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Mage: The Ascension (Second Edition)
Publisher: White Wolf
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/13/2014 20:12:07
A game that always garnered huge passions from it’s fans, and kept fans returning largely due to the central concept of ‘consensual reality’. It’s hard to relate to the impact that this concept would have had on it’s fans upon first reading. The post-Matrix world has this type of postmodern, New-Agey idea in mainstream abundance these days, and it seems to be nothing new. At the time, however, it felt like you had been touched by genius upon reading it.

The game itself is very messy - a few too many unnecessary skills, confusing explanations and curious rules stipulations that don’t make sense. The organisation is a bit all over the place.

It never meshed especially well with the prior WoD games either - Vampires can hardly be running the world if the Technocracy is supposedly doing so too, Werewolves have their Umbra concepts compromised by Mage’s version of the same idea and, indeed, how can Vampires and Werewolves truly exist in a world dominated by a Technocracy-dominated paradigm? Shouldn’t they have been eradicated in this modernistic worldview?

Not a classic, as such, yet the passion and concepts still shine through in the writing - and that’s what gives it value. This is not a particularly good scan, however, it must be noted.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mage: The Ascension (Second Edition)
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Changeling the Dreaming 2nd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/13/2014 05:00:57
Changeling: The Dreaming was the last of the original five World Of Darkness games, and certainly by the time of the second edition the quality of the interior design (full colour), and overall visual quality of the game was breathtakingly good. It is probably the prettiest book I saw in the 1990s.

The game suffered, unfortunately, by being significantly different in tone to the previous games, in a manner similar to Mage: The Ascension - but much more pronounced. It’s far away from being gothic, now explicitly called ‘modern fantasy’ and simply doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the games in the series.

As a standalone game it works pretty well. The gameplay is a bit like a contemporary version of Shadowrun in some ways, with various gang-like antics being undertook by characters in their crypto-magical world (that only they can see). However, the fey archetypes are a little twee, some of the 'loss of childhood’ themes are a tad heavy-handed, and the Storyteller system had a few well-acknowledged clunks in it by this stage too.

It’s certainly worth a look - especially if you like sumptuous fantasy art - and it does play well with the right group. It will always be a slightly flawed masterpiece in my thoughts though.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Changeling the Dreaming 2nd Edition
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T4 Marc Miller's Traveller
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/10/2014 05:39:23
This was never quite as bad as critics made it out to be - although the core task system being roll-under does create some issues in the game (the infamous rolling of ‘half dice’, and the increased emphasis of Characteristic scores of skills). There is a bit of errata too, and some of the text needs repeat reading to make sense of it.

There are, however, some very attractive colour plates of starship imagery in here, and while the rest of the layout isn’t flash - it’s not weak either. The cover is nice too and, at it’s core, this is actually a pretty good edition of the game to base star-travelling adventures from. Character generation is fun (as in the best Traveller editions) and the world and starship generators are pretty much the same as in all editions.

If you want a more concise attempt at an authentic version of Marc Miller’s personal vision of his own game than T5, then this will serve you well.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
T4  Marc Miller's Traveller
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Basic Character Generation 2d6 SF SRD
Publisher: Universal Machine Publications
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/10/2014 04:14:46
This product is basically a copy of two pages of Mongoose’s Traveller game. Nothing new to see, pretty much useless on it’s own, and flatly it seems that somebody is attempting to make a bit of easy profit out of an open system SRD.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Basic Character Generation 2d6 SF SRD
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Publisher Reply:
There are no rules for generating characteristic scores in the Traveller SRD; this product fills that gap. There is nothing to say that SRDs have to be free - the Pathfinder core rulebook is not free yet that is a SRD/OGC; Mongoose publishing\'s own Legend series are all SRDs/OGC and they are not free either.
There are no rules for generating characteristic scores in the Traveller SRD; this product fills that gap. There is nothing to say that SRDs have to be free - the Pathfinder core rulebook is not free yet that is a SRD/OGC; Mongoose publishing\'s own Legend series are all SRDs/OGC and they are not free either.
Rocket Age Core Rulebook
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2014 00:56:36
This is pretty much a perfect game for what it sets out to do. It emulates the pulp/planetary romance genre with a real warmth and enthusiasm, whilst building on a simple system and rich setting within which there is a huge variety of options for gameplay. If you find traditional sci-fi games a bit too involved, complex and serious in tone, then this may well be the antidote. The system is completely compatible with the Doctor Who range also, and the production standards (especially the layout) is topnotch. As stated, a perfect game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocket Age Core Rulebook
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CT-TTB-The Traveller Book
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/10/2014 06:05:17
Some of the ideas and technology within the book has dated, and it could do with more character options to match the variety of later versions. However, all this said, as an example of concise efficacy and innovation, the game remains a true classic.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CT-TTB-The Traveller Book
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Wraith the Oblivion (2nd Edition)
Publisher: White Wolf
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/09/2014 03:57:44
White Wolf’s biggest artistic and critical success, but also a commercial flop. The central (death) concept is very taken with thematic Jungian ideas such as archetypes, complexes and individuation, whilst being very easy to play out ghost stories where the ghosts play the antagonists (such as in The Others or The Sixth Sense).

The rules are largely the same as with previous WoD games, but the central mechanic revolves around the conflict between the persona of the PCs and their (dark side) Shadows, normally played out by other players. The impact of this is to provide a cathartic aspect to the game, which was a very original idea which influenced other games thereafter.

There is some sloppiness in editing (unbelievably Willpower is overlooked for a trait description in both first and second editions), but the interior layout, grayscale art and design are very easy on the eye. The general depth of the setting material and quality of writing are still the main reasons to buy this book. Timeless.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wraith the Oblivion (2nd Edition)
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Project Paradigm
Publisher: Eschaton Media
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/11/2013 15:59:31
Clearly owes a bit to White Wolf's Mage: The Ascension in it's premise, although it develops the idea in different ways. The similarity lies in the notion of paradigms and consensual reality, along with affiliation groups (7) that espouse differing philosophies about reality and what to do with it.

The layout is attractive, and the manga style art (which is very good) gives it something of a Matrix/Kill Bill feel as much as anything else. The system mechanics work easily enough, with lots of examples provided. Again the core mechanic is similar to White Wolf's dice pools, although it is stripped down a lot. Notably the combat system operates on a playing card-based action system which is novel, while the 'paradigm push' is a lot more open-ended than Mage's Spheres of Magic(k).

Basically, this is a great game for those who liked the premise of Mage, but felt that it was out of ill-suited to the broader World of Darkness setting. In some regards, it can be seen as the equivalent of Lords of Gossamer and Shadow to the original Amber, except for Mage instead.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Project Paradigm
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Dark Streets
Publisher: Cakebread & Walton
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2013 05:23:06
The first printing of this was a little sparse, and I'm happy to see it's been updated with an atmospheric interior layout. Upon reading it, there is a massive potential for highly intriguing investigation within this setting. The Lovecraftian elements have been done a lot before, but are well illustrated and fit into the grimy London setting pretty well. In fact, the 18th Century seems quite an overlooked era for Cthulhu gaming generally, and sets up a strong 'Bow Street Runner' (protocops) hook that is very useable. The London maps and personalities are well researched, and in all, this is a very good supplemental game for the (excellent) Renaissance rules.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Streets
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The Shining Host
Publisher: White Wolf
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/15/2013 01:43:37
When you consider live-action games, there is a tendency to rate the appeal of the tabletop game first, and only then consider the viability of gameplay in the live-action medium. Yet the tabletop and live-action offers different opportunities of gameplay and has different advantages and disadvantages. For example, Wraith's live action game - Oblivion - doesn't quite capture the 'personal horror' motif as well as the tabletop game because the Shadow Play is run by Narrators (rather than other players). Similarly, it's actually quite hard to play live-action Werewolves or Mages.

The Shining Host, on the other hand offers real roleplaying opportunities in a setting and premise that is ideally suited to the live-action medium. Playing Changelings in an imaginary world, replete with their petty conflicts, intrigue and adventures can provide a very clear appeal of essentially being able to play the role of children. It's arguably a better premise than playing Vampires. It's like the bright sunny day compared to Vampire's bleak night.

The writing is top notch, and although it's not as colourful as the tabletop version of the game, it's neat enough in presentation. I prefer it to the tabletop game in all other respects.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Shining Host
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The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man: A Dreamlands Campaign for Call of Cthulhu
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/22/2013 03:28:27
One of the most interesting premises for a Cthulhu campaign I've read in a while. Yet to play it, but it's definitely a book you can read easily enough and it's littered with original ideas.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man: A Dreamlands Campaign for Call of Cthulhu
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D&D Rules Cyclopedia (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/04/2013 03:37:37
The most concise yet complete version of D&D you will ever own.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
D&D Rules Cyclopedia (Basic)
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Black Crusade: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2013 03:26:15
Attractively designed, albeit with a large datafile that makes it hard for some devices to process it quickly. The book makes for an interesting, evocative read, although I cannot ever imagine wanting to play a Chaos cultist or marine to be honest. As such, it's more of an antagonists book for me.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Black Crusade: Core Rulebook
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Only War: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2013 03:22:49
Good 'final chapter' of the 40KRP line of Core books (assuming it is!), with good presentation and organisation to match the other books in the series. It is a smaller file than some of the others however, which means you can download and manipulate it easily enough.

The premise of playing a military combat unit is a strong one for a rpg, although not that original when compared to other sci-fi games. The enjoyment of fighting orcs never get's old though!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Only War: Core Rulebook
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Deathwatch: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2013 03:17:49
In my view, the best 40KRPG.

The 'Deathwatch' provides a good narrative device for pulling together Marine characters from a variety of otherwise disparate Chapters, while the military squad role choice ensures that teamwork is still paramount. The characters are competent in combat situations t a near superhuman level, although they never seem to quite lose their human condition. While the main focus is on military assault style missions, you can still throw a bit of investigation and exploration into their stories, so it's actually becomes a more flexible premise than the other games in the series. Moreover, almost every gamer will instantly recognise the iconic Space Marines, and be able to settle into play with little need for exposition.

The presentation and organisation within the book is outstanding, as you might expect, but the file itself is much smaller meaning your iPad/computer won't suffer a heart attack each time you save it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deathwatch: Core Rulebook
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