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Masks: A New Generation
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2017 11:01:08

Masks, A New Generation is a Powered by Apocolypse game that really stands on its own. Below are certain aspects I really enjoyed.

Fluidity of Playbooks Masks allows players to build their hero based off templates called playbooks. These playbooks are vague within set archetypes, allowing the creation of characters that can vary wildly in powers and backstory, but still fit within an identity that defines them. Whether you'd like to be the average Joe who's keeping up with powerhouses, or the strained teen trying to keep their normal life and heroic life seperate, you've got a great selection to choose from.

Character Failure = Leveling Up There isn't really a way to "Power game" in Masks, or at least not one that doesn't seem fake. The only way to advance in your power, options, abilities is to fail. For each failure, you tally up until you get to five and then you grow as a character. There's no way around it. It's brilliant really. Imagine a teen superhero that always gets the bad guy, never let's down the hostages, always comes through to save the day. Wouldn't that be boring? Why would that character need to change? By tying failure to growth, even the more most powerful of heroes will be humbled.

Relationships and Influence Another major mechanic of the system is its emphasis on how relationships with adults and other people mold a character's identity. People who you care about, whether for good or bad reasons, will have an impact on you with their words. Believing you're a dark loner will change if the defender of the city takes time to tell you, "You're one heck of a hero." By embracing and rejecting changes, it adds an extra layer of fun and complexity as the players try and figure out "Who is this character?"

This is great game for groups looking to experience the entire teen hero life, and perhaps have some really emotional moments as well if they get invested in the lives of their characters.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masks: A New Generation
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Urban Shadows
by Skip O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2017 13:00:57

Whoa.

I have never seen an RPG push a political agenda as hard as Urban Shadows. Oh, there have been hints of political agenda in other RPGs, but whatever, that never stopped me before. Urban Shadows takes all of those other RPGs combined and doubles down, hard. And the thing is, I consider myself a liberal, so you’d think it would jive with me. But nobody likes being preached to, especially when it’s so thinly veiled in the case of US. Seriously, I am embarrassed to show this RPG off to other people, both veterans and novices to RPGs, because a lot of the wordage makes US come across as less of a game and more of a political manifesto. As it stands, I’ve been directing players to just ignore any and all advice and fluff sections and focus entirely on how to make rolls.

I like the core idea of US – a modern urban fantasy setting. I don’t like what US turns my gaming hobby into, that being a vehicle for a specific political agenda, even if it’s one that I might agree with. Because of that, I can’t recommend this game.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows
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Urban Shadows: Dark Streets
by Benton W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2017 17:34:52

Enjoyed this expansion overall. I feel like the playbooks aren't quite what I was looking for, though. A couple of them seemed a little too similar to Apocalypse World playbooks and I didn't feel like the factions most of them are associated with fit my perception of them. This isn't to say that I hated them, or anything. I thought there were some great ideas in there. I just feel like they might not be up to par with the original iteration.

On the other hand, the city examples are fantastic. They're a great resource for creating and fleshing a city, or just to use in and of themselves to save some time.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows: Dark Streets
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The Last Days of Anglekite
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2017 11:11:00

I am a big fan of Magpie Games, so feel free to tale my review with a grain of salt.

Last Days of Anglekite is a fantastic adventure setting for Dungeon World, full of strange evocative monsters, NPCs, artifacts and locations. In fact, my main complaint is that there is too much going on in this book. Much more than I could fit into a single campaign.

As someone who plays a number of games besides Dungeon World, I would also say that this would be a great campaign for a number of fantasy campaigns. I could definitely see converting it to a certain 5th edition game that is all the rage, or Savage Worlds, or Fate.

Admittedly, the book does not give you a tactical level tour of the world - no town or city maps, for instance - but it does give you a city of demons and another of undead, pan-dimensional slavers, werewolves and vampires, and enough plots and motivations to understand how they all smash together to cause destruction only your heroes can stop.

A great book. Buy it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Last Days of Anglekite
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Undying
by Fraser S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2017 20:22:59

Love playing this game. I feel it emulates the kind of vampire stories I adore. The mechanics help get through all the boring parts of tales like these with a lot of time in between with having each period you play in be after things get messed up in the fiction.

It's dice less mechanics feel very much in tone with the genre as well, as vampires always seem to plot and scheme for ages at a time in order to get what they want. And so will you, making tactical decisions about where you feed and where in order to climb your way up. Via politics or other brutal means, being aware of what your resources exactly are fits very well.

Then, after all is settled you slumber and shake things up again while you plot in the darkness. Brilliant game and piece of design, in my opinion.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Undying
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Velvet Glove: Notebook Edition
by Fraser S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2017 20:07:20

I am a huge fan of this game! Initially I was a bit hesitant but after checking out the mechanics, that was dispelled immediately. This is a perfect example of having mechanics that help the player into the theme but also the characters. This game tells you exactly how to play a young woman and it also comments on what societies perception of that is - both good and bad. It's a wonderful bit of design work and I had a great time playing it. The final version will most definitely get my money.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Velvet Glove: Notebook Edition
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Masks: A New Generation
by Michael O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/09/2016 17:22:32

Masks is the most well-produced rpg text I have ever read. The rules are well laid out, the setting details are rich but not overwhelming, and the examples are clear and concise. I also love the art; it sets a tone for the game and it look great. The conditions system ties harm directly to the narrative without getting too complicated. It borrows from Apocalypse World and Monsterhearts, while innovating a few exciting ways. I can't recommend it enough.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masks: A New Generation
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Masks: A New Generation
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/01/2016 19:31:57

After only two sessions, my group and I have had a blast. Having played virtually every kind of Powered by the Apocalypse, I found the theming to be well done. Though not on the level of Sagas of the Icelanders when it comes to encapsulating a setting and mood, it's worth the sale price I paid. For fans of Teen Titans or Young Justice, this can be a fun 8-10 session campaign ruleset.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/22/2016 07:50:27

Urban Shadows is a grand attempt at making an urban fantasy / dark fantasy / World of Darkness game with the Powered By the Apocalypse engine. The social and political ties and consequences feel real and heavy. The enviroment (a dark, living city) also feels real, moving behind nearly every move and character. If you love Apocalypse World, Monster of the Week or Monster Hearts and want to take that game to the next level of complexity and political-maneuvering, this is the system for you.

All that being said, this game is very move-heavy. There are moves for every character, playbook moves for each different "class," story moves, and faction moves. The story moves a few and infrequent, but it's still a lot to remember and even muddle through, especially if your players are new to gaming or used to a game like Dungeon World or Monster Hearts. I would recommend this game if you are really into the Powered By the Apocalypse game engine, indie games, or dark fantasy titles. If you're looking for your FIRST PbtA or dark fantasy game, I would probably recommend Monster Hearts first.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows
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Urban Shadows
by Fraser S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/11/2016 16:29:49

Urban Shadows is a tremendously good vehicle for urban fantasy. It has mechanics that dribe the players and the NPCs together, focusing on interpersonal dynmaics rather than the sometimes minutia of barter and goods that can happen in the genre. It's highly quality, well written and includes tons of examples. There's a long play example to add even more clarity as well as the narrative examples sprinkled without. Very impressed with the quality and price point, love the game and hope to see more from the publisher. Loved finding a very active community for the game on G+, a very helpful resource in which the publisher responds very quickly.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows
by Alan S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/08/2016 09:26:35

I really wanted to like this game. As a fan of the good old World of Darkness and lover of drama and easy systems, I loved the idea of a quick and easy approach to those types of characters especially with some story balance included...but Cest la voie. The Vamp is the main thing I have a problem with but unfortunately as the iconic character type of the genre it is the crumbling corner stone that brings down the entire edifice for me. To sum it up the creators tried to make the game a deconstructionist metaphor for social interaction rather than a dramatic tale of monsters and monster hunters. The Vamp has almost no vampire abilities but lots of vague social manipulation abilities, no shape shifting, no mind control, no supernatural fortitude. Some of the other characters by contrast are perfect with gobs of iconic stuff Weakend by silver ect. Anyways. It ruined everything for me and I have no desire to play or run it as a result. I dont think this degree deconstructionism is a valid approach to rpgs or much for fiction. It is frequently taken too far and often ruins the gravitas of a story in fiction, and in RPGs.... Lets just say I wish I had my money back. "its a metaphor" is not sufficient excuse for why your game is running with a gaping hole in its tire. Other good aspects give it a 2 instead of a 1 but they are just not enough to warrent playing this little "experement".



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Epyllion: A Dragon Epic
by Sam C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/14/2016 20:04:38

In Epyllion, Marissa Kelly shows us how to play dragons in a lively and unique way. Every part of the setting teaches us important aspects of dragon culture. Every aspect of character creation lets us know more about the world she's crafted, and yet there is clearly room for interpretation. The whole thing has a bit of a Young Adult Fiction feel to it. The game begs to be played and I am looking forward to finding a clutch of raw-scaled gamers to jump into the world of Epyllion!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Epyllion: A Dragon Epic
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The Cold Ruins of Lastlife
by Benjamin L. L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/19/2016 16:24:13

Being a Souls (Demon's Souls and Dark Souls 1-3) fan I had to purchase The Cold Ruins of Lastlife. The disclaimer is that the review from the perspective of an avid Souls fan.

The book is intereseting in that it actually captures the spirit of the Souls game, if not the mechanics. Lastlife is a bleak and forlorn setting set in a an age where the wonders of the past are long forgotten. The bonfire and respawn mechanic is handled through you slowly loosing yourself (much like the NPCs in the video games). Covenants are handled through conditional "prestige classes" with potentially hefty drawbacks to balance the advantages - I like it and will certainly try to make my own prestige classes in this manner.

All manner of fell and interesting beasts populate Lastlife, and they are well thought out. The enemies are grouped by themes which in turn is used by the GM to decide the "feel" of the game - be the monster-mashup, a war between old and new, etc... Easily used to make your world according to your personel version of the Souls games. Personally I like a world populated by ancient beings whose slow-moving plots allow a band of heroes a chance to attempt to restore hope.

I loved The Cold Ruins of Lastlife and will recommend it to anyone who loves the Soul series or like that particular aesthetics. I'm looking foreward to the coming products to Magpie Games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Cold Ruins of Lastlife
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The Fate Codex - Volume 1, Issue 2
by Oliver O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/23/2016 10:12:40

This publication is an awesome way to explore the flexibility of the FATE system, and find sources of inspiration for any sort of game you want to run. The quick start adventure in particular was appealing, not only for use as is, but as a model for how you can prep an entire campaign with a minimum of work and a maximum of flexibility to allow for improv at the table top. The alternate rules section also gets into how you can swap the "notice" skill for a "survival" skill, which is perfect for gritty settings - but this section also offers some insight into how the game design developers see skills in FATE. This is fascinating for anyone interested in design, or the workings behind a great RPG.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Fate Codex - Volume 1, Issue 2
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Urban Shadows
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/05/2016 14:36:26

Urban Shadows ist ein politisches Urban Fantasy Setting, geschrieben von Andrew Medeiros und Mark Diaz Truman, das von Serien und Romanreihen wie Supernatural, True Blood und Dresden Files inspiriert wurde.

Vier Fraktionen ringen in einer von der Spielrunde gemeinsam gestalteten Stadt um weltliche und übernatürliche Macht: Sterbliche versuchen sich gemeinsam gegen Monster zu behaupten, deren Absonderlichkeit sie kaum begreifen. Die Fraktion der Macht umfasst Menschen mit übernatürlichen Fähigkeiten wie Magier oder Medien, die durch ihren bloßen Willen die Realität verändern können. Kreaturen der Nacht sind die Monster, welche die Straße der Stadt unsicher machen – Vampire, Werwölfe, Geister. Schließlich gibt es noch die Fraktion der Wilden, die verschiedene ausgestoßene Kreaturen umfasst wie Feen aus Arcadia oder Menschen, die ihre Seele einem Dämon verkauft haben. Jeder Charakter beginnt das Spiel als Teil einer der vier Fraktionen, kann diese aber im Laufe des Spiels verlassen und Teil einer anderen Fraktion werden.

Eine interessante neue Mechanik ist Korruption. Die Korruptionsleiste spiegelt wider, wie häufig ein Charakter seiner dunklen Natur nachgibt oder sich dunklen Mächten öffnet, um an mehr Macht zu gelangen. Jedes Playbook verfügt über einige Korruptions-Moves, die es den Charakteren ermöglichen, recht schnell recht viel Macht zu erlangen. Wen ein Magier beispielsweise schwarze Magie nutzt, ein Vampir problemlos einen Sterblichen jagt oder ein Sterblicher selbst übernatürliche Kräfte erwirbt, um im großen politischen Spiel eine Chance zu haben, schreitet ihre Korruption weiter voran. Je mehr Korruption ein Charakter angesammelt hat, desto mächtigere Möglichkeiten stehen ihm zur Verfügung, aber desto eher wird er auch zu einem Teil des echten Bösen, das in der Stadt lauert.

Darüber hinaus haben die Autoren das Beziehungssystem weiter ausdefiniert und zu einem noch zentraleren Bestandteil des Spiels gemacht. Beziehungen werden in Urban Shadows durch Schulden definiert, die jeder Charakter bei anderen Charakteren und Fraktionen hat. Diese Schulden können beispielsweise genutzt werden, um Würfelwürfe zu verbessern, Antworten zu bekommen oder Gefallen einzufordern. An das Schuldensystem sind verschiedene Moves gebunden, die abbilden, dass eine Schuld eingefordert wird, dass sich jemand weigert, eine Schuld zu begleichen, dass ein Gefallen getan wird oder dass jemand in einer Auseinandersetzung einen Namen fallen lässt. Das Schuldensystem passt sehr schön zu den korrupten, intriganten Ränkespielen der Fraktionen und ich bin sehr neugierig darauf, wie sie sich im Spiel machen.

Fazit: Politisches Intrigenspiel in der Welt des Übernatürlichen

Mir gefällt die Idee von Urban Shadows gut, auch wenn sie mich nicht so begeistert wie die anderen PbtA-Systeme. Das liegt vor allem daran, dass in den literarischen Vorlagen meist Teile einer Fraktion – also Jäger, Magier, Vampire – gemeinsam gegen die Anhänger anderer Fraktionen vorgehen und dabei in Intrigen und Korruption verwickelt werden. In Supernatural lassen sich die Winchester-Brüder natürlich immer wieder auf einen Handel mit dem buchstäblichen Teufel ein und haben zweifelhafte Verbündete an ihrer Seite; im Zentrum der Geschichte steht aber immer der gemeinsame Kampf der Jäger gegen eine monströse Bedrohung. In Dresden Files gibt es Werwolfs-Gangs und Feenhöfe, im Zentrum stehen aber immer Harry Dresdens Ermittlungen und damit nur die Ausschnitte, welche der Protagonist von diesen Welten wahrnimmt. Ich bin mir nicht sicher, wie sich eine solche Geschichte stattdessen mit mehreren Protagonisten und damit mehreren Einzelinteressen spielt. Da ich Urban Shadows aber bislang noch nicht selbst ausprobiert habe, kann ich dazu noch kein fundiertes Urteil fassen. Es wird aber sicherlich schwieriger als bei anderen PbtA-Settings sein, gleich von Anfang an einen gemeinsamen Vorstellungsraum zu entwickeln.

Sehr gut gefällt mir der Korruptions-Mechanismus, der vor allen den von Anfang an weniger Korrumpierten – den Sterblichen und menschlichen Magiern – Gelegenheit gibt, in eine düstere Spirale von Macht, Verführung und Verzweiflung zu stürzen. Ich kann mir vorstellen, dass dadurch eine schöne spieltechnische Balance zwischen den verschiedenen Gruppierungen geschaffen wird. Ein Vampir, der seiner Blutlust nachgibt, ist schließlich weniger dramatisch als ein alter, idealistischer Jäger, der nach Jahren doch einen Handel mit einem Dämon eingeht, um seine Liebsten zu retten.

http://wp.me/p1Hoys-6Ro



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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