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Revelations in Cold Iron

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Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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Revelations in Cold Iron
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Revelations in Cold Iron
Publisher: Dancing Lights Press
by Bradley N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/24/2017 14:40:01

This system strikes me as being very similar to Designer X's Violence system; it seems more manifesto than actual game. It's a 200 page meandering diatribe that reads like a thinly veiled ANTIFA recruitment pamphlet and I have no idea how serious it is.

Is it playable? Yeah, the actual mechanics are dead simple and could probably be explained on the back of a napkin. Effectively, you bet a dice showing how much you want to succeed and then roll d20 plus any bonuses you have to the action you are undertaking. Higher than 10 on the d20 is a success and equal or lower is a failure. How "big" you can win or lose depends on the die chosen for effort. Like most "Storytelling" games it feels utterly toothless mechanically, just one level above sitting around a table and telling a story, occasionally flipping a coin to see if something works. This style of game has never been my cup of tea - I've always believed that stories in role playing should evolve organically in response to a ruleset rather than a ruleset existing for the sole purpose of occasionally resolving conflicts in a story - but even among storytelling games this ruleset is pretty uninspired. Fiasco this is not.

However, the largest point of contention I have here is the actual "Story" behind this storytelling game. Like most storytelling games the majority of the book is taken up by the author telling you the kind of story they want you to tell. They give you examples of antagonists, of the setting, of the sort of things you should be doing, the standard setups. There's a big emphasis put on the difference between objective and Subjective reality, with the core concept being that you can use "magic" to manipulate subjective reality. The spell list is a list of logical fallacies. Its a somewhat interesting idea I suppose, framing the ability of logical fallacies to manipulate the way a person sees the world as magic. It goes on to say that a cult of plutocratic politicians are using this magic to create a subjective reality of their choosing. They stop short of saying "Fake News" but I think you can get the gist.

The problem is that the game seems to have a heavy political leaning and I'm not sure how much of it is intentionally done from a semi-satirical standing and how much is honest. Its Poe's Law. Because there are mentions here and there that hint at a deeper understanding, such as the fact that the Cold Iron's attempts to restore reality to its objective form inherently involve the creation of subjective realities focused around their own pet causes. Does the author understand that both sides are prone to use of this "Dark Magik" that is logical fallacy? Is all the raving about the privileged rich, the valiant struggles of the creative, and the mind washed sheep done with a degree of self awareness or not?

If it is satire, its not very interesting satire. It has that core interesting idea but I don't feel like it does anything fun with it. You get that "Oh,I get it" moment of what they're doing and that's really it. If its really as unaware as it seems sometimes, then I feel kind of like I bought some sort of misguided manifesto masquerading as a RPG game. And I don't want to finance this guy and his eventual car bomb.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
"Does the author understand that both sides are prone to use of this \"Dark Magik\" that is logical fallacy? " Yup. "And I don't want to finance this guy and his eventual car bomb." Good call. ;)
Revelations in Cold Iron
Publisher: Dancing Lights Press
by Lon S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/25/2017 15:57:49

Berin Kinsman has long been a bright light in the roleplaying community, and Revelations in Cold Iron continues this tradition. The setting and premise are a wonderful bit of catharsis in a time when that's badly needed. While Kinsman has tried to not make the game a specific political polemic, it can't be what it is without being a general one. This is a selling point for me; I understand it won't be to everyone's taste, but for those similarly inclined it will be a fantastic fit.

Also, if you're looking for something like The Invisibles: The Role-Playing Game, this is as close as you're likely to find. Which is also a selling point for me.

The Lighthouse system, the engine of the game, is a fantastic rules-light system for which I can see near infinite applications. Like any rules-light system, it really requires that the playes and the GM have a strongly shared vision of what the game is uspposed to be. There isn't much in the way of rules to enforce genre or tone; that's left up to the people at the table to do for themselves.

My only real complaint, and the only reason this didn't get five stars, is that Kinsman really needs a line editor. It's clear he put a lot of work into this text, but it's also clear that it suffers from the author being too close to see some of his own mistakes.

So, yeah. Go buy this game. Hell, buy everythinf from Dancing Lights Press. It won't break your bank, and it will support an indie game designer who's clearly in this for the love of his hobby.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks, Lon!
Revelations in Cold Iron
Publisher: Dancing Lights Press
by Guy H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/23/2017 06:15:07

Berin Kinsman knocks it out of the park with "Revelation in Cold IRON", the first supplement for his Lighthouse RPG System. Revelation is a dark fantasy thriller, based on the concept that an Illuminst-esque conspiracy is manipulating themselves into absolute power using sorcery to overwrite the objective reality of the world with their own subjective reality. The setting? Our own world, ripped from today's headlines. The Cult of Moloch feeds off the pain and fear caused by the corruption they themselves sow, and only the Resistance can fight back before reality is completely overrwriten



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks, Guy!
Revelations in Cold Iron
Publisher: Dancing Lights Press
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/14/2017 19:11:10

I think this is fantastic. I'm a big fan of Berin's work and Dancing Lights Press products in general, and I didn't see this one coming (he's so busy doing background-work-type texts for DLP).

OK so the game is obviously inspired by political events of the past few years (especially the last two). If you're as frustrated as I have been watching the newsfeeds, you're looking for a game with which to vent your frustrations, and you like streamlined mechanics, check this one out.

Pros: The Lighthouse system is easy to use and intended to foster collaborative storytelling.There are shades of FATE with respect to character development and managing dice rolls. With this as a mechanical foundation, Revelations in Cold Iron presents a setting reminiscent of the older World of Darkness... except that the gritty badness kinda errily familiar --and current! I like the paranoia, near-hopelessness, and desperate feel. The bad guys are untouchable, and really bad. They'rein positions to offer themselves, as Chomsky put it, riches "beyond avarice". And they're ruthless. The good guys are pretty screwed, and there's a lot of variability built into the rules system so you can make archetypes rather than stereotypes (my least favourite part of the White Wolf games was that the PCs "types" were based on stereotypes). I also like the book's structure (a lot, but really tight structure is typical for DLP). The twist that makes Revelations in Cold Iron a game rather than retelling current events is that (subtle) magic is a thing, and the PCs can do something about the grim situations in which they find themselves. The types of magic are relatively easy to understand (harder than DnD, a lot easier than Mage or Ars Magica). (Thought: What if the game's premise is true and the game is a bit of magick developed just to distract us?)

Cons: I know limiting art in the books is a philosphical thing for DLP, but I like pictures in my books. That's a personal preference. A bigger con is that the book doesn't seem to have been edited carefully; I noticed a number of typos just skimming it the first time. I would have given 5 stars if the editing had been more careful. For content, inspiration, and style, it's an easy five stars. Having said that, if you tend toward the more conservative-by-American-standards end of the political spectrum, you may perceive this game to be an unfairly biased part of the liberal agenda and suspect that a recent US president commissioned it in another attempt to stifle your freedoms and take your guns. If that's the case, don't buy this game, reading it will only enrage you more. (Wait a minute, what if my thought experiment is true? What if the book is designed to distract less conservative gamers from actually getting involved and making a difference? What if the spell used provokes anger and a desire to shut it down in gamers who support the political status quo? OMG!! "They" know I'm reviewing it!! Crap! I don't know what I'm goi



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Revelations in Cold Iron
Publisher: Dancing Lights Press
by GYEONGWON J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/13/2017 10:39:57

I really recommend this if you are fan of Mage, Changeling. But most of all if you are an advocate of individual free will and you are one of those steller people who are willing to face and stand for inconvinient relative truth even under the yoke of seemingly convinient paradigm ruthlessly overriding every grain of feable human mind, you are in for a treat. Incredible first complete game using lighthouse system, rules are easy to pick up and it is versatile giving a chance for both GM and Players to blaze the trail and carve out a unexpected tale to create a drama for themselves. Become a member of Cold Iron, fight the oppressors and set things right!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Revelations in Cold Iron
Publisher: Dancing Lights Press
by Alex G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/12/2017 14:00:38

I had been waiting to see what this first game based on Dancing Lights Press' Lighthouse Roleplaying System would offer. The concept of a cultlike group taking over the world is very much like the Seers of the Throne from Mage: the Awakening, and the Cult of Moloch sounds like one of the Great Ministries, if Moloch replaced the Paternoster Great Ministry.

In contrast, Cold Iron, the group to which the protagonists belong, is a Tier Three conspiracy group straight out of Hunter: the Vigil, along with a choice of Endowments based on the imposition of logical fallacies on the minds of targets.

The setting is dark fantasy, though "dark comedy" would perhaps be a more apt description, because what humour there is, is very black indeed. The distinction between protagonists and antagonists is hideously blurred - both sides would make use of SJW groups, alt-right / gamergate / MRA trolls, right-wing radio hosts spouting tinfoil hat conspiracies, anti-vaxxers, flat Earthers, vegans, gun nuts, survivalists and hate groups to impose their reality.

This is a very modern roleplaying game, one very much of the year of its release, 2017: a game of social media revolutions; of trials by television and newspaper headline; of fake news and Newspeak, and outright propaganda masquerading as journalism; of oligarchs sitting off the coast of Corfu on their private yachts, controlling entire nations from an iPhone; where, when a mad, frothing politician rises to a position of immense power on some bizarre ticket like chemtrails or building a wall, nobody on either team is entirely sure whether it was their influence or the enemy's influence that got him into power - and where the point is entirely moot, since both sides would happily take advantage of the regime to their own ends.

One quibble - the headline "Gaslighting is magick." I've been a victim of gaslighting. It is one thing that personally detracts from the overall pleasure of this rulebook and setting. But that is a subjective, personal issue.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks, Alex! I understand your sensitivity to the way the term "gaslighting" was used. I kept taking it out and putting it back in, wondering if it was too dark or too on-the-nose. Ultimately I kept it because I thought it aligned with the in-game concept of subjecting people to subjective, fake realities, very much a tactic used by the Cult of Moloch.
Revelations in Cold Iron
Publisher: Dancing Lights Press
by Jay M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/11/2017 19:40:20

This is a setting about resistance to a Donald Trump-like dictator. That could work as a premise, but the implementation isn't particularly interesting, amusing, or even very coherent. The distinction between objective and subjective reality is crucial to the setting, but the author seems to believe that his favored political ideas are objectively true, which makes the entire foundation of the setting very wobbly. Not recommended.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review. Yes, the fictional setting where people use magick to fight a cult that has taken over the world is, in fact, a subjective reality based on my beliefs. You got the joke. I'm sorry you didn't like the joke. It is, admittedly, a little dry and not for all tastes. Humor is... subjective.
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