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Dharma Book: Thrashing Dragons
Publisher: White Wolf
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2019 13:54:41

This is a great product for anyone that wants to role play a Creature of the Night that must experience just about everything to become enlightened. It isn't for the faint of heart though, as one is required to put on the mask of the beast and use the beast's intuition, since why would a dragon be given claws unless it's supposed to rend flesh? The Thrashing Dragons are a Yang aspected Dharma, one of the few that actively conceive and raise Dhampyrs, encouraged to use drugs, sex, violence, and even try a semester or two to bear the plague, all in the name of going to the Hundred Clouds Court. If you want to experience a Character that's down to perform the most heinous of activities, while you the Player is like, “WTF!?!”, this is the product for you.

Manga: Dreams of the Dragon: I like this manga/comic, since it doesn't focus on overt sex and violence, but is a sad tale about multiple suicide, and is very subtle on the horror. The trip to Kakuri Yomi is really interesting, and it made me laugh when everyone's hand gets stamped with a hole puncher by the ticket taker.

Pulling Out the Pin (Introduction) pg 4: An introduction to what it means to be a Thrashing Dragon along with a nice glossary of words. It seems this is a Dharmic path that is easy to make a caricature out of, sort of like Malkavians and the whole “Drop the fish Malk” thing, so they give hints and suggestions on how to role play Thrashing Dragons effectively. I had a Story Teller that let all four Players in his group be Malkavians at once. Only once.

Reflections on our State (Philosophy and Outlook) pg 8: Unlike other Kuei-Jin, Thrashing Dragons don't mess around, and right off the bat they're told what wretches they really are, along with “A moment of profound regret for your misdeeds and wasted life might be appropriate at this point.” Thrashing Dragons still have a road to redemption, and they feel that every observation and experience is needed to get there, since you can't write enlightenment down in a book, it comes from the heart and soul. However, Kuei-Jin are disconnected from Maya and numb compared to a normal humans, so enlightenment takes much longer to attain on average. The chapter then goes on to explain the Thrashing Dragon's relations with all the other Dharmic paths, and how they're usually low on the political totem pole and few in number, except in the Golden Courts. It goes on to explain the four main sects, “The Laughing Rainbows”, “The Thousand Faced Thunders”, “The Passion Blood Flowers”, and “The Ten Seasons Sect”, and finishes up with their relations with other Creatures of the Night.

The Holy Rhythm (Practices and Sects) pg 30: This chapter starts out with the eight tenants of the Thrashing Dragons; 1) Attunement to life, 2) Indulge passions, 3) Stewardship of creation, 4) Slay the dying, 5) Eschew half-life, 6) Sun veneration, 7) Laugh often, and 8) Protect spirits. Each of these tenants is practiced or viewed differently by each sect, but all the sects believe in all eight tenants. Next it goes over the different forms the P'o takes in Thrashing Dragons, like the demon, the bandit, and the monkey, which are still vital paths toward enlightenment. Lastly, it ends with a discussion about each sect's history, structure, holy places, and leadership.

Tiger’s Claws, Dragon’s Teeth (Rules & Advice) pg 46: Covers Disciplines, Rituals, and items that the Thrashing Dragons use, a few of which are very combat oriented like Fur and Fangs, Animal Form Dragon Dance, and Eight Fold Yang Barrier. Gender Change does exactly what it sounds like, and allows a Character to produce children as the opposite sex, which is very important to The Passion Blood Flowers sect. My personal favorite is Thousand Lice Eyes, which is like a twenty foot cloud of microscopic cameras, a great way to keep tabs on someone for a few days. Unlike the other Dharmic paths, Thrashing Dragons have many day to day Rituals they use to “give back” a little, since their lives are premised on rape and take. The three main rituals are Greeting The Sun, Prayer For Taking Life, and Ritual For Giving Birth, which are all story based rituals, not results based. Greeting The Sun is important for Thrashing Dragons, since the sun is the most holy of symbols, a reminder that the August Personage of Jade is merciful, a reminder that Haven smiles on them still, and without it's presence everyone and everything would die, which would make even death lonely. Prayer for taking Life, as the name clearly implies, is a ritual to show respect to the spirits after a Thrashing Dragon kills someone, which seems to happen often. Since Thrashing Dragons can't give back in any way, they feel reproduction is they best way to compensate, and that's when the Ritual of Giving Birth is used. A Dhampyr is at least half alive, which is much better than zero.

Young Lions (Templates) pg 68: Five pre-made characters that the Story Teller or her Coterie may pick from. I personally like the Kung Fu Rapper and the Second Sort Gardener.

Appendix: Faces of the Dance pg 80: The last chapter fills us in on some influential members of the Thrashing Dragons, like Thousand Crane Mother, Black Earth Boy, and Odo Ito. It was interesting to find out that Black Earth Boy was one of the three Bodhisattvas that took down Zapathasura at the Infinite Thunders Court, back in 1999 during The Week Of Nightmares.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dharma Book: Thrashing Dragons
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Celestial Wisdom
Publisher: Ryan Chaddock Games
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/12/2019 22:34:06

I've never played "Numenera", don't own the core book {I downloaded this for free last night}, and happened to notice a certain Ryan Chaddock wrote it, so I decided to read and review it as soon as possible. "Celestial Wisdom" is an easy read, and in fifty four pages, Ryan provides us with AI gods, tech devices, plot hooks, and even included fifty printable cypher cards {Which are neat and tidy compared to many pages of hand written notes}. I don't roll play anymore, but I like to write stories and sessions for other people online, and if you need wacky high tech topics to insert into ANY game system, this title has great ideas to unleash on your players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Celestial Wisdom
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Writing With Style: An Editor's Advice for RPG Writers
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/12/2019 02:58:06

I've been on wiki and fan sites for the last six months or so, and after I summoned the Demon Prince of Apathy, paid homage to H. P. Lovecraft's amateur style, then admitted to Cthulhu that sanity is for the weak, I promised the Internet I would improve my craft. I purchased three classes from the great courses, which were informative, but each took twelve hours a piece to get their message drilled into my soul. In a short span of forty five pages, Ray Vallese summed up those courses and threw in industry pointers, such as cliche words to avoid, over used words, and suggestions on the use of pronouns. I wish I had bought this before the great courses {I got this on sale for $2 or so}, dived right in to my work, and worried about the rest later.

I recommend this product to anyone that wants to take their words seriously. My pilgriwizard to the dark side is complete!

Thanks Ray!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Writing With Style: An Editor's Advice for RPG Writers
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Be Awesome At Dungeon Design (Augmented Edition)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/09/2019 03:31:39

I've read a lot of world design and dungeon design materials and this is now at the top of my list. I'm tired of dice rolls, battle mechanics, and statistics, and have changed my focus to puzzles, non combat challenges, and descriptions to run my games. Creighton B. lays this out concisely and the read was smooth, but as everyone pointed out, the pdf files have a lot of blank space, so just a heads up [This didn't bother me]. Creighton likes to use "empty" rooms and wandering monsters to build realistic dungeons, which I miss from the old days [I started role playing twenty two years ago], and mentions that the industry is too focused on their page count, rooms filled to the brim with encounters, and treasure hordes, than dramatic/fun stories that make sense for the players AND their characters. Overall I think this title is worth the three dollars I paid for it, and makes me think that amateur/private publishing is the way to go over AAA gaming [I fell in love with "Worlds Apart" and "Machhiato Monsters" after one read]. I'm tired of spending top dollar on name brand core books, when something like this SAYS everything they do, but without all those the pretty pictures and game statistics [How many times do I have to buy a fifty dollar core book to read basically the same stuff... again?].

Creighton B, Thanks for your hard work!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Be Awesome At Dungeon Design (Augmented Edition)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, for this review. I'm delighted you fond the book useful. Good luck with your dungeon designs!
The GM's Planet-Building Handbook
Publisher: Draken Games
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/09/2019 02:23:40

I grew up on "World Builder's Handbook" and "Dungeon Builder's Handbook" by Wizards of the Coast and they served their purpose well, but for less than five dollars, this little beauty handles planet creation a little bit better than the "World Builder's Guidebook", especially with mapping polar coordinate systems, a topic left untouched by Wizard's of the Coast.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The GM's Planet-Building Handbook
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Creator Reply:
I'm really pleased you liked the Handbook and found it useful!
Killing Streets
Publisher: White Wolf
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/17/2019 18:43:49

"Killing Streets" is a great secondary title to "1000 Hells", "World of Darkness: Hong Kong", and "World of Darkness: Tokyo", but It definitely would have trouble on it's lonesome. "Killing Streets" starts off with a nice five page story about some gangsters and follows that up with an introduction that includes a sizable media review list and a lexicon of Asian underworld lingo. Chapter one is a thirty page overview of Asian culture, which includes the rise of piracy, the Triads, and the Yakuza, a brief history since they've started modernization, what effects it's had on people's lives, shifts of power from agrarian homesteads to run down cities, daily life and expectations, and the typical moral decay that follows. It's not a comprehensive history, but good enough to put the coterie in the mood with a bit of side research. Chapter 2 is a rather large compilation of characters from all parts of Asia like Japan, China, Korea, India, and the Penangallan [Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia], and gives your coterie more creatures of the night than they could shake a stake at. "Killing Streets" is touchy about how it's used, and chapter three goes into depth on how the story teller should approach this product, with an emphasis on each character's internal conflict, hostage situations that involve the innocent, and the constant threat of violence and death. The appendix offers expanded rules for skills like streetwise, etiquette, investigation, and law, then finishes up with tainted areas called broken mirrors. Broken mirrors are pockets of Yomi Wan and the Middle Kingdom that have fused together, where people regularly commit suicide, rape, and murder, all while everybody could care less. The Yama Kings use these broken mirrors to spread Yomi Wan and move Gaia into the Sixth age, but they also serve as power conduits for demons, while they act like a power dampeners for Kuei-Jin, deadly terrain for the uninformed. If you're a story teller that detests combat or excessive violence, this probably isn't the title for you, but for $5, it could be worth the fluff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Killing Streets
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Subsidiaries: A Guide To Pentex
Publisher: White Wolf
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/27/2019 19:27:49

Subsidiaries: A Guide to Pentex covers the top six companies under the umbrella of Pentex which include, Endron International, Magadon Incorporated, King Breweries and Distilleries, Avalon Incorporated, Tellus Enterprises, and Black Dog Game Factory. The best part about the top six is that most are innocent enough on the outside and go to great lengths to hide their activity or make themselves indispensable to the region, so there will be no nine foot tall walking death machines 80% of the time. White Wolf wants the Story Teller to ham up the "I'm an innocent pedestrian/by stander/worker" and forces the pack to use less obvious methods to solve their problems, especially against the toy company Avalon, the software company Tellus Enterprises, and the pen and paper company Black Dog Game Factory. These corps have some nasty tricks up their sleeves for any slack jawed creature of the night that thinks they're in charge of the situation, such as chemicals that affect Garou and Vampires, genetics that target certain sectors of the population, viruses, teams of lawyers, and an insane amount of wealth to buy off opposition. In my opinion, since Pentex is a global enterprise, they should be in every World of Darkness chronicle. A quick description of their logos while the pack is at the gas station, or a Masquerade violation the pack witnesses in a video game that just hit the markets, would do wonders to add fluff to your chronicle. Even if the coterie/pack doesn't investigate now, they may start to associate Avalon Incorporated with nasty news articles about children stampeded to death in toy stores around their area, visit the Umbra and see a Wyrm infested factory with the same logo, or have their Kinfolk tainted by a bane attached to a Tellus Enterprises video game.

These are all CLEARLY mockeries of real life organizations and are to be taken in jest, which I hear is illegal in some sectors of Gaia, and there the most childish heads up to readers compared to other White Wolf products. Some products deal with horrible real life issues such as rape, murder, child abduction, mass corruption, and other very touchy topics to some players, while this one gives fair warning in chapter six to nerds about their dark side of... laziness, uncleanliness, immaturity, or their lack of vitamin D from no sun exposure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Subsidiaries: A Guide To Pentex
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Shadow War
Publisher: White Wolf
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/23/2019 05:44:36

Shadow War is a great title to have if you want detailed information on the Twilight War, Midnight War, The Bone Princes, and the Jade Invasion. When the Kuei-Jin have conflicts that need resolved or insults have gone too far, a Twilight War is organized and both parties agree on various terms and conditions like who can throw the best tea party, who's the best boxer, who can build a temple the fastest, the best three out of five in a head on head potato sack races, who is the best at a real live game of Chinese chess called "The War of Pines", or whatever else their the minds can conceive. Unlike a blood hunt, the purpose of the Twilight War is to further the Dharmic path of both Kuei-Jin, maybe acquire a new friend. If the Twilight War doesn't do the trick, someone is an Akuma, or someone slights an ancestor, a full blown Midnight War is declared, which involves both parties and their openly declared red screens [Mortal organizations that do dirty work], forts [Locations that may be attacked], and assets [Sources of income that may be attacked]. All in all Shadow War is a fantastic addition to my White Wolf collection and for less than $10 [I bought the Kindred of the East bundle], it worked perfectly with my chronicle. The only down side to this product, which shouldn't deter you from it, would be the fuzzy pages in the pdf copy, some of which I could barely read, one very small paragraph I couldn't read at all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadow War
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Masters of Jade
Publisher: White Wolf
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/13/2019 11:06:41

WARNING: I bought the pdf copy for six dollars. I read another review saying the paper quality of the actual book is poor compared to others in the same product line. Heads up!

This title is about The Guild and how they have built a trade network from the ground up that spans creation. The Guild is composed mostly of mortals, not creatures of the night and especially not the Solar Exalted. The Guild was built after the fall of the first age by mortals that felt betrayed/abandoned during the collapse. I like economic games video games and pen and paper games that incorporate stream lined rules for businesses. Masters of Jade did a fantastic job of this and if your interested, check out "Worlds Apart" and "A Song of Fire and Ice" for good economic/organization rules.

I've read a lot of White Wolf products and created many creatures of night with my players over the years. The most reviled of all the creatures of the night used to be the Fae/Changelings before I experienced this capitalist nightmare. The Guild's use of casual slavery for profit is really disturbing, but what else should I have expected from a White Wolf product? I don't know how most of these people don't think they will be haunted by wraiths or go to Malfeas/Yomi Wan when they depart from their mortal coil.

One of my main complaints about Vampire: The Masquerade is that creatures of the night are mostly unaware of each other until it comes to blows. I liked Masters of Jade since it tied mortals, exalted, changeling [Rakshas], and Wraiths together in a realistic way. Overall it was a great read and worth the six bucks I paid for it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masters of Jade
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Ananasi
Publisher: White Wolf
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/08/2019 06:58:20

The Ananasi [Spiders] are my favorite Fera or changing breed species along with the Mokole [Lizards] and Rokea [Sharks]. Unlike the Garou and other Fera, the Ananasi don't have rage and are instead cold, methodical, and mellow [exceptions for some classes/breeds like the Kumo [You are in fact lower than rat filth]]. They were not made by Gaia like the other Garou, but by Ananasa, the spider goddess who got trapped in an onyx egg. The goal of the Ananasi, Mokole, and Rokea Triat is to re balance the original Wyld, Wyrm, and Weaver Triat. I like the art in this supplement along with the comic that begins the story.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ananasi
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The 1000 Hells
Publisher: White Wolf
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/08/2019 06:50:23

I like Hell based literature and was unfamiliar with Asian themed Hells. The Yama Kings are all demonic god entities that mess with your players, not characters, players for infinity. I agree that this book could have easily been double or triple in size, but that forces the Story Teller to be creative. 1000 Hells provides the mechanics to make up logical domains in Hell, Yama Kings to rule those domains, and Akuma who trade their souls to enforce their new lords domains. What's with all the Asian demons and tentacles?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The 1000 Hells
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World of Darkness: Hong Kong
Publisher: White Wolf
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/08/2019 06:42:17

This is worth every penny for sure, going over the history, culture, religion, crime organizations, geography, locations, and who's who of Hong Kong, Kowloon, and the surrounding islands. Page 57 to page 125 covers in detail every NPC associated with locations presented in previous chapters. I like character driven stories more than plot or location driven stories, so this worked for me. The chronicle at the end of the supplement is just long enough to keep things spicy, but didn't seem too complex to keep a float.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness: Hong Kong
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World of Darkness: Demon Hunter X
Publisher: White Wolf
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/08/2019 06:29:14

The main complaint against choosing a mortal character is that they are weak. Shih are very comparable to Kue-Jin in power, but still feel human at the end of the day. Strike Force Zero agents remind me of Shadowrunners and that was a huge plus for me being a fan of every edition of Shadowrun. My favorite part in White Wolf products has to be the comic or manga at the beginning that sets the mood properly.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness: Demon Hunter X
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Dungeon Builder's Guidebook (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2019 01:41:34

I've been using this book on and off for years. It's not as good as the "World Builder's Guidebook", but it's a great short sword to complement the long sword.

I hope that was insightful, Sensible Cenobite



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Builder's Guidebook (2e)
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World Builder's Guidebook (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Sensible C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2019 01:39:08

I've been using this since dinosaurs roamed Gaia. It covers advanced topics like geology, tectonics, biomes, city life, pantheons, yadda yadda.
I love this book and have bought it multiple times. It comes with handy sheets to help you develope worlds.

I hope that was insightful, Sensible Cenobite



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World Builder's Guidebook (2e)
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