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Halls of the Arcanum
 
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Halls of the Arcanum
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Halls of the Arcanum
Publisher: White Wolf
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/08/2020 11:57:05

Who are the biggest nerds in the World of Darkness? The Technocracy? The Order of Hermes? None of them hold a candle to the Arcanum.

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of the 1st person style for game books: though ambiguity leaves room for creativity, often clarity is what's needed. Here, though, it worked quite well. The story is told through the notes and letter, primarily of a new member joining the Arcanum and learning about it, but also from the founders of the society. The section on the Arcanum's secrets is told from the point of view of a Hermetic mage who has been investigating them. Fitting for such an organization, it leaves everyone in the dark.

Generally well-written (though there are a few cringe moments, like when it describes people with the G-slur, as WoD often did back in the day) the book is a useful companion to Ascension's Right Hand, showing what happens to occultists who don't end up attached to a Tradition but still have a burning need to know.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Halls of the Arcanum
Publisher: White Wolf
by Terry R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/01/2019 12:39:44

I reviewed this as part of Mage the Podcast, list to it here.

Halls of the Arcanum depicts the workings of the Arcanum, a scholarly organization in the World of Darkness that seeks to uncover what is hidden. Halls offers a different take on The World of Darkness more as a place of danger and of things not illuminated rather than simply a gritty world of despair with the odds against you. The odds are against the Arcanum as they have no supernatural resources and the agents they’re working against are quite cunning but they have patience and scholarship which is often in short supply in the dire circumstances of some builds of the World of Darkness.

The book has that aged much more gracefully than at first I had figured. With the exception of the progress of computers, much of the book holds. The NPCs and templates could be used with little difficulty and the maps and schematics are still useful as are the lists. This book is largely about Sleepers and their attempts to unravel the World of Darkness but with varying degrees of success. Chapter houses are spread across the globe offering a lot of ability integrate local lore as well as lodges which are kind of frontline assemblages to research odd happenings. The book goes into these topics in some detail and does a good job of reminding the reader of how big the World of Darkness can be. Rather than just referring to Shangri-La, the book references a half dozen hidden cities. Instead of listing just a yeti as a cryptid, it again lists a dozen. Instead of just listing the five main lines in WoD, the book lists fourteen types of odd occurrences. While this book is geared towards mortals, there’s nothing preventing mages from investigating the same things.

The book also outlined internal politics within the organization and did so in vague terms at first and then in detail in the Storyteller Chapter. Rather than just saying “this is what’s going on” the book provides four options of what’s going on. It’s quite pleasing to have thoroughness plus ambiguity within a tome.

The only two sections that I felt ran flat were in regards to numena where I figured they would be all up in testing and developing that kind of power. Also, the question of accumulating information and where it goes brought up questions. It’s suggested that the group sometimes makes discoveries. Besides its in-house journal, when will this information be shared if ever?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Halls of the Arcanum
Publisher: White Wolf
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/30/2018 19:12:28

Must have for Mage 1st addition, Mortals or Technocaracy games. Plot hooks galore and interesting NPCS. Inspired me to get back into storytelling.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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