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Amethyst: Destiny (Fate Edition) $19.99
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Amethyst: Destiny (Fate Edition)
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Amethyst: Destiny (Fate Edition)
Publisher: Dias Ex Machina Games
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/09/2014 15:14:03

You absolutely have to have knowledge of how to play FATE from another source. This book discusses how the FATE hack works for this setting but the amount of rules discussion in this product (less than 20 pages FATE specific) would leave most players completely uninformed or totally confused or both using just this book. There is no discussion of Campaign Aspects or how to create them. There is no discussion of Situation Aspects how to create them use them...anything. From a purely game mechanic standpoint Amethyst is a good game. It explains the FATE hack and how it works with the FATE rules well enough. It cannot possibly stand alone. It is not a stand out in the FATE powered games presently available. It finds itself firmly in the middle in my opinion. It has some interesting concepts that can be used by players and GMs alike. Instead of using FATE dice you use a hand of five FATE cards from the Deck of FATE. The author encourages players to have 2 decks for use in the game. (This is not a small cost) There are discussions of how to use Fudge dice and die 6s. However the preferred method is the Deck of FATE, because several of the stunts available are predicated on the use of the Deck of FATE. I personally like the use of Vocations instead of Skills in this product. I wouldn’t do this for every FATE product out there, but it works for this setting. Vocations are just like they sound, a broad range of skills used for a particular profession. If you are an Investigator +2 it is assumed that you have the necessary skills and resources to perform the functions of an Investigator of better than average level, etc. There are a wide range of Vocations listed in the setting. The Vocations also have associated stunts and summaries of how those Vocations would be used in play. The Vocations are further broken into Species Vocations, Regional Vocations and Organization Vocations. Species Vocations define how you would act and what traits you have as a particular type of Fae. Organization Vocations define what kind of resources you have and how you would act as a member or a particular type of organization. Regional Vocations are used mostly by humans to define how they may differ based on where they come from. There is one adventure in the book. The setting is huge; all of North America. It is more of a sandbox style and the authors invite you to dig deeper and create your own adventures and campaigns. There is a small amount of advice on how to do this and a small amount of advice on what some typical campaigns may look like. I have gone to the Dias Ex Machina website and FB page and have found only one other adventure available, so there doesn’t seem to be much support beyond the primary sourcebook. (Remember this isn’t the first version of Amethyst and I am including the other versions in this as well) My biggest concern is the setting itself. Not the idea. I love the idea of Fantasy impinging on the modern world and how humans would react and interact with magic and magical creatures. What I don’t like is the underlying preaching that goes on in the setting. The setting as written is very a-theistic. Unapologetically it seems. The fiction used to illustrate the concepts of the setting features a character that is angered at a supposedly non-existent God. In the first few pages of story he mentions the non-existence of God as many or more times than he thinks about the differences of living in a technological world assaulted by the appearance of fantasy creatures and magic. Limshau the setting’s primary city for fantasy aligned characters is discussed as being enlightened and growing because of this enlightenment. But, the authors go on to say that this enlightenment consists of the outlawing of organized religion and corporations; the only organization allowed to exist is the government. Vice is not only legal, but the setting description goes on to mention prostitution several times in a way as to make it seem to be an ordinary occupation as valid as any other. Citizens are not allowed to be armed; only the police (Custodians and militia) are allowed weapons heavier than short swords (it doesn’t address that fact that spellcasters are walking weapons, or that some species are equipped by nature to be veritable tanks). Given that Limshau is ruled by a very long-lived hereditary oligarchy only exacerbates the Government’s power. When I grew up this wasn’t called enlightened it was called despotic, or totalitarian, or Stalinist Communism. I would hope that the amount of energy the authors put into the art, the fiction, the description of the various fae species, would find itself into the background of the setting, but it doesn’t. Teaching that Vice is ok and should be legalized, teaching that organized religion and organized business are detriments to a growing culture are not just counter-intuitive, but are lacking in logic and evidence. We, the human race, have tried communism. It failed. Nations around the world are trying to legalize vice to varying degrees and are finding that it is creating more cost (financially, physically and emotionally) than good. The Authors have responded well to questions on this site which I appreciate greatly. I will use this setting because I like the idea. I am going to have to rework the various communities so that they make sense in a cultural, economic and political way. I am going to have to create my own campaign and adventures. This isn't crippling. This isn't necessarily bad. However, it would be nice if this had been part of the description of the game and its setting before I had spent 15 USD on it. (PS I have a BA in Social Studies Composite with an emphasis on History and a MA in US History. I lived in Europe for three years and in Asia for six.)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Amethyst: Destiny (Fate Edition)
Publisher: Dias Ex Machina Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/16/2014 12:38:45

A long piece of fiction preceeds the introduction of the core premise of this game: what if storybook concepts co-existed with the real world around us? Most of us, certainly in the community of role-players, have active fantasy imaginations, but what would it be like if those imaginings became real, not as a replacement for the real world outside the window but alongside it? In answering such questions, we have the game, the setting, that is Amethyst.

Amethyst is not new. It's been around for quite some time now, growing and being revised, being changed to fit different rulesets - D20, D&D 4e, Pathfinder and now Fate. For the first three, the ruleset itself provided the framework for the fantasy aspects, bringing their monsters and magics out into a 'real world' setting which is easy to provide: we live there.

The introduction continues with the background - in character - as to how the co-existence of fantasy and real worlds came about and the tensions, conflicts, that this causes. Magic is real, but quite rare. Monsters too are mercifully rare but devastating when they do show up. And deities? Nobody knows if they are real or not, but there are plenty that believe... just like in the real world.

Chapter 2: Fate of Amethyst touches on the setting's history before launching into an explanation of how it works with Fate and, for those new to it, how Fate Core itself works. For this is a stand-alone book, all the rules you need to play are here, although if you do have access to Fate Core it can be helpful. You will also need a Fate Deck or Fate Dice, and alternative methods of generating the required random results are discussed. The character sheet is explained, leading into an explanation of how to generate characters coupled with information on how to use the character mechanics within the game. There are some variations from standard Fate Core mechanics, mostly brought over or modified from previous incarnations of the game using various class/level mechanics: instead of Fate skills you have rather broader Vocations, for example.

The character creation process itself is detailed clearly and well, being described as 'part of the game' rather than a precursor to it. In devising a character, you'll need to understand his background, and so you are already beginning to tell his story. As such, it is best done as a group activity with the entire party and the GM working together. The next few chapters go into depth on the choices you have to make: species, vocations and so on. Delve deeply and pick wisely. Throughout, snippets of fiction - some from the original story, others singular bits relating to the topic at hand - serve to illustrate what is being covered. Illustrations too are rich and varied and give a feel for what is being discussed. Many fascinating snippets of information are buried here, it's worth reading throroughly. For every choice, however, there is also a summary box which tells you what a character making that choice will be capable of - if the summary appeals, consider that choice in detail.

That dealt with, what of the world in which your character will operate? This is covered in Chapter 5: The World. Although the concept is fantasy meets real world, the game is not actually set on 21st century Earth, but in an imaginary world with fantasy elements intertwined with technological development of what is a modern society. Remember that it did not develop that way, rather a significant event released the fantastical parts on a more normal society - many of whom resist the idea and reckon fantasy still belongs in a book! Player Characters, even the non-fantasic ones, generally are a bit more aware of what is going on from the outset. It is a rich and varied background, and again this chapter is worthy of serious study to get the feel of the world in which the game takes place. Depending on where a character comes from, he may have access to abilities and knowledge that others do not, so again choose carefully based on what kind of character you want to play. And if you don't care for any location in this rich backdrop, rules are provided for creating your own!

Chapter 6: Equipment looks at the kit and caboodle your character can accumulate. Most is abstracted, you are assumed to have all the ordinary things you need for day-to-day life, it's only the gear that will become important when adventuring that matters. You'll need to know the tech level of the things you want and how well it can resist magic. Different species (and vocations) have their own preferred weapons and equipment, although your character may choose to buck the trend a bit it will make things harder and the character stand out. Weapons vary from basic mediaeval ones to wildly-futuristic, and there's a similar range of armour too - right up to combat exoskeletons and power armour. Tools, drugs, vehicles and more are also covered.

Chapter 7: Magic delves into the underlying philosophy and mechanics of spell-casting as well as exploring the actual spells that can be cast and what they do. Although the rules are quite precise spells are not - it is more a case of dreaming up the effect that you want to have happen and then applying the rules appropriately. There are plenty of sample spells to get you going. Magic items and alchemy are also covered, and there are notes on converting spells from other game systems if there's one you particularly like.

Next, Chapter 8: Monsters details some of the quite outlandish - and dangerous - beasts with which the characters will have to contend. This also includes NPCs. There are sample monsters, notes on devising your own, hazardous environments and much, much more here.

Finally, Chapter 9: Campaign deals with what you'll actually be doing once the game begins. The contrast between the familiar and fantasy should be at the heart of everything that goes on, but just about any plotline can be followed or story told within that context: exploration, intrigue, conflict, investigation... whatever takes your fancy. Running the Fate system is also discussed here, as it has quite an influence on the way in which your stories will be told. This chapter is really for those who want to GM rather than only play, but makes interesting reading whichever role you are planning to fill. There's advice on constructing and locating adventures, and a short sample one to get you going.

Beautifully written, a rich backdrop cunningly crafted and visually spectacular as well (with one flaw, a very dark figure in the lower left of the standard background that often renders a few words of text illegible), if you are already a fan of the Amethyst concept you'll want to add it, if you want to see just what can be done with Fate Core given a strong idea this is of interest... and if you are in search of a unique and different game, you may well find it here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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