Review: Chaosium, Inc – Chronicle of the Awakenings (Nephilim)


Chronicle of the Awakenings
Chronicle of the Awakenings is a supplement for the occult fantasy game Nephilim (powered by Basic Roleplaying) written by Shannon Appel, Bill Filios, Kenneth Hite, Donald Kubasak, Adam Thornton, and John Tuckey and published by Chaosium, Inc.
By Aaron T. Huss

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Chronicle of the Awakenings is essentially a companion book to the Nephilim core rulebook containing lots of new options for character creation and advancement, but does provide any source or rules overhaul material. What lies within is an expansion to the core mechanics considering character creation and a new method of physical character advancement (transformation) as the character reaches Agartha. Chronicle of the Awakenings really spices up the core Nephilim RPG and provides a distinct definition of how the character’s transform that isn’t just physical, it’s all encompassing (mental, emotional, physical, etc.).

CONTENT

Past Life Eras adds 16 new eras for your Nephilim to reincarnate into. These eras range from Sumeria 2700 BC to World War II. There are a number of eras and locations here including Ancient Greece, Dark Ages Rome, Jerusalem during the Crusades, New England during the witch trials, and both World War I and II.

Inter-Milieu Survival presents some information on reincarnating into the World War II era and how/why the Nephilim and the Simulacra are alive today.

Revised Metamorphoses takes a new look at how a Nephilim transforms during their quest to reach Agartha. Instead of a simple physical collection of transformations (which are a bit stagnant in the greater scheme of things) this revision takes a look at the Nephilim’s personality and emotional state and how that pertains to the actions they perform and how those actions increase their ability to reach Agartha. Instead of simply stating one’s face changes, the transformations are more complete and apply to not only a physical state but an emotional state. In addition to these new mechanics, there is a number of ways to implement these new mechanics in-game.

Emotional Metamorphoses is the actual personality changes and attributes associated with the different metamorphoses listed in the core rulebook.

New Metamorphoses adds four new metamorphoses to your game.

Simulacra is a quick listing of a number of pregenerated characters that can be used as Simulacra.

OVERALL

Chronicle of the Awakenings is a great way to spice up your Nephilim adventures and campaigns along with providing lots of new options for character creation to set one character apart from another. It’s not that the core rulebook didn’t have enough, it’s just that Chronicle of the Awakenings provides more options so that every character doesn’t seem like a cookie-cutter version of every other character. Topping it off is new mechanics for reaching Agartha using a method that, to me, seems more logical than simply altering one’s appearance. Transformations really should cover every aspect of the Nephilim’s being.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Chronicle of the Awakenings follows the same simple design as the Nephilim core rulebook and almost all of Chaosium’s publications. It has a good collection of art, although I would prefer to see more artwork involving the transformations to reach Agartha. This is such an important part of the game as it forces the character to be aware of how he or she looks in the eyes of the general public to avoid being hunted and hated worse than they already are. There’s artwork for the final transformations but not all the in-between that occurs throughout one’s campaign. I find this artwork could be very handy to better visualize what takes place during these transformations. Other than that the content flows very nicely and everything is well-explained.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Besides using the standard Simulacra reincarnation template, Chronicle of the Awakenings takes a huge step within the transformation mechanics during the reach to Agartha. The good part is that they are not required, balanced properly, and mostly role-playing oriented. The new mechanics really come through and the move from simply physical transformations to an all-encompassing one is brilliant.

Value Add: 8 out of 10
Chronicle of the Awakenings is definitely a book that adds options, but isn’t needed. If you want to keep the game light, then what’s inside may not be for you. If you want a game with more options (especially if you’re running a full campaign), then adding Chronicle of the Awakenings to your library is a definite must. The book is very straight-forward and avoids getting caught-up in too much detail allowing it to still be used for relatively quick character creation and advancement.

Overall: 9 out of 10
As stated, Chronicle of the Awakenings is essentially a companion book to the core rulebook. You don’t need it to play but it really expands upon what’s already available to better enhance your game-play (especially considering campaigns and character uniqueness). If you are a regular player who wishes to fulfill a campaign and reach Agartha, it’s a definite must-have. If you are the casual player and prefer one-off adventures, then it’s a nice-have that simply allows for new options.

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