Friday, September 30, 2005
from Tønsberg, Norway
Beyond the Veil is a sort of compilation of previously released material. It contains the complete rules for character generation, combat, the most essential parts of the cosmology. In addition to this, they have bundled a lot of content on magic. Finally there is a small adventure and some gamemastering tips to get you started. Basically, this is a complete package that will keep you going for quite some time, and it also has some inspirational notes for those who want to wing it.
The cosmology of Kult is still the same, perfectly dystopic world with a small point of hope. It is the same as the second edition.
The character mechanics still have the same intricasies as before. Briefly explained, the most interesting aspect is the Mental Balance of a character, which is set by attributes of Adnvantages and Disadvantages. These attributes play a big role in every situation of the game.
The combat uses the so-called DEF system, with armor saving throws for armor. Not my favourite combat rules, but I leave this as a matter of taste more than anything else, as I know of many people, both players and game masters, who prefer these rules.
The mechanics for magic are, I suppose, designed to make Magic a little less powerful than the typical ‘fire-and-forget’ mechanics of some earlier roleplaying games. Casting a spell can take a whole day or even longer, and is likely to turn players away from making conjurers as their characters.
Some of the equipment could have been updated, but the equipment in any contemporary game are outdated in short time anyway. It is often up to the gamemaster to decide the properties for new equipment anyway, since players often want rarer and more special equipment than what is listed - so the equipment lists can be used as a sort of guideline instead.
LAYOUT AND DESIGN
The dimensions of the book is reader and bookshelf friendly. I’m tired of seeing books that have unconventional dimensions and don’t fit a normal shelf.
The artwork is very beautiful and fairly consistent, the fact that they all are grayscale improves matters in my opinion. To some, it might seem a tad generic, but I like the portal border that outlines the pages.
The gutters are inversed, so that the inner margins are too narrow. (The result is that it is difficult to read the text that is too close to the book’s spine without straining the glue).
Just the way I like it, simple and understandable, with focus on readibility rather than making an image profile.
It seems as though the paper has received a little bit more ink than they deserve, as the pages seem a little "wavy" when seen from the inverse spine. It looks a lot better after a few days with some weight on it, though. It has nice weight, but seems a little thin.
There is no “A to Z,” an index form I use very often when preparing for sessions and while running sessions. A A-Z Index Project will solve this problem. There is a short Index in the inner cover.
The book contains a lot of information, on many different things, but the sequential order is fairly straightforward.
The character sheet is quite simple in layout, and copy-friendly. It also has some extra skills listed, one can chose to see this as a pro or a con. A bug here is that there are references to outdouted rules (the DEF-system is not used in the character sheet). The character sheet can also be downloaded from the 7th Circle site, which makes them accessible to people who do not have a copier at home.
This is by far the most complete version of Kult rules ever released. There are some minor issues here and there that could have been improved (one graphic is in French, and there is limited martial arts and no real price list for equipment), but overall the impression is very good, and it will still remain my favourite roleplaying game. It is evident that this is not a “third edition” in the sense that it is not entirely reworked, it is more a foxed version of the second edition rules with two extra rulebooks included, making this really good value for money. Where the first edition of Kult was a little slim in the magic rules, this is rich. Where the second edition tried to milk the concept of sourcebooks, this does the complete opposite and improves them both on these counts.
So, if you are new to Kult, this is a definete best buy. If you already own the two conjurer’s guides that are bundled with Beyond the Veil as well as the 2nd edition rules, you will find little new material here except the graphical content of of this release.
Value for Money: 10/10