Please note, this review was originally published on www.thepathfinderchronicles.com. I was provided a complimentary pdf copy of the book to review by the Publisher.
A second review on a Rite Publishing product for the week. It is the review I have most been looking forward to so there was the chance that it could disappoint me horridly. I pay close attention to Rite's publishing schedule and I had my eye on this little number because it offered two things that interest me. First, it is the FATE system that powers this game, and all I knew about the game was that it largely has the players start as amnesiacs.
Let me address the amnesiac issue first. This interests me because as far as RPG's go one of the biggest tropes you can find is the amnesiac. It is normally the sign of a lazy GM who just cannot be bothered working up a reasonable backstory for their players. On reading the first couple of pages of this book I realise that this book does start out with the amnesia trope immediately. No apologies for its presence so it looks like I will have to read the full book to find the whys and wherefore a of this. I am lead to believe that the players actually start with a blank character sheet too! What madness is this?
This is definitely FATE but not exactly as I know it which is through FATE Core. There are minor variations to the Core rules but there is little to suggest that you cannot adapt this to the Core book and when I run it that is exactly what I will be doing. This book is a weird mix between module and full game system. Certainly all the rules are here should you want to run this as an ongoing setting although I will mention that the advancement rules are very light on and seemingly added as an afterthought.
So, to the module itself. What is it about? Well, it is about a group of characters that wake up in a room in a Victorian England style setting and soon realise that none of you remember who they are. The rest of the module is all about finding the truth of what has happened to the characters and why. It is called the Demolished Ones in part because the players have all had their memories wiped. Their sense of self demolished. The module traces their discovery of themselves and discoveries of secrets, in part. To protect the module I can not really go too much more into the story of the module and In fact I have said all I will about the actual content. This game really relies on the players not knowing anything about what is going on in the city.
So how can you tell if you will like this module? Let me say that if you like movies like The Matrix, Dark City, Sixth Sense, Fight Club and the twists that happen in them then you will love this game. The style of this module is one that builds the players up from the initial scene and then at the end of the first Act changes things up. The whole game the players will be investigating and seeking to keep ahead of the game to find out that next snippet of information because in this game, like no other, truth is power.
As a GM I read this book and went from intrigued, to impressed, to confused, to in awe and then finally a mixture of all of these with a healthy dose of shock. This module is exceptionally well written, well presented and very well thought out. Throughout the module there are sidebars that contain stats for important NPCs and other important information for the module at that point in time. I became a little bewildered when in Chapter 4 they repeated all this information again but then I thought it was a great idea. In essence you can just use what is near the bits in the module or if you have it in PDF you could print out the section of all the stats you need through the whole game and beyond.
What else can I tell you about this? Well I can tell you that there has been only one other module/game that has had me this impressed. As I was reading this it just built this feeling in me as I was reading it. A feeling like you are touching greatness of some form. I have not seen the build up to a product from Rite Publishing before like it has been with this. For example, I have for the past couple of weeks had a purpose made Demolished Ones background wallpaper on my mac and there have been a lot of updates along the way. It was so worth them taking this route as they have here one of the finest role playing products I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
I will answer one criticism that was levelled at this game and that is it was annoying how they had to buy new dice for this game. Well, I am here to tell you that you don't have to. As long as you have d6 you can play this game. The Fudge dice that they talk about are dice that contain 2 + symbols, 2 - symbols and 2 blank faces. If you are not keen to pick this module up because you have to pick up new dice get it anyway and use your d6 so that 1 or 2 stand for a -, 3 or 4 are the blank sides and 5 or 6 are treated as the + symbols.
As the GM, right up to the final pages of the module and into Chapter 4 I was still having my mind reel at some of this information. I am telling you right now that if you are a FATE GM you must get this game. If you have not got FATE Core, get it from Evil Hat Productions (it is pay what you want) and then buy this. NOW. If you are in Gencon, seek the book out. It is being released there. I think again that this is something I want to have a physical copy of and it is the game that I will be introducing to my in person players.
So I have no hesitation. This book is brilliant. The content, fantastic. The game is just so good that you must have it. I give five out of five amnesiacs for this Rite Publishing gem and I seriously suggest you buy it. What are you doing still reading? Get out there and buy it!
[5 of 5 Stars!]