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Shadowrun: Kartenmaterial für Seattle
Publisher: Pegasus Press
by Julien P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/31/2017 14:56:07

Even if you don't read German, these maps remain super useful as most of the location names are in English. The quality of the PDF makes it perfect for printing. Worth every cent.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Kartenmaterial für Seattle
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Shadowrun: Book of the Lost (A Shadowrun Campaign Book)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Julien P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/18/2017 09:20:15

So, I finished reading Book of the Lost, and I really enjoyed it. Dozens of adventure and campaign ideas formed in my mind as I was reading, which I think was the whole point, but it worked. A lot of the proposed stories and plots are very interesting (and I like how the writers used this opportunity to advance a few old metaplots as well). Even something that could have been silly (Taco Temple) was actually quite intriguing and mysterious. Last but not least, the puzzles and riddles hidden in the cards promise to be a lot of fun (and headaches) for runners and GM alike. Not to mention, of course, Echo Chernik's wonderful art.

That being said, there are two things I didn't like in the book:

  • Lack of clear distinction between chapters that can be read by everyone or are written from an in-universe perspective and chapters that are GM only. It goes back and forth between the two, and there are times when, within the same section of the book, you really can't tell anymore if you're reading Game Information or Jackpoint posts. I prefer when the GM-only info is gathered at the end of the books in a dedicated section.

  • The Power of the Cards chapter. While I understand the need to include something for players who want direct gains from collecting the Tarot cards, the proposed rewards often feel random and sometimes even, well, silly ("Lofwyr’s ten-ton gold coin", really? Does it simply appear from thin air in front of the runners? Yet the first lines of the chapter clearly states teleportation is impossible in Shadowrun...) Fortunately this section is only 9 pages long.

As a whole, the idea of the Tarot, and the kind of adventures and riddles it creates feel original, different and unexpected for Shadowrun. It will definitely be too "out there" for some people, but after nearly 30 years, Shadowrun can benefit from some fresh weirdness. And who knows, it may even have what it takes to become memorable. Time (or the cards) will tell...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Book of the Lost (A Shadowrun Campaign Book)
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Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Julien P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/05/2017 16:21:43

To be honest, I wasn't really convinced at first that Castle Falkenstein actually needed a bestiary. I was however very happy to see the Great Game being revived. After reading Curious Creatures, I'm happy to say that not only it is faithful to the unique writing style of the original series of books, it also expands and enriches the universe of Castle Falkenstein in clever ways. It is also very pleasant to read, light on rules but full of imagination and humor. Each entry could spawn an adventure or a full campaign. Last but not least, the layout is also very elegant. A testimony to the quality of this product: I bought the PDF first and actually enjoyed it so much I ordered the printed version as well, so it can rest proudly on my shelf, next to the rest of my Falkenstein collection. One of my favorite games is not only alive again, it is also in very good hands, and I couldn't be more happy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
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Shadowrun: Court of Shadows
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Julien P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/31/2016 16:58:32

This book offers a pretty interesting take on Shadowrun. After a succession of techno-centric metaplots, full of rogue AIs, emergent technomancers and nano-plagues, it is refreshing to see the magical side of the Sixth World under the spotlight, not just with a campaign, but with a whole campaign setting. If you played the classic campaign "Harlequin's Back", you know what to expect: the runners have crossed a magical door into a whole new reality, with its own strange denizens, complex rules and unfathomable stakes. Court of Shadows takes the runners to the Faery metaplane, an astral dimension full of wonder and danger. This place is not new to Shadowrun: it has lurked in the shadows (pun intended) for a while, and its existence was already mentioned back in the Tir na Nog and Shadows of Europe supplements. But now new portals to this metaplane have opened, allowing runners to offer their services to the many factions of the Seelie Court (or their Unseelie rivals). What makes this book successful is the fact it is both wonderfully different from "classic" Shadowrun (and delightfully weird), and yet doesn't feel disconnected from the rest of the Sixth World. A lot of people want a piece of the Fae's treasures, including the good old dragons and megacorporations. It's possible to play a whole campaign set in the metaplanes or have the runners travel back and forth, as they undertake missions for or against the Fae (not that's it's mutually exclusive !) The writers have come up with ingenious ways to translate concepts such as hacking or rigging in the metaplane. While the book is pretty cool in itself, it has one weakness: it lacks a recap of what is called a Fae in Shadowrun, what are the Tuatha dé danaan, what are their relationships with Tir na Nog, the Ways of the Wheel, etc. As it is, it can be very confusing for newcomers to this universe, especially if they don't at the evry least own a copy of Shadows of Europe (published in 2003!) Since this is supposed to be a full game setting, the lack of such a summary makes it feel incomplete and makes some concepts harder to grasp than they should. It's a frequent issue in Shadowrun books: the writers seem to assume people have read and remember everything that's been written before, but even longtime fans need a refresher course. Nonetheless, Court of Shadows is one of the strongest books from Catalyst, and hopefully there will be more supplements dedicated to the shenanigans of the Fae and their repercussions on the rest of the Sixth World. Court of Shadows also introduces the Sixth World Tarot, a magical tarot deck that will probably play an important role in future books. It's an intriguing idea, and I'm curious to see how it will develop.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Court of Shadows
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Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Julien P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2013 18:10:14

I started playing and GM'ing Shadowrun with third edition. After a couple of years playing other games, the release of SR5 was a good opportunity to return to the Sixth World with a new group of players. Since several of them are new to Shadowrun, the new season of Missions seemed a great entry point to the game and the setting.

Chasin' the Wind takes place in one of my favourite SR cities: Chicago. The "Bug City" quarantine might have ended almost two decades ago, the former Containment Zone remains one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Good news, that's where this first Mission takes the players.

Chasin' the Wind is a pretty good introductory scenario. It offers a nice variety of situations: legwork, danger, combat and negotiation, as the players are offered several jobs from several Johnsons (including everyone's favourite T'Skrang-- sorry, I meant changeling :p)

The adventure is not too challenging, which is fitting for a first chapter, although my players and I quickly realized how brutal and unforgiving combat can be in SR5! In case of need, the booklet contains suggestions to increase or decrease the difficulty of the scenes, which was much appreciated.

Chasin' the Winds is not perfect. The texts contains a few typos and some contradictory information, and the plot, as simple as it is, contains a couple of "head-scratchers" which, hopefully, will be explained in future Missions.

All in all, this product proves to be a great season opener with plenty of twists and turns and story hooks for future Missions. It certainly deserves its five stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)
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