Interesting and insightful, yet somehow not as complete or robust as I'd hoped. The few scenarios used throughout somehow seemed to narrow the focus t...moreInteresting and insightful, yet somehow not as complete or robust as I'd hoped. The few scenarios used throughout somehow seemed to narrow the focus to the books detriment. However, I did feel I'd learned something by the end. How did you feel about it?(less)
I desperately wanted to like this game, as the overarching story attracted my interest from the outset. The whole business of a secretive religious or...moreI desperately wanted to like this game, as the overarching story attracted my interest from the outset. The whole business of a secretive religious order intent on protecting the world from it's own ignorance and sin appealed to me. It's the sort of nonsense from which Dan Brown has made a very healthy living. While the Order maintain their age old pact to save the world with the tacit approval of the Church, they do so with questionable practices that if made public would set them up as an enemy alongside the very enemies the Order so fervently pursue. The motivations and clashes of interest, both individual and organisational, seem to offer up great potential for a developing campaign.
While written with rules for RuneQuest II, the material provides all the essentials to run the setting with whatever system you choose. You can salvage as much of the setting as you choose to keep, casting aside the elements that don't appeal. Admittedly, that considerably devalues the book as a package if you pay for the whole and walk away using only a fraction... but I see potential here. Mongoose obviously see potential here, too, as they have chosen to convert the existing material to the Legends system and published new adventures to support the line.
Worth a look if you can pick up a bargain priced copy, or consider the new Legend-driven PDFs.
(Part of a review originally posted at RPGGeek.com)(less)
Interesting collection of articles from Kenneth Hite considering magic in the context of the Cthulhu Mythos.
Given the Trail of Cthulhu mechanics aroun...moreInteresting collection of articles from Kenneth Hite considering magic in the context of the Cthulhu Mythos.
Given the Trail of Cthulhu mechanics around point pools and resource management, Hite suggests the key change of making Magic a separate General Ability - freeing up Stability and Sanity to some extent. While both can still suffer and deplete in the research and casting of spells, Magic serves as a default 'fuel'.
The other articles consider the wider context of spells - such as the common spells used by lesser independent races (and their Magic pools), traditional Mythos sorcerer abilities, deeper consideration of Idiosyncratic Magic (mentioned in the corebook as part of the Bookhounds story frame as Improvised Magic), and different perspectives on what magic might be and how it relates to the Mythos.
An interesting and diverse read that offers many ideas a Keeper can choose to add to her game or ignore completely.(less)
A collection of three adventures - Viral Transmission, The Mechanized Tomb, and Beyond the Maelstrom - originally proposed as individual 32-page adven...moreA collection of three adventures - Viral Transmission, The Mechanized Tomb, and Beyond the Maelstrom - originally proposed as individual 32-page adventures as stretch goals for the phenomenal Numenera Kickstarter campaign.
The volume includes a introductory/bridging adventure - Noble Pursuits - intended to support running the three adventures as a linked mini-campaign.
The Devil's Spine suffers from a sense of linearity, that doesn't quite fall into a complete railroad, but neither does it offer much room for individual decisions. The bridging concept robs the PCs of their agency to do as the will, instead forced to do the bidding of the single entity capable of saving their lives.
While Numenera remains a world awaiting greater detail and expansion, the geographic information in TDS seems at odds with those in the corebook. The adventures lack much depth and many encounters necessitate grinding and unnecessary complexity to get anything done (like finding and activating specific control interfaces to release a forgotten transport system - with controls positioned to maximise complexity over any sort of design sense).
While the adventure introduces a few new entities, what new numenera appear feel like the beginnings of a large pile of old school D&D treasure, likely to unbalance the game if not managed thoughtfully.
The mini-campaign might be rescued with some thought, creativity and application of depth - but, as is, it doesn't excite me about the prospects of the Ninth World one jot.(less)