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Modern gaming features some of the most creative work in Fantasy and Science Fiction today. From the rich background of TSR's Forgotten Realms to the detailed future of White Wolf's Trinity, gamers and game authors around the world are enjoying some of the most fully-realized fictional settings ever created. If you're looking for innovative ideas and energetic prose, look no further than here.

Games and game accesories are listed by publication date; most recent first. Where available, links to SF Site reviews are provided. Click on the thumbnail image to get a look at the full size cover.

New Gaming Arrivals: September 1998, Part III
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Masters of Eternal Night (AD&D Monstrous Arcana Adventure)
Bruce R. Cordell
TSR (9571, adventure module, 32 pages, $9.95 US/$12.95 Can)
A Darkness Gathering, released in June, began a three part saga which pitted players against the Illithid, and now the story continues with Masters of Eternal Night. Like it predecessor, this adventure module builds directly off material from Bruce Cordell's rich sourcebook, The Illithiad, which detailed the history and machinations of the dark masterminds of the underworld. As the plot to extinguish the sun unfolds, the players find themselves drawn inexorably into more direct conflict with the Mind Flayers and their powerful minions, this time in a faraway land once dominated by the Illithid. The adventure concludes in October with Dawn of the Overmind, although you don't need the other two modules to enjoy this one.
[Cover]
Art: Michael Gaydos
Changeling Storytellers Guide (for Changeling: The Dreaming)
White Wolf (gamebook, 144 pages, $18 US)
Changeling: The Dreaming has escaped some of the dark, oppressive atmosphere surrounding much of White Wolf's main tier RPGs in their World of Darkness line, but kept the same exceptional standards of writing and production, making it a favourite for serious role-players of all ages. Unfortunately, some players have complained of ambiguity in the rules, and the early sourcebooks weren't of much help. White Wolf has remedied the situation with the Storytellers Guide, which clarifies many of the most commonly asked questions about Changeling: The Dreaming. At the same time, it provides a wealth of new info, including diceless rules for Reverie, combat, and cantrip casting, and guidelines for maximizing the use of chimera in your chronicle. Includes a short story by Nicky Rea.
[Cover]
Art: A.E. Miles
Hengeyokai: Shapeshifters of the East (for Werewolf: The Apocalypse)
White Wolf (gamebook, 192 pages, $20 US)
When TSR nearly tanked in early 1997, most eyes turned to White Wolf to be the new standard bearer for high-profile role-playing releases, cutting edge innovation, and game-related fiction -- and it rose to the challenge across the board. Wizards of the Coast came to the rescue of TSR late last year, but White Wolf hasn't stepped back from its new position of seniority and importance in the gaming industry. Hengeyokai, a sourcebook for their popular RPG Werewolf: The Apocalypse, is an excellent example of the quality of material coming from White Wolf recently. This densely packed and heavily illustrated volume covers an enormous amount of ground on the were-creatures of Asia, as well as including detail on the spirit world of the East, the Middle Kingdom, and the Beast Courts. Ignore the rather out-of-place (and confusingly drawn) 8-page comic that begins the book -- the rest is everything you need for an exciting and different eastern campaign.
reviewReview of Werewolf Player's Guide, Second Edition by Alex von Thorn
[Cover]
Larry MacDougall
Doomslayers: Into the Labyrinth (for Wraith: The Oblivion)
Bruce Baugh, Geoffrey Grabowski, and Fred Yelk
White Wolf (gamebook, 168 pages, $18 US)
Probably the most intriguing of the latest batch of resource material from White Wolf is this eye-opening, extremely well illustrated volume for Wraith: The Oblivion, sub-titled "A guide to the Labyrinth and those who dare it." While all of the sourcebooks this month are interesting, this one shines in almost every respect, and the art especially is top-notch. While there are a handful of RPGs which deal intelligently with the prospect of engaging the forces of darkness head-on, eyes glinting and weaponry a-tingle, no other game has pulled it off with nearly the same fine detail and panache. This book adds enormously to the canon surrounding Doomslaying, the art of saddling up and taking on Spectres on their home turf, by prying the lid off the Labyrinth and exposing its glow zones, caustic pools, and sunken cities. Info here includes details on new castes of Spectres, the Hive-Mind, and everything you need to know about Doomslaying -- from creating a character to the long-lost secrets of Guild artifacts. As a special bonus for horror readers, two short stories from authors Lucy Taylor and Matthew Costello serve as the traditional creative into.
[Cover]
Art: John Bolton
Clanbook: Baali (for Vampire: The Dark Ages)
Lucien Soulban and Sven Skoog
White Wolf/Black Dog (gamebook, 72 pages, $12 US)
Most of White Wolf's World of Darkness gaming material is mature in tone, especially for the gaming industry -- but this one arrived wrapped in plastic and with the warning label "For Adults Only" stamped on the front and back. It deserves the distinction, too. While most of the text within is not appreciably more graphic than, say, the Doomslayer tome above, the artists in this Black Dog/White Wolf co-production have chosen to highlight some of the more disquieting elements. In fairness, the art is not out of place given the subject matter: the Baali clan, the most hated bloodline in the World of Darkness, which works in shadows to hasten the day the ancient and secret powers will awaken to lay waste to the world. Details in this book include the methods by which the Diabolists spread their foul corruption, and new Merits, Flaws and Daimoinon powers.
[Cover]
Art: Shaggy
Trinity Field Report: Extrasolar Colonies (A Trinity Universe Update)
John Snead
White Wolf (gamebook, 24 pages, $4.95 US)
An odd and fascinating little artifact. Full colour and printed on glossy paper, this comic-sized volume is a complete briefing document for Aeon Operatives (i.e. players) of Trinity, White Wolf's new science fiction role-playing game. It's filled with detailed info on the fate of the various human extrasolar colonies and outposts unexpectedly stranded five years ago when the teleporting Upeo wa Macho suddenly disappeared -- including the mysterious Qin homeworld, the alien-battered Karroo Mining Colony, and the Aberrant-ridden Khantze Lu Ge. Like most White Wolf supplements, this one makes fascinating reading even if you're not familiar with the gaming system (in fact, it's all the more fascinating if you're not familiar with Trinity). If you're at all intrigued by what's going on the world of SF role-playing games, pick this up. It'll give you a fine taste of the level of creative energy that exists in many of these games -- a level of creativity and originality that would put most modern SF novels to shame.
[Cover]
Art: Rick Berry
Luna Rising (sourcebook for Trinity)
White Wolf (gamebook, 144 pages, $17.95 US)
A weighty and very impressive sourcebook for Trinity, much in full colour, detailing the mysterious psi order known as ISRA and their home on the Moon. ISRA is a loose brotherhood of psions with the ability to project their senses across the cosmos, and even through time. Luna is rapidly becoming the new centre of human culture and a nexus for emerging commerce, politics... and corruption. Luna Rising includes expanded source material on ISRA, instructions on how to play a "clairsentient," new psionic powers, and details on Lunar society, politics and law.
Shadowrun: Technobabel (Shadowrun, No. 31)
Stephen Kenson
Roc (novel, paperback, 288 pages, $5.99 US)
Publication date: May, 1998
The Shadowrun role-playing game is one of the most successful and innovative SF games ever created, and the novels published by Roc and FASA have done a fine job of fleshing out the details of the high-tech & magical future setting. "Renraku Computer Systems sends an agent to infiltrate the Otaku, a race of technoshamans, and learn their secrets in order to gain advantage in a corporate war. But once the agent is initiated into an otherworld of technomancy and megacorporate intrigue, he rebels against his employers in an attempt to stop the approaching war."
review
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