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Monster of the Week
by Judd C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/24/2020 20:40:33

Great system! The layout is rich with detail but sadly redundant. All that being said, I would still happily buy it. Great for a narrative, so the system isn't very crunchy.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster of the Week
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Creator Reply:
Glad you like! The redundancy (I assume you're talking about the text, not the layout) is intentional, in an effort to minimize page-flipping and increase retention of information.
Fate Condensed
by Alice V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/10/2020 02:10:52

I 100% love this very short formulation of Fate. It keeps basically all the central rules we know and love, adds some gear from the Adversary and Horror toolkits that help make the Big Bads work better, the optional rules are all the best options that have been tried since the original book came out, and even the character sheet has been made cleaner. I still recommend the Fate Core book as a source of great GM advice and an extended discussion of Extras, but in a mere 50-ish pages Fate Condensed gives you some really impressive tools to get your game going.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Condensed
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Fate Condensed
by Blake H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/20/2020 16:24:05

I appreciated this as a timely update and streamlining to FATE Core. I've been running a lot of FATE this last year, and a number of the clarifications in Condensed were really on-point. It's made me even more excited about digging deeper into FATE as my go-to system. Well done, guys.

If you're a FATE fan, this is worth the purchase. If you're new to FATE but want something a bit more meaty than Accelerated (which I also love), this is a great entry point.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Designers & Dragons: The 70s
by Eddy W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/18/2020 18:34:58

An detailed, engaging, and well-researched breakdown of the birth of the RPG industry. A fascinating read for anyone interested in how RPGs started, as well as a great "whatever happened to that one company?" for people like me who have been around for a while now.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Designers & Dragons: The 70s
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Fate Condensed
by Peter F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/16/2020 04:47:47

So very well written and to the point, at this point there are no excuses left to get into Fate if you're interested in narrative RPGs at all. The rule alterations all make sense. The rules are clearly worded, very short, to the point. It's a great read for Fate Core veterans as a refresher too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Condensed
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Fate Condensed
by Laurence M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2020 21:30:18

A story-driven RPG so advanced, it's actually simple. This is Fate the way it should be played. (In fact, this is almost exactly the way I've been playing Fate all along.)

This streamlined, slimmed-down version incorporates refinements to the system that originally appeared in other Fate products and blog posts over the years since Fate Core was published. The entire system has been distilled down to its essential basics, and the end result is powerful.

While experienced Fate players may not 100% agree with all of the design changes--the overly simplified Stress track is a particularly thorny issue--this is a must-have for every Fate player and fan.

Get it, read it, play it. You'll love it.

Very much hoping there will be a paperback version. If it comes out, consider buying a few copies to pass around to new players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu
by George K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/13/2020 06:04:40

Nothing more than Terminator, with the Mythos name slapped onto it. With nothing that really screams "horror", or the substance of what Lovecraft created. No Madness rules, a cheap Corruption system, that is there to just give characters helpful mutations. Something that's a positive, which should be a huge negative where this type of writing is concerned. Hard pass, feels more like a cash grab by Evil Hat, nothing more.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for your review! While I disagree that madness mechanics are a necessity in any Cthulhu game, and that corruption is merely about mutation, I appreciate you taking the time to leave a review with your rating.
Fate Condensed
by Xx Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2020 11:18:57

Great sinthesis of FATE Even better of the original edition of Fate



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Condensed
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Fate Condensed
by Bruno W. M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/09/2020 10:57:58

A streamlined version of Fate Core, which adds ideas and mechanics from many Fate-based games that came out after it. I'm looking forward to new Fate games using this updated version. Great job, Evil Hat!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu
by Jeff P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2020 14:13:54

Fate of Cthulhu is a nifty new roleplaying game using the Fate rules, which I'm already a huge fan of. Fate is a game which emphasizes narrative and story-telling, making it a great choice if you like dynamic, fast-paced, action-oriented games about highly competent heroes doing heroic deeds. The rules for Fate of Cthulhu are completely self-contained, meaning that you don't have to own a copy of Fate Core to play this game.

If you're already familiar with the Cthulhu mythos, it's worth mentioning here what this game is NOT.

First of all, the Cthulhu mythos was directly inspired by the literature of H.P. Lovecraft and expanded upon by his fans and other authors. Lovecraft's distinct style and narrative voice have rightly been praised by generations of readers. As a distinct genre or subgenre of psychological horror, the mythos has had an outsized influence upon horror in several mediums, including literature, film, and roleplaying gaming. However, H.P. Lovecraft's legacy also poses a problem to modern readers: the man was an outspoken bigot and antisemite. So the first thing that this game is NOT is an endorsement of Lovecraft's views. The authors of this game made it a point to firmly call out Lovecraft's racism, distance themselves from it and disavow it in its entirety, and then go on to explore the world created by Lovecraft and others as a fantastic setting for their roleplaying game. Fate of Cthulhu tackles this elephant in Lovecraft's room directly and unambiguously, and good on them for doing so.

But even with that said, Fate of Cthulhu also takes a unique approach to this setting. It differs from most other mythos games in that it isn't about a group of scholars and investigators on the trail of unspeakable eldritch horror, gradually losing their grasp on sanity with each successive encounter with powerful alien intelligences, which only accelerate their descent into madness, hopelessness, and despair-- or something like that. Keep in mind, I've been a fan of the 'original' Cthulhu mythos roleplaying game since its debut back in 1982, so I'm not saying anything derogatory about that roleplaying experience: it's a blast!!! I'm just letting you know that this isn't that-- it's something different entirely. Fate of Cthulhu advances the storyline from the mythos' typically gloomy, hopelessly-doomed present, projecting that forward to a point a few centuries into an unspeakable future, where the Old Gods and their minions have triumphed over what remains of the human race, ruling earth with all of the insanity and cruel indifference you'd expect of them. This game BEGINS with utter hopelessness, instead of ENDING with it; instead of presenting a gradual slide into ultimate destruction, it begins at that point of utter devastation and then dangles the most poisonous substance imaginable: hope. You see, the player characters are servants (slaves?) of the Old Gods in this bleak future, but are given the opportunity, through the deus ex machina of time travel, to return to our present-day and set things right.

I've heard Fate of Cthulhu described, therefore, as "Terminator meets the Cthulhu mythos," a game where horribly corrupted and tortured souls from an unspeakable future travel back to our world to prevent that future from taking place.

I think a better analogy would be "the Cthulhu mythos meets 12 Monkeys," for those of you familiar with the TV show: an episodic set of missions undertaken to rewrite the past in hopes of averting an unbearable future.

Lastly, there's one other thing that this game is not. Unlike most other roleplaying forays into the Cthulhu mythos, it isn't a profile of inevitable, encroaching insanity. Evil Hat has long been an advocate for disabled players who enjoy roleplaying games, and there aren't any mandatory rules forcing players to roleplay insanity as a consequence of in-game plot events (though character insanity is presented as an option for groups which embrace this style of play).

So that's what this game is not: it isn't bigoted and doesn't condone racism; it isn't gloomy or hopeless, but is instead about a desperate gambit based upon the faintest glimmer of hope; and it doesn't force people to roleplay forms of mental disability unless they want to.

What this game IS, on the other hand, is a little more straight-forward, especially in terms of the story arc already described. The player characters are heroes from the future who have traveled back to our time in order to save both realities. The genius of this game, if you will, is in what it calls 'timelines,' which are key events which the players believe must take place in order to bring about their nightmare future. A Fate of Cthulhu campaign is essentially a race to prevent these events from taking place, although in many of the timelines provided, the player characters are misinformed about some of these events or misunderstand several important details surrounding them. Having multiple timelines for a GM to choose from prevents players from knowing, in advance, which story arc they will be following, and it also makes the game replayable.

So there you have it. Fate of Cthulhu uses a great system to tell an interesting story in a way which puts a new spin on the Cthluhlu mythos. It does so using clever timeline mechanics, which serve to increase replay value and diminish player foreknowledge of what is about to happen. And it does so in an honest and inclusive manner, rejecting Lovecraft's bigotry and racism and creating a safe space for gamers with mental disability.

Other than a noxious, sulfurous green haze, a few tentacles, and a group of cultists trying to open a way which should never be opened, what more could you ask for? Strongly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu
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Creator Reply:
Thanks Jeff!
Fate Condensed
by Christian A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2020 10:01:13

Remember trying to teach Fate Core to new players, skimming past page after page of fluff to get to the next game mechanic that actually mattered? Remember searching for a rule over and over only to find that you are looking for the same 5-10 pages each time? This book is what Fate Core should have always been. No fluff, straitforward and elegant.

To me, this isn't Fate Condensed as much as Fate Core is now Fate Bloated.

Oh, and they fixed stress tracks so I can stop re-explaining the same rule every time a player takes damage and starts to mark the track off incorrectly. That alone justifies this entire release!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Condensed
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Fate of Cthulhu
by Adrian B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/05/2020 10:54:02

I was looking forward to this one since the kickstarter, as I was unable to participate at the time and instead purchased it at my FLGS. The PDF copy comes courtacy of Evil Hat's Bit and Mortar program.

When it comes to Lovecraftian RPGs, Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu is the gold standard, having carried the torch for the genre for decades now. But with Lovecraft's material clearly in the public domain, there as been a flood of Cthulhu materials in the last decade plus. Call of Cthulhu is as moderately complicated system, with the 7th edition now avalible probably the best version so far. So for a new Lovecraft inspired game to have traction, it can do so by having a distinctly different system. Fate of Cthulhu does this well. If you haven't played Fate before, I feel this is one of the best intros you can find. Stripped down Fate rules are baked into this book, allowing this to be a single book game if you wish. What Fate brings to the table is being much more freeform than CoC, which allows for more player and Keeper creativity and colaboration.

The second way for a new game to stand out is how the setting is different to explore Lovecraftian themes. When I read the concept of time travel, I was intrigued. The book fleshes out this idea very well, giving specific details in an abundance, so you can use what you like and discard what you do not. The PCs are desperate heroes, just like is often the case in CoC, but with clearer goals typically. I was reminded of Delta Green in this regard, with the war against the Mythos being just that, fought by soldiers.

If you love Fate and have never given cosmic horror a go, this is a gateway for you. If you love Call of Cthulhu and want to try a more freeform system like Fate, this is for you. What is most important is that this is doing something decidedly new and does it well. This was not only a solid purchase for me, it is in my opinion the best Fate book released so far.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu
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Creator Reply:
Thanks Adrian!
Fate of Cthulhu
by Christopher L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2020 03:50:34

There's a lot to love in this take on the Cthulhu Mythos I was in on the kickstarter for this. I was a little apprehensive because the Cthulhu Mythos is generally so overdone. Though, I like the Fate Core system and I have been happy with the publisher in past works, so I backed it. I'm glad that I did.

What does it have?

  • Time travel and interesting mechanics for tracking and handling changes to the timeline and the repercussions of it.
  • Iinteresting scenarios to get started. (I particularly like The King in Yellow scenario).
  • A clear explanation of the Fate Core rule system used by the game.
  • Doesn't shy away from taking on the problematic parts of Horror, Lovecraft, and the typical assumptions in the genre. (Consent is emphasized. Diversity is promoted. Mental illness isn't being used as a prop.)
  • It's still horror, and it still looks bad for humanity, but this time it's not completely futile. You might not have much chance for a happy ending, but it's at least some chance! I see no reason that you can't adjust this chance to be more or less based on your taste though.
  • Speaking of giving humanity a chance, the Heroic Last Stand mechanic in the rules gives you a chance to make a dramatic noble sacrifice for humanity. It's probably the first time I've been enthusiastic about a death mechanic in an RPG.

It's an easy title to recommend.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for getting right to the heart of it, Christopher!
Fate of Cthulhu
by Pascal G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2020 19:28:22

Evil Hat Productions and the creative team behind this book have outdone themselves. Fate of Cthulhu is a refreshing take on a genre that has been somewhat overdone, blending Lovecraftian horror with Terminator-style angst of time travellers trying to prevent a seemingly unavoidable apocalypse.

Fate of Cthulhu maintains the standard Fate book format. It is a gorgeous hard cover with evocative hard that pays homage to its two main sources of inspiration.  The book is well laid out, briefly introducing the setting and then providing an updated and condensed version of the Fate Core rule. As such, the book stands alone on its own, proving the GM and players all they need to play. Before delving into character creation, action resolution and detailed setting and timelines, the authors provide some brief but essential advice on players consent in horror games, and acknowledge Lovecraft's legacy - both his contribution to the unique genre of cosmic horror, as well as the disturbing fact that he was a racist. 

I am a huge fan of Fate.  I enjoy how the creative control is shared around the table, the story-first approach (focusing on what characters would do first, rather than the game mechanics to resolve action outcomes), and the ease with which rules can be hacked to suit a specific setting and feel. Fate of Core introduces some neat mechanics to complement this approach:

  • Corruption.  The sweet temptation of power and success is there at the PCs' fingertips. Rather than use insanity rules that encourage players to poorly role-play characters with mental health issues (potentially offending other players who suffer or know a loved one suffering from mental health issues), Fate of Cthulhu relies on corruption. PCs can willingly embrace corruption, or be exposed to it, resulting in weird powers that give them an edge... at a cost.  This provides the players a lot of agency, with the temptation to use these corrupted aspects to more easily win a fight - at the potential cost of losing the war.

  • The Timeline.  The timeline is a very cool concept with elegant mechanics.  A  timeline has four key events that shape the timeline. Each event has multiple catalysts that the time travellers think are pivotal - but they could be wrong.  These events present themselves as missions for the time travellers and their present-day companions to try to influence.  As they complete a mission, their successes or failures cause ripples across the timeline and affect other events.   As with the Terminator franchise, PCs often face moral dilemmas.  Does the end justify the means? And how sure are you that what you are doing is making things better? 

To get GMs started, the authors provide four complete timelines, each featuring the arrival of a Great Old One.  In addition, guidelines are provided to build other timelines and creating new Great Old Ones.  I walked through the guidelines and found it very easy, given the four examples provided, to create my own timeline.

The authors also provide sound advice to GMs on how to run a Fate of Cthulhu campaign, with lots of helpful advice from the creators also available online. The concept of loosely defining the Great Old One's ambition, goals, tactics, and cultists if awesome, and provide some very helpful inspiration for the GM to improvise opposition for the PCs throughout a campaign that reflects the specific methods of the Great Old One they face.

The Stars Were Just Right for this team of creator to unleash this awesome product. I look forward to play multiple timelines, and eventually hack these rules for non-Lovecraftian time travelling campaigns.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks Pascal! You’ve zeroed in on the stuff that excites me the most in this design.
Fate of Cthulhu
by Keith S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/30/2020 11:19:53

Full disclosure, Fate is my go-to system and has been for quite a while now, so obviously, I'm inclined to like this book. But I really have to say, Fate of Cthulhu worked for me as a premise. The mix of Terminator and Cthulhu tropes are a good mix. My issue with a lot of Cthulhu systems has always been the idea that you cannot win, you fail/get corrupted/die inevitably, and you're just holding on, but this book takes a different path, balancing between hope and corruption. Players can have victories even if they, themselves, are destroyed in the process.

It's also important to know that the book doesn't sweep Lovecraft's racism and ableism under the rug. They're addressed right up front. The book explains why it does what it does and gives readers sources for inspiration that avoid the more problematic elements of Cthulhu mythos. As with a lot of Fate books, one of the strengths of this book is how much it can serve as a resource for games even outside of the immediate scope of the book.

If you've read the Fate Worlds books, the timelines in this book are about on par with those. They're pretty mix-and-match-able, though, so there's a lot of ability to throw curves at players.

It's totally possible that this book might not be someone else's flavor, but it really worked for me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks Keith! Glad you like the premise. Once the mash-up occurred to us it seemed like we really had to do something with it.
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