If you are a gamer like myself. The word “romance” almost instantly turns you off from any RPG game. Commonly, romance is considered a side plot element within stories told around the table top. Don’t let the word “romance” though turn you off of Amaranthine. In fact, this is somewhat misleading. The game is more along the lines of an urban fantasy noir than a romantic adventure game. Although, like most games, adventure is one of the key elements in Amaranthine, it might even beat out the competition in this department, don’t believe me. Buy the game.
Another thing that might turn players off is the thought of playing an immortal. Keep in mind though that this game brings to mind series like Highlander, sprinkled with a darker side of Cthulhu mythos. To be honest, who hasn’t wanted to stare into Void, if only for a minute and who hasn’t wanted to play a character that has flashbacks to eons past? In Amaranthine a player can play a character that has witnessed the fall of Rome or even the founding of America. Meaning that in the world of Amaranthine, adventures in the past are just as important as adventures in the present.
Pros and Cons
Machine Age Production has put together a whimsical dark world that is full of psychological estrangement. The artwork is like stepping into a comic book but at times is rough around the edges. This adds to the flavor of its urban fantasy noir feel. The writing is lyrical with a heavy metal beat. Character creation in Amaranthine, directly affects the game in major ways, not just ability wise but story wise and is quite simple to understand. The toughest part might be reading the chapter on character creation which is laid so even monkey can understand it. If Machine Age Productions ever came up with a name for their system, it should be the fast and loose system because not only can you create the character you want but also the resolution system is fast and loose.
My only gripe about Amaranthine and is a minor one, is that the beginning story is riddle with the f word. Machine Age, I realize that this is supposed to be an adult game but even adults get tired of seeing phrases like f&^%, s&*!, god(%^&. I think by using such language, Machine Age really limits their audience and I believe that Amaranthine should be shared with a wider audience, still a mature audience but a wider one.
Don’t be fool by Amaranthine’s out word appearance. It’s a great game that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. It still may not be for everyone, though, but if you don’t buy Amaranthine for the game, buy Amaranthine for the setting or for the beautiful writing or even for the eye catching art that peppers every page. What’s the worst that could happen you end up with a great RPG setting on your shelf.