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CC1 Calidar, Beyond the Skies
Publisher: Calidar Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/29/2016 14:08:11

Bruce Heard, formerly of TSR and of Mystara and "Voyage of the Princess Ark" fame has been working on his new world Calidar for a little bit now. I reviewed the premier product, Calidar in Stranger Skies, a while back and I really loved it. I have used bits and pieces of this world in my own games now for a couple of years; building up to something a little bigger. The great thing about Calidar, and what Bruce is doing with it, is it can be added to any game world or campaign with only a little bit of fuss. OR you can go whole hog with it and have it as your game world.

The newest book out, Calidar, Beyond the Skies, really helps with either plan.

Ethics in Game Reviewing: I received a copy of hard bound book in exchange for a fair review. All links are affiliate sponsored links. Further disclosure: I was planning on reviewing this anyway, I just moved it up a little bit.

Calidar, Beyond the Skies is part campaign book, part cultural reference and part guide to gods. There is only minimal stats in this book. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The obvious disadvantage is of course judging the power levels of the various gods. I am going to say right now that this REALLY is not a disadvantage. Gods are not Monsters. Even in Calidar where the Gods often interfere in the affairs of mortals, those mortals are not going to pick a fight with them. Relative powers are given and that really is enough. The advantage is a true advantage. Playing old school D&D? Great! Playing Pathfinder? Great! D&D5? Equally great! But I am getting WAY ahead of myself.

I am reviewing the hard cover version of the book. It is 248 full color pages on decent weight paper and full color covers. I put the production values at the same level of the best of WotC's D&D or Paizo's Pathfinder.

The book begins with discussing the common abilities given to all divine beings and a discussion on what they are and do. This follows a brief overview of the "planes". This is a section worthy of the best of the TSR-era Manual of the Planes and right next to the 3rd Ed Manual of Planes. I have to admit I love seeing the "energy" planes configured like a d10. Totally using that one.

Since this is system free there is section on how to convert your system to something the book uses. The easiest of course is a percentage system. Depending on your game's chosen system there is a conversion here.

All of that and we are now into the "meat" of the book. The map of the Great Caldera is given again with the countries and cultures highlighted. This is important and a page I found myself coming back to as I read each section. There is a great table on pages 14-15 that has every god, their cultures and their area of interest. I was happy to see some overlap and missing areas. Gods are not supposed to be neat and tidy things. Some interests are over-represented, some have none at all and some gods stretch across more than one culture. Ok at this point if you have ever read any "Gods" or "Pantheon" D&D book you can easily start making sense of things.

After this we cover the different pantheons and cultures. We cover 10 such groupings of gods along with chapters on Rewards, the World Soul of Calidar and various godly trappings.

This is a book that takes full advantage of color. Greater gods are in bold, evil gods are listed (title only not text) in red and benevolent gods are likewise in blue. So a greater evil god is in bold Red.

When each grouping of gods is introduced we get the names and interests (spheres) of all that pantheon. Common attributes for all the gods are given (what they have in common) and an overview of their Genesis story with a timeline. We then get into some really interesting material. A kind of flow chart is given on the relationships between the gods of the grouping. This is best seen in the Gods of Nordheim, which are "imported" from Norse myths by travelers long ago.

After this each god is listed with a stat block of interests, allies, cults, foes, centers of faith and holy days. Lots of details really.

There is so much in this book that I think it is going to take some more readings to digest it all. Each section also contains neat little bits like various temples, the gods' personal symbols, other bits to round out the faiths and make them feel like they real. In some, like for example the Gods of Meryath, weather (and in particular rain) are so important that the seasons are also discussed in relationship to the gods.

The last sections also detail various Elemental Lords, demons and mythological beasts and other near-divine beings.

There is a lot going on in this book. If you are a fan at all of gods, myths and using them in your games then is a great addition. Even if you don't play in the Calidar world this is a well thought out collection of myths. I found this just as enjoyable as reading D&D's "Gods, Demigods and Heroes" the first time. If you need some good, new-to-you-and-your-players gods then this is a must buy.

The art throughout is fantastic (that's Soltan of the Narwan on the cover) and really sets this book above others of it's kind.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CC1 Calidar, Beyond the Skies
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Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/17/2016 12:33:30

Ok, we all know I love monster books. Like all Castle Falkenstein books, new and old, this book is gorgeous. The art is fantastic. The book is a nice mix of travel guide, creature catalog, and journal. This is a fairly common feel to all CF books and it is served well here. The first 50 or so pages cover some new rules and some various stories. The central conceit of the book has notes from the very Doctor Doolittle. I have to admit this is really awesome. I wish I had thought of it, to be honest. The next 100 or so pages cover the Bestiary proper. This includes about three dozen monsters, as many normal creatures and a little more than 20 or so unique characters and intelligent animals. This includes Doctor Doolittle, Gregor Mendel, Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde. The surprises include Mowgli, Riki-Tikki-Tavi and Fantomah. The mere fact that Fantomah is here really increases the value of this book in my mind. The writing is very fluid and is a pleasure to read. The CF stats are, well CF stats, you either like that game or you don't. The bonus here is that this also makes the book extremely flexible for use with any number of systems. In fact, this book is a very fine supplement to be used with any number of other game's monster books. The art, is for the most part, Public Domain, but that is something I REALLY like in my Victorian books and here it flows seamlessly in with the text.
I don't have the softcover book, but I am considering picking it up now. It is really that good looking and really that useful. Do you all remember the old "Enchanted World" books from Time-Life books? Well, this book reminds me of reading those. It is less like a game book and more of a coffee table book of monsters. This is a very, very fun book and I am so pleased to have it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
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Castle Falkenstein: The Tarot Variation
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/17/2016 12:31:09

Now this is a fun little book. It's not long, only six pages, but it packs a punch. This guide allows gamemasters of Castle Falkenstein to use a standard tarot deck instead of playing cards for the game. There are additional rules to cover the Major Arcana. If you play CF then I would easily say this is a must have. If you play other games that have a playing card mechanic then is also a useful resource. I am considering using this with Victoriana. I think it would work fantastically.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: The Tarot Variation
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Leagues of Gothic Horror: Guide to Apparitions
Publisher: Triple Ace Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/28/2016 11:20:41

Softcover book. Full-color cover, black & white interior art. 64 pages. Set up in a similar fashion to all of TAG's "Guide to" books, this covers ghosts and the damned. Again, this is fairly setting specific but a lot of the material here is drawn from myths and legends from around the world, so first of there should be something in this book that everyone recognizes. Secondly there is plenty in this book that everyone can use. The first third of the book covers why ghosts happen and their nature. This is followed by the means of disposing of these pests and some of the powers that they have. The last third (more like half) covers new monsters and some very specific ghosts. Frankly it is worth the cover price for the ghost of Lady Macbeth alone. I once said in a game at Gen Con that are more ghosts in London than living people. This book helps prove my point rather nicely. Another really solid buy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leagues of Gothic Horror: Guide to Apparitions
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Leagues of Gothic Horror: Guide to Black Magic
Publisher: Triple Ace Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/28/2016 11:14:08

Softcover book. Full-color cover, black & white interior art. 64 pages. Set up in a similar fashion to all of TAG's "Guide to" books, this covers Black Magic and "Wickedness". This book is fairly setting specific, so it has more game stats than some of the other guides. I still found it to be a fantastic read and can't wait to try some of this out in my next Ubquity game. The book covers a brief history of "black magic" practices around the world. Later (Chapter 2) we move into why someone might take up this sort of power. Fiendish lairs are also discussed since in the tried and true traditions of both Gothic and Pulp fiction every bad guy needs a lair. The next three chapters I found the most interesting, they are respectively, Power, Demons and Evil NPCs. So much great stuff here that I really could spend dozens of sessions working through all the ideas this has given me. In particular, I have a Ghosts of Albion adventure that would work so much better with some of the ideas here. I am going to have to re-run now under Ubiquity to see. For a small book it packs a lot of punch.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leagues of Gothic Horror: Guide to Black Magic
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Leagues of Adventure - Globetrotters' Guide to London
Publisher: Triple Ace Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/28/2016 11:02:38

Softcover book. Full-color cover, black & white interior art. 78 pages. A great sourcebook for the Leagues of Adventure game this covers the City (and County) of London in the 1890s. The bulk of the book is devoted to a "tour" around London pointing out places of interest. There are also sections on the police force, entertainment, and transportation. The book is largely fluff free (ie not much in the way of games stats) so it immediately has utility for a wide variety of games. Even the adventure hooks for London are game-stats free. Most of the game-related material comes in the form of detailing various NPCs and archetypes, but there is enough flavor test to still make them usable in other games too. This is a well-researched guide and extremely useful. If you are playing a London-based Leagues of Adventure, Leagues of Gothic Horror or Leagues of Cthulhu game then I say pick this up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leagues of Adventure - Globetrotters' Guide to London
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Leagues of Gothic Horror
Publisher: Triple Ace Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/27/2016 11:12:27

A while back I spent some quality time with the Ubiquity system reviewing a number of games including Leagues of Adventure one of my favorites. Today I want to have a look at Leagues of Gothic Horror, the gothic horror (naturally) supplement to Leagues of Adventure.

Leagues of Gothic Horror (LoGH) is not an independent game but rather a "thick" campaign supplement with a lot of rule additions. In it is designed to be used with Leagues of Adventure, but it could also be used with any Ubiquity game with a little work. Actually with a little more work it could be used with any Victorian era game. It is light on crunch really and full of flavor.

I am reviewing my hardcover and PDF from my Kickstarter backing. The book is 158 pages, color covers with black and white interiors. Again for my money black and white interiors are the way to go for both Victorian and Horror.

I am just going to come right out and say this. This book is damn near perfect.
This really has everything I enjoy in one volume. Gothic horror, the Victorian era, black magic, science, horror, it's all here.

Chapter 1 covers new Archetypes for the LoA game. These include some of my favorites of gothic and Victorian lore such as the mystic, the mentalist and an old favorite, the alienist. There is even a subsection on how to play Ghost characters! If I didn't love this book so much I might feel threatened that it was encroaching on Ghosts of Albion's territory! There are also new talents, skills, and flaws for your character. These are of course designed with LoA in mind so no idea how they might overlap with say, Hollow Earth (HEX) or other Ubiquity games. There are also new Leagues. These are usable in any game. In particular, I was thinking of Victorious the whole time. Chapter 2 details horror and sanity mechanics. Again this is expected. The sanity system is mostly relegated to phobias. This is fine for me since this game deals more with heroic actions of daring-do. This chapter also deals with more magic including black magic, pagan magic, ceremonial magic and ritual magic. There is a great sidebar here on various Solar and Lunar eclipses during the late Victorian era. Really handy to have. The large section of magical texts, their translations and uses is also really great. Not just to use, but to read. Many are based on real-world books too. Along with that are new magics and magical/occult artifacts. Chapter 3 is another great addition with new monsters. All the usual suspects are here; vampires, golems, werewolves, demons, even evil witches and a couple of different types of necromancers. We get a section on major villains too, Dracula, Count Orlock, Brain in a Jar, Lord Ruthven, Varney the Vampire, even Rasputin. Pretty much any Gothic-age or Victorian-age bad guy is here. Like the leagues presented in Chapter 1 there are some new sinister cults. Chapter 4 takes us on tour to the Dark Places of the world. Great addition to LoA. Reminds me a bit of the old AD&D Gazetteer to Gothic Earth. Specific locales are given and more generic ones for use anywhere in the world. Chapter 5 covers advice for the gamemaster and Chapter 6 has ideas for running games using this book. There is a great "Gothic History" timeline and list of "Who's Who" in the real world. The last page has a nice list of references of Gothic literature, audio, movies and television. I'll admit I had fun trying to guess the references from the material in the book. I did pretty well if I say so myself.

I have already gushed over this book, doing so more will only make me look foolish, but I can't help it. It is that much fun. I call it a "must have" if you are playing Leagues of Adventure.

If you are playing other Victorian era games and want to add more Gothicness (as opposed to "Gothiness") then please consider this book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leagues of Gothic Horror
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WITCH: Fated Souls
Publisher: Angry Hamster Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/26/2016 15:32:08

Review: WITCH Fated Souls

I supported the WITCH: Fated Souls Kickstarter back when it was coming out and have been meaning to do a review for ages. Given that Halloween is nigh and the PDF is on sale at DriveThruRPG this might be a great time.

+Elizabeth Chaipraditkul is a new name to the RPG biz, but one that is getting out there. In addition to being the lead hamster at +Angry Hamster Publishing she is also working with +Stacy Dellorfano on a new adventure for the upcoming Swords & Wizardry Complete 3rd Printing Kickstarter. WITCH: Fated Souls though is her masterwork.

WFS is a modern supernatural game. It has elements of horror and universe destroying, or defining, magics. Now lets be 100% fair here. We all have several of these sorts of games. I have more than I can count right now and I have written or worked on a few myself. So any game in this field has some really steep competition. For myself I am likely to compare this game to CJ Carrella's WitchCraft and to Mage: the Ascension. I am also likely to compare this to Ron Edwards' Sorcerer.

Liz has an impressive RPG Playing career and you can see influences of D&D, Vampire, and Mage in her game. So WFS can be judged as a setting and for her game mechanics.

As mentioned WFS is a Modern Supernatural game with elements of horror. Not, "you fail a SAN check" sort of horror but more along the lines of "what are you willing to do, willing to give up, for power". The characters of WFS are witches, also known as the Fated. These characters have sold their soul to a "demon" for power. In some cases, this is a fire and brimstone devil or it's a nebulous concept, the Horned Beast, the Reynard, or it is something they don't even understand themselves.

For my review I am looking over my hardcover book and PDF from my Kickstarter package. This included a GM screen and a deck of "Devil Deck Cards". I also got a lot of images, character sheet package PDF and some desktop wallpapers. The book is 208 pages, standard format with full-color covers and interiors, though the color palette is predominantly blacks, blues, and violets.

WITCH is divided up into nine chapters and an introduction.

INTRODUCTION Here we get some setting fiction and the typical "what are RPGs" section. There is also a Chapter overview here.

CHAPTER 1: Character Creation WFS is a character focused game. One might even say it is a story-telling game, but it has more crunch than most storytelling games. Regardless of what you might, or might not, call it, characters are the most important element. What will your character do for power? What will they sacrifice and how much of their humanity is left when they are done? In this respect, it has a lot in common with Vampire and Sorcerer. You are expected to have a concept in mind when you begin your character creation. To this end the various "Fate" or types of Witch you can become are presented. These include the Hecks, Druids, Djinn, Yokai, Sósyé, Liches, and Seers. You can read about all of these and get details on who they are and what they do on AngryHamster's webiste, http://www.angryhamsterpublishing.com/witch/. Also detailed here are the types of demons associated with each Fate. When creating a character the player needs to think about who this character is and what they are going to be doing in this world. So there are prompts like "Before my Fating..." and "I was Fated because..." and "My relationship with my demon is..." Here, and throughout the book there are examples and story elements to help guide you. There is also a step by step instruction guide. Character creation, mechanically speaking, is a case of point-buy. If you have played WoD, GURPS, Unisystem or other games then this will feel familiar. Like WoD and WitchCraft we also get a couple pages, with character art, dedicated to each Fate. The art in this game is really great.

CHAPTER 2: Vital Statistics This deals with the stats of your character; attributes (nearly fixed qualities like Charisma, Dexterity, and Intelligence), skills (who good are you at driving, etiquette, social empathy), pursuits (things you own or are), and talents (akin to magical skills or qualities). This is set up similar to many games so navigating what this is and how to use it are not difficult. There is a LOT of room for customization so the number of potential characters is really great. So there is no reason for every Sósyé or Djinn to be the same as the others.

CHAPTER 3: Magic Now this is a fun chapter. An overview of the game mechanics of magic is given including the important "botch" roll. Magic here has a bit of different feel than otehr games. The closest for me is WitchCraft, but with plenty of Mage added in. Magic spells are grouped by Fate. So the Djinn have different magic than the Hecks and so on. All the fated also have access to Rituals, these are "longer" spells that take time and sometimes multiple casters. Others are simple spells that are more rote. In a similar cancept we are also given potions. This is a true gem of these rules since it represents one of the best potion creation, use and mixing rules outside of the 1st Ed Dungeon Masters Guide. It also has some of the most attractive art too.

The magic alteration section is great.

CHAPTER 4: Higher Spell Levels This chapter is a treat since "higher level spells" are treated as something qualitatively different than the lower, more common magic. The only thing I can compare this to is as if there was a new D&D book that covered 10th level spells. This spells, known as Deireadh spells, can significanly alter the world and the character including, but not limited too, casting off their own demon. Even if I never get a chance to use this chapter in a WFS game, it has given me plenty of ideas.

CHAPTER 5: Mechanics The mechanics of WFS is pretty simple. 2d10 add the necessary mods and roll higher than a 13 (or 11 in some cases). This makes many of the rule mechanics easy to abstract. Sure if you roll higher (with mods) than a 25 then you get an Outstanding Success and a natural 20 is still good. Botching is getting two "1"s. So again, the feel here is very much like WitchCraft. Picking up these rules are a simple matter. The rules have some special cases of course. Combat versus non-combat and using Talents. But nothing here will cause any experienced gamer any concerns. There are plenty of weapons here too. Don't go into this looking for differences between various types of guns, the rules are simplified to "light revolver" and "heavy revolver". But that is really all the game details you need.

CHAPTER 6: Expanded Mechanics This chpater covers some specifics like wishes (we have Djinn afterall), Familiars, Artefacts, and using the Devil's Deck. The Devil's Deck was part of the Kickstarter and it looks fantastic. I think you can order one from AngryHamster, but a "Witches" Tarot deck would work out well too.

CHAPTER 7: Setting This covers the setting and the history of the WFS world. This is what helps set this apart from other games of it's genre. I say "world" but I also mean areas and places from beyond this world.

CHAPTER 8: Animals, Entities, and Foes Pretty much what is says on the tin. Though there is a section up front on the various demons you can serve and what they are all about. A lot of creatures are present here (and many more an be added). There is also a good section of NPCs.

CHAPTER 9: GM Guide Covers running the game and how to set the tone for this game.

I have been picking at this book for months and maybe it because it is close to Halloween I now get what I want to do with it. This is a great game and with the right group, it will be a ton of fun. I'd love to try it at a con sometime, but this is a game of many sessions and developing plots and layers of story. This is a game of investment.

I will be spending some more time with it. Will it replace WitchCraft in my life? No. But it will make a for a nice addition.

I really, really like this game and want it do well. The potential here is great.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
WITCH: Fated Souls
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Monsters Macabre (Cryptworld)
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/20/2016 11:37:10

64 pages, black & white interior, color cover. This is a monster book. For use with Cryptworld, but also compatible with Majus, Rotworld and yes even Timemaster and 1st ed Chill. There are so many good and new monsters here that it is worth it just for this alone. Really, there are such great things as the Mongolian Death Worm, the Batsquatch and plenty of old favorites. The book is more than just monsters. There are plenty of great ideas on how to play and use these monsters in your game. These sections are great for nearly any modern horror or urban fantasy game. I rank it right up there with "Chill Things" in terms of utility for my games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters Macabre (Cryptworld)
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Majus
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/20/2016 11:18:31

100 pages, black & white interior, color cover.

Author: Michael Curtis

Majus came out before Cryptworld and after Rotworld. It uses the same Pacesetter system that all three games share with Time Master and 1st Edition Chill. Majus though takes a different path and gives us a world of mages, magicians and high magic. So in sense, everything I have always wanted in my own Chill games. Like Cryptworld and Rotworld, the Pacesetter system is revised here to be quite easy to use.
What seperates Majus from the Cryptworld is not just the magic the characaters can now wield, but also the tone. This is described as "Magic Noir" so think hardboilded detective stories mixed with a global magic conspiracy. Whether you want to use this or not is upto the individual CM (in this case "Cabal Master") but I think you would be missing out on a really great feature of the game.
This game can also provide new background, magic and ideas for your Cryptworld games as well. The monsters in this game are largely a different sort that what is found in Cryptworld, so buying both games will give you extra monsters and features. There is some overlap, but that is mostly system related material.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Majus
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Cryptworld
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/20/2016 11:09:46

90 pages, black & white interior, color cover. Authors: Daniel Proctor and +Tim Snider. Cryptworld is the spiritual and brand successor to the first edition Chill game. In many ways it represents what Chill could have become if it had not gone down the path of 2nd Edition and Mayfair games. The Jim Holloway cover is very much in line with the original Chill boxed set. In truth it is less "iconic" but I like it better. The rules for the game are distilled down to their very essence. This is for all purposes a "retro-clone" of Chill. But it is more than that too. Where Chill 2 was about fighting all sorts of creatures organized into the Unknown and Chill 3 is a modern monster hunting tale of SAVE; Cryptworld takes it back to basics of humankind versus the monsters. This Kolchak the Night Stalker, Tales from the Crypt, Friday the 13th (TV Series), and all the wonderful tales of monsters and horror from the 80s. Character creation is faster than I recall it being in Chill 1 or 2. There are still plenty of options to create anytime of character you might want. Like all versions of Chill you are not going to make Harry Dresden style characters (that's for Majus), but making the Winchesters is easy. Goblinoid Games did not get the rights to SAVE, but that is fine really. There is a section in the book covering other organizations that characters can belong too and all are worthy replacements for SAVE. In particular, I want to run a game where all the characters are reporters for the Weekly Inquisitor. That would be a blast really. There are plenty of monsters, especially all the old favorites. There is also not a lot of duplication of monsters from other products so that is a nice value add.
There is also a great section on running games for the "Crypt Master" or CM. One of my favorite names for a Game Master ever. Crypt Master is not just a spiritual successor to Chill, it is a worthy one. If you have any materials from 1st or 2nd edition of Chill you will find them largely compatible with this game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cryptworld
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Chill Third Edition
Publisher: Growling Door Games, Inc.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/18/2016 09:22:45

Readers here will know of my love for Chill. It was one of the first non-D&D games I ever played and to this day I have a soft spot in my art for it. So it was with great pleasure that I backed the Kickstarter for the 3rd edition of Chill last year. Chill may not be the grand-daddy of horror games (that really is Call of Cthulhu) but it is certainly early in the parentage of all horror games. Chill was doing things with monsters in the 80s that White Wolf would later get so much credit for in the 90s. Unlike CoC, the characters of Chill had reasons to believe that they could defeat the monster. There was more hope in Chill.

So what can we say about this new edition?

Let's start with the basics. I am reviewing both the PDF and the Hardcover book. The books are 288 pages with full-color covers and full-color interior art. The art is great mixing in photographs with art for full creepy effect. This is the "real-world" only beset by monsters. The art has always been a central feature of Chill and this edition really has some great art. Even my wife, who is not really a gamer, was looking at and said it looked cool. The hardcover is a nice hefty tome that would also look good on the coffee table, but the real fun is when it is on the game table. (Note: This is another book where I would have liked a cheaper "spiral-bound" copy to lay flat on table) The PDF is fully bookmarked and comes with a printer-friendly character sheet. Though I prefer the heavy art sheet because they look so good.

The Forward details a little history of Chill. Nothing new to longtime readers of my blog. This is followed by a comic. This gives an example of the Chill world. It's not bad, but I usually skip over these sorts of things. Besides, Chill and I are old friends.

Introduction is the obligatory "this is a roleplaying game" bits, but it also gives you a brief overview of the game system.

If you are familiar at all with Chill then the system here is very familiar. Percentage dice roll, roll under a target number. This number is usually a function of attributes, skills, and edges or drawbacks. Rolling doubles "33" or "55" is a really good or a really bad thing, depending on whether or not it was under the score you needed. The more you roll under the better. This gives the game a different feel than most. There feels like there is more randomness (even though there isn't) and more drama (and there is). This is a crunchy "cinematic" game. IF there can be such a thing. There are simple, pass/fail tests, and tests that have levels of success. There are also Tokens that can be used that represent tempory states. These are used in a similar fashion to other games "drama points" but have a more game-mechanical focus here.

I like that this information is right upfront and read first. It sets the tone for the game to come.

Chapter 1 deals with Character Creation. This is important because Chill is a character focused game. In some games you fight monsters because they have the treasure and XP. In Chill you fight the monsters because ever since you were a child you saw ghosts. You thought they were harmless till one of them killed your older brother... There three character creation options. First pick a pre-made character, many are provided. Secondly you could pick a template such as "Anthropologist", "Detective" or "Thief" and modify them. I expect to see more templates in future books. Third, is of course, roll up your own character. Roll up your attributes, skills and pick any Edges or Drawbacks you want. Note to players of the 1st and 2nd editions. There are some changes here. Among other things the Luck attribute is gone.

There is a discipline known as "the Art" that gives some characters a magical edge, but don't expect to play someone of Harry Dresden's ability here. This is more Sam & Dean Winchester levels. Which is perfect in my mind.

Chapter 2 covers SAVE. SAVE or the Societas Albae Viae Eternitata, or The Eternal Society of the White Way, named for their dedication to the good “white” force and opposition to the evil “dark” force. SAVE is a central focus of Chill and all characters are considered to belong to it. There is a lot of history here, both in the game world and in the real world. There are even subtle nods to the history of the game itself here. "1990: Going Dark" is as much about SAVE as it is the Chill game itself. "1998: The Renaissance of the Art" reflects also the growing popularity again of modern paranormal fiction in books, TV and movies. For me I'd also add in some failed attempts at getting SAVE up an running again to parallel the failed attempt of Chill 3.0. I love how the communications SAVE sends out adapt to the times. Hand written letters give way to typewriters to early emails to modern texting and chat software. While the system maybe the heart of Chill, this is the soul.

Chapter 3 is dedicated to The Art, or is simple language Magic. Given here are the different schools of the art and their disciplines. While Chill 3rd Ed has more Player Character magic than the previous versions, the characters are still not going to be at the levels of say "Mage" or "WitchCraft" RPGs. But this is fine really. These are supposed to be normal humans for the most part. Also unlike CoC the Art here is mostly harmless. Note I say mostly, there are still dangers and magic always has a price.

Chapter 4 covers the Game System. This details the material from the Introduction. If you have played Chill before you will find a lot here that is familiar and somethings that are completely new. There are plenty of good working examples. This is the clearest version of the Chill rules to date.

Chapter 5 is for the Chill Master. This covers how to run the game, setting the mood and tone of the games. If you have played any horror game before there is a lot here that is familiar, but there is also plenty that is new. My own 2 cents here: Don't run Chill like you would run D&D or even Call of Cthulhu. This game has it's own feel to it. Yes the stories you tell and the adventures you run can be done under a variety of systems and ways. To get the most out of Chill, play it like Chill.

Chapter 6 is a favorite of mine, Creatures of the Unknown. I will admit that when I picked up my copy at Gen Con last year I turned right to this chapter first to see if all my old favorites made the cut for the new edition. Not all of them did, but there are plenty of old faves and new monsters here to keep any CM busy. The "Mean Old Neighbor Lady" is now properly a Hag, but most of the Vampires made it over including the "North American Vampire" and it's representative Jackson Jammer. This chapter also includes the monster version of the Art, the Evil Way.

Finally, we end with Kickstarter backers.

Chill 3rd Edition is a great game and an improvement in pretty much every way over it's predecessors. The book is great to look at, great to read and easier to play. While parts of Chill still feel like they are stuck in the 80s or 90s in terms of tone and game design, there is enough new material here and enough refinements to bring this game into the 21st century. Will it repalce Chill 1st Ed and 2nd ed in my heart? No, I don't think it will. Will it replace Chill 1st Ed and 2nd Ed on my game table? Absolutely! I'll use these rules from now on and supplement older material until Growling Door gets around to replacing them. Though I have my doubts they will replace Chill Vampires in my heart!

Time I think to dust off my "Spirit of '76" game.

Full disclosure: All links are affiliate links. I bought both the PDF and Hardcopies of this game. No free copies were given and no reviews were solicited.



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Victoriana - The Spring Heeled Menace
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/14/2016 13:18:21

14 Pages. B&W cover and interior. FREE Can't complain about this price. I fun little introductory adventure with some pre-gen PCs/NPCs. One Spring-Heeled Jack is bad enough, what about an entire gang of them? Great adventure to introduce 3rd Ed Victoriana to new players.



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Victoriana - The Spring Heeled Menace
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Victoriana - The Devil in the Dark
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/14/2016 11:49:59

23 Pages. B&W cover and interior. A beginning adventure for characters that have been through at least one or two other adventures but are still low rank. This is an expanded and updated version of a 1st Ed adventure. This adventure in 3 acts feels a lot like a mix of gothic horror and Sherlock Holmes. Great for the price.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - The Devil in the Dark
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Victoriana - Streets of Shadow
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/14/2016 11:39:56

144 Pages. Color cover, B&W interior Streets of Shadow is an adventure path (to borrow a term) for Victoriana that has a lot of history. Three of the adventures, Dragon in the Smoke (Chapter 1), The Hound of Hate (Chapter 3) and Rise of the Red God (Chapter 5) have been published previously for 1st edition Victoriana. Here they have been updated and tied together in a longer story. A "shilling shocker" according to the book. This adventure also ties in to other Victoriana adventures, The Devil in the Dark (3rd ed) and The Marylebone Mummy (2nd ed). This is a great example of both an adventure campaign and of a game honoring (and using) it's past.
Sure these are useful for other games too, but really there is something very "Victoriana" about these. If you are planning on running any Victoriana games at all I say get these.



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Victoriana - Streets of Shadow
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