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Chronicles of Darkness $19.99
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Dean H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2018 16:05:06

I love Chronicles of Darkness Second Edition. In just about every way it is superior to the First Edition (which a lot of fans deemed "New World of Darkness" until rebranding) with one exception.

I don't know how to feel about the condition mechanics. I think most people really like them, but I find them a bit cumbersom (from a thought process, not mechanically) and a bit forced. I will explain what I mean.

Condtions are basically changes to your character either physically or mentally (and usually temporary) and they affect the game for your character in a mechanical way. A lot of time it is in the form of bonuses or negatives to certain rolls. Resolving these conditions can sometimes result in getting a beat (part of an experience dot), which incentivises the player to take conditions regularily.

On the surface this seems like a really neat mechanic and a good way to get players to allow for complications to befall their characters willingly which can lead to interesting story and roleplaying...However, I find that often there is a lot of mental overhead to come up with conditions for players that are appropriate and also mechanically balanced on the fly. The book has a small list of generic example ones, but I find they do not cover a lot of situations well which then puts emphasis on the players and storyteller to come up with their own condtions while tying to make them mechanically balanced.

The second issue I have with conditions is I feel like it makes players feel a bit pigeon-holed on how they play their characters from moment to moment. Say they get a paranoid condition, now does that condtion contradict the temperment that their character typically has? Now they have to choose to either play that character in a contradictory manner to their personality or not do so and risk losing the experience for resolving the condition. Neither option is ideal. I think the mechanic seems pretty neat on the surface, but when put into practice, I think it is counter-intuitive to what it was trying to solve (get players to roleplay more).

Other than this gripe. Chronicles is a really cool system and setting. I especially like the fact that the God Machine was added as an antagonist to the core book so that mortals actually have a default theme.

Social mechanics are much improved as well as I think a lot of mechincs are simplified in the right way.

If there was a half-star option, I would give it a 4.5 out of 5, but I don't think the system is flawed enough to warrant a 4. This is well worth the purchase if you are a fan of horror (especially personal horror) and are looking for something with a little more crunch, but not so much that it gets in the way of the mood and story.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Chronicles of Darkness
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