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Knights of Invasion • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2022 12:29:33
Knights vs aliens - a Mephisto review

Knights of Invasion

Two kingdoms share a volcanic island. The kingdom of Regen in the north has wood resources and good maritime trade relations; Stroming in the south has built up a small industry with its ore deposits. But relations between the two kingdoms are strained - partly because a political marriage has not come about. A tournament on the occasion of a birthday is supposed to calm down the tensions again (or secure one party's advantage). If that still sounds too straightforward for a Fate World of Adventure: At this point, the aliens come into play, whose invasion must be repelled...

Knights of Invasion follows the approach of many Fate worlds to combine two unusual components. Here it is knights and aliens. However, the book clearly defines itself as a one-shot (possibly even to be played at a convention). It offers several alternatives for the game master - why the atmosphere between the kingdoms is so bad, who the aliens are, and what they want. After the background and rules section, there are three scenario variants, each with a different premise and progression. Regarding mechanics, there are the usual minor adjustments to character creation, extras in the form of equipment or mounts, medieval siege equipment, and rules for jousting. The aliens can be created with a modular system using limitations, stunts and technology.

As a one-shot entry into Fate, Knights of Invasion is a fitting approach: it starts with the seemingly conventional medieval setting followed by a genre switch. The ideas and three scenarios offer plenty of starting points for fine-tuning. From my view, the setting lacks a clear sense of how the player characters are supposed to succeed in fighting back an advanced enemy realistically - but perhaps that is just not important for such a one-shot, which is better played cinematically. Knights of Invasion thus offers a fast-paced and potentially action-packed genre mix fitting to test Fate but is definitely not meant to support a long campaign.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Knights of Invasion • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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The Huntsmen Chronicle Anthology
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2022 12:20:07

Dark fairy tales - a Mephisto review

The Huntsmen Chronicle

The world of Changeling is a nightmarish world - that's the central motif of The Huntsmen Chronicle, the anthology for Changeling - The Lost. In one story, a couple of kids get involved with an older bully and then with a dangerous fairy creature. Then families are threatened by strange beings - or the protagonists try to win back their families. Finally, desperation drives some to madness and others toward suicide. The setting is sometimes our modern world, sometimes a detective noir story, and sometimes the world of French nobility before the Revolution. But one threat lurks behind all these stories: the huntsmen.

In 11 stories, the The Huntsmen Chronicle for Changeling - The Lost introduces various aspects of the game world. A central theme is the typical conflict when the changelings find their way back from the fairy world and discover how a so-called fetch has taken their place as a replacement. The resulting problems, in particular, are told very captivating from the different perspectives - and thus are anything but one-sided. The stories are dark, eerie to nightmarish, and sometimes cruel - but above all, very well-written. From my point of view, The Huntsmen Chronicle not only shows very impressively that the changelings of The Lost provide a much darker - and very fascinating - atmosphere compared to The Dreaming.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Huntsmen Chronicle Anthology
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Cthulhu Malbuch
Publisher: Pegasus Press
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2022 11:42:08
Das Grauen in Farbe - eine Mephisto Rezension

Cthulhu – Das Malbuch

Eigentlich war ich immer der Meinung, dass Malbücher etwas für Kinder sind – doch dank Cthulhu bin ich mir nun nicht mehr sicher. Das Malbuch zu Cthulhu ist genau das, was der Titel verspricht: Ein Buch mit Linienzeichnungen, die dazu einladen, mit dem Schreibgerät der Wahl koloriert zu werden. Die Motive sind von Geschichten von H. P. Lovecraft oder aus Cthulhu-Quellenbüchern inspiriert, und kurze Textzitate ordnen die Szene in den jeweiligen Kontext ein. Dabei gilt, dass viele Motive nicht nur aufgrund des Inhalts begrenzt für Kinder geeignet sind, sondern die Zeichnungen gegenüber dem klassischen Kindermalbuch auch teilweise recht filigran und komplex gestaltet sind.

Aus meiner Sicht sind schon die nicht kolorierten Zeichnungen hervorragend gelungen, und die 28 Szenen decken eine große Bandbreite ab – inklusiver echter Klassiker, wie die Yacht, die Cthulhu rammt oder Tiefe Wesen, die durch Innsmouth laufen.

Eigentlich ist Cthulhu – Das Malbuch ein Produkt, bei dem man sich fragt, wie man auf eine solche Idee kommen kann – doch wenn man die Zeichnungen von Andrey Fetisov sieht, dann muss man nicht der Aufforderung „Koloriere das kosmische Grauen“ folgen, um an diesem PWYW-Produkt Freude zu haben. Für Kinder ist dieses Buch allerdings sicherlich nicht zu empfehlen…

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Malbuch
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The Longest Night (A Jumpstart for World of Darkness: Ghost Hunters)
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/21/2022 13:26:01

Surviving the night in a haunted house - a Mephisto review

The Longest Night

An old house connected by sinister stories, a group of amateur ghost hunters who want to explore this place at night, and some dangerous hauntings that oppose them – these are the ingredients for The Longest Night.

Complementing the World of Darkness sourcebook and setting Ghost Hunters, The Longest Night is a fitting quick-start. The book assumes that players have no previous experience with the World of Darkness, and just three pages cover the necessary rules and some basics about wraiths. Further game mechanisms are explained in the appropriate scenes of the adventure. However, the central part of the book is the adventure itself, which should take one or two evenings to play through its three acts. The pre-generated characters are confronted with a haunted house, which provides the dangerous background for some complications when the players have to choose different sides and approaches in the final scenes. Along with the six ready-to-play characters, there are a few additional rules explanations for the specifics of the characters regarding merits and flaws as well as necromancy and other special abilities.

The Longest Night does an excellent job mixing the necessary rules' summary with a challenging setting, thus whetting the appetite for more. New players will have an easy introduction to the setting. Those already planning a Ghost Hunter chronicle can use the adventure as an intro. Thus, the quick-start provides an ideal starting point into the world of the ghost hunters of the World of Darkness.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Longest Night (A Jumpstart for World of Darkness: Ghost Hunters)
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Twilight: 2000 4th Edition Core Set
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/15/2022 13:44:13

Surviving after World War 3 - a Mephisto review

Twilight: 2000

An alternate history: While in the early 1990s the end of the Cold War and a new era of peace seem within reach, history suddenly takes an unexpected course, and on the threshold of the 21st century the world is in ruins. In 1992, a coup in the disintegrating Soviet Union changes the familiar course of history. When hardliners in Moscow come to power and decide to reabsorb the Baltic states, things escalate under U.S. President West. NATO and the Warsaw Pact clash in Europe, and the conflict escalates to the use of nuclear weapons - even though neither side launches its entire arsenal to completely destroy Earth. With the start of the new millennium, a NATO offensive is supposed to turn the tide finally. But the advance stalls, and the troops are stranded on their own in Poland....

While the first edition of Twilight: 2000 from 1984 projected a futuristic scenario, in the current fourth edition this dark future lies already long in the past from the player's perspective.

The basic setting assumes that the player characters are a squad of NATO soldiers and affiliated persons stranded on their own in ruined Poland. Alternatively, there is a setting taking place in Sweden but similar in terms of the initial situation. The central goal of the game depends on the players: Whether the player characters want to somehow get back home, for example, or simply build a safe haven in the chaos is up to the group.

Unlike other games of the genre, Twilight: 2000 presents a more realistic end-time scenario: there are no mutants and robots like in computer games like Fallout and Wasteland, and no other special powers. The player characters are confronted with much simpler, but thus no less haunting threats: the search for food and fuel, the confrontation with animals and scavengers, and also threats like cold, fire or radiation. Civilization has largely collapsed. Major cities have been razed to the ground, starvation and disease have killed large portions of the population that survived the fighting. Even though vehicles can run on alcohol instead of gasoline, food and fuel are scarce. This situation does not necessarily bring out the best in the survivors, especially when it comes to fighting over remaining resources. In areas such as Sweden and Poland, where the two sides of the conflict have clashed, the situation is particularly dire, and the remnants of troops are in some cases still carrying on the lost war. It is a depressingly dark and dangerous world that will challenge the player characters.

Character creation in Twilight: 2000 offers two options. The faster way offers nine archetypes ranging from Child and Civilian to Officer and Spook. Alternatively, there is the possibility to give the characters a background story by rolling dice with the Life Path System and thus develop the characters step by step. Characters are defined by attributes and skills, which are measured on a scale of A to D. There are specializations to the skills. Still, for the characters, the Big Dream and the moral code are also essential aspects - even if they are more relevant for background and motivation than for game statistics.

The dice system is based on rolling one attribute and one skill together for each test. The values from A to D indicate the dice type: A is a d12, while D is a d6. The dice are checked individually, and a result of 6+ is a success. Results of 10+ even count as two successes. Rolled 1s have no effect at first, but a roll can be forced, and then each 1 means damage or stress.

A large part of the rules revolves around combat, which should ideally be fought on tactical battle maps, which are included in the set. Therefore, the combat rules include effects of terrain, cover, barriers, blast radii, chemical weapons, etc. Characters cannot take much damage before they are incapacitated, however. In addition, if injuries are severe enough, critical wounds are the result, which can mean nasty side effects up to instant death.

As expected for a game with a military background, Twilight: 2000 offers a comprehensive arsenal of weapons from knives to battle tanks for all of the primary armies relevant in the setting (USA, Sweden, Poland and Soviet Union), and it is not at all unlikely that a group of player characters will have an armored vehicle or even tank. While this may make survival easier, obtaining fuel and ammunition and maintenance pose unique problems. And, of course, such a vehicle can become a target for other groups.

Another aspect highlighted by the rules is traveling and exploring the environment, as well as building a base. Here, you can find elements from other Fria Ligan games. Exploring the hex map at the initiative of the players is based on Forbidden Lands and deals with practical aspects such as terrain, weather, loot, and procuring food. If players prefer to built a base rather than being constantly on the move, this base can be upgraded - similar to Vaesen - with various features that provide advantages in the game (but may also attract opponents).

While rules and character creation make up the Player's Manual, the Referee's Manual provides the history and background for World War 3. The focus is on the main scenarios of Poland and Sweden and only roughly touches on the rest of the world. The setting focuses on military operations, troops and unit strengths, and the strategic situation. After a chapter on game-playing, the book presents an arsenal of encounters that can also be randomly drawn with appropriate playing cards. This approach also allows solo play, which is already explained as an option in the manual. These random encounters offer small hooks and are easy to use.

Finally, after introducing the various power groups and their goals, several elaborate scenario locations present a location and its inhabitants more comprehensively with relevant conflicts and events to draw the player characters into the plot. There is a former prison where a new religious community has come together; there is an occupied city where a colonel has built the illusion of the American homeland; and there is a cadet school from which children continue to fight the war. These scenarios perfectly set the stage for the game's moral conflicts and gray areas - and will likely soon confront players with tough decisions.

In addition to the rulebooks, the Core Set includes handouts of military documents, overview maps, battle maps, markers, cards for initiative and encounters. In the digital version, however, this means that you have to print them out yourself, so for fans of such game material, the printed edition is undoubtedly the better option.

In the end, it feels difficult to rate Twilight: 2000. The prejudice that I was dealing with an outdated and militaristic setting was invalidated by the way the game world is presented. Of course, the player characters are skilled in combat and ideally have access to an arsenal of cutting-edge weapons - but this hardware and skills can only solve the game's problems and conflicts to a limited extent. And the military terminologies and lists of troop units are sometimes exhausting to read. The war is lost for all sides, and even when it comes to fighting battles against marauders and other enemies, the human aspects of the war are in the foreground, especially in the scenario locations: the struggle for survival, the search for meaning and perspective, and the spark of hope. Also, the freedom for player characters to choose to explore the environment and pursue the leads that interest them, or alternatively trying to build and hold a base, gives players, in particular, an extreme amount of freedom in an open world. This approach, where the players drive the game, is quite successful. Here, the player characters can build something - but how much that will ultimately bring in the destroyed world remains questionable. And that's the downside: the post-WW3 world is a depressing place, and the chance that things will get better later or somewhere else is missing. This point can also definitely demotivate players.

In terms of mechanics, the system of four levels of values linked to different dice is personally not my cup of tea, even if the need to force rolls more often adds a coherent and challenging element to the game. After all, even if a failure only damages equipment, that may be a hard blow in the world of Twilight: 2000.

For those who aren't scared off by the depressing post doomsday setting and are looking for a challenge in a truly open world in form of the dangers of the post-World War 3 world, Twilight: 2000 offers an immersive setting whose strength is shown in the scenario locations that confront the player characters with moral questions. In this respect, the game provides excellent potential for impressive stories.

It is further noteworthy that Fria Ligan has opened Twilight: 2000 to the Free League Workshop, which allows fans to publish their own products on DriveThruRPG, leading to a growing number of various unofficial expansions.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Twilight: 2000 4th Edition Core Set
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Demon: Interface
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/15/2022 13:01:30

Fighting the God-machine - a Mephisto review

Demon: Interface

The setting of Demon: The Descent plays a unique role in the 2nd edition of the Chronicles of Darkness, focusing on demons and the mysterious God-Machine. Interface offers an introduction to this game world through eight short stories that present the strange world of demons. The title of the system, Demons, probably conjures up a wrong image, as the setting is characterized less by religious mysticism than by a high-tech agent setting. The fallen angels of the God-Machine are futuristic robotic creatures waging a secret battle against the hidden powers controling the world in the background.

Even though this secret struggle characterizes the stories, they cover different facets. In one story, it's a matter of a demon continuing to protect a person who should have died according to the God-Machine's will. Another story revolves around camouflaging the identity of a demon. The central theme, however, is always how the demons interact with humans.

The special feature of this anthology volume, in contrast to the other game world anthologies, is that in addition to the stories themselves, each one is followed by a short chapter describing characters, phenomena, and the like from the game's point of view, so that elements from the stories are actually described in game terms and mechanics.

Interface provides intriguing insights into the unusual world of darkness inhabited by demons. The interpretation of demons as technical servant beings of the so-called God-Machine is a unique approach. This anthology offers a suitable introduction to get the first glimpse into this unusual game world, its genre and its atmosphere - even if, of course, these short stories do not explain the secrets surrounding the God-Machine.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Demon: Interface
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Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of the Basilisk
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/15/2022 11:42:42

Dangerous ideas - a Mephisto review

The Rise of the Basilisk

Once again, the player characters in Fate of Cthulhu have to travel back in time and save the world. This time the Basilisk threatens humankind, but it is not the well-known mythical creature: The Basilisk is an infectious idea or a way of thinking that endangers humanity. Anyone who comes into contact with this idea is in danger of becoming infected with it and spreading it further. At first, the new way of looking at things seems to be quite positive. It allows surprising insights because "Godthink", as the approach is called, pushes humanity forward in many aspects before it triggers the inevitable catastrophe.

The Rise of the Basilisk does not confront the player characters with a classic Great Old One but uses an opponent that fits very well to the dark powers in the Cthulhu universe. Here, the author takes the approach of combining the idea of a mysterious threat with modern technology and does not shy away from linking it to real-world activities around Google and more. Players are thus confronted with an out-of-control technological development that must be stopped. And this enemy knows how to use every trick in the book.

Even though this campaign for once does not revolve around a Great Old One or other classic Cthulhu aspects, the idea of the threat and the combination with current technical trends, which are then projected into the future, is excitingly envisioned. If you are looking for a technological apocalypse in which a networked world and the merging of man and machine are the main threat, you will find the right campaign here. From my point of view, the unusual approach that deviates from the "usual suspects" is the strength of this book.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of the Basilisk
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Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of The Quiet
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/15/2022 11:41:11

Not the usual Great Old Ones - a Mephisto review

The Rise of the Quiet

After the Fate of Cthulhu series already allowed the player characters to stop various Great Old Ones and their rise with time travel to save the world, The Rise of the Quiet confronts them with a subtle but no less terrifying threat. It starts seemingly harmless. Some people have blackouts and behave a bit strangely afterward. Although it is not clear at first whether this is a psychological phenomenon or a disease, many of these people suddenly show unusually altruistic behavior. Therefore, some cults consider this effect to be an improvement of humanity. This condition, called Quiet, also seems to be contagious. However, the future from which the player characters start shows the darker side of this development and how it spells the end of humanity.

The Rise of the Quiet takes a distinctly different path than the other books in the series. It does without a supernatural explanation of the phenomena - although the more "realistic" cause of the catastrophe is also quite unusual. More cannot be said about the background to avoid giving away some surprises, but The Rise of the Quiet is, in my view, a fascinating threat that is suitable if players do not necessarily want to combine time travel with the Great Old Ones, but are looking for a more technically realistic scenario (at least on the surface). From my point of view, The Rise of the Quiet is a very successful title of the series, even if - or perhaps because - the usual Cthulhu themes are abandoned here.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of The Quiet
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The Three Rocketeers • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/15/2022 11:38:48

All for one, and one for all? - a Mephisto review

Three Rocketeers

The title of this Fate world already reveals what this scenario is about: the reference to the Rocketeers and the Three Musketeers point precisely to the two elements combined here. This setting represents a world in which the stories about the Three Musketeers are transferred to a science fiction setting. The player characters belong to the Rocketeers, who protect the throne of Gallia as an elite unit in the service of their queen. Gallia here is a star-spanning empire reminiscent of France, and of course, there is also a counterpart for England, the Holy Roman Empire and Spain. As you might expect, the Church plays a significant role here as well.

If the player characters do not want to immediately play the interpretations of the four protagonists of the novel by Dumas, they can start with the simple character creation. The peculiarity of this Fate system is that it drops all skills, and thus aspects play a much greater role. The aspects - if they fit - automatically give bonuses to the rolls, just as skills would otherwise do. Six aspects describe the characters, providing a picture of what kind of Rocketeers they are, what their problems are, their approach to sword fighting, and their families. In addition, there are free aspects. Also, the stunts are redefined as they are not coupled with skills and are more focused on the four approaches. In addition, the setting is described in general. Besides the stellar kingdoms and their intrigues, there is also a look at the technology, focusing on rocket packs and energy blades. Rules-wise, a system can be used to define conspiracies as the primary opponents of the player characters. Finally, a pre-written adventure puts the player characters on the trail of an intrigue against their queen.

Three Rocketeers uses the idea of combining a familiar setting with a different genre. The idea of moving the adventures of the three musketeers into the future is presented quite coherently. The corresponding rules, which simplify the game and thus make it faster and more dynamic, also fit the setting. However, despite these good ideas and modifications, I do not think this game world will captivate players for long.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Three Rocketeers • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Good Neighbors • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/19/2021 11:02:48
Trouble with the new neighbors - a Mephisto review

Good neighbors The eponymous good neighbors of this Fate World of Adventure are fairy creatures that coexist with humans in the small town of Still Hollow. However, the town also has new neighbors, namely the Industry, a large corporate group that wants to expand its operations here. Some welcome Industry's arrival as a new source to bring life back to the town, but others – including the player characters – are critical of its appearance and oppose it.

The peculiarity in this game is that the players take on two characters each: a human and a fairy. However, these characters are not mixed. Instead, each story consists of alternating two phases in which either the human characters or the fairy creatures are played together. Even though both sides are working on the same goals, they operate independently at first. Thus, character creation also uses its unique approach, as aspects are assigned values instead of the usual skills, and even potential stunts are always tied to these aspects. The respective aspects also differ between humans and fairy creatures in the selection.

Another rules approach is the so-called reaction tree, which can be used to derive the ever-increasing counteractions of the Industry, escalating from harmless PR work to targeted assassination of player characters. For each of these possible reactions in the pyramid-like tree, game masters will find hints and starting points for linking them in the game world. Accordingly, the book also provides locations, characters, and other starting points for depicting Still Hollow. Here the book deliberately avoids a prefabricated adventure, but these starting points and the reaction tree gives the game master the perfect tools to design his individual campaign and find out whether the player characters succeed in stopping the Industry.

Good neighbors offers an exciting setting and, above all, a compelling game mechanism by playing two characters. Moreover, the simple yet elegant rules of combining aspects and game values and tying them to stunts lend themselves well to a narrative campaign. With the game material, it's easy to put together such a campaign on your own with relative ease, so Good neighbors is actually less suited as a one-shot and more inviting to involve players in a campaign. If you find the theme of fairy creatures and humans against a dangerous corporation exciting, you should definitely check out Good neighbors.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Good Neighbors • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of Yog-Sothoth
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/19/2021 11:00:36
Every cloud has a silver lining? - a Mephisto review

The Rise of Yog-Sothoth

The fight against the Great Old Ones in Fate of Cthulhu goes into another round – this time, it's about Yog-Sothoth. The visible effect of this apocalypse is that a psychic gray cloud forms over the victims' heads, taking away all hope. Once again, the player characters must travel back in the timeline to fight the problem at its root...

The Rise of Yog-Sothoth directly describes itself as the “silly” scenario of the series, which already starts with the symptom of this apocalypse. It then culminates in the background with a bizarre interaction of Yog-Sothoth, the characters' time travels, and unexpected side effects. And so, the player characters are thrown into a particularly bizarre mission that plays with some time travel/parallel world tropes, making it much more chaotic than the other adventures.

The Rise of Yog-Sothoth is the most unusual scenario in the series so far, which does not take itself or its themes entirely seriously. With the suitable gaming group, this can provide a bit of a change from the other hard world-saving daily grind. Still, player that prefer their Cthulhu apocalypse served up serious and gritty rather than chaotic and pulpy are probably better off skipping this rise of a Great Old One.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of Yog-Sothoth
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Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of Yig
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/19/2021 10:58:31
The lesser evil? - a Mephisto review

The Rise of Yig

Commonly, the snake-like Yig appears to be one of the more harmless Great Old Ones, but with The Rise of Yig, he presents himself as a new challenge for Fate of Cthulhu players. On the surface, player characters must travel back in time to stop cults, secure relics, and develop an antidote to Yig's poison – but the story offers an exciting complication that makes the mission much more “interesting.”

At first glance, the fight against Yig and the serpent folk offers players a straightforward scenario. Still, it contains a complicating aspect that challenges players to make the right decisions – and shows that the fight against Yig is also thrilling. This adventure provides further good game material for the battle against the Great Old Ones for Fate of Cthulhu players.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of Yig
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The Firestorm Chronicle Anthology
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/19/2021 10:57:17
From monster to humanity - a Mephisto review

The Firestorm Chronicle

The Firestorm Chronicle focuses on the Prometheans, those creatures from the role-playing game of the same name that were created and animated by humans like Frankenstein's monster. The first of the ten stories still revolves around creating such a being from the point of view of humans. The other stories in the anthology volume take the perspective of the Prometheans and address their central theme, the path to humanity. The Prometheans thus presented cover a broad spectrum – from the merciless cartel killer to the cautious casual laborer. However, the theme is always how these beings relate to their freedom, their origins and past, humanity, and their own quest for humanity. Thus, the inner action of the characters – their thoughts, fears, hopes – is usually more important than the outer action, which only serves as a catalyst. Therefore, The Firestorm Chronicle turns out much quieter than the other anthology volumes, but this fits the theme perfectly. Since the individual stories always elicit new aspects of the theme and are generally excitingly written, The Firestorm Chronicle is not only interesting for Promethean players, but can also definitely arouse interest playing the game.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Firestorm Chronicle Anthology
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The God-Machine Chronicle Anthology
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/19/2021 10:55:19

# The inner secrets of the World of Darknes - a Mephisto review

The God-Machine Chronicle

In the first rule book of the Chronicles of Darkness, the so-called God-Machine was hinted at in a short story. Except for this single reference, however, this seemingly larger background of the game remained only a small fragment in the mysteries of the new World of Darkness. However, with the second edition of the Chronicles of Darkness, the God-Machine has become more central, and thus the title of the associated anthology volume.

Accordingly, the book begins with the story Voice of the Angel, which tells an origin story of the world from an entirely different point of view. The humans were the servants of another species, who, in turn, were closer to the God-Machine that created the world. Humanity eventually rebelled against their masters and destroyed them. The few remaining specimens of this ancient race who swore revenge on humankind have left their dark mark on history.

Furthermore, like Voice of the Angel, some of the other stories in this anthology originally came from sourcebooks. While some of these short stories do hint at the God-Machine theme, not all of them revolve around it. The God-Machine remains mysterious, seeming to be the machine-like inner mechanics by which the world ticks and that tolerates no deviation of its cogs. Other stories revolve around how people are confronted with the supernatural phenomena of the Chronicles of Darkness. Sometimes, a policewoman's sister stumbles into her monster-hunting activities; sometimes, a man learns the secret of a dying street; sometimes, someone fathoms the true gist of some of his uncle's scary stories.

The stories are very well-written, and what they have in common is that they eschew the major supernatural groups of the Chronicles of Darkness – vampires, werewolves, mages, etc. – for a very personal, mysterious, and sometimes somewhat bizarre horror themes. The topic of the name-giving God-Machine is touched upon and expanded slightly with a few stories. However, the topic's mysterious aura remains – and the God-Machine is neither explained nor necessarily made the central pivoting point of the canonical Chronicles of Darkness.

As for the stories, they are worth reading even without the background of the Chronicles of Darkness. Above all, they can serve well as a source of inspiration for both concrete adventures and atmosphere and themes of a game in the new World of Darkness.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The God-Machine Chronicle Anthology
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Weird World News • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/13/2021 06:15:33

In Scooby-Doo's footsteps - a Mephisto review

Weird World News

The cover of Weird World News already clearly shows what the inspiration for this Fate World of Adventure was. Weird World News is set in a world where in the '60s and '70s, it became fashionable for groups of young people to chase down sightings of monsters - which usually turned out to be just people in disguise. A continuation of this tradition still exists in the form of newspapers that follow up on any story, no matter how bizarre. In this game, the player characters are members of one news crew investigating such eerie sightings. The fact that the crew consists of young people, each of whom has a role between leader, looker, etc., who travel around together with a mascot and a minibus, clearly shows that Scooby-Doo and other series inspired the roleplaying game. The game does not make any secret of this but references this template's various series and typical patterns and approaches in detail.

For character creation, the player characters are divided into several archetypes. For example, the leader is good at anything, or the looker is particularly stylish - or even the looney who is a bit odd. Instead of the usual skill set, Weird World News used only four skills. Instead of stress and consequences, this setting uses conditions to keep the game simple. Part of the rules revolves around rolling out monsters, locations, and characters and describing the typical structure of such a roleplaying episode. A ready-to-play adventure and some sample monsters round out the book.

Weird World News shows a lot of love for the genre, and those who like series like Scooby-Doo and are looking for a simple, quick roleplaying game will do well with Weird World News. However, even though the game is presented with a lot of attention to detail, it's not my cup of tea and therefore did not convince me personally - not because it's not well done, but because I've never been a fan of the series.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Weird World News • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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