Wednesday, April 18, 2012
P is for Passages
I love Victorian Era games. There is so much going on in the Victorian age, both in history and literature (esp Horror) that it is ripe for all sorts of gaming opportunities. I also love being mix it all up; having Jules Verne and Capt. Nemo in the same world as Bram Stoker and Dracula. So when I find a game that will let me do that (and do it in a cool way) then I am happy.
Passages is a rather interesting game. First the premise is one that all the literature of the Victorian age is true...somewhere. These stories exist in multiple parallel worlds that can be accessed via the Passages. So in some ways it is like Victorian Age Sliders, or Stargate. The mechanism for trans-versing these worlds is one of the more clever ones and wholly compatible with Victorian Age ideas. This is my favorite part of the game; the magic of the Passages and the very clever means of how they can be employed.
The game itself is a Victorian Age one with the aforementioned twist. It covers the time between 1837 to 1901, so a full Victorian time line is presented. Though what it has in breadth it lacks in depth as compared to games that only focus on a few years or a decade of the Victorian era. That being said though, that information is easily found anywhere. Game Masters should instead focus on which tale they want to interact with. Is this an Alice in Wonderland game? Well then that is all you need plus this book. Dracula? Likewise.
Passages does spend some time on character creation in a Victorian Age and that is a very nice touch. In fact I found the character creation portion of this book my second favorite part.
The game system itself is a simple version of the d20 system, somewhere between d20 proper and True20. I think I might have liked it more as a True20 system, but this is a nice middle ground. The system does add Advantages and Disadvantages to the d20 character creation, but most everything else is skill based. There are no classes, but there is HP.
There is a great section on the known world and again is a bit broader than other Victorian era games. This is a game obviously about adventurers, since so many options of places to go and things to do are given.
I love the Sherlock Holmes and Prof. Moriarty sidebars. Gives the game a really nice touch.
This is great game all by itself and one I am happy to own both the PDF and Print versions of. Where I get the most use out of it though is as a means of going between different Victorian games. Create characters and use the rules outlined here so they can move from game to game.
The layout is clean and easy to read. The art is a nice mix of original work and select PD images from the time.
In truth the only way I would like this more is if it had been created for True20. The "feel" of the book screams True20 to me and I think it would be a fantastic choice of a system. Not that there is anything wrong with the system it is using now. This is just a personal thing.
I will probably not play Passages straight, but I will use just about everything in the book for my Victorian games. It has the mechanics to allow me to cross-over Ghosts of Albion to Cthulhu by Gaslight to Gaslight to Rippers to Victoriana and Victoria.
DriveThru RPG link
Noble Knight Games