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M20 Book of the Fallen
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/20/2020 13:10:31

This review is based on the backer copy of Book of the Fallen. As such, it will ignore minor issues likely to be corrected, such as spelling and grammar or incorrect sphere ratings, and will instead focus on broader themes and things sufficiently interwoven that they cannot be changed in any significant way.

It is with a heavy heart that I say that this book is a failure. It is far from Brucato's best writing and though he warned people it would be offensive, the implication was that the offense would be at the actions of the Nephandi, not at the writing's implications. Unfortunately, rather than taking a route wherein the Nephandi are described as antisemitic and incorrect, or that there are many many ways that things can be views, this book took the route that the Nephandic paradigm relies on Jewish mysticism, that that mysticism has objective truth, and, in the light of other books, that this malevolent version of Kabbalah is the only objective truth in Reality. More details on the problem will appear below.

Let's start with the content warning. This is a good thing, though the "we handle such subject matter with maturity and sensitivity" applies certainly only to non-Jews, and not necessarily to all of them, but I can't speak on traditions that I don't know. It also overstates somewhat how graphic the whole thing is. While it does describe the atrocities involved, it's often at a higher level, avoiding truly graphic descriptions, which is good.

Evil is not a Toy

This section starts by asserting that this isn't a Player's Guide to the Nephandi. That is wildly incorrect, as this book can hardly be interpreted as anything BUT a player's guide. Many of the things that follow are fundamentally unnecessary unless stories are told from a Nephandic point of view, in which case they are players. For one simple example, non-Nephandic PCs will never once see what a Nephandic Seeking is like, and so describing them is not necessary if this isn't a player's guide.

The rest of the section, though, describes some real-world encounters with evil that Brucato has had, and is easily one of the strongest, and most graphic and difficult to read (due to the intended effects, at least) sections of the book.

Introduction: Eaters of the Weak

This is one of the best chapters of the book. It contextualizes Nephandi as abusers and as ultimately selfish, as opposed to the Traditions, Technocracy or Crafts who, though they have selfish elements, in theory strive towards some common good for some group of people. However, the first sign that worried me about the content was in the Lexicon section. I expected "qlippothic" and "qlippoth" or the like, as those have been attached to the Nephandi from the beginning, but the sheer number of Hebrew terms worried me, with terms like Daath (more commonly da'at in modern transliteration) and the Tree of Knowledge with the ten qlippoth associated with it (rather than just being a term used to refer to the Spheres, marking Nephandic methods as "empty/dead shells"). At best this paints the Nephandi as basically all being Hermetics, but at worst (and it was at least somewhat worse) it paints them as Jewish, and the last thing the world needs is a game book that identifies world-destroying levels of selfishness, greed and evil with Jews.

Chapter One: The Awful Truth

This is one of the stronger chapters. It is an in-character chapter, which means that errors of the authors can easily be attributed to the speaker, and nothing said is 100% certain, especially as it is coming from the mouth of a Nephandus. So, it's much, much more forgiving of other problems, but oddly, this chapter avoids much of the worst of it. The narrator attempts to sell the Nephandic worldview to the reader, and does a decent job of it, but a careful reader will see the cracks in the arguments, the areas where the speaker is ignorant but pretending knowledge, but it does require that that attention is given. I strongly suspect that this was somehow both the easiest and hardest chapter to write: easiest because it flows, it's a rant, a manifesto, and the reader can believe that this is just a lecture some evil bastard is giving. The hardest because it would really require inhabiting the mind of the speaker to make it flow like that, and this effort is appreciated and impressive

The sidebars point out weaknesses in the arguments, reminding the reader that the Nephandi can't be trusted. The argument starts with "The world is awful" and continues with "We are beyond morality." It also explains the Nephandic view of Descent, as becoming one with the Absolute, either through the annihilation of Reality or through becoming an embodiment of it and the god of their own universe. One fun piece of irony here is that for such a selfish world view, the ending of the path involves the ultimate negation of the self, either actual nonexistence or transformation into something fully unrecognizable as the original being.

The two takeaways here are the Lex Praedatorius, or the Law of Predation, which is the backbone of the Nephandic worldview, and sums up to "kill or be killed" in many ways. The speaker builds it up as this profound truth when the reader should be able to see that it's an empty statement of someone who has given up on humanity, and the laziest of philosophical points. The continued "It sounds good on the surface but doesn't stand up to scrutiny" facet of the Nephandic worldview is great and mimics the fact that they can be tempting and offer power, but it's a poison that hollows out the tempted.

For all the issues I have with Jewish mysticism and beliefs being brought into this book, the Leviathan aspect here doesn't bother me. The Nephandus is speaking in-character, for one thing, and for another, Leviathan is mostly as described: it's a giant sea monster that is promised to be slaughtered and served at the end of time. From there, it departs strongly, but the core is used correctly, even if the Nephandus is putting a particular spin on things, as a Nephandus would.

Unfortunately, we get more "Daath" mentioned in the sidebar about Cauls. We'll get into that more in Chapter Four.

Chapter Two: The Road to Leviathan

The opening fiction of this chapter is bad. For all the mentions of "avoid cartoon evil" it's downright cartoonish to describe some random people (who we know nothing of their paradigm and scant little about their motivation) butchering others in a way that allows them to put their eyes in a bag but somehow they still see out of them and are grinning after being cut to pieces while still alive. Aside from being gratuitous, it requires such over-the-top effort to even attempt this in the setting that it really comes off as trying too hard. I found myself rolling my eyes more than being horrified.

This chapter continues from Chapter 1, but here, as in the rest of the book, the tone of an objective game book is taken rather than an in-character tone. This is important, as the issues that come up would be bad but less so if they came from a specific character, rather than the authors of the book. It starts with talking about how to the Nephandi, Light is the problem and Darkness was already extant before it was injured by the Light, and then proceeds with some ruminations on the nature of evil and the various sorts of evil in the world. One sidebar is the first (of far too many) mention of Jung in the book, and, for those who are even slightly up to date on psychology, it's well-known that Jungian archetypes are pretty much considered pseudoscientific nonsense in the modern world, taken as seriously by psychologist as the Zodiac is by astronomers. This comes back in Chapter Four (you'll hear problems "come back in Chapter Four" many times in this review) but we don't address it again except to say that this concept of Jung's is not actually particularly coherent, is obsolete, to be generous, and is overused in this book when other, more accurate descriptions of psychology would do the trick.

A side issue, the discussion of Sociopathy, Narcissism, Psychopathy, and the Fallen is ok for establishing how terms are used in the book and acknowledges that their usage isn't perfect. It's an ok sidebar, but it always seems strange when a sidebar is a page and a half long, and that it should have been more smoothly integrated into the text somehow or edited down substantially.

The chapter next dwells on Descent, again, reiterating and expanding on what was in Chapter One. (Honestly, Chapter One is the most useful chapter in the book and could easily be used while ignoring the rest of it and taking it as a viewpoint among the Fallen.) Here is really where the discussion of the qlippoth goes downhill and starts bringing in the Tree of Knowledge in ways that are frankly bizarre and antithetical to the real source material for it, but which is treated as an accurate description of that material by the book, with nary a sidebar in sight to say "This is a Nephandic interpretation of a real-world belief system, and contains many inaccuracies" or the like. Aside from this, which is mostly ignorable, the section is a good expansion of the discussion in Chapter One.

Next, we get a description of the path of Descent, and it dwells a bit more on the qlippoth. Here's the closest to a disclaimer: "Although the modern concept of this reputed Tree of Knowledge comes from heretical applications of medieval Jewish mysticism (as well as from later occult practitioners who claimed the concept without being themselves Jewish)" however, it goes on to say that these things have reality. It does suggest that this is because occultists poured energy into the concepts, but if that were the case, then truly divergent interpretations of whatever is underlying this would have to be included, instead of making Nephandi Evil Hermetics and/or Jews. After this is a bit more discussion, mostly good.

Nephandic "awakening" is discussed, both in the sense of walking into the Cauls and turning barabbus. Interestingly, this book suggests much more strongly than either Book of Madness that widderslaintes, those born with Avatars that had gone through the Cauls in a previous life, are not automatically Nephandi, but must enter the Cauls themselves, and can turn away from the path, though with difficulty. As for barabbi, it gives reasons for members of literally every group in the world of Mage to turn. Next, Nephandic avatars are discussed, with nearly random and unnecessary mention of Daath, and the Fallen interpretation of the Avatar Essences are fine inasmuch as they don't discuss the qlippothic realms (again, more in Chapter Four on these).

The chapter closes with a frank discussion of abuse tactics that's quite strong, and clearly owes much to Bancroft's excellent "Why Does He Do That?"

Chapter Three: But Darkness Visible

The opening of this chapter shows that the authors have done their homework, referencing Nick Land's execrable "The Dark Enlightenment" manifesto, and then proceeds with some non-cartoon evil, as it involves completely believable levels of brutality from mercenary companies.

The main thrust of this chapter is Nephandic factions, and so the review will be brief. Most of the factions are quite solid, though some involve interesting changes from the previous manifestations (for one thing, the K'llashaa seem less likely to just die horribly a week after joining than they used to). Jodi Blake makes her only appearance in the book as a famous Infernalist who seems to have turned away from Descent (which might make her an Inverted Oracle? The term Oracle has changed meaning a few times, after all.) Of the classical three faction, the only one that I take real issue with are the Malfeans, who now specifically are tied to the Wyrm, rather than to abstract representations of destruction and decay, which I feel is much stronger. Then again, I am also one of the people who prefer to keep Werewolf cosmology out of Mage and force it to be subject to the same "reality is subjective" rules as other things, which is quite hard to do in many cases.

The new groups are in general quite good, though I'm disappointed in the writeup for the Heralds of Basilisk. For one, here is one of the places where the Fallen start to take on Villain Sue properties, where they seem to be better than everyone else at their specialties (leading me to question how they haven't won yet with that and with millions of unsuspecting people doing their bidding every day. Reality should have ended by now) but also it would be substantially stronger with a more accurate description of both what a "basilisk" is in this context and what Roko's Basilisk, the one referenced, actually is, which is quite different from the "What if a godlike Artificial Intelligence was to come into existence, and it was evil?" description in the sections.

To put it simply, a "basilisk" is any concept that will cause you harm by just being made aware of it ("you look at it and it hurts you"). Roko's Basilisk is an argument popular in certain circles (which has many flaws but that's not the point here) that is a godlike artificial intelligence ever comes into existence, even if it is benevolent and trying to minimize suffering, then it will STILL have an incentive to torture people alive now in extreme ways (essentially creating hell) in order to encourage modern humans to work hard to bring it into existence, so that it can alleviate far more suffering that it causes. This fits better with the Nephandic "existence is pain, nothing we can do can stop it, except ending it all" ethos visible throughout this book (and in several Final Fantasy villains). It's fundamentally an argument that even a benevolent god will not remove all suffering but instead will inflict immense amounts of it.

Aside from the HOBs and a bit with the Malfeans, though, the factions in this section are well thought-out and coherent and will make good antagonists for many games.

Chapter Four: Dark Tree of Knowledge

And now, we've reached the shitshow.

The lesser problem with this chapter is that there is SO MUCH JUNG. I explained why Jung is not a good basis above, so I won't reiterate it, but there's just a lot of it, starting with the opening quote.

So, onto the cultural stuff that is the true nightmare of this book. It starts with a brief sidebar acknowledging that they used real-world beliefs here, and then acknowledge that you don’t really need this chapter to run a game. So, this chapter is something that could be cut, that the players will never see unless PC Nephandi are permitted, and yet, it wasn’t cut. Honestly, before the section “The Qlippoth: Plumbing the Nightside” it’s mostly a lot of “some mages use dark practices without being Fallen” and “Carl Jung said” sorts of things, but this section is really where I want to focus my energy.

From the beginning, it treats the qlippoth as worlds that are truly believed to exist by large fractions of mages. For one thing, no non-Kabbalist believes much of anything about qlippoth, because non-Kabbalists don’t even know the word in any real way. We also get a bit more of the “everyone knows a little, but the Nephandi understand this is a deeper way than anyone else” suggestions that 1) they have objective reality and 2) the Nephandi are the best.

It’s really hard to focus on any specific errors, bizarre statements or disrespectful treatment of these concepts because the entire chapter is almost nothing but that. It does truly introduce objective reality into Mage: the Qlippoth are real and meaningful, which implies the Sephirot are, which implies that the Kabbalistic paradigm is true. “In Mage terms, the Qlippoth is essential to the Nephandic Path. Even if a Fallen mage does not herself believe in Kabbalah or view her Path through such occult philosophies, the essence of these forbidden shells forms an intrinsic element of her journey from Awakening to Descent.” There is also discussion of Nephandic Seekings, again, something that is fully unnecessary unless stories are being told from the point of view of Nephandi, and as something that is supposedly not a player’s guide to Nephandi, the inclusion of so many such things is suspect. It includes what sorts of things the Nephandus will learn from each of the Qlippoth.

There is a sidebar titled “Metaphysical Canon” which I reproduce here that disputes all of this, but with the quotes above, it’s quite clear that this sidebar has no bite, especially given that a staggering 15 pages or almost 7% of the entire text, is devoted just to this section describing the Qlippoth as the foundation of the Fallen in terms of Jewish mysticism, i.e., the Kabbalah.

Does this section mean that Mage’s world ultimately follows mystic Jewish monotheism, with all the requisite demons and myths? No. Metaphysics are never a one-size-fits-all proposition, especially not in a game world where subjective reality is the foundation of the game. Although the Qlippoth emanations do exist in a metaphysical sense, at least as far as the Fallen are concerned, they can be viewed through any number of philosophical lenses, most of which — like some divine kaleidoscope, shift and change depending on who’s looking at them and from which perspective. This section explores a small slice of the Qlippoth as Fallen mages see it. The ultimate reality is, as always in Mage, elusive and unique. Every Mage player or Storyteller will view these elements differently. The ultimate reality is yours, not ours, to decide.

The book then spends less than one full page on the qlippothic spheres, pointing out that the main difference between the standard ones and these is intent, and then we’re on to “Daath and the Cauls” and the Qlippothic Domains. It continues to treat Daath (da’at) oddly, and almost wholly in a negative way, which is very much not how it is perceived by actual Kabbalists, but then, the Tree of Knowledge is entirely different than the thing that this book describes as though it could be identified with it.

The book goes on to describe this Tree of Knowledge as consisting of 10 realms, one for each of the qlippoth, connected by tunnels which would correspond to the paths in the Tree of Life. This again cements the Tree as derived from Jewish mysticism as being a real and objective part of Reality. Rather than describe how bad the descriptions of the qlippothic realms are compared to what Jewish mysticism suggest they should be, in the description of Thagirion, this appears as one of the rulers of the Realm (and remember, this is JEWISH mysticism that is being drawn from, in theory): “Sorath, the Sun Demon, “the Adversary of the Lamb” and an embodiment of human wickedness and opposition to the Christ-self”

Finally, we finish Chapter Four with a discussion of the Black Diamond and can move on.

Chapter Five: And All the Powers of Hell

This chapter focuses on game mechanics to handle Nephandic characters (totally not a player’s guide) including merits and flaws, infernal investments (mostly for their cultists), rotes and wonders. While some of them look like they’d be fun (Qlippothic Radiance would lend itself to great flashy climactic scenes where the Nephandi has been hidden for the rest of the story) they do largely feel like they’re balanced for players. After all, they have normal freebie point costs associated with them. This is more jarring because Wonders in this chapter are not given costs (despite the costs being relatively simple to calculate from the mechanics) to discourage player characters from having them.

The Infernal Investments are basically completely unbalanced. In some cases, they are entirely broken. As an example, “Object of Affection” is a 7-point pact, which does make it quite costly. However, it’s also a win button for an unscrupulous (as all of them are) Nephandus with a cult that they can force to commit crimes and make pacts. The person who gets it picks another person, and now that person “loves” them. Though it is mentioned that magick and faith could both break the control, there’s no resistance possible. So, any Nephandus with a decent cult and a cabal after them should just force their cult to bond the mages of that cabal in this way, and problem solved. Though the book does indicate not to do this to PCs (under the “violations of the character without player consent are super bad” discussions) this falls into that category of “powers that break the setting if they’re actually available” even if it never appears in a game. That said, “Regeneration” as a 9-point investment seems overprices for what it is, being considerably weaker than many of the lower level investments.

The next section is on Focus for Nephandi, Paradigm, Practice and Instrument, as well as higher level organizing principles. It falls into the trap of mistaking a rabbinical SATIRE as a rabbinical legend, claiming “In all forms, Lilithianism reveres the First Woman who — according to rabbinical legend — was created equal to Adam, refused to be his inferior, rebelled against God’s dominion” which is an oft repeated error (and indicates a lack of research, as the Alphabet of ben Sirach is not subtle about being a satire, for instance it is full of masturbation puns and fart jokes).

The paradigms themselves are mostly fine, though nothing terribly out of the ordinary and several of them (as well as practices) are just evil versions of things that exist, and I question whether they really need to be separated out. Is Infernal Science that is science plus evil really different enough from Hypertech to deserve a separate discussion? Would it not have been more useful to go through the already existing paradigms and practices and explain, in brief, how they get twisted by Nephandi?

The most interesting bit of this section is the part on hypersigils and egregores, which actually adds something to the game.

The rotes in the next section are badly over-written, to the point where clarity is lost. Each entry should be cut by almost 50%, for example, we have 75% of a page on “Beautify or Deform” which amounts to “Better Body” but evil, and Better Body is well enough understood that it’s been in Mage since 1e. On the other hand, the rotes are flavorful, but much of that flavor would come out better with shorter, more tightly written descriptions.

Finally, we get to evil books and wonders. Though I’ve heard others complain about full pages on books that don’t really exist, that doesn’t bother me. While I do think many of these entries needed editing, it’s more that the prose got a bit purple in this section than due to length. If there had been more editing but then more content, that would have been excellent. In fact, this would be a great place for in-character writing, with “quotes” from the books that could be found, and those can get as purple as desired. After books come the wonders, which aren’t given costs in order to discourage player use, which as I said, left me unimpressed. This section really dragged, and I found myself unable to focus on many of them, but among the wonders are big-ass swords, slave collars, a whip that causes its target to be unable to use a safe word in BDSM (and thus useless outside of sexualized roleplay with a Nephandus, something few groups are likely to engage in) and a few others.

Chapter Six: Your Friends and Neighbors

This chapter feels to me like it should have been combined with Chapter Three. It’s got a lot of good things in it, and both of them involve factions and examples. Here, it starts with cults and other Nephandus-led but mostly Sleeper groups, including evil clothing companies, a shoe company that’s a front for online harassment, an evil nightclub, and an organization for corrupt cops, each with a template attached to it.

It moves on to less mundane allies of the Nephandi, such as evil spirits, companions, familiars and a bit on fomori. It covers some basic goetic demons, and honestly gets a bit immature and trivializes them somewhat, especially with Stolas, whose description includes “He’s a demonic owl with a fucking crown, and thus he’s cooler than you will ever be.” The memetic entities section covers Baphomet, the Basilisk (which I discussed above) and “Zagglaaw” who is recognizable to the Creepypasta crowd as an analogue of Zalgo. And then there’s three Paradox spirits (called nightmares) that tend to torment the Fallen. The true heroes of the book.

The most interesting section is the “Fallen Magi” section, and of all the pieces, this is the one that belongs in Chapter 3 the most. Some of them are useful and have clear horror movie inspirations (the Caller), while others (like Garrick Browne) barely hang together as a character concept and definitely needed rewrites (or could have been cobbled together from multiple versions of the character or multiple characters). Jane Daugherty is one of the more interesting Nephandi, being a K’llashaa who manages regular human contact without being caught, and the Reids are quite interesting, and left me wondering if they had any tie to Charles Reid from Technocracy: Progenitors, though the surname is likely random, there aren’t that many name collisions that are coincidental in the World of Darkness.

Chapter Seven: Theatre of Cruelty

Aaaaaand, this chapter is the player’s guide. It says it isn’t, but it is, and cements that impression of the book as a whole. It starts out strongly with a description of the cycle of violence and different sorts of abuse, it talks about how children can’t abuse adults (though in the discussion of why no Widderslainte children, it only mentions that but ignores the possibility of children abusing other children).

Finally, instead of at the beginning, a brief recommended reading section happens, specifically on recovery from abuse with 8 references. This sidebar is far too small, and the lack of a more in-depth section for other resources both on portraying and recovering from abuse is a serious flaw in this book. It is also right in a section on ST and Player responsibilities for playing with these themes safely.

And then, the book gives up pretense with a section “Nephandi as Protagonists” though it does protest a bit “We warned you” rather than avoiding making a player’s guide. It has a few hints and tips, a bunch of questions that the players should ask about their characters and then it asks if Nephandi can be redeemed.

The chapter (and the core of the book) ends with Nephandic metaplot options. They’re mostly good options, and fit the M20 model of not picking a metaplot but giving a tool kit. They include a fractured Nephandi model and various models where the Nephandi control another faction. The final part of the section is on Nephandi win scenarios, and I feel that this section needed to cite Ascension several times. After all, the ELE section (extinction level event) feels a lot like “The Earth Will Shake” with an asteroid about to hit Earth, and the section on Those Who Dwell Beyond The Stars is “Hell on Earth” which also ends with the Spitting From the Heart of Hell scenario, leaving only The Hungry God in this book as not having any tie to the final book of the original Mage line.

Not on My Watch

The book ends on a call to action to stand against the evils of the world. Important words to end on, and well written.

Conclusion

This book could have been far worse, but it could have been much better. Between the bizarre decision to make the universe objectively Kabbalistic, but for a bizarre version of Kabbalah, which leaves quite a bit of an antisemitic stench on the book (after all, the secret evil masters of the world being Kabbalists plays into MANY old antisemitic canards and beliefs that are still active to this day), the cartoonish evil that kept coming up, and the insistence that it isn’t a player’s guide while including things that would never be useful outside of one, the book ended up being mostly a negative for me. The parts that are good are worth keeping but disentangling them from the bad parts is a lot of effort, and unless someone has very specific reasons, I’d recommend skipping this book. If it could be given a proper editing pass, removing most of the gratuitous things mentioned above, and likely cut down to more like 130-140 pages, the book would be very strong and a proper successor to both versions of the Book of Madness and to Infernalism: the Path of Screams but as it stands it is not.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
M20 Book of the Fallen
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Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Modiphius
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/25/2019 14:49:21

A three star review usually means that a book was mediocre. Just ok. In this case, it doesn't. It's because some aspects of the book are great and others are terrible. Starting with the terrible: the layout is AWFUL. I could not imagine the layout being botched this badly until I saw it myself. Between changing constantly between 2 and 3 column, often with the middle column empty or almost empty, switching between white text on black and black text on white, and having white text on black on pages that you might want to print separately as references for your group, it's a complete disaster. I hope that W5 and other 5e line books do better in this respect, though I suppose they could compete to do even worse. The art is mediocre to bad. They went with this photographic art that honestly was extremely not thematic for the World of Darkness. They would have been better off either tracking down the original run Vampire artists and commissioning them or else picking entirely new artists who draw in a similar style. The art was also inserted poorly, often with little to do with the text near it, or art that is clearly meant to illustrate something but with no explanation of what. And of course, it committed the cardinal sin of the World of Darkness: it made the vampires look like dorks. From the Ventrue who forgot to zip his fly to the 8-character pieces for each clan, they just look...bad. And lame. Also on the bad list, though they insist it's intentional, is calling the Tremere "Hemetics." It's not clever, and just looks like there's a typo in "Hermetics" if you know anything about the history of the game.

The setting also has some strong negative points. The Second Inquisition is a fine idea, and I love that the Camarilla fucking up was responsible for it, but the idea that there's a conspiracy in the govenrments of the world like this that they're keeping secret is so absurd...no WikiLeaks, no "In Russia, we have no Vampires, but the US is ruled by them!" no drunken agents blabbing that they're government funded vampire hunters? I admit, I always have this problem with conspiracies that don't have a survival-based reason to stay secret, and there's a lot of them in the WoD, but I find this one particularly ridiculous.

Other setting things are really a mixed bag, but moving on, the mechanics are quite solid. Of course, they're 90% Vampire: the Requiem mechanics with 10% modifications to handle the new Hunger system, but they're streamlined and they work. They streamlined character creation a bit too much, changing it from "You have these dots, distribute them" to "Your attributes are 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, distribute them" and similar with abilities, but that's easy enough to house rule (though it does net result in lower attribute totals, which is in line with grabbing mechanics from CofD)

The best thing about the streamlined mechanics, though, is that they made Willpower into a health-type stat (I hope some types in 5e can spend Health like Willpower can be spent!) and use it for social combat (and presumably mental), and Vampire has needed a social combat system since the beginning, it significantly reduces the ludonarrative dissonance of playing characters engaged in petty politics but having no mechanics to support petty political challenges.

All in all, actually reading V5 makes me a bit more hopeful for future 5e lines. The mechanics, the thing most likely to carry through, are sound. The setting has many problems, but part of that for me is that I don't like Vampire itself very much, and neither White Wolf directly nor Modiphius is in charge of writing the core book for W5 (the only other core that has been announced), so setting details are mutable. The layout problems could continue, depending on how strict the requirement to style-match is, but I hope there's a return to traditional art, two-column pages (with sidebars instead of mid-bars...or just no sidebars, they often should just be main text sections) and consistently black text on white paper, especially for mechanics pages.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
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World of Darkness Solo Adventures
Publisher: White Wolf
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/07/2019 22:35:22

Interesting rules. I haven't tried to play with them yet, but they seem like an interesting method to generate writing prompts for a story. Though marked as a World of Darkness book, the mechanics inside look very Chronicles of Darkness (assumed difficulty of 8, changing dicepool rather than target number, etc).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Solo Adventures
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100 Books to Find on a Mage’s Bookshelf
Publisher: White Wolf
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/07/2019 22:34:16

This is a nice little book describing 100 books that a mage could have on their shelf. The books are fairly sparsely defined with a title, author and a very brief description. They are good for a bit of flavor and could act as the basic version of a grmoire. the biggest criticism I have is that the text is handling a two-page spread as a single page, which makes it more awkward to read.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
100 Books to Find on a Mage’s Bookshelf
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Creator Reply:
I thought that template didn't seem to be working right. I've uploaded a new version that should fix it, although I may upload another version again at a later point, as I wasn't entirely happy with this one.
Convention Book: Void Engineers
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/03/2019 15:17:09

"The Technocracy is wrong." The Void Engineers start out with a strong critical statement. Of course, they don't mean this morally, they mean it in the sense of incorrect. The Technocracy's fears, echoed in every other Revised Convention book, that the Void Engineers might abandon the Union, are baseless. Instead, the Void Engineers are clinging to it, desperately trying to keep things together because only with the Union can they keep Earth safe from entirely new classes of threat.

The Void Engineers were hit hard by the Dimensional Anomaly, and this book delivers on those chases beautifully. From the opening fiction (and the closing) showing a group of Void Engineers (and an Iteration X stowaway) to the text of the book, lots of changes are explored and the Void Engineers will never be the same. It even closes in the last sentences with the last Revised advancement of the meta plot: the Nephandi retaking Mus from the Technocracy, putting in another chapter of the saga started in the Mage 2nd Edition core book's opening fiction.

The book is organized similarly to other Convention books, but it has an extra chapter in it. It starts with a history of the Void Engineers, particularly updated to the present, discussing some of the changes (Existential Threats Directorate instead of DSEATC, etc) and it is the first of the new Convention books to have a jargon section, which makes an excellent reference (rather than having to skim through to find things like rankings and other bold-faced terms like in the others). The Void Engineer takes on the other Conventions and the Traditions are quite different from other Conventions: the Void Engineers value openness and science so they like the Progenitors and hate the New World Order (especially with all the deprocessing that they need to do). They tolerate the Syndicate and worry about Iteration X. Oddly, among the Traditions, the Void Engineers have grown close to the Euthanatos, their fellow fighters against Threat Null. It's also mentioned that working with Etherites against Null is extra effective.

Chapter 2 provides rankings, honors and awards, the requirements to become a Void Engineer, and a discussion of the methodologies. It's well-done, but nothing that isn't the same as the other Convention books, just about the Void Engineers instead of a different Convention.

Chapter 3 is something different. Chapter 4 will contain more standard things (procedures, devices, etc) but Chapter 3 focuses on the Void Engineer Cosmology and what is out there. It even has a map, placing the Horizon at the asteroid belt (and talking about how it has moved over time, and the Void Engineer goal of pushing it further and further out) and a discussion of how to get to virtually any place in the known Universe. Then it hits on four pages just on the Dimensional Anomaly, how it works and how they deal with it, before turning to a discussion of specific places, like the Cop (both old and new), Darkside, and the Void Engineer views of the Shard and Shade Realms. But after that, it hits the big deal: Threat Null. First mentioned in the Syndicate book and alluded to constantly throughout this one as a dire threat that they can't tell the rest of the Union the details of, we find out why at the end of Chapter 3. Threat Null is the Technocratic Union, or at least, the descendants of it that were lost in the Anomaly. Now, mutated and changed by the Void, they've become a sort of metastasized version of themselves, and when they meet Processed Technocrats, they speak with the voice of Control. The biggest mystery left completely unresolved with them, though, is why there are no apparent Void Engineers in Null. Null is probably the most innovative antagonist added to Mage since near the beginning, and I look forward to seeing how it develops as the line comes back to life.

Chapter 4 is back to the Convention book routine, by and large: notable engineers, some legends (which include the narrator of the history in the 1st Edition Void Engineers book, now a known Nephandus) and more information on Station Yemaja which was mentioned several times in Progenitors Revised. Then general advice for STing for Void Engineers and a Voidship crew. Dimensional Science and Void Correspondence are fairly straightforward alternate approaches to spheres. The best thing in this section, though, are the Voidcraft rules. How to build them, how much they cost, what spheres are required, and how Voidcraft Combat works, along with several examples, including the X160 Qui La Machinae, which costs roughly $7.8 billion to build. This high price explains why the Technocracy doesn't have an absolutely massive fleet, and sets up great possibilities for Void Engineer salvage operations: why build a new $7.8 billion ship when you can try to find an old one (if you have a lead) and can fit it up and upgrade it for much less?

Overall, an excellent book and an excellent end to the Revised line as M20 got off the ground. Hopefully, some of these threads will be explored further (M20 mentioned them, but Technocracy: Reloaded could do something, and hopefully if and when it happens, there's M5).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Convention Book: Void Engineers
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Convention Book: Syndicate
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/31/2019 02:48:05

"Reality is in the black." The Syndicate book opens up as optimistic as the New World Order book did, but the book itself actually sells their optimism. Whether you agree or not with their philosophy, it's absolutely dominant in reality and bringing them power and influence.

This book had some problems that the others lacked (we'll talk about numbers in a minute), and others that they had but less so (such as a need for more editing), but overall it was still an excellent book and necessary for anyone who wants to play Syndicate characters or use them as believable NPCs.

Regarding the Enlightened population and hangers on, the book suggests that Extraordinary Citizens are created by adversity: the economic downtown is what they credit the rise of the Extraordinary Citizen covered in both NWO and Progenitors. They also suggest that the mage population is MUCH higher than other books have indicated, referring to "tens of thousands of Constructs" which, even by generous notions of how many mages there are, would indicate some that have no Enlightened personnel at all.

The tension between the Syndicate and the NWO is a constant throughout the book. From terminology at the very beginning to later when the Syndicate comes out as anti-DRM, pro-net neutrality, anti-surveillance, etc, indicating a focus on bottom-up rather than top-down control. They've even got factions trying to mend the rift between the two Conventions, because a Technocratic Civil War would be an absolute disaster (and at this point, if M5 comes and doesn't bring a Technocratic Civil War, or give a strong reason it didn't happen, I'll be disappointed).

A minor aside: the sidebar "The Jewish Syndicate" on page 26 is a welcome addition. Jewish issues have not been handled well by Mage (or the World of Darkness in general, with one notable exception) and seeing this brought up explicitly was good. It was a small thing, but actually brought up and confronted one of the many issues that show up (I would have preferred also mentioning something about Media Control given the belief that Jews control the media, but it's still better than really all other Mage books).

The "others" section has a lot of meat to it. The discussion of the Traditions indicates that cultural appropriation is a powerful weapon against the Traditions: take their source cultures, commodotize and trivialize. Talking about the Masses, they indicate that they love humanity as it is, not how it "could" be like the other Conventions, and make a solid case for it. And, of course, there's the first mention of "Threat Null."

The book continues to hit standard points and moves on to Methodologies after the basic internal structure. And then, after said standard things, suddenly "The SPD is gone, no one knows what happened, but money keeps showing up." This is another metaplot element I hope is expanded on in the future, with the Werewolf/Mage crossover potential, it'd be almost criminal to ignore it.

The highlight of the remainder is Primal Utility, the third Technocracy alternate sphere. It's damn good, and adds a lot, removing some powers (Prime Weapons) but adding Primal Ventures to the game gives the Syndicate more depth and reduces the distance between game mechanics and setting.

As a closing thought, the Syndicate comes off as far and away the most mystic of the Conventions. In fact, the Syndicate and the Order of Hermes have many things in common. The focus on the power and necessity of a hierarchy, the power of Will (individual for Hermetics, Collective for Syndicate), the love of competition, and the high level of flexibility...just an interesting, though likely unintentional, comparison.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Convention Book: Syndicate
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Convention Book: Progenitors
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2019 16:10:57

"The Technocracy is sick." stands in stark contrast with the opening optimism of the NWO book that Progenitors comes out on the heels of. While the New World Order is depicted as optimistic but in many ways fundamentally corrupt, the Progenitors own their corruption in this book, though most of the text still downplays it to allow them to appear as heroes despite many of the terrible things that they are doing in their attempts to "heal" the Union.

Shattered by the Dimensional Anomaly, they've had to build themselves a new way of interacting with the world around them and the Union as a whole. The Progenitors, of all Technocratic groups, are experimenting with democracy in their Convention but at the same time, know that old ways die slowly. They're in many ways more self-aware than the NWO, who view their pathologies as triumphs, and instead they see themselves as sacrificing themselves for the good of the Union when they do horrific things.

The history section is solid and well-told, though nothing that readers of previous Mage books haven't seen before. The views on the other Conventions shows that they have diagnosed many of the Union's problems, and see the Technocratic Civil War and the Nephandic Infiltration issues as the two most pressing things (this is backed up by the opening and closing fiction focusing on bringing in Progenitors who have disappeared and using them to help mend rifts between NWO and Syndicate agents). The views of the Traditions, though, are less rosy than those of the NWO: the Progenitors find very little of value in the Traditions, and the growing Applied Sciences movement is in alignment with Iteration X on reinstating the Pogrom. The "other" section is most interesting, because it indicates that the very basics of Vampires and Werewolves is common knowledge within the Convention.

The Progenitors may be experimenting with democracy, but they're still organized like an academic department, with students, research assistants, primary investigators, etc. One of the most interesting parts of Chapter Two are the "micro" Methodologies, expanding the scope of the Progenitors and each of them just demands a proper fleshing out all on their own.

Much of the darkness of the Progenitors is hidden in the Procedures section, Primal Infusions and Primal Nets are described, and they are used to extract Primal Energy from the dying.

The most novel section is "Genegineered Creatures" which have the statistics for and rules for using fully non-human characters created through genetic tampering, such as uplifted dolphins, lizard people and modern dinosaurs. While a bit harder to justify without the Horizon Constructs, these add something truly new for the Progenitors, and there's hints that some of them might be capable of Enlightenment...so when a player asks "Can I play an Awakened Velociraptor" not only are there rules, but also explanations for why it might not be the best character concept (unless, of course, you plan your game to permit them.)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Convention Book: Progenitors
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Convention Book: N.W.O.
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2019 12:14:11

"The Technocracy is winning" starts the first in the ten-years-delayed completion of the Revised Convention Books, and it sets the tone. (the other three all have similar first lines that may or may not be drastically at odds with this one, but each sets the tone for the book fantastically.)

The overall tone of the book is "We can take humanity to glorious new heights in this era, things we'd never even imagined before." However, there is a pall over the entire book indicating that the New World Order is still in many ways the old organization, and that the rot that was at the core of it is still there (and, in the corners, it sheds a bit of darkness on Iteration X that it's Revised Convention Book didn't show). The opening fiction shows that they're still "processing" superstitionists, but now they're putting them into cyborg bodies against their will and using them as shock troops. This perfectly sets up the general tone of "optimism, but something is wrong here" that the rest of the book portrays.

The history is told through the dissertation (which we must be seeing a short version of, as I've never heard of a history dissertation that would fit into a book like this!) delivered by an up-and-coming member of the NWO. We're told that it's laced with Mind procedures to subtly bring whoever reads it in line with the thoughts expressed and into agreement with its author. Reading between the lines (and sometimes in the text itself), members of the New World Order (and particularly the Ivory Tower) are constantly wondering if their thoughts are their own and to what extent they've been compromised by their fellows, though the text itself hides the natural sense of paranoia that this would engender.

The profiles of other groups focus on how easily they can be converted to the Technocracy (and this focus subtly reinforces the Templar/Cabal of Pure Thought origin theory that is dismissed in the earlier part of the book) and also keep the tension high on the Nephandic Infiltration and the Technocratic Civil War metaplot elements, though neither has any payoff to the current date.

Chapter two is a more standard overview of the ranks within the NWO and the methodologies that make it up, including the new "The Feed" which monitors and manages social media, and are clearly the most underappreciated Technocrats out there, considering the sheer deluge they need to manage. Unfortunately, there is very little real discussion of the Digital Web, which would have been nice, given how much the internet has changed since 1998, when Digital Web 2.0 was released. Perhaps 3.0 will eventually happen.

Chapter three is quite strong, with a section on NWO legends and fronts, how to run and NWO troupe and an example Amalgam. Along with the Procedures and Devices, which are fun, the most interesting part of the chapter is the Data Sphere. Although Dimensional Science has been referred to before, it was only as "Spirit, but science" with the only mechanical effect being different gauntlet ratings. This is the first time that a fundamental alternative to the 9 standard spheres appears (with Primal Utility and Dimensional Science following in other Convention Books). It's different from Correspondence in several ways, and functionally is capable of thing Correspondence can't do (or at least can't easily) and vice versa, making it a legitimate choice whether or not to take it.

This was a strong start to the return to the Revised Convention Book cycle, which acts as a good closer to the Mage: the Ascension Revised line.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Convention Book: N.W.O.
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Convention Book: Iteration X
Publisher: White Wolf
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/26/2019 00:30:10

This is leaps and bounds better than the original version. It handles Iteration X as people, rather than some sort of abstract representation of control. In fact, with the Revised metaplot changes, Iteration X's worst aspects have been expunged, and now they're capable of becoming the same shades of grey that the other factions of Mage are able to be.

The first half of the book is the history of the world from Iteration X's point of view, along with other bits like how they view the Traditions and Conventions. It's told by a Virtual Adept who defected to Iteration X, which is certainly an interesting perspective, and directly calls the narrative of the first Iteration X book propaganda.

The remainder covers methodologies, beliefs, and then templates and Iteration X chronicles, along with a vast array of Devices (though no Procedures, which is a shame).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Convention Book: Iteration X
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Guide to the Technocracy
Publisher: White Wolf
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/22/2019 18:00:06

Guide to the Technocracy is one of the best Mage books published, and is essential reading for anyone looking to run Mage. The only way this will change is in the event of Technocracy: Reloaded being as good, but updated.

More specifically, this book is an in-depth guide to the world of Mage from the perspective of the Technocracy. It allows you to turn Mage from a Fantasy game into a Science-Fiction game, but still recognizably the same setting. It breaks down in more detail:

Prologue - The opening fiction isn't particularly strong, but it isn't bad. It shows an Amalgam taking out a Chantry, and the aftermath.

Introduction - The introduction sets the tone spectacularly, making it clear that (from the point of view of this book) the Technocracy are the misunderstood heroes, that the Traditions are the bad guys, and that the stereotype Technocrats of 1st Edition are not what the Union is. It hits the standard notes, and already begins adding depth, pointing out schisms within the Union and playing up a feeling of desperation for the Union...they may be winning, but Reality is still on the brink, and needs to be rescued.

Indoctrination - The first full chapter elaborates on the ideas in the Introduction: Reality is a mess, we need to save it, there are internal problems to go with the external ones, and that's why we need the player characters.

Enlightened Science -Chapter two is a deep dive into the Technocratic paradigm, or rather, the part of it that is consistent between Technocrats of various Conventions. It talks about the spheres, paradox and much of the Mage cosmology in these terms, explaining everything in scientific terms.

History Lessons - This chapter has a lot of meat in it: the Technocratic view of the history of the world, particularly the history of the Union. We see some of the schisms in action, following up on the Technocracy: New World Order book's discussion of interpretive lenses for history, though more concrete as is appropriate for what is functionally a core book (except for mechanics).

Protocols - Here's where the rules that Technocrats must live by are, such as the Precepts of Damian and the mechanics of Social Conditioning. It covers a lot of the day-to-day of being a Technocratic operative.

The Conventions - Five conventions, a bunch of methodologies, and a collection of examples fill out this chapter to help see the humans behind the technology and the masks of soulless uniformity that make the Technocracy so feared by the superstitionists.

Character Recruitment - Character creation, fairly standard. Includes rules for creating constructs, though they've largely been superseded, I believe.

Storytelling - This chapter covers how to run a Technocratic game, including what sorts of conflicts both internal and external are good for driving the drama, what sorts of resources the PCs get access to (by default), etc.

The Arsenal - BIG pile of Procedures and Devices.

Appendix - Recommended reading.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Guide to the Technocracy
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Technocracy Assembled 2
Publisher: White Wolf
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/13/2019 20:46:43

Syndicate 4/5

Though I haven't yet read the Technocracy: Void Engineers, this is my favorite of the first edition Convention Books. The Syndicate is presented clearly, with the reasoning behind what they do and why they can't push to do more (such as abolish money and make everything free). It does a far better job pushing the Syndicate as a "good" guy than Iteration X, Progenitors and NWO did, though a big part of that might be that all three of those books praise the Nazis in some way, while this one takes credit for the one thing that Hitler did right (rebuilding the German economy) and then tries to take credit for undermining him, rather than saying things like that the camps were a great success for medical research.

It's still a first edition Technocracy book, though clearly by this point, the 2nd edition view of the Technocracy had started to take over, though it was still two years before Guite to the Technocracy was published. So it has some issues, like making the Syndicate and New World Order have a bit too much overlap (this isn't quite solved in Revised, though giving the Syndicate Primal Utility and REALLY tying them to their paradigm of the Bottom Line helped a lot).

Oh, and of course, this is in small ways a crossover book with Werewolf: the Apocalypse.

Void Engineers 5/5

I honestly love this book. From the framing narrative of a Void Engineer giving their history to a bunch of Reality Deviants (one of each of the major types, in fact) including the reveal at the end bringing the whole thing into question and giving rise to a major chunk of the Nephandic Infiltration metaplot for the Technocracy. It's really a modern Convention Book with a nuanced view of the Technocracy and one that clearly internally, at least, has them as the heroes.

It contains decent mechanics for Voidships, and seems to be the place where the exploration of the galaxy is farthest along (at least, I don't believe later books suggest that they've gotten as far as this one claims they have.) In fact, if there's a flaw, it's because them having significant extrasolar exploration is a bit beyond belief, though they justify it by Kepler and Einstein having worked together to find a hole in Relativity (Newton, also a Void Engineer apparently, had been killed a few decades earlier).

Overall, it's a very good book, with lots of useful procedures and devices, a solid narrative, and it makes it clear that Void Engineers are more complex antagonists who are more tolerant of Earthly relatiy deviants, simply because out in teh void, anything vaguely human is more friend than the natives are.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Technocracy Assembled 2
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Technocracy: Void Engineers
Publisher: White Wolf
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/13/2019 20:46:38

I honestly love this book. From the framing narrative of a Void Engineer giving their history to a bunch of Reality Deviants (one of each of the major types, in fact) including the reveal at the end bringing the whole thing into question and giving rise to a major chunk of the Nephandic Infiltration metaplot for the Technocracy. It's really a modern Convention Book with a nuanced view of the Technocracy and one that clearly internally, at least, has them as the heroes.

It contains decent mechanics for Voidships, and seems to be the place where the exploration of the galaxy is farthest along (at least, I don't believe later books suggest that they've gotten as far as this one claims they have.) In fact, if there's a flaw, it's because them having significant extrasolar exploration is a bit beyond belief, though they justify it by Kepler and Einstein having worked together to find a hole in Relativity (Newton, also a Void Engineer apparently, had been killed a few decades earlier).

Overall, it's a very good book, with lots of useful procedures and devices, a solid narrative, and it makes it clear that Void Engineers are more complex antagonists who are more tolerant of Earthly relatiy deviants, simply because out in teh void, anything vaguely human is more friend than the natives are.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Technocracy: Void Engineers
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Technocracy: Syndicate
Publisher: White Wolf
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/12/2019 02:43:20

Though I haven't yet read the Technocracy: Void Engineers, this is my favorite of the first edition Convention Books. The Syndicate is presented clearly, with the reasoning behind what they do and why they can't push to do more (such as abolish money and make everything free). It does a far better job pushing the Syndicate as a "good" guy than Iteration X, Progenitors and NWO did, though a big part of that might be that all three of those books praise the Nazis in some way, while this one takes credit for the one thing that Hitler did right (rebuilding the German economy) and then tries to take credit for undermining him, rather than saying things like that the camps were a great success for medical research.

It's still a first edition Technocracy book, though clearly by this point, the 2nd edition view of the Technocracy had started to take over, though it was still two years before Guite to the Technocracy was published. So it has some issues, like making the Syndicate and New World Order have a bit too much overlap (this isn't quite solved in Revised, though giving the Syndicate Primal Utility and REALLY tying them to their paradigm of the Bottom Line helped a lot).

Oh, and of course, this is in small ways a crossover book with Werewolf: the Apocalypse.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Technocracy: Syndicate
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Technocracy Assembled 1
Publisher: White Wolf
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/10/2019 12:52:28

Here are my reviews of the individual parts:

Progenitors 2/5

This book is...confused. It wants to simultaneously leave things to the interpretation of the ST by saying "maybe this is a Progenitor scheme!" but having the PROGENITORS say that is quite odd. The in character sections should know, or at least think they know, if their own organization was involved in large scale actions. It also has the nonsensical idea that the Progenitors are somehow killing Avatars on a mass scale, which would mean no more Progenitors.

The book has some good parts, the story that the basics of the Progenitors are conveyed through are the notes of a student, though a super-unsympathetic one, who seems on the verge of going MRA terrorist by the middle.

In general, it's an ok book, but it shows badly how early in Mage it was written, before much of the setting and details had been nailed down properly, and while it did some of the lifting to make the Technocracy more than a one-note black hat, it left a LOT of work to be done.

Iteration X 3/5

This is a difficult book to review for me. On the one hand, I hate it. On the either, it is a well written book that is just part of first edition where the Technocracy is an irredeemable villain rather than a potentially valid antagonist.

It is told from the point of view of a recent recruit, who was given advanced prosthetics that were necessary due to thalidomide. He breaks conditioning for long enough to describe how terrible Iteration X is, and it's bad down to explicit comparisons with Nazis. The book gives a general overview including introducing the Artificers who are prominent when Sorcerer 's crusade is written. They effects and wonders are some of the most interesting parts of the book, along with the running theme that the Dreamspeakers are the biggest rival of the Convention, due to being the two oldest groups focusing on the spirit world and on tool use. It also introduced the Computer explicitly as a spirit that has some goal in Reality and is using Iteration X to achieve it.

Overall a solid book, but not great in many places if you prefer a sympathetic Technocracy.

NWO 3/5

This book fits into the cycle of first edition Technocracy books, and continues many of the trends that I dislike about early Mage. It depicts the New World Order, marking another Convention that is explicitly tied to the Nazis (through their "One World, One Truth, One Reality" slogan being similar to "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer" as well as the Nazis speaking of a "New World Order" they would establish) and generally is fine for a purely antagonist oriented book, but is badly unsatisfying in the modern era with a complex Technocracy. It does have the advantage of pointing out some debates within the the Convention, and foresaw the somewhat "post-truth" era that we find ourselves in today.

Overall, it's a decent book, but best acquired in a bundle or in Technocracy Assembled, and not as essential as the longer, more detailed and more nuanced Revised book.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Technocracy Assembled 1
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Technocracy: N.W.O.
Publisher: White Wolf
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/10/2019 12:52:25

This book fits into the cycle of first edition Technocracy books, and continues many of the trends that I dislike about early Mage. It depicts the New World Order, marking another Convention that is explicitly tied to the Nazis (through their "One World, One Truth, One Reality" slogan being similar to "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer" as well as the Nazis speaking of a "New World Order" they would establish) and generally is fine for a purely antagonist oriented book, but is badly unsatisfying in the modern era with a complex Technocracy. It does have the advantage of pointing out some debates within the the Convention, and foresaw the somewhat "post-truth" era that we find ourselves in today.

Overall, it's a decent book, but best acquired in a bundle or in Technocracy Assembled, and not as essential as the longer, more detailed and more nuanced Revised book.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Technocracy: N.W.O.
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