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Night's Black Agents RPG Hardcover – September 1, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is well laid out. My only negative comment is that the intro to GUMSHOE isn't entirely clear to me. I think spending more time upfront on how that differs from normal systems would help someone knew to the system. I think it makes a few assumptions as to your experience level that I wish it didn't.
That element aside, I feel like this is a strong and interesting system, even for those without an interest in the vampire aspect of it, though I've come to appreciate why that was chosen as the setting.
The same author and press of the acclaimed Trail of Cthulhu? I could only expect a very professional layout, solid writing, and the same Gumshoe system, that some love and others can't stand.
But what caught my eye was certainly the premise: a spy thriller in the Bourne Trilogy tradition mixed with vampire masters in the shadows. I fell for that... hard!
Touching & Seeing it:
Cool and dark cover. Very nice binding, gorgeous page quality and very clear layout. My measure of quality has increased a lot since Eclipse Phase's release, and Night's Black Agents is right there, at THAT level.
The art could be better if it were more realistic and somber; but it doesn't interfere with the general mood.
In Trail of Cthulhu there were Purist and Pulp "modes", rules add-ons to fine tune the general mood of the game. In Night's Black Agents we have 4 of these modes, and their interactions and ideas will certainly satisfy a very wide range of groups and stories. Through the book you will find so many references to Spy and Vampire fiction tropes to send your ideas racing at an almost overwhelming pace.
The scenario is also highly customizable - you can, for instance, replace the Vampire element altogether for a realistic conspiracy, werewolves or (naturally) Cthulhu Mythos antagonists. In short: great and imaginative premise carried with good research and nice examples.
Night's Black Agents added so many options and it seems much less railroading-prone than previous Gumshoe system games. Still, some players chafe under the "narrative resources management" take of the rules.
The rules options are great! I liked a lot the Burn mode, where your agent will be taken to the limits of his psychological resistance. But every narrator will mix elements of other modes to reach their own style. The same goes for the options to develop the antagonists... players that came to expect the same old vampire style are in for a rough awakening.
I expect this book to shine in 2013 ENNie Awards and I will be rooting for its success. You can read my other reviews and see that I am not easily satisfied with a rpg book... well, It has been a while since I have been this impressed.
Great work. Excellent purchase!