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Contagion Second Edition
by Sean P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2014 13:40:41

We've played a few sessions of Contagion 2nd Ed now, and we're very much enjoying it. The setting is rich and fun, and character creation is hugely diverse and dynamic. The rules are built on a fairly standard D20 system, so they don't feel unfamiliar, but it's not just a repackaged version of another game and stand quite well on their own. Game play seems to be as balanced as the DM wants it to be, and there's a lot of opportunity to be both player friendly and Lovecraftian as the tone of the story requires. The book itself in frequently injected with bits of lore and short story which are enjoyable. They sometimes get a bit distracting while going through race and calling descriptions, but ultimately I feel like its more helpful to have more than less.

That all sounds pretty good, so why 4 stars instead of 5? My players and I all found the organization within the book to be confusing. It's not uncommon to be attempting to read the rules for something only to be directed to another chapter which may or may not answer your question before directing you back to the chapter you were on to start with. Character Creation especially was difficult to follow at first because the character creation chapter gives brief descriptions of races and callings and the cost to choose them, but you have to go to a different chapter to get the full mechanical information for them. We would sooner have seen the brief descriptions removed or placed in the races and callings chapters. In a physical book I don't think this would be too frustrating to flip back and forth from page to page, but in a PDF it's taking me some time to get the right bookmarks and annotations in place to allow me to follow what I need to follow to make everything work out. This is exacerbated by the table of contents which is designed for the print version of the book. The PDF version is off by about 12 - 15 pages because of the introductory material.

The bottom line is that we really enjoy this game and are very much looking forward to continuing our story. If you do not like games with a fair amount of crunch, you might want to steer clear on this one, and if you're not willing to put the time into jumping around between chapters while you try to puzzle everything out, skip it. If you are willing to put the effort in then you'll find Contagion 2nd Edition to be more than worth the effort.

tl;dr: The setting is excellent and the rules are good, but the book itself could use better organization. We like it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Contagion Second Edition
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Creator Reply:
Sean, Thanks so much for the excellent review! I\'m sorry to hear about the organization issues. I know how frustrating it is when you\'re in the middle of a scene, you need to look up some information and you have difficulties finding it. It can really grind the game to a halt. We will look into a few ways to mitigate those organizational issues and update the file as soon as we can implement them! Thank you, Travis Legge Aegis Studios
Sean, I believe you will find the Gold Edition FAR better organized, and much more navigation friendly. Thanks, Travis
Highway to Hell 2: Return to Flora
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/06/2013 15:05:41

Bizarre happenings in the rural township of Flora in Northern Illinois attract the party, for whom such events are a beacon marking a Hellgate... this introductory adventure for Contagion 2e should get your players swept up into this alternate present in which portals to other dimensions pop up all over the place and it's up to brave folk like, well, them to deal with them.

The organisation is excellent, with an initial premise and loads of information on people, places and events to empower the game master to build his own story around them, interacting with the characters who can act as free agents exploring and investigating rather than being constrained by a linear plot line.

On the other hand, this isn't something you can pick up and play. You will need to decide what attracts the characters' attention in the first place, what is causing all these wierd events and how the matter can be dealt with... however, just reading through spawns a wealth of possibilities.

Character sheets for main NPCs are provided, but if you like the sound of this adventure but play a different ruleset that handles supernatural occurances, conversion ought not to be too hard.

There are no maps provided... but there IS a Flora, Il and the other places mentioned are there, even if the geography doesn't match the text precisely, so if you do like map-based adventures just hunt up some appropriate ones of the real places to use.

It's an elegant jumping-off point for some adventures that should prove entertaining.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Highway to Hell 2: Return to Flora
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Creator Reply:
Megan, Another well thought out and expressive review! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts on Highway to Hell 2: Return to Flora! Thank you, Travis Legge Aegis Studios
Secret Societies
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/22/2013 12:06:26

'No man is an island...'

Most of us belong to various groups and associations and practioners of Magick - especially in a world that disbelieves in the very existence of their craft! - are no exception, something catered for in the core rules by Affiliation. Little is said there about whom you might be affiliated to or what you gain out of the relationship, so here are five example organisations that Magi might join... if they qualify, if indeed they can even find them!

Use them as presented or as templates for organisations of your own. They are based, albeit loosely in the most part, on societies that have existed, or at least might have done, in the real world, certainly in times when magick is seen as plausible. Each has its own philosphy, and may offer training or other benefits to those who join them. They also, as most organisations do, have their own quirks and traditions, perhaps enemies or at least rivals, as well as resources that may be put at the disposal of the membership.

They are well-thought out, and anyone in search of a magical society or two for a contemporary setting - even if not playing Glimpse the Beyond - could do a lot worse than consider making use of them.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Secret Societies
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Things That Should Not Be
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/16/2013 06:09:57

If you are a Magus delving into the murkier corners of the supernatural, you expect to find a few odd critters hiding in the shadows longing to send you gibbering back into the light... well, here's a neat little collection all ready for the GM to do his best to meet your expectations.

The really nice thing about this collection is the way in which lots of features are introduced and explained, perfect for those GMs who like coming up with their own monsters (or adapting ones they've read or heard about, or seen on TV) - you can either mix and match these features or, having been shown how they are put together, come up with your own. Apart from fiction, some of the pseudo-documentaries investigating the paranormal can be fertile spawning grounds for ideas: now you have some tools to turn neat concepts into full-blown monsters that 'work' within the rules as well as sound suitably creepy when you describe them to your players.

That aside, the actual creatures have a lot of plot potential too! It is easy to build an entire adventure in your head as you read through, say, the entry for the Court of the Yellow Ribbon Cultist... and startle your players, never mind their characters, when certain key features involving said yellow ribbon are revealed. (No, I won't say what, I know some of MY players read my reviews!).

An interesting resource for any game that dabbles in the supernatural, and particularly useful if Glimps The Beyond is your system of choice, although it ought not to be too hard to adjust game mechanics for your chosen ruleset.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Things That Should Not Be
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Creator Reply:
So glad you enjoyed Things That Should Not Be! Thank you!
Hell's Henchmen: Chammadi
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/02/2012 09:36:20

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, they say, and none more so than the Servants of the Chammadi. Motivated by a desire to save their cherished human beings from their own mortality, the need to suffer death, they rose up against the Throne of Heaven in protest: surely God didn't intend for His own creation to have to die!

A tragic bunch indeed, yet potent foes in the stuggle between good and evil. Once angels of death, serving God on earth, they have retained their powers over death and used them to create undead... not the eternal life that they'd sought for mankind, but a form of immortality nevertheless. God, of course, reacted by giving Clerics the ability to turn or even destroy undead, and so it went on.

So this work is a catalogue of undead creations, forged by the Chammadi, who have concluded that if humans want to worship a God that's out to kill them, well, best they be sent to meet Him forthwith! There's a kind of perverted logic underpinning this, and it extends throughout the varieties of undead catalogued here.

Whether or not you are running Contagion, if you like original undead monsters, you will find them here!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hell's Henchmen: Chammadi
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Vicious Villains II: Mystical Monsters
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/16/2012 16:06:05

Eight villains with stats and backstories ready to go for Mutants & Masterminds 3. These could also be used as NPCs but really they work best as bad guys. There is a magical bent to all of these, so if that is your M&M game, like mine is, then these are good to use.

The art varies from line to cg to color. The crunch is great and the back stories interesting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vicious Villains II: Mystical Monsters
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Don't Lose Your Head
by Jeff K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/18/2007 16:59:11

I was able to use this adventure seed in a session. There is enough information included to run it as part of any campaign with a few changes.

At first it might be odd to look through an Aegis Studios adventure seed, because they do not map out how you are going to run something from A to Z. Instead, they give you the ideas and allow you to map your own path in getting there.

For me, I love this. I have never really been a big module runner, but modules have always had great ideas I want to borrow. So this the Contagion adventure seeds are a great idea for a great price (and this one is FREE!).

My players loved this adventure seed and I have plans to incorporate a few more into my campaign sessions.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Don't Lose Your Head
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Creator Reply:
Glad you liked Don\'t Lose Your Head, Jeff! We would love to hear your thoughts on the Contagion Second Edition line sometime! Thanks, Travis Legge Aegis Studios
Virulence
by Jeff K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/18/2007 16:54:50

Wow!

Great stuff here to add to an existing campaign setting.

I will go on record as stating I am not a fan of adding the fantasy elements to my modern horror game, but I do enjoy reading the take that Aegis Studios puts on them. So while I do not use them, I do enjoy a good read through them.

The edition of new races, a focus on angels and demons, a few agencies to utilize, new classes, new spells, and new feats make this a must have. I was luckily enough to get a hold of this just before our game started and my players were happy to see it. It really helped flesh out a few of the choices they were struggling with.

I also love the burn system for non-divine magic used by humans. It has made for an interesting character that is a little too smart for their own good, but not wise enough to know it yet. ;-}

Thanls for another great product!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Virulence
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Contagion: Hidden Races
by Jeff K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/18/2007 16:50:28

I really enjoy this supplemental source for Contagion. I personally won't be using the Giant or Dwarf options listed because they are a bit too fantasy-oriented for my game, but I like the options they present.

The Immunda was a hit for a few new players coming in to my game and the race fits in very well with the direction our gaming sessions have taken. It also inspired me to create my own race as a counter-balance (Seraphic or Half Angel). I have not been inspired to make homebrewed campaign ideas for more then 10 years. I personally don't equate making homebrew stuff to a lack of resources in a game system, but more to a fountain of ideas sparked by the source material.

The Morlocks are an interesting take on a classic, and not really what I expected at first. I might spring a few on my players at some point to see how they react.

All in all, especially for the price, this was a great resource to add to my Contagion campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Contagion: Hidden Races
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Contagion: Hidden Races
by Jim R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/02/2007 02:43:42

First off, let me say that in spite of the criticisms I'm going to levy against this supplement, I think it's a very good value for the price, and offers some interesting seeds for a game master to build on. Overall, I like this supplement.

Having said that, let the criticisms begin.

Two of the new 'races' are human variants, dwarfism and giantism as they appear naturally in the human race, in the real world. In my humble opinion, the authors are saying one thing while doing another. The racial bonuses and penalties are far too 'fantasy-like'... anyone who has watched a "little person" move in real life knows the "+2 dexterity" to be purest fantasy. Given that the most common form of human giantism, childhood pituitary giantism, involves acromegaly, continued thickening of the jawbone and skin upon reaching puberty, a negative modification to charisma (because the system continues to link appearance and personality) would be in order.

Either do it fantasy-style, or real-life... the blend really doesn't work for me.

The Immunda, a race of demon-spawn, are very interesting. My first observation would be that as a game master, I think they're a little too loaded with positives, not enough negatives to balance them out, therefore a level adjustment might be in order. Secondly, I'm not sure I buy the 'genetic nature' of their evil, where an Immunda of whatever alignment will always be affected by spells and such as though it were of evil alignment. Nothing and no one is beyond the grace of God, and to remove any hope of an Immunda's eventual salvation is to remove a potent character motivation.

The 'Morlocks' are another interesting idea, a race of ooze-like creatures. Upon initial reading, they seem reasonably well-balanced. I would however point out that H.G. Wells wrote "The Time Machine", not Jules Verne, as was alluded to in the text.

Overall the layout of the supplement is acceptable, although it seems a bit cramped in places, making it very slightly difficult to read.

As I said at the beginning, a good value for the price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Jim, An excellent review! You raise some interesting points regarding the modifiers for dwarfism and gigantism. This merits some examination on our part. In regards to the Immunda, there is nothing in the rules that implies that Immunda are beyond God's grace. They are simply treated as evil from a systematic standpoint. I think being accused of evil, even registering as an evil creature to magic and the like, despite a pure heart and good intentions only adds poignancy to the struggle of an Immunda seeking redemption. This is also a "social factor" considered when striving for "game balance." Many of the races in Contagion suffer non-numeric penalties such as these which hamper the character in roleplaying more than die rolling. It's an effort at "game balance" without resorting to level adjustments. In regards to the Time Machine error, apologies for the typo! Rest assured it will be corrected! Thanks so much for the review!
Living Dead
by Bret B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2006 00:00:00

Instead of "Living Dead," I was given a download for a game system called "Contagion: Revised Edition," for which Living Dead was written. <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: I had no interest in the system, only in the background information these writers had on the undead. This occurred at least a month ago, and despite inquiries, I have not yet received the correct product. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Poor<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Ripped Off<br>



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Living Dead
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Creator Reply:
To be fair, this issue with the incorrect download being provided was caused by RPG Now and was in no way the fault of Aegis Studios. While we may have been slow in responding to it, the correct file should now be posted.
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