" The problem isn't with playing the game, it's with getting people interested in playing the game. "
Title: The Ascension of the Magdalene from Atlas Games
Format: D20 adventure supplement
Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A
The Hype: : "In a city of magic and enlightenment, terrible plans are afoot". Plans to pump out an odd D20 crossover supplement for a game you've likely never heard of. It's up to your intrepid band of heroes to try to figure out why they're adventuring in this world, and why it takes place in Prague… Okay enough of that, review time.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Drama: The game takes place in 1610 Prague. The slim amount of story explanation is about how this city setting works. It's not a whole lot to go on, and for most of you who are going to be looking at this after a hard D&D game, it's not going to smooth over very well. They try to give some tips on how to convert the story to fit your campaign's theme, but conversion is really far more work than it's worth. The actual adventure that's given here has almost no story behind it beyond the initial set up. A famous painter made a powerful painting, and then vanished. Find the painting in a dangerous dungeon. That's it. 2 out of 5
Layout and Presentation: The book is laid out in a fair fashion. Story elements (thin as they are), followed by the actual adventure layout, ending with appendices and various miscellaneous items. You won't have much trouble finding what you're looking for. The artwork is decent, if nothing too flashy. It certainly doesn't detract from the reading. 3 out of 5
Playability: The problem isn't with playing the game, it's with getting people interested in playing the game. What you have here is a setting just about completely foreign to most D&D gamers- and this manual does nothing to make that world interesting. The adventure is your basic run of the mill "Mystic Treasure lies at the bottom of trap filled maze of doom" variety. For some reason, what got under my skin most was the writer's insistence on showing us all the conversion rules for the "Unknown Armies" rule set. I've never even heard of this game system. Even if I had, this still seems like an insult to both sides. To the UA group, you're selling out to the D20 crowd (who aren't going to come over, I'm sorry, it ain't happenin'). To the D20 group it looks like you're desperately trying to get them to try your obscure ruleset. Besides all that though, the game is as playable as any adventure you could have come up with on your own, and so I guess I'll give it points for that. 2 out of 5
Desired Content: Well, if your wish list included an original sounding game that will have your D&D group leaping for joy at the prospect of playing it… I don't even have an appropriate euphemism for the ungodly amounts of screwed you are. If you're looking for something to play with your Unknown Armies… well have it at, but I still say you can probably come up with better on your own. It does give all the rule conversions, but if you were actually looking for that… well you probably work for the guys that made this. 2 out of 5
|If you already play Unknown Armies, good for you. It's the independent folk that keep the gaming world alive with new ideas. Consider that my official apology for badmouthing this supplement so much right here, because this book just isn't worth anything.|
The Good: Gives a conversion for UA rules, does have an adventure
The Bad: Do you know what Unknown Armies are? And do you want to find out in Renaissance Prague?
The Overall Ugly: Can we please keep our D20 licensed games to a quality minimum… please?
What it's Worth: If you find it in a discount rack, collecting dust, for a $1.00… Ask for a discount.