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The Dracula Dossier: Director's Handbook
by Lucas F d. O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/22/2017 13:07:41

Have only started exploring it as I decided to first read Dracula Unredacted. From what I gather about the Director's Handbook, it will be excellent. Cannot wait to run this game with my group.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Dracula Dossier: Director's Handbook
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The Dracula Dossier: Dracula Unredacted
by Lucas F d. O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/22/2017 13:05:41

Still reading it. Never finished the original version, but this one has captivated me. It will be a strong resource when my group plays the Dracula Dossier Campaign. Cannot wait for my players to read it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Dracula Dossier: Dracula Unredacted
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Night's Black Agents
by Lucas F d. O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/22/2017 13:03:43

Amazing book. I am not much into the Gumshoe System (though I recognize its strengths), but the campaign framework is one of the best things I have ever found in 25 years as a GM.

Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Night's Black Agents
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Trail of Cthulhu: The Dying of St Margaret's
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/19/2017 22:05:13

I made some modifications and ran this scenario as a mission for my Warhammer: 40,000 Dark Heresy group and it was a success. Overall this is a great short game scenario that captures an atmosphere of suspense and mystery. I think that the author did a good job of creating something where the tension slowly ratchets up as the players struggle to find the real evil plaguing the school. Feel free to check out my long-running Dark Heresy campaign here on Obsidian Portal: https://faith-and-betrayal.obsidianportal.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: The Dying of St Margaret's
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Hillfolk
by Giles R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/18/2017 02:37:48

Hillfolk uses an innovative ruleset to place social interactions between characters at the heart of the game. It's aim is to make an RPG play more like one of the blockbuster TV series we get these days.

The story will be largely player led, with the GM almost on an equal footing as the players in terms of input.

The rules for physical confrontations are quite light, good if you want to focus on the drama played out by the characters. If not you could easly replace them with your favourite rule system for more crunch. I kept thinking this would be a perfect system for a Runequest campaign where all the players were members of the same tribe.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hillfolk
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#Feminism preview
by Randy L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2017 22:53:44

This is a phenominal collection on a bunch of different dimensions! There is a diverse array of games that do a wonderful job of exploring myriad aspects of feminism; they range in tone from silly to serious but all are well crafted and effective at approaching the relevant issues. The visual design / layout is also top notch!

If you're thinking about getting into larp-writing, this is also a great way to quick view a bunch of excellent games and see a diversity of larp mechanics.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#Feminism preview
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#Feminism preview
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2017 17:23:53
Feminism contains games that have changed my perceotions, and made me a better person. I've played several of these games.

I feel I should mention my own demographics: 30ish, white, male, cis, straight. I play life on the easiest difficulty setting.

Shoutdown to Launch. This game focused on workplace sexism. I played in the group who are shouted over, denigrated, and whose ideas are stolen. The degree of discomfort on both sides was really intense. Jason Morningstar was at the table, and halfway through started repeating what I said almost verbatim -- speaking over me as I spoke.

This was fantastic. During the debrief, I came to terms with some of the discomfort, realizing some events in my own office environment where gendered interruptions occur -- and the ways in which I allow it and aid it. That is, playing shoutdown did exactly what I wanted: expanded my own perspective to make me more aware of ways I have failed in my own feminism.

We also played "So, mom, I made a porno". We had five players, and I was the sex and porn positive Aunt. While most of this was comfortable ground for me, the character's arguments include using sex for advancement. I struggled with this, trying to embody that using every tool available certainly makes sense, especially if the deck is stacked against you.

As I very much want to believe in a meritocracy, this was really hard for me! Coming to terms with that involved coming to terms -- again -- with life's fundamental unfairness. The play in this was much safer ground than many larps, and the shame coming from the grandmother was tempered with love for her seemingly wayward granddaughter.

The intergenerational views of feminism worked very well. The daughter and sister's feminism were still being formed, and at some point I ad libbed that the grandmother was on the pill for 30 years, making her face a degree of hypocrisy in her own views on sex.

These games were absolutely fantastic. Personally, these made me wrestle with issues that I can normally avoid. They make me a better person.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
13th Age: The Strangling Sea
by heechan k. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/27/2017 00:17:22

엘도란의비밀에 비해서는 퀄리티는 좀 떨어지는듯..저해초더미섬에서의 모험이 특이하긴 한데 굳이 살필요는 없을거같다.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
13th Age: The Strangling Sea
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Candles, Clay & Dancing Shoes
by heechan k. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/27/2017 00:14:01

내용이 너무적어. 진짜 촛불 찰흙덩이, 춤추는 신발 저게다다 -ㅅ-;;;;; 별내용도없어 저아이템별로 이러이러한일에 얽혔을수도 있다라고 몇가지 소문이나 후크같은거 늘어놓은거뿐이야...이거 돈주고 사긴 아깝



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Candles, Clay & Dancing Shoes
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Esoterrorists: The Love of Money
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/17/2017 10:30:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive adventure for The Esoterrorists clocks in at 111 pages, 107 if you take away editorial, etc.

This review is based on the print copy of the module. I do not have access to the electronic version.

Okay, so the first thing you have to know about this massive adventure would be that it is pretty hard to integrate into an ongoing campaign, working best if you have a couple of months to set up the proceedings. Otherwise, it may make sense to play this as a one-shot with the supplied pregenerated characters - 6 of these are provided, with detailed motivations and notes for the players to establish their relationship to their team-mates and the NPCs featured herein, in particular a specific one, but more on that later.

For the GM's convenience, we actually get a handy table that sums up team-skills by category, providing all you need to know on one page - really comfortable and nice to have! It should also be noted that this module is really great when it comes to hand-outs - no less than 12 have been provided, ranging from photographs to strange scribbling, puzzle clues and images of ODEs, I was positively surprised by the amount of neat supplemental material featured here - including brief suspect profiles etc.

Speaking of ODEs - the module does feature a new ODE, the so-called spectrosite and provides a full write-up with stats, limitations, theories, etc. Genre-wise, its hould be noted that this is an adventure for SMART players - it has two rather unforgiving bottlenecks and if you're new to investigative roleplaying, you may want to elect for something easier. That being said, this is a nice challenge for those of us who enjoy challenging modules that require some brainpower to solve. It should be noted that this module is not particularly gory or combat-centric, being more about psychological horror and personal tragedy.

All right, and this is about as far as I can go without going into serious SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right. Psychological breakdowns are responsible for most OV-agents being retired. When John Sheldon and his sister were recruited into the OV, things went well for a while - John was brilliant and he championed the operation that gives this module its name: Operation 610, after Timothy 6: 10 - "For the Love of Money is the Root of All Evil." - he figured he had found a way to deal a crippling blow to Esoterrorism by destroying their financially backing, but it hinged on using a lone operative, him - something the OV generally does not condone, for good reasons. Frustration built up.

Then, one winter's night, his obsession rising, his sister and wife wanted to take his mind off things - all drinking. Caroline took her brother's car keys and drove home, being the most sober of the 3...and then, in the rear-view mirror, the spectrosite, an ODE hiding in reflective surfaces like mirrors, showed itself - just long enough to make the car crash. John was inconsolable and severed all ties with his sister (who is btw. one of the pregens - see what I meant with "hard to integrate into an ongoing campaign?"). He had nothing left to lose. He initiated his plans for T610.

Traveling to Europe, he managed to infiltrate Métallon Incorporated, which is led by industrial giant Johan van der Hulst, who has been an Esoterrorist for most of his life, guided by his invisible play mate Nicholaus (who shows up in mirrors...) into the murder of, among others, his parents. He is deeply convinced of his twisted cause - and he has been gathering Rhodium, for Nicholaus has told him about a means of tearing the membrane temporarily.

It should come as no surprise that Hulst knew of Sheldon's plan. Nicholaus poses as Mary in the mirror, twisting Sheldon's already strained psyche further, convincing him that she's trapped in the Outer Dark, that he must free her - and that Hulst would know how. Hulst has a device, but it does require a willing sacrifice - it would not end Sheldon, but it would "reunite" him with his wife...but to bring both him and her back, someone else would need to take their place in the Outer Dark...and it only took a bit of gaslighting to convince the embittered operative to blame the OV.

Sheldon allowed himself to be ritually slaughtered, fusing his heart with the Rhodium-device crafted by Hulst. He is waiting the right circumstances.

Meanwhile, the PCs have all been considered to be potentially compromised by Sheldon dropping off the grid and are thus sent to Amsterdam to investigate the proceedings, fitted with heart-monitors and surveyed by psychiatric metrics...and an SSF team may well be waiting in the wings...The briefing is btw- fully detailed and a nice flow-chart of potential adventure scenarios and sequences of scenes has been provided. The PCs thus travel to Amsterdam to not only get to the bottom of the matter, but also to clear their name: And they will have to contend with a rather grisly scene, namely that of Sheldon's demise, carefully orchestrated to draw the agents ever closer into the proceedings - Veil Out of a potential witness's gruesome death at the hands of the spectrosite, right in the police station, will require some serious creativity and quick thinking.

Indeed, things become even more complicated pretty fast: Beyond the professional killers and snipers under Hulst's command, a rival Esoterrorist and former subordinate of Hulst tries to eliminate the PCs - with methods that are not exactly subtle. However, at the same time, this involvement may actually put stumped PCs on the right track! You see, there is a component that explains WHY Sheldon's murder was staged this publicly - the heart, extracted from his body, needs to be activated...and for that, it requires bloodshed by his enemies, the OV.

This adds a great moral dimension to the proceedings, as the agents may be required to race the SSF...if they are not duped by "Mary" as well and survive potential encounters with the spectrosite...and it emphasizes that the OV agents are supposed to be the good guys. That being said, in one way or another, the heart will probably be activated...but Verity's order remains: Get the head of the conspiracy. Hulst has the device on an oil rig, which is represented, image-wise, with a nice hand-out, yes, but it (and pretty much all of the action-oriented scenes) imho suffer from a lack of maps - in the case of the rig and the scenario, where the Esoterrorists try to dupe the PCs and the SSF to spill their blood in particular - these scenes could have really used some proper maps.

The approach to the oil-rig, btw., features the most brutal of bottlenecks in the scenario: If the PCs have botched their investigation, they may be shot out of the air by the surface-to-air-missiles installed on it via Hulst's fortune and black market connections...unless they have found the proper coded MP3 to call off the automated attack, this may well be "Game Over". The running gun battle through the rig feels like an afterthought, when set against the possible outcomes of the scenario - and while partial success is at least somewhat likely, stopping Sheldon's tormented soul and succeeding at the veil out without a horrid, horrid gaze at the abyss of the Outer Dark will be only something truly smart (and compassionate) players will succeed in.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, but not as good as usual for Pelgrane Press - my copy did sport quite a bunch of hiccups and glitches on the typo-level. Layout adheres to a 1-column b/w-standard and the b/w-artworks/photographs are nice and well-made. The big weakness of the module, ultimately, is that its action-scenes don't have sufficient information to render them compelling - cartography, at least basic one, would have helped here. I can't comment on bookmarks or the like.

Matthew Sanderson's "For the Love of Money" is, in almost all disciplines, a glorious module: The Esoterrorist plot is challenging, smart and hard to foil and grasp, all while remaining fair. The antagonist reactions, detailed NPC-reactions, copious information for PC-actions and massive supplemental material really help. The investigation part of this module is really, really amazing. Unfortunately, the module does fall flat pretty much almost always (exception would be the cool visuals of the potential showdowns with the ODE) - they feel like afterthoughts. They don't sport the same attention to detail, aren't nearly as interesting and compelling as the rest of the module.

It is within the nature of the plot that integration into ongoing campaigns is hard, so I won't penalize the module for that. However, the none-too-compelling action-scenes and lack of proper cartography drag down this otherwise great module. If you're looking for a glorious investigation and don't mind working on those bits, then this is a very clear recommendation. Otherwise, it remains a module for fans of investigation who don't care much about the action-aspects of the game. When all is said and done, this gets the tone and feeling of Esoterrorists rather well and provides a compelling adventure, though one that falls slightly short of the excellence it could have easily achieved. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Esoterrorists: The Love of Money
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The Esoterror Fact Book
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/03/2017 07:51:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive supplement for The Esoterrorists (or any other horror game, really!) clocks in at 150 pages (excluding cover, which is its own pdf), 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC,, leaving us with 147 pages of content.

This review is mainly based on the print edition of the book, which was kindly provided by one of my patreons for the purpose of a review at my convenience.

So, what is this massive tome? It represents at the same time a massive dossier that could be considered to be useful as a kind of colossal hand-out, is written as though it was a dossier for agents of the OV: It discusses, on a need-to-know-basis, the realities of the struggle against the forces of the outer dark and the esoterrorists that seek to bring down the membrane, discussing changes in strategy, the psychiatric metrics of the struggle and the, very important, code of ethics that agents should strive to uphold. More than that, it explains the details of extractions, of the conduct in the field, etc. and supplements these pieces of information with flavorful and extremely creepy transcripts.

The methodologies of station duty, establishing deep cover and the like are presented in a concise manner that is a true joy to read - if you're like me and read a ton of RPG-books (and sometimes read them for reading pleasure/immersion), then rest assured that this book is a phenomenal reading experience - and not only in the guise of a pseudo-secret-agency operations manual. The adversary map as a prop can be seen as a kind of precursor to the organizational structures later refined in the Nights Black Agents game. Speaking of which - the book does cover branches of the agency usually not associated as regular PCs - the SSF, the special suppression forces of the OV, join the ranks of playable options, with more crunchy combat options included for such games herein.

Now this predates Night's Black Agents and the crunchy combat rules and high-octane gameplay of that system by years, so it is no surprise that they are not as diverse, but for GMs/directors stumped on how to combine the two, these represent a no-work-required variant for more action-oriented gameplay, with evasive maneuvers, martial arts, etc. - so if you're looking for a change of pace from standard Esoterrorists gaming, this may well still hold up rather well. Still, that would be the one part of the book that has not aged as gracefully as the rest.

Beyond those more crunch-related aspects, however, it should be mentioned that concise rules for dealings with assets and enemies are set down - while these may be modified by the GM, obviously, they represent glorious leitmotifs for whole campaigns. Speaking of which - what I honestly did not expect to like this much, would be the NPC-aspect of this book. You see, the factbook talks, in detail, about various potentially dire, perhaps even world-ending plots that esoterrorists are currently engaged in; it mentions weird occurrences, classifies the antagonists according to their respective psychological profiles...and sports a TON of some of the best NPCs I have seen for modern horror-gaming: From disgusting, sleazy media moguls to cynical cultural scientists, the book offers a diverse and truly creative cast of characters worthy of being primary antagonists for whole campaigns. Sample notes on missions, successful ones and failure, are interspersed throughout the book, further enhancing the reading experience.

From advertising agents to serial killers, the agents of the Outer Dark are presented in a manner that makes them come alive...and it is very evident that the book goes above and beyond, actually managing to get terminologies right and thus making the respective characters feel plausible. Suspected cells and operations are provided in similarly inspiring ways, ranging from gangs to incestuous farmers, international security consulting and high-stakes players on the global scene. The book also lists a wide variety of locations, all of which basically scream to be included in one's game: Haunted suburban homes, strange logging camps, the road to nowhere and more outré locales render this aspect of the book, once again, a pure joy to read.

While we're at it: The book not only covers antagonists, but also potential neutral parties - like seemingly benevolent, esoteric cult leaders "doing good" with "magic" - the problematic aspects of these practices and the double-edged nature of involving such beings makes them valid and intriguing wild-cards that further add a significant dimension to the game and the plots you can craft.

Now, the book also contains a sample adventure, one made explicitly for SSF-characters and taking place in Burma - the adventure is per se a well-crafted series of action-sequences, though ultimately, the brief scenario is pretty linear. The ODE introduced here is pretty disturbing and potent, and its weakness/symbolism MAKES SENSE and can be deduced by smart agents, even if they botch parts of the investigation - the module, in short, is solid.

The book closes with a handy appendix explaining the acronyms used and a massive, 3-page index that helps navigating this book.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no undue accumulation of glitches or hiccups. Layout adheres to a nice two-column b/w-standard and the book sports a wide variety of amazing, atmospheric b/w-artworks.. The pdf has no bookmarks - I'd suggest getting the softcover print book instead.

I honestly feel like I failed Robin D. Laws' book here. Why? Because, frankly, I cannot hope to convey how well this works - this is a glorious reading experience, extremely immersive and inspiring and it gets the horror aspect of Esoterrorists down to perfection. This book, in short, represents a truly inspiring option for horror gaming. All negative things I can say about this book are the result of me being somewhat late to the party - and are thus not the book's fault. Still, the lack of bookmarks can be annoying and the more combat-intense rules are solid, but pale before the newer GUMSHOE-mods. Even taking that into account, however, I do still consider this to be a must-have offering for anyone even remotely interesting in modern horror or GUMSHOE gaming - the inspiring fluff and glorious prose render this a must-own offering. While this book thus misses my seal of approval by a tiny margin, it should still be considered to be a truly glorious offering, fully deserving of a 5-star-verdict, even in 2017, 8 years after its release. So yeah, get this - it is a true wellspring of inspiration!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Esoterror Fact Book
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Profane Miracles
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/21/2017 06:20:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure for Esoterrorists clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page blank, leaving us with 29 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, still around? Great! So famous financier Jonathan Bentley was recently resurrected from beyond the pale in a rather public manner, at a charity ball of his widow Grace Summerville, and this feat was achieved by the famed psychic Cassandra Madrigal. The OV-agents are sent in with cover identities as investigative reporters. That's the basic premise.

Behind the scenes, resentment has festered between Jonathan and his wife - she was smarter and always one step ahead, the true brains of his enormous success...and thus he faked his death with an esoterrorist drug named Fatalix, which also acts as a drug...if Bentley stops heeding the call of the esoterrorist Dellinger, he'll withhold the drug. Bentley thus has fallen deeply into the control of the movement and the gambit of the esoterrorists (the medium is, obviously, a pawn as well) has paid off - Cassandra has retreated from business to live with her secretly loathsome husband, who has also, in his decadence, sired an illicit child - something that the investigators can find out...and the child is horrifically disfigured and can provide a hint regarding the involvement of the financier and his predicament.

The investigators will find a strange substance used by Cassandra during the ritual in the initial investigation of the big gala; it is this substance that will provide a clue. Cassandra, as mentioned before, is pretty much a well-meaning patsy and ultimately can point the investigators towards a street vendor of the occult and esoterrorist operative, one Vincent Marlowe, and point towards a large-scale order by Bentley financials - and yes, a nice chase may ensue here.

Blissfully unaware of the loathsome character of her husband returned from the dead, Grace can be convinced when faced with evidence (or smart investigators) provides access to the GPS-tracker and thus the PCs can track down Dellinger's sanctuary. Here, an ODE, the dementia larvae and Marlowe prepare for a showdown, while Bentley lies comatose and a journal etc. fills in the undoubtedly at this point numerous blanks. There is still some crucial stuff to decide: There is an antidote, but it can either save Jonathan or his illicit child, not both... and there is still the matter at hand to stop Dellinger's plans for a bigger ritual, on live TV - here, a series of obstacles provide some serious customization - and ultimately may boil down to another dangerous boss fight against an ODE created from a very strange Cassandra. The pdf does mention dealing with the two women harmed by the schemes here and the appendix depicting the dementia larva.

...did you notice something? Yeah, neither the actions of Bentley, nor those of Dellinger, make any sense whatsoever to me. I read the module multiple times and it's REALLY, really hard to make heads or tails of them - hence the sudden, convenient journal-exposition dump. Worse, saving Jonathan suddenly makes him realize his love for Grace? SERIOUSLY? That bit had me frothing at the mouth. And this very public figure faked his death for a whole year, while indulging on sprees of decadence with drugs and hookers? Seriously, this module expects you to buy a lot of BS for a system that is based on logical investigation.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no glaring accumulations of glitches. Layout adheres to a b/w-two-column standard and the pdf sports really nice b/w-artwork and cartography. The pdf I have does not sport bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment.

I am sorry, I really love Esoterrorists. But Leonard Balsera's Profane Miracles is not a good module, to put it lightly. The motivations of the antagonists are jumbled, its shock-values are for shock only, the whole plan of the antagonists makes no sense whatsoever and the climax violates, to a degree, the summoning paradigms provided by the Summoning Guide. In short, the logic bugs herein not only extend to the meta-level, they can also be found on an in-game level. The exposition-dump that basically jams the whole story down the PC's throats had folks groan at my table, complete with plenty of question marks above their heads. If you just want cheese-and-crackers-no-brains gameplay, this may do something for you...but why are you playing this investigative game then? If you want an actually good, action-packed Esoterrorist module, go for Six-Packed instead - it is much more rewarding and not such a structural mess. My final verdict will clock in at 2 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Profane Miracles
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Candles, Clay & Dancing Shoes
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/19/2017 01:07:41

Too short but a great little supplement. This is a resource for consumable magic items...the kind I like to put in games!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Candles, Clay & Dancing Shoes
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Profane Miracles
by Ramon N. P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/18/2017 00:53:27

A rather serviceable adventure, that shows a simple mistery set in modern day LA/Hollywood. It's a bit more action - oriented than other Esoterrorists adventures, because the PCs are expected to deal themselves with any nastiness instead of being able to call the Special Forces of the OV to do the cleaning for them. Anyway, most of the action scenes can be avoided through carefully play, wich is positive.

There are some things missing, as one of the comments point out: if the PCs can, at the beginning of the game, see footgae of the millionaire's resurrection, there should be a description of how it was performed. Some other small details are missing too, and the GM will have to create descriptions for them. Nothing major, anyway.

At this price, the adventure is a good purchase. This adventure can provide a couple of interesting sessions, despite the simplicity of the adventure. It does not need much work on the part of the GM. If your players are new to Esoterrorists, it can be a reasonable introduction. I would recommend the purchase.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Profane Miracles
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Mutant City Blues
by Guillaume H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2017 13:44:53

Mutant City Blues feels more like a collection of suggestions for a setting than a traditional book including setting and rules ; It's all good if you are willing to play a US based super mutant investigation, otherwise you'll have to do the legwork by yourself. The GUMSHOE system, at least the way it is presented in this book, lacks definition for my taste ; a player friendly set of pools, with clear instructions for the GM that failure does not exist and has little consequences on the investigation outcome. The order in which informations are provided makes little sense, with references, acronyms and rules that are explained long after being used into gameplay exemples. All in all, you'll find pretty good ideas in mutant city blues setting suggestions, but don't expect a solid foundation for a campaign, or a game ready to go... Therefore, the 20 USD pricetag seems a bit much.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Mutant City Blues
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