Seers of the Throne, and how they react to (and identify) Left-Handed mages of their own.

One of the more interesting aspects of the book is the discussion on the Tiers of the Left-Handed in a fashion similar to the factions of Hunter: the Vigil. Tier One is Local, and ofted deal with a small cult in the area and there is a lack of grand aspirations of evil. The higher Tiers get more interesting, stretching from Regional to Global and even Cosmic Endgame, definitely the purview of Archmasters.

The book also sheds some light on the various forms that the Left-Hand Path takes, from Countercultures that delve in avenues not supported by the Consilium, to Outlaws that seek to destroy the Awakened Society as it is now. Finally the opening chapter ends with a discussion of detecting Left-Hand Mages, and the judicial processes and punishments meted out to them.

The next few chapters are an extensive discussion of each of the major types of the Left-Handed Mages, working from an initial definition of what they are, and delving deeper in detail with regards to their motives and methods, which I find to be very, very useful. Each chapter also has sample NPCs, and a few new mechanics, from Apostate-only Merits to various traits of the Mad and the effects that they can have on their environment. The Scelesti have systems on negotiating with their Abyssal masters and the Tremere have a series of Houses such as House Nagaraja and House Seo Hel that have their own methods and attainments of their own.

The writing is inspired, and very informative. Left-Hand Path has certainly earned a place on one of those must-have books for a Mage: GM along with the Tome of the Mysteries, Seers of the Throne and Imperial Mysteries.



To say that this book is stuffed with detail is an understatement. With the Left-Hand Path, the entire range of villainy that the Mages have to face is complete. Offering a thorough (and well rounded) presentation of the Left-Handed, from the Apostates who disagree with policy, to the perversions of the Tremere and the debasement of the Scelesti, there’s enough material in this book to keep a campaign going on for a long time.

Left-Hand Path is a goldmine for Mage: the Awakening GMs, and while it may not necessarily be a book for players, I feel that it belongs in any nMage collection.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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