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Dark Aeons: The Atlantean Chronicles
$29.99 $15.98
Publisher: Stardust Publications
by Matt W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2013 14:53:24

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the book by Stardust and asked if I would like to write a review.

When I read through Dark Aeons, I kept going back to a feeling of overload. Pitched to me as a fun diceless Eldritch Horror type game, it does include that, but the problem is this book keeps adding layers and layers to the premise until you cannot see the bottom.

There are ancient civilizations, ancient Atlantis, and secret conspiracies of sorcerors? Great!

But then there are also no less than four different flavors of vampire, all with their own internal politics and factions. OK.

And it's set in an alternative timeline that features megacorporations, Shadowrun style cyberspace and virtual reality, and a post-nuclear terrorism America.

Oh, and there are mutants, psychics, and alchemically created immortal warriors. Got that?

And then we go back to talk about the history of all the different Atlantean and post-Atlantean houses and families.

By the time I was 40 pages in, my head was spinning, and when I finally reached character creation, I felt like I needed Cliffs notes to keep track of everything, and I would run into mentions of a corporation, house, society, or faction that frequently made me flip back to try and figure out who was related to what.

I realize that Stardust is an independent publisher, and as I mentioned, there are a lot of fun ideas in here. I think this is simply a case of trying to jam too many concepts into one core book. I also appreciate that they include rules for tabletop, LARP, and even converting the playing card based "Center Stage" mechanics to use dice for those who are more comfortable with rolling for challenges instead of taking draws.

If you're a GM considering this system, I think it's worth looking the book over, but perhaps consider taking pieces of the setting rather than trying to swallow the entire thing in one bite. Using the rules and some of the historical information in the book, a campaign pitting agents of the hidden Atlantean empire against, say, explorers sponsored by a dark sorcerer who are trying to unearth Abyssal ruins from the Antarctic could be very fun. You could take the virtual reality environment and run a great "Cthulutech"-esque mashup of eldritch horror, too.

I'd treat DA as a toolbox. Pull the elements you want out, make good use of them, and don't worry about overcomplicating things for the players.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
At the time that Dark Aeons was being produced, we as a company were not certain if we had the funds to get out any supplemental core books for the game, so the decision was made to take all of the materials that we had on hand and put them into one core book rather than a bunch of splat books. The primary protagonists of Dark Aeons: The Atlantean Chronicles are the descendants of the survivors of Atlantis, everything else are add on options to the setting world.
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Dark Aeons: The Atlantean Chronicles
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