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Red Planet • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
by David M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/29/2021 16:57:54

If you're a person who cares about human liberation, and are worried that this book will contain a lot of black-book anti-communist propaganda BS, you are right to be worried. It does contain a lot of that. The author at least purports to take as a given that the "black book of communism" is a reliable source of data, despite the ease with which its factual claims are dispelled with even a moment's consideration, and despite the utter lack of support for its intentional claims.

If anyone reading this thinks I'm full of shit, please actually take a gander at the black book itself, and then review any of the many, many refutations of its wantonly ludicrous claims by genuine historians such as Jean-Jacques Becker, J. Arch Getty, Alexander Dallin, Amir Weiner, Ronald Grigor Suny, Jens Mecklenburg, Wolfgang Wippermann, Michael David-Fox, Peter Kenez, Michael Ellman, Hiroaki Kuromiya, or Mark Tauger. Even slightly-more-shamefaced virulent anti-communist propagandists (Courtois' main contributors) Karel Bartosek, Jean-Louis Margolin, and Nicolas Werth were very critical of the level of obvious nonsense in the final edit.

All that said, I can imagine that even if an author or publisher were to understand this, it might be easier to take the "enlightened centrist" route that this book does...being dedicated to "the victims of capitalism and communism" (I mean FFS, come on). Even now, right here, are reviews so wrapped up in anti-communist propaganda that they are upset that communism is treated as anything other than inherently evil. If this was an attempt to go "out on a limb" then perhaps slapping in some anti-communist BS was the easiest way to make this product a little more palatable to folks who will not take the time to seriously consider the garbage they have had shovelled into their heads when going to school in capitalist states during or soon after the Cold War.

So overall, why four stars? Well, if you can stomach knowing that garbage is there, and manage to avoid being upset by it, it's a fun setting. There are some nice ideas in here for how to run a pseudo-utopian science fiction game, and what adventures in such a world might look like. The simple additions are great. Starships are straightforward but very usable. The stunts are well-designed. The "conversion" rules are neat. The precon character's are fun. And very important to me, the art is excellent. Honestly, I feel it's worth the price of admission just for the art! Plus, it triggers the "snowflake" fascists, so that's kind of nice. So I reccomend it, but with all the caveat I've just spent about two hundred words giving. Be ready to hold your nose at some bits and be pleased by other bits.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Red Planet • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Good Neighbors • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/19/2021 11:02:48
Trouble with the new neighbors - a Mephisto review

Good neighbors The eponymous good neighbors of this Fate World of Adventure are fairy creatures that coexist with humans in the small town of Still Hollow. However, the town also has new neighbors, namely the Industry, a large corporate group that wants to expand its operations here. Some welcome Industry's arrival as a new source to bring life back to the town, but others – including the player characters – are critical of its appearance and oppose it.

The peculiarity in this game is that the players take on two characters each: a human and a fairy. However, these characters are not mixed. Instead, each story consists of alternating two phases in which either the human characters or the fairy creatures are played together. Even though both sides are working on the same goals, they operate independently at first. Thus, character creation also uses its unique approach, as aspects are assigned values instead of the usual skills, and even potential stunts are always tied to these aspects. The respective aspects also differ between humans and fairy creatures in the selection.

Another rules approach is the so-called reaction tree, which can be used to derive the ever-increasing counteractions of the Industry, escalating from harmless PR work to targeted assassination of player characters. For each of these possible reactions in the pyramid-like tree, game masters will find hints and starting points for linking them in the game world. Accordingly, the book also provides locations, characters, and other starting points for depicting Still Hollow. Here the book deliberately avoids a prefabricated adventure, but these starting points and the reaction tree gives the game master the perfect tools to design his individual campaign and find out whether the player characters succeed in stopping the Industry.

Good neighbors offers an exciting setting and, above all, a compelling game mechanism by playing two characters. Moreover, the simple yet elegant rules of combining aspects and game values and tying them to stunts lend themselves well to a narrative campaign. With the game material, it's easy to put together such a campaign on your own with relative ease, so Good neighbors is actually less suited as a one-shot and more inviting to involve players in a campaign. If you find the theme of fairy creatures and humans against a dangerous corporation exciting, you should definitely check out Good neighbors.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Good Neighbors • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of Yog-Sothoth
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/19/2021 11:00:36
Every cloud has a silver lining? - a Mephisto review

The Rise of Yog-Sothoth

The fight against the Great Old Ones in Fate of Cthulhu goes into another round – this time, it's about Yog-Sothoth. The visible effect of this apocalypse is that a psychic gray cloud forms over the victims' heads, taking away all hope. Once again, the player characters must travel back in the timeline to fight the problem at its root...

The Rise of Yog-Sothoth directly describes itself as the “silly” scenario of the series, which already starts with the symptom of this apocalypse. It then culminates in the background with a bizarre interaction of Yog-Sothoth, the characters' time travels, and unexpected side effects. And so, the player characters are thrown into a particularly bizarre mission that plays with some time travel/parallel world tropes, making it much more chaotic than the other adventures.

The Rise of Yog-Sothoth is the most unusual scenario in the series so far, which does not take itself or its themes entirely seriously. With the suitable gaming group, this can provide a bit of a change from the other hard world-saving daily grind. Still, player that prefer their Cthulhu apocalypse served up serious and gritty rather than chaotic and pulpy are probably better off skipping this rise of a Great Old One.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of Yog-Sothoth
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Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of Yig
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/19/2021 10:58:31
The lesser evil? - a Mephisto review

The Rise of Yig

Commonly, the snake-like Yig appears to be one of the more harmless Great Old Ones, but with The Rise of Yig, he presents himself as a new challenge for Fate of Cthulhu players. On the surface, player characters must travel back in time to stop cults, secure relics, and develop an antidote to Yig's poison – but the story offers an exciting complication that makes the mission much more “interesting.”

At first glance, the fight against Yig and the serpent folk offers players a straightforward scenario. Still, it contains a complicating aspect that challenges players to make the right decisions – and shows that the fight against Yig is also thrilling. This adventure provides further good game material for the battle against the Great Old Ones for Fate of Cthulhu players.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu Timeline • The Rise of Yig
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Weird World News • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2021 06:15:33

In Scooby-Doo's footsteps - a Mephisto review

Weird World News

The cover of Weird World News already clearly shows what the inspiration for this Fate World of Adventure was. Weird World News is set in a world where in the '60s and '70s, it became fashionable for groups of young people to chase down sightings of monsters - which usually turned out to be just people in disguise. A continuation of this tradition still exists in the form of newspapers that follow up on any story, no matter how bizarre. In this game, the player characters are members of one news crew investigating such eerie sightings. The fact that the crew consists of young people, each of whom has a role between leader, looker, etc., who travel around together with a mascot and a minibus, clearly shows that Scooby-Doo and other series inspired the roleplaying game. The game does not make any secret of this but references this template's various series and typical patterns and approaches in detail.

For character creation, the player characters are divided into several archetypes. For example, the leader is good at anything, or the looker is particularly stylish - or even the looney who is a bit odd. Instead of the usual skill set, Weird World News used only four skills. Instead of stress and consequences, this setting uses conditions to keep the game simple. Part of the rules revolves around rolling out monsters, locations, and characters and describing the typical structure of such a roleplaying episode. A ready-to-play adventure and some sample monsters round out the book.

Weird World News shows a lot of love for the genre, and those who like series like Scooby-Doo and are looking for a simple, quick roleplaying game will do well with Weird World News. However, even though the game is presented with a lot of attention to detail, it's not my cup of tea and therefore did not convince me personally - not because it's not well done, but because I've never been a fan of the series.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Weird World News • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Deep Dark Blue • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2021 06:08:59

Under the sea - a Mephisto review

Deep Dark Blue

The Fate World of Adventure Deep Dark Blue takes you to the depths of the oceans. While mining on land has exhausted resources, the corporations have discovered the bottom of the oceans as a new source of raw materials, so the seas are the new frontier to which humanity is advancing. In these regions, buried under several thousand meters of water, the corporations operate their mining stations, and an infrastructure has developed with underwater bases and independent submarines. The player characters are the crew of one such submarine, trying to stay afloat financially with freelance contracts.

Deep Dark Blue's character creation makes a few changes from the Fate standard. A central aspect of each character is their role, which includes various positions within the ship's crew. Other new aspects are the background story and the personal mission. In addition to the crew itself, there is the submarine to work out, and here the group must decide on a class of boat. Instead of stress, the rules for conditions are used for boats. Then, of course, there are basic rules for combat between submarines and aboard submarines.

The setting is briefly introduced with some some locations and corporations, and deep-sea threats - up to and including giant deep-sea creatures - are also presented. Finally, a sample adventure shows a typical mission where the player characters have to perform a rescue mission and take on a corporation.

Deep Dark Blue offers an interesting setting - namely the deep sea - and with the concept of free agents working for and against corporations, the game covers a popular theme. As usual, the gaming group will have to define many white spaces on the underwater map for longer campaigns, but Deep Dark Blue offers a solid basic setting that can be built upon well.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Dark Blue • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Morts • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2021 05:49:41

Zombie hunting after the apocalypse - a Mephisto review

Morts

The zombie apocalypse has happened, and humanity has lost. But humanity has also survived. Thus, although the USA no longer exists, a new nation has formed on the West Coast: Cascadia. While the cities and the interstate connecting them have been cleansed of zombies and other undead, the undead are still on the move in the wasteland. Between the cities, which are secured by high walls, and the wasteland, which is separated by another fence, there is a zone that should be relatively free of undead and is used for farming. Unfortunately, since the fence only serves to prevent the undead from accidentally coming to the cities and finding interest in them, undead stray into the zone now and then. It's up to a new professional group to put a stop to this problem. However, these zombie hunters, the Morticians or simply Morts, are not celebrated heroes, but a professional group of those with few alternatives...

The game world of Morts approaches the zombie apocalypse theme in an unusual and somewhat humorous way. Here it's not the zombie virus that has triggered the catastrophe, but somehow necromantic powers have been unleashed, so there are ghosts and necromancers in addition to zombies. In fact, the player characters do not have to be human but can also play as revenants, lichs, or ghosts. Of course, slightly different rules apply to these undead, especially when it comes to dealing with stress and damage. There are also rules for necromancy, but they are kept short and simple - and unconventional and mysterious. The book describes the structure of typical missions and how to use them for appropriate dramaturgy—the inevitable adventure rounds out the book.

Morts is well written, and the idea for the not-quite-serious background is quite fascinating. The idea of lightly serving up the zombie apocalypse (life practically resumes as normal in the cities) and making the zombie hunters a less popular job is also coherently presented. The setting, presented compactly in a few small sections, also sounds exciting. It definitely makes Morts well-suited for some short zombie hunting missions - so if you're looking for a quick casual zombie hunt with Fate, this is the place to go.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Morts • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Ghost Planets • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/09/2021 14:16:23

In space there is no one left to scream - a Mephisto review

Ghost Planets

In the 23rd century, humanity developed the technology to travel to the stars and cover interstellar distances within weeks. This gave humanity a chance to make a fresh start on distant colonies after the horror and chaos of the 22nd century and made them realize that they were not alone in the universe. In fact, humans found traces of highly advanced civilizations everywhere, but they had all already perished. In many cases, there was evidence of an Omega event, a major catastrophe that destroyed life on the planet. Much more mysterious and threatening, however, is something called a Sigma event. In many cases, the inhabitants of these civilizations seem to have simply disappeared within a very short period of time for no apparent reason. It is now up to the Xenohistory Corps to uncover the background of the Sigma event and, if necessary, prevent it from affecting humanity as well.

The Fate World of Adventure Ghost Planets offers an unusual science fiction setting. The player characters are a team of scientists who travel from planet to planet to investigate the legacies of alien civilizations - always searching for the background of the Sigma event. With faster-than-light travel available to humanity, the entire galaxy is open to the player characters. In addition to introducing the background, the rules are modified in a few places. For example, there are six basic character types that determine the approach to investigations: from analyst to empath to visionary. There are also a few minor changes in the skills, which become more differentiated in research skills. Rules for the research projects with the different methods of the character types and the rule-based handling of these research projects are also an addition.

The game world is presented compactly, as is the level of technology. The background is more detailed where necessary. For example, you will find deck plans and other information about the typical spaceship. Of course, the book is not without an adventure. Here, the player characters must investigate an ancient structure that could offer clues to the Sigma event. I liked both the setting and the gameplay approach of Ghost Planets very much. This world has an exciting background that lends itself well to having the player characters either explore alien civilizations or investigate the mystery of the Sigma event. In addition, the rules focus on the research projects is coherently implemented and offers a rules concept that can be used elsewhere.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ghost Planets • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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The Ministry • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/09/2021 14:05:23

Fighting aliens in post-war UK - a Mephisto review

The Ministry

The Fate World of Adventure The Ministry is about a familiar theme: the struggle of a secret government force against alien forces - but in new packaging. The players are the agents of the eponymous organization, the Ministry of Rocketry, which in 1950s Britain tries to neutralize the dangers posed by alien invaders secretly. In this setting, the aliens act not as conquerors attacking Earth with their flying saucers but as a background threat using their powers to infect or take over humans. Among the aliens introduced in the book, one thus also finds some variants that seem pretty familiar - be it the plant-like cocoons used to replace humans with alien duplicates or the spider-like creatures that dock onto the brains of their hosts and take over control.

The idea of the setting is to transfer the action to post-war England, which is deliberately presented as a gray and dreary background where the population is primarily concerned with their work and has little time for anything else. The backdrop with the war damage also presents a gray and bleak picture.

Rules-wise, the book presents systems for aliens taking control of hosts and expands the takeover of humans through rules for conflicts between resulting mobs. Of course, there is also an adventure here for immediate play, where the player characters get directly involved in happenings within the English royal family.

While the basic idea and setting are very exciting from my point of view, the presentation did not convince me that much. The bleak setting is only touched upon and not followed up in the adventure. The listing of the English cities, their size and their mechanistic impact for infection and mob rules are a bit too rule-heavy and schematic for me. On the other hand, the ideas for the aliens are quite exciting. Still, the adventure, in which the English royal family is immediately involved in the events in a very drastic way, does not fit well with the setting in my view either. In my view, The Ministry offers a good basic idea but does not fulfill its potential.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Ministry • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Fate Core System
by Thomas H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/25/2021 12:27:20

There is a lot that I like about FATE. Evil Hat Productions has some of the best written RPG rulebooks in the industry, with very clearly written instructions, well thought-out and balanced game systems, and seriously excellent layout, typesetting, and indexing. I looked into FATE as I was in the market for a solid generic system to move our group to, as we bounce from setting to setting a lot, and FATE seems perfect for this, except for one thing... the use of the Fudge dice. It seems like it should be such a minor thing as the dice are easy enough (and inexpensive enough) to acquire, but its just a barrier our group couldn't get past the same way we could have if the game used our existing collection of standard d6's. So I'm rating FATE highly because it seems like a great generic game system... but I can't give it five stars because it's just not a system our group will ever actually use.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
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Monster of the Week
by Ryan M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/15/2021 19:31:42

In all honesty, I would be lying if I said this wasn't the only role playing system I've played lately. Incredibly versatile and yet the ease of access, especially for new players, is astounding. I truly love this game and wholeheartedly recommend it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster of the Week
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Fate Condensed
by Jacques v. H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/14/2021 08:11:33

The gold standard for clear, concise game writing. It really lets the system shine. Also a great place to start if you've never played an RPG before.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Condensed
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The Crisp Line • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2021 12:49:26

More or less than human? - a Mephisto review

The Crisp Line

Fate worlds usually have one or two central ideas, and in the case of The Crisp Line, this is summed up in the subtitle DNA is not our destiny. In the near future, genetic engineering and, in particular, the CRISPR/CAS gene scissors have been advanced. In this brave new world exist genetically modified persons (GMPs), which come in two varieties. On the one hand, there are the perizygotic GMPs (Perries for short), who were optimized before they were born and, while they appear like normal humans, are not only improved, but theoretically pass these improvements on to their offspring. On the other hand, those who did not get this advantage at birth can have themselves optimized afterward - with risks and side effects. Of course, this development also has social consequences, with GMPs being viewed rather critically. Nevertheless, the first genetic modification is not the last for many, even if there is a risk of ending up as a mutant monster.

Genetic enhancements come as packages named after the animals from which the traits are taken: the gorilla package makes you stronger, the axolotl package more robust. Gameplay-wise, the packages improve stats, offer stunts, and change appearance through mutations. During the game, more packages can be acquired - with the risk of becoming less and less human. So naturally, such characters are suitable as agents who complete missions in this cyberpunk setting to get money for further improvements.

As usual, the book offers an adventure in which players witness an operation against the local GMP scene. They encounter a conspiracy between politicians, organized crime bosses, and free agents.

The Crisp Line has an exciting hook that is coherently implemented rules-wise, even if the number of enhancement packs is limited. However, the book focuses on the one aspect of the game, so the broader setting can (and must) be developed by the individual group. As the adventure provides a fitiin introduction to the setting, so The Crisp Line provides a solid starting point for Fate players interested in cyberpunk settings.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Crisp Line • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Straw Boss • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2021 12:47:01

Familiars in an unfamiliar world - a Mephisto review

Straw Boss

In a world where supernatural forces coexist with humanity, it is up to a cult to keep this threat at bay. This cult is organized into various cells that operate in secret. Its members not only know that alien entities exist, but as a sign of their power, each member binds such a being to himself as a familiar. The player characters belong to the scholars who have grown up within one of the cult's compounds and who have bonded with a familiar in order to gain the necessary power to face their opponents. The cult has been around since the days of John Dee, and its central tenet is that belief can shape reality - with dangerous consequences....

In Straw Boss, players create characters that are part of the cult. They know about supernatural influences in the world, and each of them is bound to a familiar. The familiar is a supernatural entity with whom the character makes a pact to gain power - but of course, this power comes at a price. Thus, the character creation with the usual aspects also revolves around this familiar in particular. Likewise, the common bond of the group is also in the foreground.

Rules for controlling the familiar are introduced, which is defined by its Vice and Virtue and uses the approaches of Fate Accelerated in terms of rules.

Thus equipped, the players arrive in a world altered by supernatural influences, and their task is to stop the worst dangers. There are people who stumble upon the secrets that the scholars also know about and thus become a danger with their magic. On the other hand, some entities act independently in the world or push to enter it.

A central rule concept is the corruption die, which can be added as a bonus die. In a roll, the four best dice are used for the player. However, the use of the bonus die causes corruption, and thus there is a risk that the familiar will take over the player character's body. This is solved by turning the character sheet upside down in the game, which brings the familiar's game statistics into play.

Of course, a ready-to-play adventure is included. Here the player characters must follow the trail of chaos left by a truck-driving preacher.

Straw Boss offers two interesting aspects defining this Fate world. On the one hand, the game world presents the fascinating conflict between the cult on one side and the supernatural forces on the other. In the adventure, it alludes to a twisted interpretation of Christian mythology (which is certainly not appropriate for players who dislike movies like Dogma). The idea of the familiars and the shifting control is well-implemented rules-wise. Even though this setting leaves room in many places for the gamemaster to fill in the details, as is usual for these Fate worlds, it offers a fascinating glimpse into a strange world. In my view, this makes Straw Boss one of the Fate worlds worth recommending.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Straw Boss • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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Blood on the Trail • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
by Rebekah T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2021 12:43:24

Absolutely one of the best systems I've found for a brief campaign! The players loved the mix of survivalist and absurdist problems that arise solely from the premise.

Both campaigns that I've run using this system, I've used the prewritten scenario, but because there are several options to choose from when it comes to encounters, it was fun for both myself and the players, since it was a different experience everytime.

When introducing people to the Fate: Core system, this is one of my favorites. It's simple, grounded, and straightforward, and a good jumping off point to explore the more complex supplements such as Venture City or Prism.

The only criticism is that I found myself ignoring the rules for wagon trains and stopovers, since I found them unnecessary for a worthwhile experience. But overall, my players and I have never had any complaints with this supplement.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blood on the Trail • A World of Adventure for Fate Core
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