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Book of the Manor
Publisher: Chaosium
by Kyle T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/03/2021 14:25:11

A very useful collection of options for helping players distinguish their Manor. It's superseded by Book of the Estate but still perfectly usable in its own right if you don't want to get the other book.

Some options for manorial improvement have been no-brainers; in my group makes a point to get an apiary because its benefits are obvious and apart from the costs and risks of construction has no real downside.

The expanded harvest system works well and gives a considerable number of events to alter a character's adventuring year, and it's given lots of unexpected turns to my players as their choices and the world around them have given them good and bad results accordingly.

If you don't already have Book of the Estate or don't want to get it for one reason or another then this is a good purchase.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of the Manor
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#iHunt: The RPG
Publisher: Machine Age Productions
by Kyle T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/03/2021 13:56:12

The game is mechanically Fate, so if you're already familiar with the Fate system it has all the good and bad associated with that. I like the Imperil mechanic and fully intend to use it in other games, but the real strengths (and weaknesses) of the book are in its setting and portrayal.

Authorial style sometimes interfered with engaging me in the setting. The writing outside of mechanics explanations (which is dry and technical as expected) is a kind of vulgar BuffySpeak, like a mixture of the writing in the Buffy Cinematic Unisystem Core and Vincent Baker in kill puppies for satan. It works best when it leans closer to the latter than to the former, most often in the later sections of the game and those that speak about GMing and tabletop RPG philosophy. Earlier chapters lean more towards the BuffySpeak and were a bit embarrassing to read. Sometimes this bleeds into mechanical choices like renaming the Fate milestones "Selfies" with categories like "Big Mood." It's a bit cringe.

The most interesting parts are the least developed - The #iHunt app and its origins, other hunting organizations, San Jenaro as a city, and some of the sample monsters all show a lot of promise and innovation on the standard urban fantasy monster groups, and I especially liked the Van Helsings as privileged trust fund kids who don't get the same struggle #iHunters go through. I want to see more of this, and in this regard I think Fate and its demand for group-defined and collaborated settings are a bad choice. I want more of the contents of Hill's brain here, not a prompt, and not in the novels. A full supplement for San Jenaro would be excellent.

The sections on poverty work well as descriptions of poverty in the US generally but could use more direct information on how to integrate these elements at the table within the chapters themselves, perhaps as sample Aspects and Consquences and Advantages. My chief concern is that it would be easy to ignore them in the way groups generally ignored Blood Pool in Vampire The Masquerade: Fun to focus on occasionally but generally ignored and assumed as a framing device for the action.

Graphic design works well for infographics like describing the character sheet and for artwork of the advertising used by the app but occasionally interferes with the otherwise-traditional two-column format of the book by excessive use of bolding on pages that draw the eye away from the rest of the text.

Overall I think it's an interesting premise and spin on monster-hunting and urban fantasy but is not yet distinguishing itself much on a mechanical or setting level. With either a more focused system than Fate or a willingness to dig into the setting's conceit and provide more detail I think it could be excellent, but right now I'll just be harvesting bits and pieces for other games.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
#iHunt: The RPG
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