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Victoriana - The Concert in Flames
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/14/2016 11:29:02

160 pages. Color cover, B&W interior Part gazetteer of Europe of 1865, part adventure campaign. What is great about this book is that covers a number of lands that are often ignored in most Victorian-era games. There are not a lot of details, it's not Wikipedia after all, but plenty for your game. The adventure (or Penny-Dreadful in Victoriana-speak) is a continent hoping adventure in the pure adventure vein as "Around the World in 80 Days" or the last part of "Dracula". It is done in a way that only can be done in the Victorian-era. The world is still big enough that other lands can be mysterious, but small enough that travel (thanks steam!) is quicker, easier and an adventure all it's own. Again, this makes this book not just essential for Victoriana but also a good buy for anyone running any Victorian-era game. There are also four new races near the end.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - The Concert in Flames
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Victoriana - Liber Magica
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/14/2016 11:06:18

144 Pages. Color cover, B&W interior Liber Magica is the supplement I ALWAYS want for my games. A book on more magic? Yes please! This book features a lot of familiar names from both 2nd and 3rd edition. This is good given the changes to magic between the editions. There is a section (half-a-page) about bringing over 2nd ed style magics to 3rd ed. It is really easy stuff and most GMs will do it on the fly really. This book contains a lot more magical options than the core book had. The first five cover the types of magic detailed in the core book (Thaumaturgy, Sigil Magic, Conjuration, Psychodumany/Magentism, and Maleficium). The last two chapters cover magical items and curiosities and magical societies. There are a lot of new spells. I have the PDF of this book, but I really want a print copy next time I hit Gen Con. It is one of the single most useful Victoriana PDFs I own. I adapt ideas from this for a variety of game including converting all these to Magical Philosophies in Ghosts of Albion or Traditions for the Witch. This morning, in fact, I was rereading this for use in Leagues of Gothic Horror. A supremely useful book.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Liber Magica
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Victoriana 3rd Edition
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/13/2016 08:19:32

While Victoriana 1st edition first caught my attention and 2nd edition became a favorite, it is 3rd edition that might be the best version of the Victoriana game. My deepest apologies to all the people that worked on the first two editions, some who I now consider friends.

Full Disclosure: I bought my own hardcover and pdf copies of these books. While I consider many of the fine folks at C7 to be friends, they did not solicit or expect a review.

Victoriana 3rd Edition uses the same system that powered Victoriana 2nd edition, but cleans up the game and gives it some new life. Led by Walt Ciechanowski, Victoriana 3 became something a little different than before, but uniquely more "itself". You can use all the supplements, adventures and characters in 3rd edition that you did with 2nd edition with now issues. Vic 2nd edition has a conversion guide to 1st in case you need that. There are sidebars to let you know where the major differences are between 3rd and 2nd edition. There are even a couple of places where specific 2nd Edition books are mentioned.

Now set in 1856 (ten years earlier) we get a different feel for the age. The world of Victoriana 3 is a little darker, a little more dangerous and a lot bigger. So if you are using any of the supplements, such as the India one, you will need to adjust some events and tone, but not mechanics. There are also sidebars that mention the differences between Victoriana world and the real world. For example the Bolshivik revolution is getting started earlier here and Charales Darwin is now a "Dr." (he "only" had a Master's degree in real life).

This version of Victoriana puts more emphasis on technology. It is fantasy tech and steampunk tech, but there is more of it. Not to say magic has taken a backseat here, but it is not as prevalent in the writing as it was before. Also, the gothic horror elements have been turned up a bit in this as well. Magic, when it is there, is scary.

Victoriana (any version, but especially this one) is the game where you can take anything from any other Victorian-era game, use it here and it works. Eldritch horrors from Cthulhu by Gaslight? yup. Investigations from Baker Street? of course. Superhumanity from Victorious? Sure, why not! In fact, this kitchen sink mentality works really well in Victoriana.

The system is the same. You get a dice pool of s6s. Roll them, explode the "6"s, count the successes. If you have enough great. The rules in this version read better. I mentioned in my review of 2nd edition that the only way to truly review a game is not just to read it but to play it. I have played Victoriana now for almost 10 years. Despite that, and even more years of World of Darkness and ShadowRun, I am not a fan of dice-pool games. I have tried play Victoriana using the Ghosts of Albion system. It worked, and it was fun. But it wasn't Victoriana anymore. The Heresy game system is very much a part of what makes this game what it is. Much like the Basic Roleplaying System works for Call of Cthulhu and d20 for D&D, this system imparts a feel to Victoriana. The black dice, the exploding 6s, all of it is part and parcel of the game experience.

Character creation is a bit easier, or at least a bit more guided in this version. Emphasis is not placed more on social class than whether or not you are an orc, Eldren or human. By the way, the Eldren (Elves) in this version get really strange. You can be an elf, but be prepared to have some weird quirks or even some mental illness. Personally, I loved this idea and would like to try it in other games where I have elves/Eldren. Really, it is that cool. There are some changes to gnomes and Huldufolk (halflings) that make them more different than each other and more interesting. Nocturnal academics vs. rustics with a keen interest in one area. Note: This would be a great template on how to bring Castles & Crusades elves, gnomes, and halflings into a Victorious game.

The book is huge at 320 pages. Again the cover is color and interior is black and white. And again this is how it should be. The hardcover is sturdy and looks great. The PDF is bookmarked. While I loved the mix of art in 2nd edition, the art in 3rd edition is more consistent. The character sheet from 3rd edition is one of my favorites. It just looks so cool. A color option though would have also been nice for those special characters.

The rules include a great collection of items from the age and various forms of entertainment. There are also clarified rules on various chases (coach, boat, airships) and the effects of drinking and drugs.

Victoriana is one of the games with a quiet, but steady and dedicated following. The fact that the games are always sold out in minutes at Gen Con is a testament. For me, I will say this. If there is anything you have ever wanted to do in a Victorian-era game then Victoriana has a way for you to do it.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana 3rd Edition
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Victoriana - Jewel of the Empire
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 14:18:48

228 Pages. This is a hefty tome. It covers India and it's place not just in the British Empire, but in the Victorian world. We get the requiste lands, geography, people and relgion of India in 1867, but also some discussion on the various religions. Like all religions in Victoriana this is through the lens of the world. So license was taken with some of these. Obviously this was not meant to offend Hindus any more than the Core book was meant to offend Catholics or Anglicans. So keep in mind these are the religions of a game world, not the real world. Some new races are included including some new and changed Beastmen. There are new magics, spells, monsters and plenty of NPCs to populate this huge country. Enough detail here to make you want to run nothing but India-based Victoriana games for a long time. I know I want to do exactly that! Great for Victoriana and at least 2/5ths of it is also great for any other Victorian game as well.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Jewel of the Empire
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Victoriana - Darwin's Catalogue: The Outsiders
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 14:09:53

14 Pages. One of the smaller Victoriana books. This details five races for PCs; Giant, Karakon, Oni, Orc and Steppegoblin. Also covered are Corporeal Mediums.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Darwin's Catalogue: The Outsiders
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Victoriana - Darwin's Catalogue: Beastmen of Britain
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 14:07:34

16 Pages. One of the smaller Victoriana books. This book details a number of additional Beastmen and their traits. Both as a "monster" and as a Player Race. Following the guidelines in this book you could create more, but the list is pretty exhaustive.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Darwin's Catalogue: Beastmen of Britain
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Victoriana - Faces in the Smoke Volume Two
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 13:58:19

140 pages. What a cool supplement. This details all the secret societies in the Victorana game. The societies are grouped largely by role. Are they benign watchers? Are they conspirators of a dark cult? Each group is given a role, a detailed history, and information on how they can interact with the characters and other organizations. Of course, multiple NPCs are detailed as well. An index of NPC, sorted by Rank, is also given.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Faces in the Smoke Volume Two
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Victoriana - Faces in the Smoke Volume One
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 13:54:52

140 pages. What a cool supplement. This details all the secret societies in the Victorana game. The societies are grouped largely by role. Are they benign watchers? Are they conspirators of a dark cult? Each group is given a role, a detailed history, and information on how they can interact with the characters and other organizations. Of course, multiple NPCs are detailed as well. An index of NPC, sorted by Rank, is also given.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Faces in the Smoke Volume One
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Victoriana - Faulkner's Millinery and Miscellanea
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 13:46:20

192 Pages. Every Victorian-era game needs to have a book like Faulkner's Millinery and Miscellanea. If they don't then buy this one instead. Actually buy this one if they do. At 192 pages it is full of items, clothing, gadgets, vehicles and even magical supplies for every need. The currency is British Pound and the economy is set in 1867, so if you do use it for other games you will need to adjust. There is more here than just price lists. The items may (or may not) be very familar to readers today so descriptions are given.
There is a great section on the economy and one worth reading. Here in the 21st century we are used to easy access to everything. We are also (in general) wealthier than any other time before ours. This was not the case int he Victorian age, even in Victoriana's fantastical magical Victorian age. So this frame of reference helps. In addition to equipment, there are common prices of travel and their various means. Prices for various entertainments. Alos you will need to know how much to pay your household staff and where to find them in the first place. Some notable NPCs are also detailed. This really is a must have book for any fan of Victorian RPGS and Victoriana in particular.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Faulkner's Millinery and Miscellanea
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Victoriana - The Marylebone Mummy
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 13:35:55

56 pages. An update to an earlier adventure. This adventure is really designed not just for starting players (5 to 6) but also starting GMs. All the materials you need to play are at your fingertips. There is not enough of the rules to make it a "Quick Play" but if you bought the core rules then this should be your next purchase. The adventure deals with, appropriately enough, a mummy. It FEELS very Victorian too. Ancient curses conflicting with scientific discovery. Superstition vs Science. All within Victoriana's own hedy brew of magic-is-real and so-is-science world. It makes for a lot of fun. The adventure also follows the now familiar 3-act format of all Victoriana adventures. So if you have any desires to plan your own then this is a good model to follow. It is, in a very real sense the Keep on the Borderlands for Victoriana.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - The Marylebone Mummy
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Victoriana - Marvels of Science and Steampunk
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 13:24:44

152 pages. This is the book that makes Victoriana more Steam-punk, or at least more steam- and magic-tech. The biggest, and coolest, new feature of this game are new rules for Airships. Now I have to say that for me, Airships are a quintessential element for not only Steampunk games but of Victoriana in particular. You also get Victorian age computers (Babbage machines) and robots (metal men). This is the fantastic future of science that the Victorian era promised with a chapter on magic and technology. Grabbing this book really sets your Victoriana game apart from the rest of the crowd. The author, Walt Ciechanowski, would later go on to author the 3rd Edition of Victoriana and shape where that version of the game went. Like books from the Victoriana line there is a great collection of inspirational reading and viewing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Marvels of Science and Steampunk
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Victoriana - The Havering Adventures
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 12:13:25

This is a collection of three adventures that have appeared in one form or another in various conventions; notably Gen Con. All deal with the wonderfully eccentric Havering family. I played "Lost Luggage" at one Gen Con and really enjoyed myself. I got to play "Patterson". These are adventures, so I am not going to spoil what is going on here. I will say that these are perfect adventures to really give someone the feel of Victoriana. They highlight what makes the system work and what makes this time and world so much fun. As players, you will be playing members of this family; ie. Pre-Gens, but it works. A good GM can also get players to create their own characters, all members of a family and use them instead.
In particular I enjoyed the horse racing rules since we did something similar for Ghosts of Albion.
If you are looking to run Victoriana games OR need a ready to go adventure-idea for other Vicotrian games then this is where I would start. Keep in mind that various details of the "real world" have been changed to reflect the Victoriana world.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - The Havering Adventures
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Victoriana 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/11/2016 13:35:49

Victoriana and I have a long and complicated relationship. I find it interesting that to date I have not done a review for this game. So let me fix that now. I discovered Victoriana, 1st Edition around the time I was writing Ghosts of Albion. I picked up the game, but since I was deep into working on and playing Ghosts at the time I didn't look at it much. Finally ,I did and then learned a 2nd Ed was going to come out.

I spent some time reading the 1st Edition rules and thought it was interesting, if odd. For starters, I am not sure why there was no U.S. Civil War. I was also not a fan of the Fuzion system. I liked all the odd races for the game (even if it did lead to the infamous Orc from Africa debate) and felt like it was, as it has been later described as Victorian Age Steampunk.

The thing that struck me though is how similar that cover is to the Ghosts of Albion BBC logo. In particular the silhouettes of William and Tamara. I am sure it is nothing but coincidence, but I could not help but notice it all the same. Save for the pointy ears on the Victoriana cover that could be Tamara and William from Ghosts.

I went into the 2nd edition with a lot of preconceived notions of what the game was. That is until Gen Con 2007. Friday night I ran a Ghosts of Albion game and a lot of the authors and playtesters for Victoria 2nd Ed came. I later joined them on a 8:00am Saturday morning game. I was hung over, battling the oncoming con crud. I played an Ogre butler with a Wits (intelligence) score of two whose saving grace was a giant shotgun that he wielded like a pistol. I had a GREAT time.

Victoriana is a perfect example of why you need to play a game instead of just reading it to do a full and proper review. Reading through the rules the first few times gave me a bit of headache, but playing it was a snap.

Victoriana, 2nd Edition is a 286 page book. Color covers, black and white interior. A couple of words about that. The art for this book moves between D&D-esque fantasy races and vintage photographs. Many of the photos are of author Andrew Peregrine's own family. I think this gives the game a unique touch. Personally, I do not want color art in my Victorian-era games. This is a world in black and white.

Vic is best described as a Victorian "cyberpunk" game; not just in terms of ethos, game design and play but also mechanics. The game is based on d6 dice pool with the extra advantage of a "black dice" to add more random flavor. Roll your pool of Characteristics, Skill, and Specialties and see how many successes you have.

The system that powers Victoriana is known as the Heresy system. Maybe an allusion to the game company that published Victoriana 1st ed.

The real feature of this game is the ability to play a number of fantasy races in a magic-is-real and in-the-open Victorian London 1867. The similarities to ShadowRun continue here. You can play dwarves, ogres, elves (Eldren) and other fantasy races. It could also be described as Steampunk ShadowRun or even Steampunk D&D. To call it that would really be selling the game a little short to be honest. I often described it as most Victorian games turned up to 11.

The game won a Silver Ennie for Best Writing and there is a ton of great material in this game, if viewed from Victoriana's own lens.

Appendix 3 Source Material is a great read for any fan of the Victorian era. Six pages of great and pretty exhaustive material.

The supplements for Victorana are all top notch with the same artistic style and flare of the core book.

Victoriana is one of those games I always seek out to play at conventions when I can. I have always had a great time.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
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Victorious Phantasmagoria
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/06/2016 08:20:51

This is a 36-page supplement from Mike Stewart. This supplement details a number of NPC, both good (9 total) and vile (12 total). They can be used as allies, villains, or even as Player Characters. Not as interesting as the NPCs from the Core book, but then again how could they be! Couple of nitpicks here, some the characters are described as having children, though the ages of the kids and the heroes don't always work. For example one heroine, Spellbinder is described as being in her late 20s and having a 12 year old son. She is also described as having a Ph.D. Having a kid at 18 and then continuing to get a Ph.D. THEN getting sucked into the past? It is DAMN hard to work on a Ph.D. when you have kids. I know; so does the author of the book. So it struck me as odd. Make her "late 30s" or better yet "mid 40s". I know the core book talks about the slow aging effects of supermankind, so say she is in her 40s but looks younger. Also detailed is the secret organization "Sceptre"; used to fight the enemies of Queen and Country. A prison, Darkmore Prison, is given as a place to lock up all these bad guys you catch.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Phantasmagoria
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Victorious Manifest Destiny
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/06/2016 07:09:25

These are "Guide" books for Great Britain and America respectively. Both come with the same city maps of London and New York in PDFs. Rules Britania details Great Britain in the time of Victoria and her world-wide empire. The city of London is also covered in some detail. Manifest Destiny does the same for America and New York. Both books are really pretty system neutral with a lot of background information that is great for any Victorian-era game. Manifest Destiny edges out Rules Britania since America is often ignored in many Victorian games. Granted England is ignored in many Civil War and Western games too. One of the features I really enjoyed about Manifest Destiny were the inclusion of the New York gangs.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Manifest Destiny
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