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Victorian Lost $8.99
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jason W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/20/2012 23:21:37

At first blush, Victorian Lost looks sharp and period topical, a quality White Wolf is well-known for in publishing and equally significant in an online book. The combinations of quaint and practical to set mood, the shadowy, running-away-from-ourselves side to only before imagined progress, steampunk and the blurring of boundaries between mystical understanding and scientific illuminism, the expressed themes of trapped in paradox between identical worlds while gambling on the shaping rules, social mores, or both, of each and conflicted - not conflict, but conflicted - rather as if the dark drama one sees can never be understood without first finding inner peace, all find congruent expression from the first pages onward.

The Victorian ambience of imperial progress for it's own sake as the temptation that pairs with raising social standards, the fears of avoiding blame for self-corruption standing in stark contrast to the seeming chaos of real predatory behavior, dark dread of the unfamiliar, aloof fascination with the unknown, have often served as the perfect setting for stories concerning themes of the conspiratorial engineering of power, abduction from one's indentured status under dubious circumstance only to be supplanted in unfamiliar situations and settings, the constant need to be learning lessons only the respectable will respect in kind, and the struggle to find an adequate place for self-definition. This also serves as an excellent venue for the creation of new and, primarily, transient Entitlements which can provide backstory and motivations for a Changling, or that work as replacing the classic adventures seeking their fortunes who met in a tavern with story-specific reasoning for Changlings working at cross-purposes to others or investigating the truth behind stories of others doing so. For Storytellers and Players interested in crossover stories involving Prometheans, Victorian Lost provides many obvious and more than a few subtle places to include such constructs, with the adjunct possibilities of confusing the real nature of these beings and their role machinations, their political affiliations and social motivations, and what purposes such may serve other than as examples of creation, whether that happens to be on the end of a leash, at behest of a lash, or beholden only to Providence, with similar seeming qualities of experience Changlings may be struggling to master.

With tinkerers, ogres, and a medley of reasons why the Lost of Victorian society tend to imprison themselves at Court and within polite society, along with the tensions of repression and oppression that result from a variety of attitudes this tends to create - stacking the deck in the house's favor, so to speak, a consistent "gothic" flavor for storytelling emerges. An oft overlooked obvious in role-playing settings is the nature of how other people, generally and in a kingdom sense, respond to heroics and foils, although this seems well-covered in descriptions of setting. In Victorian Lost, the atmosphere being detailed is one in which many people who would otherwise, owing to tradition, or to the rural circumstances of many people's ancestries, be attending to small matters and personal affairs, now live among teeming throngs, immersed in a society saturated with other people's dramas on public display, the need for understanding one's circumstances tends to govern politeness. Inasmuch as this makes time spent in Arcadia seem similar to fascination with the macabre, self-absorption or the peculiar kind of self-loathing involved in invention, and the alienation potential in a commercial empire largely justifying it's activities by claiming its crown, mystery stories and social engineering involving the use of ambiguity are regularly suggested themes.

The source materials included with Victorian Lost are rather extensive in the book itself: two detailed settings for use, and a full-length story for use in one's chronicles, all themed and ready to include. Full descriptions of the various characters involved are also written out. This book is dense and tightly written, especially recommended to those who love steampunk, haginslam undercity, and dark turn-of-the-century kinds of stories and storytelling.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Victorian Lost
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