If you're a die-hard fan of Demon: the Fallen like I am, and practically had a heart attack when you saw that this was getting made, then let my words spare you the coronary: this thing's a bust. What we have here is a valiant, but ultimately slap-dash attempt to construct a translation guide that instead comes across as an incredibly one-sided and imbalanaced. It pains me to write this, as there are some solid things going on in the book, and some neat ideas in play, but Onyx Path simply didn't put in the effort necessary to make this what it needed to be. There is a lot to say, but I'll keep my critique to three main points.
Poor organizaition: The TG attempts to give fluid rules for porting characters between systems, but unfortunately ends up creating a slurry of information, where Descent info blends together with Fallen info, making it hard to keep the two separarate. In addition, there are some strange redundancies with some things, particularly Merits (Pacts are still listed as a Merit, but that Merit has been replaced by the Thrall Merit, which is itself difficult to find). Further, none of the Lores have explicitly spelled-out dice pools, and attempting to decipher which Attributes and Skills are needed for each is tedious and inefficient. Overall, the book shoud have been organized with greater distinction.
A lot of missing data: the TG covers character conversion and basic powers, but says nothing about some of the most critical systems from the old game, such as empowering Thralls, rituals from the old Player's Guide, or rules for exorcism and the devouring of demons by their peers post mortem. These missing pieces of info make attempting to run D: tF with the new rules incredily frustrating, as players have fewer rescources to give their characters, and STs will be left struggling to help their players complete common demon-related tasks.
- The Apocalyptic Powers: possibly the most infurating part of the whole book, instead of going through the Demon Player's Guide and methodically converting each power for the sake of clarity and conciseness, and perhaps altering or trimming some away to keep things clean and efficient, OP instead opted to simply convert some powers and treat the rest as rebranded versions of powers from D: tD. This causes a host of redundancies as well as some bizarre alterations to the designs of some powers that in no way mirrors their orginal function or intent, and can potentially derail a character concept. This is the most egregious sin, for not only does it make porting a character over incredibly messy, but it undermines Fallen in favor of keeping Descent at the fore, and makes it seem as though OP is putting Fallen in the backseat in favor of highlighting Descent.
In conclusion, the Demon: Translation Guide is a competent work, and the rule conversions therein are a fitting update for bringing Fallen into the CoD system, but its glaring flaws and poor organization make it difficult to use at best, and an absolute nightmare at worst. I leave here an open statement to the staff at Onyx Path:
Dear Mss. and Messrs.,
I understand that creating works like this is a monumental undertaking, and your efforts must not be overlooked, but if you want to create something that fans will appreciate, and more importantly buy, you must ensure that the necessary effort is put into it. If this means putting more writers on the project, prolonging development, or even making a Kickstarter page for it, then do it, because I guarantee that a legion of loyal patrons and fans like myself are ready and willing to contribute to see the game we love so much be reborn, and you will enjoy both critial praise and financial sucess in the long-run.
[2 of 5 Stars!]