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Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Carl L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/01/2019 11:51:05

First off, this book actually has some good to it. Mechanically it makes it possible to actually play, unlike 3rd Edition, er Revised... What it has, it has well. The rules for the spheres, the way to build a spell, the modifiers for said spells. The compilation of the various factions and sides in the Ascension wars that were stretched across dozens of books, possibly more over the three prior editions. Solid enough stuff.

But ultimately I'm unhappy with it. 700 pages, but they can't give you the Rotes under each Sphere. 700 pages, but they can't actually include even a decent sized fraction of the Merits & Flaws. Instead the book is chockful of plugs for all the other books intended for the Mage 20 line. Thankfully I got this book during a sale, but I honestly still feel more than a touch ripped off to basically have an incomplete book. And deliberately so. I really don't get it. V20 wasn't a constant plug for the other books. W20 wasn't either. It's more than a touch disingenuous and a shameless money grab.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition
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7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: Chaosium
by Carl L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2019 14:15:24

Really glad I didn't drop money on the KS.

The game overall lacks. Period. A system. A setting that wasn't already established in the first edition. Mechanics. Any sort of flow that would try to implement what meager mechanics there are in a cohesive and rational way.

I like the Corruption page, and the map of Theah this go round.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
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Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Carl L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2019 13:03:08

By the sweet blood of Caine, Vampire isn't even one of our favorite games but this book is amazing. A love letter to what started it all, and beyond, this book is great for new and old players alike. The mechanics got a good polishing and tune-up, the world gets a solid update given that at the tail end of the Old World of Darkness you were just getting into the bane that is smartphones, not to mention catching the timeline in general up to its release.

It still has Tremere in it, which isn't bad enough to affect my star rating.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition
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Mind's Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse
Publisher: By Night Studios
by Carl L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2019 12:53:30

Another fine treatment of an older game. I still dig the ability bits that go beyond just numbers for tests. I like the downtime action layout, as well as the Quest bits for trying to make sense of all the questing things the warriors of Gaia undergo.

I think setting wise it suffers from trying to 'fix' all the issues of the old Werewolf setting. Suddenly nearly all the shifters get along. Suddenly the Garou and other Fera get a rousing second chance in the forms of seed caerns and the inclusion kinfolk being Bitten. While there's some interesting ideas there it honestly smacks of a little too much of a fan fiction type 'fix' for things they saw 'wrong' with the old.

That's just a personal opinion. I know plenty you love the suddenly fluffy hugs and rainbows approach to the end of the world. Mechanically, I think the only gripe I can find is that while the streamlined powers work fine in the Vampire, Werewolf loses out when you take a machete to the gift lists. True, there's too many of the things, but still. In stripping away some of the key gifts for a certain tribe or fera those groups lose a lot of their 'flavor'.

And the book still suffers from the size issue as the Vampire MET.

All in all a solid book and game though.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mind's Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse
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Mind's Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade Quickstart Guide
Publisher: By Night Studios
by Carl L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2019 12:41:11

A solid redo of the old MET. More streamlined, which is supposedly what is wanted in LARP, and even has interesting bits with some of the mechanics that don't require so much RPS. The treatment of Influence alone is an amazing addition to the MET framework, and it was one of the most amazing things in the old MET books to begin with.

The only issue, and it's a literally big one, is the size of the print book. Now given this day and age of digital books and what not, this isn't so bad if you just keep it on a tablet or your phone. Still, for those of us who like an actual book-book it's horribly unwieldy to try and lug this tome around. Still, ultimately cheaper than all the other MET books you had to shell out for back in the day.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mind's Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade Quickstart Guide
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World of Darkness: Armory
Publisher: White Wolf
by Carl L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2019 12:24:46

A solid book. Everything from the fiction that opens the chapters to the treatment of weapons and warfare, and even the mechanics aren't out of whack. They don't make 'em like this no more, that's for sure!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness: Armory
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Geist: The Sin-Eaters
Publisher: White Wolf
by Carl L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2019 12:22:30

Sloppy editting, sloppy writing, slammed together bits that are both never clearly defined/explained and in some cases there seem to be mere ideas that never actually made it into full fledged mechanics.

I eventually read through the wonders of the internet that apparently the ONLY copy being sent to print was lost or corrupted and in a mad scramble this mess is what we were given instead. I don't know why White Wolf felt the need to be vaguely on time with this release when I can't recall any release ever being close to their self proclaimed release dates, but here we are.

The setting premise is decent enough (dying and coming back to try it all again), but the shoehorned cookie-cutter underground society feels like they aren't even phoning it in. More like a sticky note left on someone's fridge that simply read "Do that hidden society crap we do in all our games, but don't try too hard. Or really try at all, the psychopants will lap it up regardless."

Power balance is another factor. It really reminds me of Kindred of the East in which they could pretty much do what all the other books did to some degree or another. Geist have powers, laid out in the WoD standard 1-5 levels. They have ceremonies, so they get magic rituals as well. They get magic toys, which suffer from that lack of definition mentioned above. They seem to be nigh indestructible, akin to Prometheans. In addition to the whole Twilight mess, they also get their own super duper secret world that only they can access to any degree of ease or reliability, which kind of drifts into Changeling's lane in my opinion. It's like an ever escalating attempt to one-up what's come before and it really just doesn't do anything well in its own right.

I think a 2nd edition is on its way. Hopefully it won't be too much like the first.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Geist: The Sin-Eaters
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Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook (Master Index Edition)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Carl L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/12/2015 11:25:02

I skipped around this book to see if some of the problems I had with 4th Ed. had been addressed. So when I came across the Gear section and saw how they had added even more tedious BS involving the PAN, including how you could change the color of some guns if they were inked to said PAN, honestly I put the tablet down and haven't looked at it since.

I did see something of how they added in benefits for Adepts having Totems, which has been a want for SR fans since 1st Ed., so good on them for that.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook (Master Index Edition)
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World of Darkness: God-Machine Rules Update
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Carl L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/08/2014 10:34:29

Let's start off with it being free. Always a good thing, or at least not bad. I like the inclusion of a lot of merits, possibly from various other supplements in the WoD lines, I'm not sure. I especially like that Professions from HTV show up, since the focus of the corebooks has been mortals in a messed up world.

I like the notion of letting players define their own trigger points for morality. I like that there is something that it's not just the player doing this, but it also needs to have the ST involved with it as well.

I like the idea of Beats, but just that. I think in actual play it would smack too much of every video game with an "award" for the simplest of "accomplishments". And looking at the number of things can that can award a Beat would pull from gameplay, considering that every scene might have several Beats, but only if a player tries some contrived BS to get the goodies. I also think the cost ratio of Beats to Experiences, and then the various aspects of the character costing a certain number of Experiences is ridiculous. It reminds me of Earthdawn, where you get your attributes, and then that gives you a Step number, and each Step number corresponds to a differing type and/or amount of dice to roll. It also undermines the notion of trying to not have such a linear concept to character advancement. I'd either go with the good ole' XP system, or take the plunge and work up something even a bit more in depth but still try to steer clear of "linear progression". I frankly see nothing wrong with awarding XP and having things with their costs. It's not so much a "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" but more if you are going to do something different actually DO something different.

Some of the Conditions are neat. Some things should have simply been left as Flaws. Or maybe a designation of Positive Conditions and Negative Conditions. I get why some aren't lumped into Merits, as they can be very temporary, but it still seems needlessly... changed. I kind of get the feeling that somebody wanted to essentially make a WoD 5th Ed. but without actually saying that's what it was since it's not even really called WoD 4th Ed.

As for the metaplot, I've never really used any of them. Even when I run Old WoD stuff it's never about that (which ever game it is). I did like the fiction from the original WoD corebook, especially the one that had the God Machine in it. And I also enjoyed what fiction is present in this update. It smacks a touch the Old WoD stuff, especially the Triat from Werewolf rolled in cthulu and a grandfather clock, but the fiction is good and creepy. A lot of my friends did love the old stuff, but they are also probably still playing within said metaplots. Still, good stuff there.

Some one else mentioned the social maneuvering and Opening Doors , and I agree with the assessment that it's needlessly complicated. I get the idea that there should be some way to convince some one to fork over their security pass, or to let you copy those file even though it is illegal to do such, or any number of things that people know they shouldn't allow but are convinced to do so anyway. I just think the whole mess of Doors and crap is trying too hard to be different for the sake of being such, and not actually being any better than making it an extended roll with "x" being successes needed (x being their Resolve, or even Willpower. Something).

I like the idea of changing with Virtues and Vices a bit, but I like the new-old set up better. I didn't mind the 7 Sins and Virtues. I think this new set up is a bit like Natures and Demeanors of Old. They were interesting, but there were just too many of them. Still, if you can not let the process of creating your own individual and unique Virtue and Vice not consume too much time, and what is come up with isn't worded to be a completely BS way of raking in the Willpower, have at it.

Though it seems kinda bitchy, I did like it. It's price tag has a lot to do with that. If I had actually paid money for this one I'd be rather pissed. Still, I like what it offers that I do like, and the rest I can ignore. I was sitting on a solid 3 for this review, but I figure the current price is worth another for a total of 4.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness: God-Machine Rules Update
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Werewolf Translation Guide
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Carl L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/11/2012 22:10:12

Highly disappointing. Granted it was only 4 bucks, but I've basically thrown it away because this pdf. says is "wing it". For 51 pages at that.

I'm honestly not sure which is more frustrating, the wasted money or time finding out how utterly useless this thing actually is.

Were it not for the fact I have to do so, this would garner a 0 in the star department.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
Werewolf Translation Guide
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