First off, I want to make a bit of a personal declaration, and I hope that you'll all bear with me on this while I try to keep it from turning into a personal rant atop a soap-box.
I don't write reviews for books/supplements/jumpstarts/etc. that I don't like.
I learned a long time ago back when I was co-running Ex Libris Nocturnis (it was a great site. Ask your parents.) that there is already a massive amount of negativity present throughout the internet without me adding to it. Now, fast forward fifteen years into the FUTURE from that point, and the negativity has multiplied exponentially. It's one thing to write about something that you have a personal, vested interest in - sexism is bad, national socialism is bad, homophobia is bad - and tell the world about the negative emotions that it stirs within you... but a GAME? A game should NEVER stir up vitriol inside of of you. If it does, close the book and walk away from the game. Don't take the time to write a nasty, negative review of something you don't like because it's just not your cup of tea, or because the author(s) who wrote it didn't happen to write the book that you wanted to read or have written for you.
There's no point. It does nothing but make the internet more negative.
I only write reviews of things that I feel positively about in this iteration of me.
Now, that being said? I REALLY DIG Heirs to the Mountains of Madness.
Now, let me be clear here... this is NOT a complete setting. This is NOT a collection of Rotes and Spells and Adjustments and Procedures. This is NOT a stand-alone book to just give you a whole lot of crunchy purple-flavored goodness that adapts Mage: the Ascension rules to use with it.
Heirs to the Mountains of Madness is a JUMPSTART for a Chronicle, or if you'd like, for something smaller if you're playing with people who have never played Mage: the Ascension before.
The jumpstart is written by Josh Heath, the mastermind behind High Level Games, and I'm proud to call him my friend. However, have no illusions about THAT, either... just because I'm your friend doesn't mean I'm going to make the sign of the cross over every single thing that you write and call it scripture. To DO THAT would make me an unreliable peer, and I'd like to think that Josh and I are peers at this point where this stuff is concerned.
First off, if you've got friends who THRIVE on tromping around Lovecraftian New England, then you're going to love this jumpstart. It is literally packed with little odes to H.P., and I can't offer you too many details other than that without spoiling things. The name dropping is seamless with the manner in which Josh sutures Mage: the Ascension with Lovecraft's weird fiction. The jumpstart itself is set up for use by either Technocratic or Tradition Magi, and the plot synopsis of what you're going to be doing, why you're going to be doing it, and what happens when you do it are quick and dirty without being at all wordy.
Here's the deal, guys and gals... if you PLAY Mage: the Ascension, you're SMART ENOUGH to know what to do with this thing. If you're using it to kick off a Chronicle, then God's speed to you. If you're using it to introduce new players familiar with Lovecraft (or Hell, even Call of Cthulhu) to Mage: the Ascension, then make sure you download a copy of the Quickstart Guide to accompany this jumstart and everyone at the table will be more than ready.
All you need after that is guacamole and some mood music. Boom.
After the initial setup of what's going on, Josh does what he does BEST, in my personal opinion: he gives you READY-TO-PLAY characters. You have no need to generate a ton of NPCs, because they're all here, they're all viable, and they're all logical to the story.
Another quick note here: For the record, these Magi are NOT "overpowered" or "statted-out too high." They're high-end Magi who can make things happen and, if necessary, really push back if they're pushed against. They're not supposed to be freshly generated Mage PC templated. They're NPCs. They do what the PCs CAN'T readily do FOR the ST. Just thought I'd interject that, because it seems to be important, and I've read a couple of things lately about how "Mage NPCs seem to be overpowered."
No more so than a Vampire Elder... but whatever.
Now, within these NPCs, there's one named Walter Gilman.
I'm not sure if Josh did this on purpose or not, but it's FREAKIN' HILAROUS, especially if you're a fan of Lovecraft's works. The stats on this cat are PERFECT, and the punch-line is funny while still being dreadfully serious... like you DO with Mage.
So... you get a PLOT, an OUTLINE for a story with conflict, intrigue, the potential for weird, Lovecraftian-inspired Talismans/Wonders, SIX really cool pre-generated NPCs, and a nice HOOK that proves the point that Mage: the Ascension is the PERFECT SETTING for cosmic horror and weird fiction. If your players are into the Lovecraft cosmology, you REALLY need to check this jumpstart out.
You can thank me later for the recommendation. I wouldn't steer you wrong.
[5 of 5 Stars!]