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Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition
by Akaki K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/18/2016 03:45:43

To begin with it's a...meh. The book is huge, inclusive and slightly updated to modern paradigm. I did sorta like it, there are all sorts of interesting bits that have been underdeveloped or omitted from the previous editions. However, it also has a host of problems that makes it just a next mage dust-off.
To begin with, the book is still in 90ies. Written with opinions and language that remind past millenia. For an example, tazer bullets are mentioned as technocractic ammunition, when they are really just sold online, just as already working Life printers. paradigm and focus systems aren't well developed. Neither is the influence of modern media and science.
On the other hand, it's inflated with repeated unnecessary information that contributes nothing but takes space. To add to frustration whole sections that would be facinating to read are missing under the excuse of 'not enough space'. The fiction bits are mostly horrible and problems that it mostly tries to raise and bring into spotlight of 'mage' attention are mostly irrelavant, uninteresting or misinterpreted. Every problem of the world is basically blamed on the devil.
It's also amusing how book treats the reader with the mitten gloves, avoiding the topics and themes that could be considered gritty or insult mainstream sensibilities.
Same with crossovers, Beast had dealt with that issue far better. Also, it introduces systems to handicap mages vs other supernaturals. Like giving them near innate ability to countermagic and quite a few other hacks.
As for diversity, any mages outside the mainland America are mentioned at best with information that is neither relevant, nor well organised. Just enough to leave you mentally salivating.
To top it off, for a book that should concentrait on diversity and creativity illustrations are horrible. It's either an overcised mage tarot card, or a trendy 20 something with tattoos. exceptions are rare and far between.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition
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Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
by Greg D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2016 23:55:05

Instant classic. This is Mage as it always should have been. It all makes perfect sense and is clean and concise in its rules and explanations but provides large doses of the Onyx Path/White Wolf narrative drive and story hooks we've come to expect. The magic system is intuitive and easy to work out. Paradox has been greatly simplified. There's not a wasted word and the art is gorgeous. What are you waiting for? Buy it already.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
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Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
by Andrea T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/14/2016 11:15:08

(At first, sorry for my bad english) Best! I like all Chronicles of Darkness 2nd Edition stuff and I was waiting this Mage 2nd edition with impatience. I was scared, full of aspectative. Nothing.To.Be.Scared!!!! Buy this at full hands, it's great, simply rebuild the concept of a Mage rendering exactly it would be. The System rapresent exactly the spirit of play a Mage and Description and Storytelling Advice gives all you need to prepare a good Chronicle for Mages. Super, nothing to say more, buy it and have fun!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
by Jessica O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/13/2016 12:29:45

In brief: it's brilliant. A great many problems from 1st Edition have been neatly and cleanly taken care of -- not with piecemeal patchwork, but by rewriting the whole of the game so that those problems simply no longer exist. Further, it's written with a mind towards LARP right out of the gate, with mechanics that not only don't require an overhaul to work outside of a tabletop game but actually provide encouragement for that level of dramatic expression. I couldn't be happier.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Pack
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/13/2016 12:12:36

Great book, just the thing Werewolf the Forsaken needed. Fleshes out some of what needed to be fleshed out, gives some interesting new options. If I had a real complaint it would be the shortness of the book. It's only 105 pages long including the front and rear cover, the margins are a little thick and it seems like there could have been more. But alternatively it is nicely priced for its brevity.


First Chapter has four sample packs and shows what the pack is like and how it operates from inside and out, including things like recruitment, solving disputes and duties through these four packs so you get a rounded out picture of the average pack that can then be used in games. One thing missing that I'd have liked to have seen is how they react to the death of a member. It follows this up with advice for an 'origin story' where you can start a game by playing the First Hunt of the pack, a nice touch that can help you put games together without handwaving how they all got started. It ends with optional rules for Troupe Play, a new aspect called Hunting Nature, and Pack Merits.


Second Chapter goes from macrocosm to microcosm, showing the individuals in the pack, what they do at rest, at task, and on the hunt as well as elsewhere. It does this for Werewolves, Wolf-Blooded and Humans, then the Totem, who as of second edition is a full member of the pack and not a distant patron. It also introduces advice for two other possible packmates, 'real' wolves and spirits, along with some neat quirks they might bring to a pack upon membership. Then it covers the Other, including members of the pack from every other gameline. I think the vampire and mage sections were a little biased against and for, and the mood changes from the aggressive to the timid, but it's just a few paragraphs that seem at odd with the setting described. The chapter finishes up with some pack tactics and a rule system to create new ones, some expanded rules for totems and a trio of sample totems.


Third Chapter stole a lot of the show for me. It starts expanding on protectorates, 'packs of packs' shown in second edition core and a dream back in first edition. Then it follows up with long-awaited rules for Lodges, a series of strange almost heretical sub-tribes that offers a lot to the game in terms of depth and validating the mood and themes of Werewolf. There's a loose guide to creating your own lodges, as well as five lodges that show off various aspects of the game from different angles. The Thousand Steel Teeth focus on how the Sacred Hunt is performed, the Eaters of the Dead as a lodge that might become a Tribe, the Lodge of Garm the God-Eater as a tribal pillar, the Lodge of the Screaming Moon, showing a lodge ruled by a lune that delves heavily into auspice, and lastly the bizarre and blasphemous Temple of Apollo. Pillars are a new thing brought in that adds some depth and hierarchy to tribes.


Last Chapter brings us three new Hunting Grounds. Nicely fleshed out and intriguing, they show wolves all over the world. Dubai is currently struggling under the manipulations of a powerful supernatural mastermind and enslaver. Malta acts as a Casablanca of the supernatural world, with everyone allowed providing they follow the rules of the tribe there that guards the world from its End. And Bangkok, sort of the Werewolf Myth in modern age, with a far more recent paradise lost that all the tribes are trying to recreate, under their control.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Pack
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Pugmire Early Access
by Alessa A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/12/2016 15:38:35

This is the "early access" version of Pugmire that was released for free to Kickstarter backers, and is now available to the general public. While the book is not perfect (it was never intended to be), the amount of information provided is phenominal - It's enough to run a full campaign and then some. The character creation system is streamline, but allows for a lot of customization, and is friendly to new players and table top vetrans alike. The book even includes some "behind the screen" secrets for GMs, so that they can better understand the world of Pugmire while running a campaign. While there are a few quirks (the magic system needs some clarification, and some of the Breed Families were obviously switched within their breed groups), the book is plenty to whet your appetite for the full core rulebook, once it's released!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pugmire Early Access
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Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
by Miguel R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2016 18:35:22

Personalmente no me ha convencido en general el sistema de Chronicles of Darkness en el ámbito de los "beats", aunque si en el área de "conditions". Desde siempre, mi línea preferida de WoD ha sido Mage, siendo un jugador asiduo por muchos años del MtA 1st Edition. No obstante, debo reconocer que ha sido un esfuerzo muy bueno para simplificar muchos de los elementos que hacían confuso el sistema de magia anterior, en especial en cuanto al manejo del "paradox" que terminaba siendo un dolor de cabeza en algunas ocasiones. Maravillosa la idea de los "attainments" sinceramente.


Espero con ansia la versión PoD para adicionarlo a mi colección y, espero pronto poder llevar a cabo una crónica para ver qué tal funciona.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
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Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
by Maxime L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2016 15:27:39

A solid new edition of the third Chronicles of Darkness (aka nWoD) game. Like Werewolf: the Forsaken, and Vampire: the Requiem before it, this new edition takes what made the game different from its predecessor and pushes it even further, while making the setting as a whole more colorful and full of game possibilities. The Paths and the Orders feel much more vibrant than before, and the setting as a whole feels enriched by the detailed description of Mage Sight and how it is used to solve mysteries. The five settings offered in the book also include interesting overarching mysteries, providing good campaign fodder. My only regret is the lack of examples NPCs, which feels like something which had to be sacrificed on the altar of the word count gods. But this remains a great product, and one which I read in its entirety in a matter of days.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2016 13:09:24

Mage: the Awakening Second Edition is the third of the Big Three games to be reissued with the Chronicles of Darkness / God-Machine rules mechanic. It presents the same setting as the first edition - five Paths, the familiar Orders from the first edition, Watchtowers, the Supernal, the Abyss - but between First and Second Edition, many changes have been made.


Mages are all about Mage Sight, Obsessions, chasing down Mysteries and balancing politics with Gnosis, while trying to stave off degeneration btought about through Acts of Hubris which erode their Wisdom. Spellcasting still risks Paradox and the Abyss, but there is a major change - the separation of Covert and Vulgar magic, a holdover from Mage: the Ascension, has been done away with. The Paradox rules have been changed, and all of the trappings such as rote mudras, tools, gestures, High Speech and so on are collectively called Yantras.


The first edition caused contention in some fan circles, particularly such aspects as the art and the Atlantis monomyth. This game has incredible full-colour art, the monomyth has been de-emphasised and there is an overall fresh new approach to the game which has managed to balance elements from the first edition with newer elements, sustailably replaced new rules to replace unworkable older rules, and at the same time rewritten vast swathes of the setting yet at the same time keep the general shape of the first edition setting in a recognisable form.


This new version of Mage: the Awakening has struck gold. I recommend it to all fans of Mage. And to those who want to know what it is like to be one of the Awakened, Second Edition is the one you should definitely be playing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition
by Tresi A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2016 19:48:06

It's exactly what you expect: an updated, lightly tweaked version of Mage that casts a wide net across the infinite expanse of the Tellurian.


Minor nitpicks:



  • Could use another copyediting pass, but anything this large will have that problem.

  • Too big to be an easy introduction to a new player or group.

  • Very short Merits and Flaws list, which may be for the best.

  • How Do You DO That?! would have made an excellent chapter but instead is its own book. Which makes sense, since it's 143 pages.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition
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Exalted 3rd Edition
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2016 17:36:32

Exalted is a game I've followed and had a keen interest in since it's 1st Edition from White Wolf. It's art direction combined with really showing off what the Storyteller System could do always intrigued me. However, in 1st Edition, I was looking for lighter games and while I enjoyed 2nd Edition, after processing it I knew I would need the books in print AND PDF and that was a deal breaker, at the time.


I'm please to say that Exalted 3rd Edition from Onyx Path takes everything that I loved about Exalted in the past and cranks it all up a notch. While the art direction has evolved, I find the book beautifully laid out, with some amazing illustrations. And while they have diverge from their earlier aesthetic, I applaud the direction they have chosen and I find it to be a breath of fresh air.


Creation is still here and the Solars still fill their niche there.


Much of the system is as I remember it, and I think the PDF is a godsend for helping me keep track of things as I relearned it.


Exalted 3E boasts "cinematic combat" and I've heard this before and was a bit dubious, at first. But the design team nailed it in such a simple, yet creative way.


When in combat, there are withering and decisive attacks.


Withering attacks are the strike/parry/thrust/parry/riposte that we see so often in melee battles on film. They are the ebb and flow of the fight and when a blow lands it affects that attacker and defender's Initiative, in essence it's like going momentum by pushing your foe up a staircase or causing them to fall.


Decisive attacks are the blows that maim or kill your opponent, the deathstrike. You actually use your initiative as dice to make a decisive attack, which does cause your foe wounds and if it doesn't finish the fight, your initiative is reset and the battle continues.


I won't lie, the first time I read through it, I was a bit taken aback. I sat there perplexed because I was thinking in terms of traditional initiative in other RPGs. But then I thought of Luke and Vader battling on Cloud City and it all clicked. It really made me want to run this game.


If you love Exalted there is no reason not to buy this game. If you are interested in Exalted and like Big Damn Heroes and over-the-top cinematic action, there is no reason not to buy this game.


In fact you should just buy this game. It lives up to it's roots with a familiar and fun d10 dice pool system, but it has been given a face lift by a company and design team that truly loves it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Exalted 3rd Edition
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Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
by Rand B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/08/2016 14:36:13

For a long time people have been saying "I hear Mage is great, but the corebook is awful." So then they made this book to replace it. So, if you're wondering whether this book makes Mage sound entertaining and easy to understand and good? The answer is yes.


If you're already familiar with the present state of the setting from last edition, there are no big changes that will surprise you. It's just cleaned up and spruced out and the Atlantis myth has been chained up in an appendix rather than eating wordcount everywhere else. Little things that developed over the course of the line, like the details of the Guardian's religion, are now in the core.


Mechanically, the magic system got a big cleanup, and the divide between covert and vulgar has been eliminated. Paradox risk now derives entirely from overreaching your grasp of your magic and from the presence of Sleeper witnesses. Spells often invoke Conditions or Tilts in order to provide a standard base for effects, which you may or may not care for. Every dot of each Arcanum now seems more useful than might have been the case previously, and mastered Arcana are just ludicrous.


This is pretty much the go-to book for modern occult adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
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Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
by Andrew A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/08/2016 14:34:02

I played the earlier edition and this is a great improvement. The rules are slightly different but the evocative description and the setting changes are worth a lot. It feels more open ended than the first edition - more capable of inserting Brakebills or Unknown Armies into the play.


I like the art, and the writing is stellar. If you liked other White Wolf games, if you played Unknown Armies and liked it then you will like this. And I liked it lot!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Exalted 3rd Edition
by Peter C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/08/2016 12:21:19

A Huge book full of Exalted goodness. I love the new systems that supplant the massive complexities of the old. I also like some of the new Exalted types they have introduced - but Im not holding my breath for seeing books about them anytime soon - prove me wrong please. Yes, as others point out Charm diagrams would have been nice. However this is a better effort all round. The only thing I really miss? The comic art at the beginning of each chapter!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Exalted 3rd Edition
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Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2016 21:03:07

As with the previous 2nd editions of Chronicles of Darkness games, this is a highly polished effort with improved art direction, tidy rules and by it being a self contained game.The gnostic backstory is well telegraphed, however, which means holding mysteries from anyone who's seen The Matrix can be a challenge!


Notably, this Mage game is only half the size of it's intimidatingly huge cousin, Mage: The Ascension, and will be certainly easier to play for newcomers. It manages this by missing out on much of the more gonzo, philosophical and real world culture referencing material of the former though - and may feel a bit bland by comparison for the original game's fans. It's a toolkit for running modern magical stories alright, but it's not a game that seeks to make you believe in a magical world or look at the real world with a new perspective.


Regardless, it's a great addition to the Chronicles of Darkness line, which is consistently improving levels of excellence.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mage the Awakening 2nd Edition
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