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Victoriana - Darwin's Catalogue: Beastmen of Britain
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 14:07:34

16 Pages. One of the smaller Victoriana books. This book details a number of additional Beastmen and their traits. Both as a "monster" and as a Player Race. Following the guidelines in this book you could create more, but the list is pretty exhaustive.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Darwin's Catalogue: Beastmen of Britain
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Victoriana - Faces in the Smoke Volume Two
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 13:58:19

140 pages. What a cool supplement. This details all the secret societies in the Victorana game. The societies are grouped largely by role. Are they benign watchers? Are they conspirators of a dark cult? Each group is given a role, a detailed history, and information on how they can interact with the characters and other organizations. Of course, multiple NPCs are detailed as well. An index of NPC, sorted by Rank, is also given.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Faces in the Smoke Volume Two
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Victoriana - Faces in the Smoke Volume One
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 13:54:52

140 pages. What a cool supplement. This details all the secret societies in the Victorana game. The societies are grouped largely by role. Are they benign watchers? Are they conspirators of a dark cult? Each group is given a role, a detailed history, and information on how they can interact with the characters and other organizations. Of course, multiple NPCs are detailed as well. An index of NPC, sorted by Rank, is also given.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Faces in the Smoke Volume One
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Victoriana - Faulkner's Millinery and Miscellanea
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 13:46:20

192 Pages. Every Victorian-era game needs to have a book like Faulkner's Millinery and Miscellanea. If they don't then buy this one instead. Actually buy this one if they do. At 192 pages it is full of items, clothing, gadgets, vehicles and even magical supplies for every need. The currency is British Pound and the economy is set in 1867, so if you do use it for other games you will need to adjust. There is more here than just price lists. The items may (or may not) be very familar to readers today so descriptions are given.
There is a great section on the economy and one worth reading. Here in the 21st century we are used to easy access to everything. We are also (in general) wealthier than any other time before ours. This was not the case int he Victorian age, even in Victoriana's fantastical magical Victorian age. So this frame of reference helps. In addition to equipment, there are common prices of travel and their various means. Prices for various entertainments. Alos you will need to know how much to pay your household staff and where to find them in the first place. Some notable NPCs are also detailed. This really is a must have book for any fan of Victorian RPGS and Victoriana in particular.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Faulkner's Millinery and Miscellanea
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Victoriana - The Marylebone Mummy
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 13:35:55

56 pages. An update to an earlier adventure. This adventure is really designed not just for starting players (5 to 6) but also starting GMs. All the materials you need to play are at your fingertips. There is not enough of the rules to make it a "Quick Play" but if you bought the core rules then this should be your next purchase. The adventure deals with, appropriately enough, a mummy. It FEELS very Victorian too. Ancient curses conflicting with scientific discovery. Superstition vs Science. All within Victoriana's own hedy brew of magic-is-real and so-is-science world. It makes for a lot of fun. The adventure also follows the now familiar 3-act format of all Victoriana adventures. So if you have any desires to plan your own then this is a good model to follow. It is, in a very real sense the Keep on the Borderlands for Victoriana.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - The Marylebone Mummy
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Victoriana - Marvels of Science and Steampunk
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 13:24:44

152 pages. This is the book that makes Victoriana more Steam-punk, or at least more steam- and magic-tech. The biggest, and coolest, new feature of this game are new rules for Airships. Now I have to say that for me, Airships are a quintessential element for not only Steampunk games but of Victoriana in particular. You also get Victorian age computers (Babbage machines) and robots (metal men). This is the fantastic future of science that the Victorian era promised with a chapter on magic and technology. Grabbing this book really sets your Victoriana game apart from the rest of the crowd. The author, Walt Ciechanowski, would later go on to author the 3rd Edition of Victoriana and shape where that version of the game went. Like books from the Victoriana line there is a great collection of inspirational reading and viewing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - Marvels of Science and Steampunk
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Victoriana - The Havering Adventures
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 12:13:25

This is a collection of three adventures that have appeared in one form or another in various conventions; notably Gen Con. All deal with the wonderfully eccentric Havering family. I played "Lost Luggage" at one Gen Con and really enjoyed myself. I got to play "Patterson". These are adventures, so I am not going to spoil what is going on here. I will say that these are perfect adventures to really give someone the feel of Victoriana. They highlight what makes the system work and what makes this time and world so much fun. As players, you will be playing members of this family; ie. Pre-Gens, but it works. A good GM can also get players to create their own characters, all members of a family and use them instead.
In particular I enjoyed the horse racing rules since we did something similar for Ghosts of Albion.
If you are looking to run Victoriana games OR need a ready to go adventure-idea for other Vicotrian games then this is where I would start. Keep in mind that various details of the "real world" have been changed to reflect the Victoriana world.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - The Havering Adventures
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Victoriana 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/11/2016 13:35:49

Victoriana and I have a long and complicated relationship. I find it interesting that to date I have not done a review for this game. So let me fix that now. I discovered Victoriana, 1st Edition around the time I was writing Ghosts of Albion. I picked up the game, but since I was deep into working on and playing Ghosts at the time I didn't look at it much. Finally ,I did and then learned a 2nd Ed was going to come out.

I spent some time reading the 1st Edition rules and thought it was interesting, if odd. For starters, I am not sure why there was no U.S. Civil War. I was also not a fan of the Fuzion system. I liked all the odd races for the game (even if it did lead to the infamous Orc from Africa debate) and felt like it was, as it has been later described as Victorian Age Steampunk.

The thing that struck me though is how similar that cover is to the Ghosts of Albion BBC logo. In particular the silhouettes of William and Tamara. I am sure it is nothing but coincidence, but I could not help but notice it all the same. Save for the pointy ears on the Victoriana cover that could be Tamara and William from Ghosts.

I went into the 2nd edition with a lot of preconceived notions of what the game was. That is until Gen Con 2007. Friday night I ran a Ghosts of Albion game and a lot of the authors and playtesters for Victoria 2nd Ed came. I later joined them on a 8:00am Saturday morning game. I was hung over, battling the oncoming con crud. I played an Ogre butler with a Wits (intelligence) score of two whose saving grace was a giant shotgun that he wielded like a pistol. I had a GREAT time.

Victoriana is a perfect example of why you need to play a game instead of just reading it to do a full and proper review. Reading through the rules the first few times gave me a bit of headache, but playing it was a snap.

Victoriana, 2nd Edition is a 286 page book. Color covers, black and white interior. A couple of words about that. The art for this book moves between D&D-esque fantasy races and vintage photographs. Many of the photos are of author Andrew Peregrine's own family. I think this gives the game a unique touch. Personally, I do not want color art in my Victorian-era games. This is a world in black and white.

Vic is best described as a Victorian "cyberpunk" game; not just in terms of ethos, game design and play but also mechanics. The game is based on d6 dice pool with the extra advantage of a "black dice" to add more random flavor. Roll your pool of Characteristics, Skill, and Specialties and see how many successes you have.

The system that powers Victoriana is known as the Heresy system. Maybe an allusion to the game company that published Victoriana 1st ed.

The real feature of this game is the ability to play a number of fantasy races in a magic-is-real and in-the-open Victorian London 1867. The similarities to ShadowRun continue here. You can play dwarves, ogres, elves (Eldren) and other fantasy races. It could also be described as Steampunk ShadowRun or even Steampunk D&D. To call it that would really be selling the game a little short to be honest. I often described it as most Victorian games turned up to 11.

The game won a Silver Ennie for Best Writing and there is a ton of great material in this game, if viewed from Victoriana's own lens.

Appendix 3 Source Material is a great read for any fan of the Victorian era. Six pages of great and pretty exhaustive material.

The supplements for Victorana are all top notch with the same artistic style and flare of the core book.

Victoriana is one of those games I always seek out to play at conventions when I can. I have always had a great time.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
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Victorious Phantasmagoria
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/06/2016 08:20:51

This is a 36-page supplement from Mike Stewart. This supplement details a number of NPC, both good (9 total) and vile (12 total). They can be used as allies, villains, or even as Player Characters. Not as interesting as the NPCs from the Core book, but then again how could they be! Couple of nitpicks here, some the characters are described as having children, though the ages of the kids and the heroes don't always work. For example one heroine, Spellbinder is described as being in her late 20s and having a 12 year old son. She is also described as having a Ph.D. Having a kid at 18 and then continuing to get a Ph.D. THEN getting sucked into the past? It is DAMN hard to work on a Ph.D. when you have kids. I know; so does the author of the book. So it struck me as odd. Make her "late 30s" or better yet "mid 40s". I know the core book talks about the slow aging effects of supermankind, so say she is in her 40s but looks younger. Also detailed is the secret organization "Sceptre"; used to fight the enemies of Queen and Country. A prison, Darkmore Prison, is given as a place to lock up all these bad guys you catch.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Phantasmagoria
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Victorious Manifest Destiny
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/06/2016 07:09:25

These are "Guide" books for Great Britain and America respectively. Both come with the same city maps of London and New York in PDFs. Rules Britania details Great Britain in the time of Victoria and her world-wide empire. The city of London is also covered in some detail. Manifest Destiny does the same for America and New York. Both books are really pretty system neutral with a lot of background information that is great for any Victorian-era game. Manifest Destiny edges out Rules Britania since America is often ignored in many Victorian games. Granted England is ignored in many Civil War and Western games too. One of the features I really enjoyed about Manifest Destiny were the inclusion of the New York gangs.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Manifest Destiny
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Victorious Rules Britania
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/06/2016 07:08:59

These are "Guide" books for Great Britain and America respectively. Both come with the same city maps of London and New York in PDFs. Rules Britania details Great Britain in the time of Victoria and her world-wide empire. The city of London is also covered in some detail. Manifest Destiny does the same for America and New York. Both books are really pretty system neutral with a lot of background information that is great for any Victorian-era game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Rules Britania
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Victorious Hunter & Hunter Catalogue
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/05/2016 22:26:30

This is a 44-page supplement from Mike Stewart.
Now this is a fun one! Meant to be reminiscent of the old mail order catalogs of the time, this book takes its name from two of the premiere heroic NPCs of the core book. The book is full of fantastical and mundane items characters can buy, find or engineer themselves. And it is a full book.
Vital statistics are given including any bonuses it provides or damage it does (or can take) and the equally important availability (%) and price in British Pounds and American Dollars.
This is also a good book for any Victorian era game with a Steam-Punk lean to it. It makes a nice companion piece to Cubicle 7's Victoriana - Faulkner's Millinery and Miscellanea. My only complaint here is Troll Lords really missed out on the chance to make this look like a Vicotrian era catalog, complete with vintage art. I know they were trying to maintain trade dress with the line and readability, but it would have been a lot of fun.
Buy this if you REALLY want to know how much the Nautalis would run you in Pounds Sterling.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Hunter & Hunter Catalogue
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Victorious Night of the Jackals
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/05/2016 21:52:52

This is a 24-page adventure from core book author Mike Stewart. Now this is something fun. It is an introductory adventure for 4-8 characters of 1st-3rd level. Ok, the DriveThruRPG page says 2-4, but the book says 1-3. It follows directly from the adventure in the core book, Hyde and Seek, and involves none other than Professor James Moriarty. I don't want to give too many details away, but if you are a fan of the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, then this will be a fun romp. A bit of a nitpick, the DriveThruRPG text is a bit misleading. It looks like bits of it were copy-pasted from the Victorious RPG Core page. This is just the adventure.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Night of the Jackals
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Victorious the Role Playing Game
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/04/2016 14:44:15

Victorious or Victorious: Steampunk Adventure in the Age of SuperMankind is a game that I had been waiting for sometime. I had not been able back it in the Kickstarter so I picked it up this past Gen Con. I was quite pleased to do so.

Victorious is not the game I thought is was. That is not a problem of the game, but rather a problem with my expectations. I thought this was going to be a Victorian steam-punk game closer to Leagues of Adventure. The game I got though is rather fun and different than other Victorian games I have played and own. This is a very good thing.

Victorious is a game of Victorian era Steam Punk Superheroes. Once I got that into my head then the rest was a ton of fun.

The system is the tried and true SIEGE Engine from Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures and is largely compatible with both of those games. So adventures for one will work in the other. In fact, I tried out an Amazing Adventures scenario I had used in the past and it worked brilliantly.

Let's look into the chapters. First, though, full disclosures.

  1. I purchased both the hardcover and the PDF versions with my own cash. Troll Lords did not send me copies for review, nor are they expecting reviews.
  2. Links in this review often link to affiliate sites where I get a small percentage of anything bought.
  3. I have authored a Victorian game that could be considered competition to this game. I do not see this as such. Victorious and Ghosts of Albion can be played in similar time periods and even tell similar stories (I am planning on running a Ghosts adventure under Victorious to test this) but the games are not in competition with each other or other Victorian era games.

The Book. The book is a sturdy hardcover with color covers, black and white interiors, 144 pages. The form and format reminds me of the original AD&D books. The PDF comes with two files, one is a little more print friendly than the other. Both are bookmarked.

Introduction gives us the basics of the game, some background and some information on RPGs in general. It should be noted the the GM in this game means "Genteel Magistrate". Damn. I wish I had thought of that first!

Chapter 1 is all about Character Generation. If you have played Amazing Adventures or Castles & Crusades (or even D&D) then you know how this works. First, we go through the standard Attributes and modifiers. This is followed by a simple skill system. In fact, this skill system would make a nice important to Castles & Crusades. Up next is the big feature of this game; the powers that the characters gain as they level up. Again, this is the primary feature of the game. There are quite a few powers listed here and they remind me a bit of Mutants & Masterminds. This is not a surprise really, given the focus of the game. One could, I imagine, add more powers from other d20-derived games. Some hindrances and shortcomings are also discussed. Such things as "enemy" or "fame".
This is followed with some character examples that are roughly character classes. These include the Contraptionist (gadget guy), the Hypnotist, the Inquiry Agent (Sherlock Holmes), the Magician, the Paragon (Victorian Super-men), the Radiant, the Strongman, and the Vigilante (Gaslight Batman). We end with some ideas on completing the character. There are enough character concepts here to create any sort of character you want. I mentally "stated up" a few characters and was able to come up a Victorious version of them.

Chapter 2 covers the rules of the game. If you know Castles and Crusades then these rules will be very familiar. The main addition here are a bunch of Victorian-era firearms and some Steam-Punk gadgets. If your C&C game has black powder then this is a great chapter to have. Unlike some Victorian games there is no lengthy list of firearms (looking at you Dracula RPG), and this is a good thing.

Chapter 3 Equipment and Encounters is kind of a catch-all chapter of money, equipment, vehicles. encounters and worldly goings on. One nitpick, there is a section on "Cost of Living" that details various costs of goods in both British Pounds and American Dollars, but no actual cost of living. Te second half of this chapter details various organizations active in the Victorian era. If you play any Victorian game then this is a great chapter to have. Nearly every Victorian game has a chapter like this and I really can't get enough of it. Many, if not all, of these can be used in any other Victorian game and the societies and groups from those games can also be used here.

Chapter 4 The Victorious Era details some of the world history from the point of view of this game. At this point, I have one major issue with this game. There is the assumption that there are some super powered humans that have time-travelled from the 21st Century here. I understand why the author did this; to help players acclimate to the stranger times of Victorian England. Personally, I thought it was unneeded/unnecessary. BUT it does fit with the game, so that is fine. Personally I am not going to use it. If I am running a Victorian game you are going to play Victorian characters. Ignoring that there is a bunch of information on Victorian life that is great for any game. There is a great section on criminal slang that gives us the expected British slang, but also the rarely printed American/East Coast slang. There is a Chronolgy of the Victorious age next. This lists all sorts of political and scientific advancements made. Included in this are events from fiction (like Dracula and Sherlock Holmes) and events from within the game itself.

Chapter 5 is the Bestiary. Included are a lot of animals and the expected monsters of the Gothic Tradition. These monsters are 100% compatible with Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures. So if you need more monsters they can be found easy.

Chapter 6 covers Supermankind. This has some more information on the world of Victorious. This includes many of the NPCs; the good, the neutral and the bad. There are some great characters here including John Henry, Sherlock Holmes and the Spring Heeled Jack. Like most games (and most ficition) the bad guys are the most interesting. Listed here with full stats are Aleister Crowley, Baba Yaga, Dorain Grey, Dracula, Hyde, Moriarty, and Col. Moran. Really a Whos-Who of Victorian Villainy. Really the star chapter in this book. Which is saying something because there is a good game here. These NPCs could be used in Amazing Adventures too.

Next we get and adventure, Hyde and Seek, which is a lot of fun. The Appendices cover the Designer Notes, which are really fun read. I have to admit reading these gave me a greater appreciation of this game. There are sections on quick combat, dice rulings, and my favorite; mob rules. There is a section on "History vs. Fantasy" which is a great read if you have ever tried to run a pseudo-historical game. There is a list of resources that is also a great read. It's not exhaustive and there are some really notable exclusions, but this in not my list but theirs.

All in all this is a really fun game and I have nearly endless uses for it. Mix it with a bit of Castles & Crusades for more fantasy or Amazing Adventures for more pulp. Include some ideas from Codex Celtarum to make a more fantastic faerie-themed game. Mix it even more with Tainted Lands and get something not unakin to Ravenloft Masque of the Red Death. The game has a multitude of possibilities beyond what is presented in the two covers.

The game is full of possibilities to be honest, and I really can't wait to try some of them out.
This is certainly a game I would love to play at a Convention sometime.

Buy this game if you enjoy Victorian games, Castles & Crusades, or superhero games with a twist.

Giving it 4.5 stars, but rounding out to 5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious the Role Playing Game
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Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide to the Haunted Highlands
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/29/2016 14:25:26

Now this is a huge book. 400 pages and priced accordingly.
Like the Players Guide, we get an overview, real-world and in-world, of the Haunted Highlands. This section contains a number of additions above and beyond the Players Guide. This includes a calendar of months and days. Along with that are some details on various astronomical features. Now the big issue that might cause some concerns for adding to other worlds are this calendar and the two moons. This can be adapted easy enough. For my games I have three moons in my world, so one of the moons is just not detailed here. A recap on the gods from the PG and we have the first two dozen or so pages covered.
For the next 90 or so pages we get a reprint of the modules DB1: Haunted Highland, DB2: Crater of Umeshti, and DB3: Deeper Darkness. Now if you don't have these modules this is a nice value add, but I have them is dead-tree (and for DB1, PDF). I didn't notice too many changes but I did not compare them side by side. Having them in one place is nice, but I didn't really need them. Though there is good reason for them to be there. There are new modules/source guides, DB4: Dro Mandras, DB5: The Conquered East, DB6: Dwellers in the Darkness, DB7: The Duchy of Karbosk, DB8: Mists of Mantua, and DB9: Fanderburg. The adventures are not "leveled" so the CK can adjust them to fit their players. At this point, we are now 330 pages deep into this book. This takes us to the Monsters sections. There is a lot culled from the first three modules, but there are a lot more new ones. 40+ pages to be exact, so enough to keep me happy for a while. This is followed by 25 some odd pages of new fiends, demons and devils. The last three or so pages are dedicated to new magic items. This is a campaign world in the very sense of the term. It is much more akin to Greyhawk than it is to the Forgotten Realms. You are given some locales and locals, some gods and demons, some monsters, some factions and some background. You are told how they all interact and then what you make of it all is what YOU make of it. No NPC is going to overshadow the players here unless of course the CK allows that. Which they won't.
The books are of course gorgeous in the way that all C&C books are. They really feel like something from the 1980s, only better.

In truth what would be better is a nice boxed set with both the Players book and Castle Keeper's book in softcover. Put the modules in there, all nine. Include a big fold out map and some green dice with bronze/gold color lettering.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide to the Haunted Highlands
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