I won't lie. I really, really like this book. I am reviewing the PDF at 167 pages.
Secrets of the Surface World is the guide for all characters really. There is a lot going on on the Earth without ever having to go in to it.
Chapter 1 covers Characters. Here we have a host of new archetypes, motivations and skills for your characters. The big add here is the inclusion of Martial Arts and Brawling skills. So now you can make your own "Kwai Chang Caine" character. Though for me the jewels are in the Talents. Here we have Magical Aptitude and Psychic Ability. Personally I think these should have been in the core book, BUT I do see why they are here. HEX is really more about science, or more often SCIENCE!, and magical powers don't really help that. But I am sorry I just love to see magic in my games. Don't worry, fans of Weird Science have plenty to look at here as well. There are more Resources as well. Flaws are also covered, but so are Severe Flaws. These are obviously worth much more. We are also given Mental Flaws. Plenty of Role-playing fun with these.
Chapter 2: Supernatural Powers is why I got this book to begin with! Yeah, I like a certain kind of game and this chapter turns HEX into that kind of game for me. The Supernatural powers are divided up into Psychic Abilities and Magic. The system is pretty straight forward to be honest. Psychic abilities are divided into various talents, each one must be purchased separately. Magic is a single talent, though there are different Traditions, and a skill. Spells and Rituals must be uncovered or found. Not a lot of magical traditions and spells are given, but there is enough for me to take it and run with it.
Chapter 3 Secret Societies continues where the HEX core left off. Everything from the Thule Society to the Mafia are covered here. Like the core some NPCs are also presented here. My favorites are Aleister Crowley and Edgar Cayce. It is a great contrast to see the two different supernatural styles together.
Chapter 4 The Surface World covers more parts of the world not touched on in the core book.
Chapter 5 T. F. Arkington's Lifestyle Emporium covers more gear. A lot more gear.
Chapter 6 Weird Science. I said there was going to be more for the fan of Weird Science and I meant it. Want to send giant Nazi mechs against your characters? Ok. We can do that now. Really.
Chapter 7 Vehicle Combat continues the material from the Core book. Though more detail is given. In truth you might not ever need this chapter since the core covers it so well, but it is nice to know it is here.
Finally we end with a sample adventure Prisoner of the Reich.
All in all a satisfying book. I can't help but think that some of this should have gone into the core book, but the magic stuff is so different than the rest thematically I see why it wasn't. I got this for the magic, so I am pleased with that.
[4 of 5 Stars!]