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Favorite Dark Era/Least Favorite Dark Era and Why?

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  • Favorite Dark Era/Least Favorite Dark Era and Why?

    So I did the google search just to make sure this hasn't been discussed before, and found a sort-of-kind-of thread like...exactly a year ago, and wasn't in the mood to necro the whole thing.

    Besides, I'm sure this is a topic you'd all want to rehash over and over again.

    My favorite Dark Eras are tied between To The Strongest and Doubting Souls. To The Strongest is the one I'd want to play the most. Doubting Souls is the one I'd want to run the most. I adore To The Strongest because I think it creates a powerful lore for Awakening, utilizes a time period full of grandeur and excitement but is totally underused in fiction, India for fricking once in CofD, and because it changes the Orders from political entities to Divine Visions shared by all people of all nations of the Time Before. It not only creates great imagery of an Indian and Greek Mage both understanding the Great Ladder, but also invites the potential of future English Mages sharing tales of the Great Ladder with the Wampanoag. Also, I'm like a huge Classical World nerd (you'd never guess) so I'd love to play in it. I WOULD run it, but I've got like sixty million character ideas for it.

    Doubting Souls is my favorite to run because there's just so much going on. It's simultaneously extremely small (one small region of a frontier, with angry, isolated people) and extremely huge, with grand conspiracies spanning the globe concentrating in one place on the conflict between the Shadow Court and the Shadow Imperative. My only grievance with it is how much the Knights of Saint George take precedent - it requires you to have to pick up "Witch Finders" just to figure out who the heck they are. I've been busting my rump trying to figure out ways to excise them from the setting when they're so ingrained in it. I don't think any of the other Dark Eras require you to pick up a supplement just to engage with one of the core factions of the whole setting. But bust my rump I will, because this setting is too good.

    My least favorite is a tie between God's Own Country and A Grimm Dark Era. No grievance with the writing, the eras/locations/themes are just not my thing.

    What about you?

  • #2
    My favorite right now is Sundered World, hands down. Although I'm anticipating Forsaken By Rome and the Black Death era giving it a run for its money when the Companion comes out. I love eras that give deep historical insight into the modern state of the supernatural cultures, and Sundered World did an amazing job of dispelling modern werewolf myths, answering some questions that have hung over the setting for a long time, while raising even more questions and deepining the mystery. Plus it seems incredibly fun to play, I think it would be a great setting for an all-minor-template game - Proximi and Wolf-Blooded in particular.

    As for a least favorite, I'm not sure cause they're all really cool. I guess probably Ruins of Empire, just because a Mummy-only era is not really relevant to me. I'm still holding off in hopes of a second edition before I get invested in Mummy.


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    • #3
      I am hungry for Forsaken By Rome and Black Death. Easily the two I'm most excited for out of the Companion. Forsaken by Rome especially. Vampires in Rome is so thematic by Werewolves in Rome are also...so thematic. Rome is a great time for the CofD. It's why I'm with Atamajakki on ROME FOR EVERYONE. But I am also excited to see a Bloodline finally get written up in 2e, and I thought Requiem for Regina was probably the best written of the Dark Eras, so I'm sure Black Death will also be very well written. It's also the closest we'll ever get to a "Vampire: The Requiem Dark Ages."

      I'm like you on waiting for 2nd ed before getting into Mummy, but that doesn't necessarily ruin (ha!) Ruins of Empire for me, because the time period also includes the Nameless War and there's lots of fun one can have with the time period with other splats. One could always also run Ruins of Empire with Elders awakening from torpor, as well, which I may very well do one day.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post
        But I am also excited to see a Bloodline finally get written up in 2e
        It also helps that it's one of my top 5 favorite Bloodlines, and my #1 favorite Mekhet Bloodline. Also that it's one of the active Bloodlines in Requiem for Rome. Between Forsaken by Rome and the Morbus being updated to 2e, I really want to run a Rome crossover game when Companion comes out.


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        • #5
          Requiem for Regina and After the Fall are a close tie as my favorite- both present the themes of their respective gamelines in a very interesting and alluring way. Requiem for Regina has a great dark atmosphere, new character options and is full of things to do as a player character and mysteries to investigate as a storyteller. After the Fall is plain awesome- it is full with crossover potential (and that even without mentioning the Crossover sidebar, which is just the best Crossover sidebar in the book), mysteries and the fact that it actually shows that the God Machine is not an invincible being- Constantinople has fallen, creating a semi-post apocalyptic feeling of "after a great disaster" while in the same time giving you the feeling of something new and growing. It is just a great Dark Era.

          As for the least favorite, I must say it is Bowery Dogs. I just don't really find anything to do with this Era. It is just so street level, without any interesting options (for me) as a player or Storyteller. I just don't feel that it brings something new to the table, so even if exploring the Era itself could be nice and the writing itself isn't bad, it simply doesn't give me anything new to the setting itself- in theory, it feels like I could equally just open the relevant history book and use it instead. I just find it a bit too plain, to my taste- but maybe it is because I'm not an heavy werewolf fan.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by LostLight View Post
            As for the least favorite, I must say it is Bowery Dogs. I just don't really find anything to do with this Era. It is just so street level, without any interesting options (for me) as a player or Storyteller. I just don't feel that it brings something new to the table, so even if exploring the Era itself could be nice and the writing itself isn't bad, it simply doesn't give me anything new to the setting itself- in theory, it feels like I could equally just open the relevant history book and use it instead. I just find it a bit too plain, to my taste- but maybe it is because I'm not an heavy werewolf fan.
            I am a heavy werewolf fan and I think that's why it's my least favorite. I've tried to give it benefits of the doubt but I just can't embrace it. It lends itself to a very niche level of play which I don't think is really supported in the options offered. It seems to want to push you as a very liberal street gang that's also concerned with social and economic inequality, which really offers a niche experience. Even the fiction in the Dark Eras anthology seemed a bit empty. There's other eras I won't use, like Grimm's, just because I don't find the time period and location appealing. And there's other eras like that that I'll at least get something out of, I don't like the Fallen Blossoms time and locale but the compacts and conspiracies I can still use.

            Neolithic's my favorite, though only because of the werewolf section. Aside from that I'm tied between Requiem for Regina or Doubting Souls as my next favorite. I really liked Wolf and Raven too. I plan on using a few of the Dark Eras in my current game so we'll see how it turns out.

            Like others I'm really looking forward to Forsaken by Rome. And potentially Dark Eras 2, as I think Dark Eras being written while Forsaken second edition was being made and the expansions while the Pack was being made sort of affected those sections. These things being out by now offer a more clear vision of the game.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nofather View Post

              I am a heavy werewolf fan and I think that's why it's my least favorite. I've tried to give it benefits of the doubt but I just can't embrace it. It lends itself to a very niche level of play which I don't think is really supported in the options offered. It seems to want to push you as a very liberal street gang that's also concerned with social and economic inequality, which really offers a niche experience. Even the fiction in the Dark Eras anthology seemed a bit empty. There's other eras I won't use, like Grimm's, just because I don't find the time period and location appealing. And there's other eras like that that I'll at least get something out of, I don't like the Fallen Blossoms time and locale but the compacts and conspiracies I can still use.
              I can see where you're coming from with Bowery Dogs being kind of a shoehorned experience. I admit that I'd probably use the setting of 1970s New York to focus on Disco instead of Punk (because that's the kind of total loser I am) and I think the setting plot hooks and stuff work as long as you happen to be a Werewolf in New York from 1969 to 1979.

              I love Fallen Blossoms. The only reason it loses to Doubting Souls is because I'm a big fan of Colonial America, and I've actually already played Fallen Blossoms, so the hype has diminished a little.

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              • #8
                Ehhh.... all of them had things I liked, things I didn't like. I appreciate the historical look that a lot of the settings bring, but there's no chance that I would actually run anything in any of them.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MCN View Post
                  Ehhh.... all of them had things I liked, things I didn't like. I appreciate the historical look that a lot of the settings bring, but there's no chance that I would actually run anything in any of them.
                  Any particular reason stand out? I'm curious. Is it just that you'd rather come up with your own setting?

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                  • #10
                    This is... complicated to answer. Which is unsurprising since I have an entire stickied thread of timelines at the top of the page.

                    For least favourite, I'd agree with Bowery Dogs, although that doesn't mean I think it is a bad era. The description of Spirits in New York helped me really understand the Shadow for the first time, and is partly responsible for turning me into a Werewolf fan (the other part being Stew's previews). If I set a game in NYC that has anything to do with the Shadow, the Court of Fair Wage and Court of Indulgence will definitely feature. That said, Bowery Dog kinda falls flat because it doesn't offer anything era-specific. I could translate that era to 2016 with little to no adaptation needed. Given that some of New York's most notorious mobsters are at their height in the 70s, I wish we'd seen more of that.

                    Ruins of Empire also rubs me the wrong way a bit. Again, not because it is bad, but knowing the content that was supposed to be added with the expansion but didn't kinda left me sour.

                    Moving on to my favourite things!

                    Doubting Souls is the era I expanded, and what I asked for came out beautifully. As I've learned more about the various Inquisitions, I've appreciated the hooks in their era more and more.

                    The Wolf and The Raven. God, this is less of an era and more of a campaign setting. It does a fantastic job of focusing the core things that Vikings are popularly associated with, providing the extra information that is needed to dismiss misconceptions, and providing hooks for Vikings in regions you may not know about. You can use the information in here to play anywhere from Montreal (way before the city existed) to Iceland to Russia to the Middle East to France. Lots of different stories and playstyles to be used there.

                    Beneath the Skin is so damn weird and wonderful on so many levels. The Skinchanger merit, the various cults, and the unique monsters are all awesome.

                    God's Own Country is something that would never have expected in a million years and it is excellent. It has set a new tone for Geist and how ghost stories can be used in a chronicle.


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                    • #11
                      Take a wild guess what my favourite is.

                      As for least favourite, and this is something I really don't want to say, it has to be Ruins of Empire. Sure, part of it is probably that I've studied the period before. A big part, as Second Chances says, is tainted by the fact that the expansion was not remotely what was requested. Toss in some general dissatisfaction with some of the new mechanics and powers it added (I still can't believe there's an Affinity that allows you to breathe poison gas for a splat that doesn't need to breathe) and there's enough negative emotion levelled at the chapter specifically to combine with a pretty neutral feeling towards the setting that it completely outweighs the brownie points it gets for being about my favourite game line.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post
                        Any particular reason stand out? I'm curious. Is it just that you'd rather come up with your own setting?
                        That, and I like tinkering with default assumptions of the game. Like, I have a Mage-ish style game prepped using Mystery Cult Influence/Initation/Cultist in place of Status, more Astral, less Hisil and less Seers in it. I have a Promethean game where the Created are part of the God-Machine. Kind of makes things built upon default assumptions worthless.

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                        • #13
                          To The Strongest was definitely the runaway highlight of the book in my eyes. It painted its chosen era as simultaneously a real, living world and as a semi-mythic past, one that flooded my mind with ideas as I read it and gave just as much to the modern setting as it did any historical chronicle, but more importantly it sold me on Mage after hating it for a decade.I have to applaud it for that if nothing else, but there's just so much going for it. I'd gladly buy 300 pages of To The Strongest; I'd love to see a world where it was a gameline unto itself, like Dark Ages and Sorcerer's Crusade were way back when.

                          Honorable mention goes out to The Sundered World, Into The Cold, and especially Beneath The Skin, the lastof which seems to have gotten tragically little attention from the fanbase. I'm also foaming at the mouth for some of the Companion settings (both Roman ones, Mutapa Mummy, and Black Death Vampire/Promethean).

                          As for least favorite, a couple, Azahul has apparently stolen the thoughts out of my head:

                          Originally posted by Azahul View Post

                          As for least favourite, and this is something I really don't want to say, it has to be Ruins of Empire. Sure, part of it is probably that I've studied the period before. A big part, as Second Chances says, is tainted by the fact that the expansion was not remotely what was requested. Toss in some general dissatisfaction with some of the new mechanics and powers it added (I still can't believe there's an Affinity that allows you to breathe poison gas for a splat that doesn't need to breathe) and there's enough negative emotion levelled at the chapter specifically to combine with a pretty neutral feeling towards the setting that it completely outweighs the brownie points it gets for being about my favourite game line.
                          I was already intimately familiar with the Great War, so this brought nothing terribly new and exciting to the table on the historical front, and everything in it felt terribly surface, which is a damn shame for a game as eager for historical content as Mummy is. The new mechanics were underwhelming at best and useless at worst (I reported the functionally meaningless "breathe poison gas" Affinity three different times and it still made it to print) and then there was the whole debacle over the backer-suggested content being ignored in favor of random roll tables and a fucking dungeon map... Mummy deserves better, and it seems like the Companion will provide exactly that.

                          Bowery Dogs left me feeling a little unimpressed, while God's Own Country came so completely out of left field and felt so little like Geist that I'm still not sure what to make of it.
                          Last edited by atamajakki; 03-03-2017, 02:27 AM.


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                          • #14
                            Hands down, The Sundered World. Chris outdid himself on that.

                            Tied for second are To the Strongest and Handful of Dust. The former because I like Mage lore (and that particular period of history), and the latter because I literally ran a Carnivale-inspired dust bowl Promethean game a few years ago, and it makes me want to return to that world.

                            I don't know that I have a least favourite one; it's more that I haven't read the whole book.



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                            • #15
                              I'm still not through it all yet - but from what I've read; I'll break it into four tiers for me.

                              Hands down - The Sundered World. Tier 1 So many explanations above on why.

                              To the Strongest - I enjoyed it greatly; It was a great story Tier 2 though. I liked the idea of using Hellenistic Greece and how all of Hellenistic culture was looked under the facet under Mtaw

                              Three Kingdoms of Darkness-I got really immersed in the whole story, Tier 1 for sure.

                              Wolves of the Sea - Tier 3; I felt it was really basic, nothing horrible but nothing too terribly inspiring.

                              After the Fall - It was interesting to get a perspective of the God Machine and early world infrastructure. Tier 2

                              Beneath the Skin - It was so fucked up; I particularly liked the character of Patli, I don't know the idea really creeps me out. Tier 1.

                              I'll update this as I read further

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