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Kitsune
by DSC T. G. C. _. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/27/2020 13:20:22

Kitsune attempts to bring the Mythical fox people to Changeling the Dreaming. This product is short but does a decent job of presenting a Changeling version of the Kitsune. The kith seems to be well balanced and portrays the spirit of the fox people quite well.

The Tabletop Gaming play tested this product and the kith worked okay in our Changeling group. We recommend this product to those storytellers and players who want a Changeling version of Kitsune instead of a "Werewolf" version.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kitsune
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Sources of Magick
by Harald B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/26/2020 20:17:57

Tl;dr: Are you a Mage Storyteller? If yes, then you want this.

This supplement fills a much needed niche in the setting of Mage, that of the Node. Nodes have such potential for, er, magic. The official rules have so far left this potential largely untapped, stranded in the limbo between soulless mechanics and bland templates. Charles Siegel, of Mage: The Podcast fame, has put together everything you need to breathe life into your Chronicle's places of power.

You get a number of paradigms defining how mages see nodes, a collection of sample nodes, and a set of rules that'll help you build unique nodes by yourself. More importantly, this supplement helps you think about nodes in the way they deserve.

The overall feel of this PDF is professional and official. At no point do you feel like you're reading anything but a Mage-supplement. Yes, there's the odd typo or editing error, but this is a very reasonably priced fan-made supplement, so I certainly wont complain.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sources of Magick
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Kitsune
by Matthew M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2020 14:52:44

The art is the first thing that really pops out at you helping the book come to life. I'd advise reading through till the end before making a judgement call because the material is good, but as a whole, it comes to life. The research done into Kistune legends is solid and the design allows for it to easily be translated into Korean or Chinese Gumiho mythos as well with minor alterations to the luck bead into a knowledge one. Additionally, the Thallain references and inclusion of a Nine Tails merit flows well and isn't unbalanced or meaningless. The section on opinions of other Kiths is fun as well and definitely reflects the nature of the Kitsune.

White-Wolf would be well served by including some new Eastern Kiths like this. As a Korean, I would be delighted to see more material like this in the future.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kitsune
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Sources of Magick
by Alice W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2020 19:47:25

This is the first Mage supplement I've ever read and it sets my expectations going forward. Sources of Magick is impeccably professional barring the odd typo here or there. Charles has prodigious understanding of the Mage source material, some real-world places (and historical events) as well as the creativity to tie all of it into a neat little bow via the copious example Nodes. Even still, the marriage of creativity and real-world relatability is taken to its heights in the section on node paradigms, which doubles as a crash course in metaphysical philosophy. At 49 pages cover-to-cover, it's a bit ambitious for what I expected as a fan supplement. In some ways, it could be perceived as too short.

Let me lay this down: Nodes were underexplained in the Mage core book, even as far as 20th edition. It's easy to see them as some simplistic place where power generically gathers and Mages can tap into it. This is true in a literal sense: in that you will use this literary device called a "node" as a building block to your story; though false in that you shouldn't take the formless prime material (heh) that is the Core's presentaiton of nodes and paste it directly into every campaign. Which is why all the subsequent features (such as Tass and resonance) can feel unwelcome—they run counter to my impression that nodes were simple. However, Charles reveals Nodes as they ought to have been portrayed. Let me say this again because it bears repeating: Charles would've been a good hire for a section on Nodes in the Core book.

So while it's easy to expect a short supplement (maybe under 20 pages), the expansion on this simple idea reveals how extensive it is inherently. I want more and yet I have all that I will need. This is key to me, regarding the utility of supplements. There's enough provided for a jump-start where you can pull in a vast array of these fully fleshed ideas and turn some of them into entire campaigns if you wanted. Yet some are bespoke and this may not contain a literary framework for every story. That's where "all you need but not all you want" comes into play. Far from being a negative criticism, this is the thing creativty is made from. Once you understand and use the supplement's stock ideas a few times, it still has provided the thought framework for your brain to quickly and easily create more. Wanting more is good because you will have the tools to create more at your whim. I would go so far as to say the node creation rules could be used for Werewolf: The Apocalypse cairns, or really any place of note in a World of Darkness chronicle. Because ultimately, nodes are storied points of interest with a special storytelling property. They should drip narrative and ooze hooks. Sources of Magick provides an abundance of both and then hands you the tools and understanding to continue its work for your own campaigns.

With the main body of the review out of the way, here's some of my thoughts on the individual sections in this book.

Paradigms Section or "the Nature of Nodes"

One of my favorite paradigms was "Gold Standard" where a Primal Utility-inclined mage such as the Syndicate may view a place as a a vault of gold ingots or mine of raw ore. As gold is an outdated—but still valuable—commodity, so-too are these nodes viewed as "nice-to-haves" but not essential. It's very cool that this paradigm is included, moreso because a logical conclusion to "all is value" is provided: if that node is hard to hold onto, it should just be drained. Like liquidating a possibly toxic asset long before it begins its downward trend in stocks. This isn't how I would see the world but it was such a shock to think of mages (technocrat or not) considering this as a viable option. It fits snugly within the market capitalist viewpoint that everything has to generate more value for whomever privately owns the property, rather than used for the common good. Which makes a perfect villain for a chronicle. There are several other good paradigms such as everything being made of computer data (i.e. "all is data"), which works very well for several paradigms even outside the Virtual Adepts, as mathematicians may recall Pythagoras believed "all is number". There aren't any weak paradigms on display here and I'd rather not spoil them all.

Resonance

One of the very cool things included in this book is an example of nodes attuned with a sphere's resonance. Resonance is another poorly explained core concept and reading The Book of Secrets may still be necessary to grasp it all but Charles does a great job of helping visualize the bizarre time warping effects of a Time-resonant node or the danger inherent to some Force-resonant nodes. Later, each one is expounded on in the node builder with varying degrees of extremity. The examples provided are just enough to use in a chronicle, yet inspire to create more.

Rotes

Many of the rotes in Sources of Magick are based on Prime, which I felt was a previously under-represented sphere. It's appropriate for Prime to feature in each rote since nodes are intrinsically linked to the Sphere as a whole, even if they are not always attuned to a Prime resonance. Speaking of which, the sizable 26 rotes provided are handily split into categories that deal with Quintessence, Ley Lines, Tass, and Resonance. I found this useful since I'm not always exactly sure how to categorize an effect unless I've seen it previously. Even if you use only a few of these rotes, there are plenty of ideas that easily transition into your own rotes and build a comprehensive toolbox for understanding Prime therein.

Node Builder

This has to be my favorite section, utility-wise. While paradigms brought me into the fold for understanding nodes properly, the builder is something I think most chronicles can use even beyond the equivalent building of Domains in Vampire: the Masquerade. Players and Storytellers alike can allocate points to the node and whatever comes out should be interesting enough that it forms a building block of a story. This is a great resource for story points of interest, even if you aren't playing Mage—which is why I say its use goes beyond building Domains in Vampire for Vampires. In the builder, you'll assign points to the amount of Quintessence, size of the node, the ratio of Quintessence to Tass, and special Merits/Flaws (of which there are a ton) that add more flavor and uniqueness to the node. I feel like Merits/Flaws are especially great if you start without a solid narrative understanding of what you want your node to be. If you know ahead of time, such as a powerful Prime node based in a stock exchange, then you can easily follow the point-buy to a logical conclusion. It's also nice to use as a node "power rater" since the points are easily tracable given the description of any node. This allows storytellers to compare nodes over a chronicle or between chronicles to understand the power differentials and potentials. Special care has also been taken within the node builder to help storytellers integrate nodes with Changling: the Dreaming and Werewolf: the Apocalypse as well!

Summary

Sources of Magick takes a concept which was too simplistic for what the developers wanted it to be and spins a comprehensive yarn to draw storytellers—once again—into the Ascension War. When fully fleshed out, it's easy to see why warring over nodes is so endless. They are integrated into the very things that Sleepers consider part of normal life. It may not do this for you but after reading this supplement, I looked at places very differently. I dredged up old thinking patterns that I used to fall into: How does this place flow? How are people unconsciously drawn to form certain paths within its architecture? Where does its "power" come from and what is it? From shopping malls with dead energy; sleepy cul-de-sacs that are nevertheless deathtraps and woven into a labyrinth of bourgoise privacy; to the Roman-inspired buildings of government where our collective belief (whether positive or not) in power flows. There is always something of a "node" around us. Viewing the real world in this way is nothing of a new process. It comes from Philosopher, Guy Debord's "Theory of Dérive" wherein the material world's conditions and structure should be explored deliberately rather than taken as a given. People within the system have decided where you can go, how you can get there, which routes lead to how much ease or difficulty, and have so often designed them without considering the diverse cast of humans among the world's stage. While I cannot know if Charles is familiar with Debord's work in derivé or The Spectacle, I can say that this exploration of nodes provides a deep and meaningful glimpse into the world behind the world, whether you choose to see our own that way or merely invite it into your fiction. Therefore I invite each of you who has a burning need to tell a story to explore a new world—alive, mysterious, connected and all at once looking for the many Sources of Magick.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sources of Magick
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Kitsune
by Steven M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2020 15:17:02

This is a very fun and clever kith. i'm gonna play one soon. excited to see it in action!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kitsune
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The Longest Night
by DSC T. G. C. .. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/18/2020 13:00:18

The Longest Night is a collection of works that covers quite a few different gamelines. Each entry within the book is very well written and presents new and interesting material. Typically we keep our reviews short as not to reveal to much, but this time we are going to try to break things down by chapter/author.

Wrapped in Winter's Blanket / Alfar: Northern Fair Folk presents us with a short story and setting for Dark Ages Mage. The short story takes place in to time periods, the dark ages period features Alfljotr the Elf Councilor while the modern period features a group of mage that centuries later retraced his Alfljotr's journey. Fans of mage will really like this story. The setting introduces us to Alfheim and the elves that live there. These elves refered to umbrood by mages are a kind of fae, so these might make for interesting crossover campaigns with Changeling.

Adlivun The Snowglobe presents us with a setting for Wraith the Oblivion. Andlivun known as the Land of Ceaseless Storms is the shadowland of the Innuit people. Andilivun is shield from the rest of the shadowlands from an maelstrom of frozne plasm, limiting access to this forgotten realm. The History of the realm featuring Sedna and Anguta is a fascinating read, especially to those into mythology. The chapter also introduces us to four huts (similiar to guilds): the Hunters, the Sculptors, the Burrowers, and the Moon-Callers. We are also introducted to the Tornat, the spirits of whales, otters, seals, and walruses, along with the Tuurngait, spectres that display animal traits. The chapter also provides us with two new arcanoi and numerous plot hooks.

Chernobog's Brood presents us with a new bloodline derieved from Tzimcze. These monsterous vampires are trapped in the umbra and can only escape on the night of the Winter Solstice. We found the concept of these monsters very cool. A member of this bloodline could make a good villian for a one-shot game.

A Little Christmas Fear / Christmas Fears presents us with a short story and an accompanying one-shot adventure. A Little Christmas Fear was a captivating little story featuring characters that appeared in Cambridge Security. The accompanying one-shot lets the players play through the highlights of the short story with their own characters.

Overall, the book was amazing. The one drawback is that so many different game lines were covered is that there are probably sections that you might not really care about, but on the other hand there were so many different game lines covered that you are sure to find something you like. The highlight for us was the Christmas Fears one shot, as it was a quick play through with little prep. The adventure provided us with four hours of fun. We also like Alfar Northern Fair Folk as one of our storytellers incorporated parts of it into our existing Changeling campaign even though it was original written for Mage. To be honest we didn't actually use Adilvun in a campaign as we don't currently have a Wraith group going, we all enjoyed the read.

The Tabletop Gaming Club recommends this product.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Longest Night
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Book of Madness: Whispers Without, Chaos Within
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/16/2020 13:21:35

This book is pretty good, though it shows its age and has largely been superseded by more recent books, like the Revised Book of Madness, Infernalism and Book of the Fallen. Still, it covers a lot of ground. It seems to less be about "madness" and more about "antagonists" as it has a whole chapter on Paradox, listing spirits, clarifying Realms and giving several theories as to how Paradox works from random mages. The Nephandi chapter gave a bit of meat to formerly vague antagonists, and the Marauders chapter inched away from "Mage dedicated to dynamism that appears insane" to "Metaphysically mentally ill mage" though with a subconscious devotion to Dynamism. The Demons and Demon Cults chapter doesn't really have a strong analogue anywhere else, with parts of it overlapping with future books, but still might be one of the better sources for infernalism in Mage. And the final chapter on Umbrood was surprisingly concrete.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Madness: Whispers Without, Chaos Within
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100 Fianna Kinfolk
by Jacek W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/16/2020 10:26:45

A solid suplement, very useful among many others. It gives STs a chance to focus on a story rather than NPCs. But it has 3 major flaws:

-Many of those kinfolks have been wrongly assigned as male or female at birth. As far as I know it doesn't happen so often. And in these books (the same flaw can be found in other books from this series) you can find at least one character like this. The same is for LGBT Kinfolks. I have nothing against homosexuals, but they are no more than 3% of world's population (according to Google and Wikipedia) so putting at least one in every book is a little too much for me. -It appears that many of those characters were created by copy/paste method. Their bios and sometimes names are similar in different books. -Many of them also have brothers and sisters (sometimes a few of them) who undergone their First Change. If I remember correctly Garou are a dying species so it shouldn't happen so often. Of course, if a ST follow the rules to the core it can be assumed that parents of those kinfolks were pure breeded (high Pure Breed Background).Many of them also have gnostic talent or gifts, a rare thing among Kinfolks. Neverthless it is a very good position to have (ST can easily modify those characters to correct those flaws). If I had to point a flaw that cannot be easily corrected I will say that the characters are too "clean". No skinhead/racist among Get of Fenris kinfolks? For me almost impossible (p. ex. in "Rage across New York" there was a skinhead Fenrir).



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
100 Fianna Kinfolk
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Guide to Coteries [BUNDLE]
by John S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/13/2020 15:22:41

Probably my favourite Secrets of the Masquerade product (and they know that I am very stingy when it comes to 5 ratings). I found the sample coteries interesting, however more interesting and useful to me was the mechanic for creating characters and coterie dynamics. You can read my full review HERE



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Guide to Coteries [BUNDLE]
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The Player's Grimoire
by DSC T. G. C. _. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/13/2020 11:32:53

The Player's Grimoire is a handy little product. The book mostly consists of fillable pages that allow players to have a quick and ready reference for commonly cast spells that their Mage characters use. The book does contain a few pages that serve as examples on how to use the filliable pages.

The tabletop Gaming club liked this product a lot. We found it very helpful in our games. We did find printing the book not as useful as using it digitally.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Player's Grimoire
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100 Silent Strider Kinfolk
by DSC T. G. C. _. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2020 11:01:02

100 Silent Strider Kinfolk is another solid contribution to the vault. This product is a useful tool when looking for quick npc with a little personality and background. The book gives us a 100 different character names with about a paragraph of background and personality information for each.

The Tabletop Gaming Club found the book useful during their weekly game and recommends this book to storytellers who want to flush out their Silent Strider based games with little work.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
100 Silent Strider Kinfolk
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The Memory of Trees
by DSC T. G. C. _. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2020 16:26:56

The Memory of Treesia reminds us of the author's previous work Fettered Ambition. This book has three seperate chapters that each details npcs and gives background and plot hooks for that can be used to develop a campaign around the characters and ideas presented.

The Tabletop Gaming Club enjoyed this product, and used many of the ideas in their campaign. We recommend this product to more advanced storytellers looking for quick campaign ideas. Though the lore presented in each chapter is very interesting and makes a good read.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Memory of Trees
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Fettered Ambition
by DSC T. G. C. _. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2020 15:45:17

The Fettered Ambition is a wonderful product. This book consists of three chapters that each details one NPC. Each NPC is fully detailed with stats, background and moviations. The fourth chapter of the book provides suggestions on how to link the various story elements provided in the previous three chapters into one comprehensive chronicle.

The Tabletop Gaming Club had weeks of enjoyment from using this product. We found Black Soul's Mirror to be the most fascinating of the three NPC's and she made a great adversary. We recommend this product to storytellers of Kindred of the East.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fettered Ambition
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The Iscariot Conspiracy
by DSC T. G. C. _. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2020 10:47:15

The Iscariot Conspiracy dwells deep into what is effectively a cult, based around the myth of Judas. Its a wonderful example of how a master manipulator can weave half-truths into a history.

This product gives us background on the conspiracy, details on some of the major npcs involved in the conspiracy including the vampire behind the scence along with npcs seeking to oppose the conspiracy.

The tabletop Gaming club used this product in their Victorian campaign and the story hooks provided many hours of fun play time. We recommend this product to storytellers of Vampire and other WoD games.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Iscariot Conspiracy
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Book of Shadows: the Mage Players Guide
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2020 02:03:10

This is honestly the second half of the Mage 1e Core book. It finishes almost every thought that that book had, and opens the doors to further elaboration, moving the game towards 2e and softening the black & white feel of the original core.

The lease interesting section is the first chapter, which is just a pile of new Abilities, Archetypes, Background and the introduction to Merits and Flaws (which had been circulating in the other lines by this point.) The merits and flaws are particularly fun because some of them seem radically incorrectly priced. I admit, I'm also down on the extra Abilities, because I'm anti-secondary abilities in general with a very, very small number of exceptions.

Beyond that, the book really starts delving into how Mage works and how to actually make it work in practice. Chapter 2 just goes faction by faction, interspersing fiction with a discussion of each one's philosophy. It also includes the first hints of sympathetic Technocrats in the line, which gets expanded on later in the book.

Chapter 3 is rules, and Mage honestly needed rules badly. Clarification of magick, introduction of Talismans, Do, etc. Certamen gets its first rule set (though that's something Mage still struggles with) and some rules for computers are brought in, which combine with the Virtual Adept Tradition Book and Digital Web to make Mage have the most thorough rules for 1993's computers in any RPG I've ever seen.

Chapter 4 is great for players, but not as interesting to me now that we're in 20th anniversary edition: a list of rotes and wonders (and some mundane equipment). It gives a roadmap for actually creating interesting effects in the game, though many need updating to be used at a table today.

The final two chapters really work best as one. Chapter 5 is really interesting, showing in-world parables for the difficulties of a mage's path, learning from a mentor, how Avatars and Essences actually work, among other things. The strongest bit though, is the brief history of the Technocracy. Though some of it has been retconned (especially by the Technocracy books and Guide to the Technocracy) it gives the point of view of the Union and really makes Technocratic characters look interesting. It closes out with the final chapter, a collection of essays on writing mage, running mage, and how to interpret things for mage.

Overall, an essential book for Mage first edition, and still a useful book today.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Shadows: the Mage Players Guide
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