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Valkyrie Magazine and RPGnet are happy to provide this review.


The Chaos Factor
Scenario for Mage/Werewolf/Vampire
White Wolf Games Studio
136pp - [sterling]??.??

Do I have unrealistically high standards? I hope not, but let's start at the beginning..

The book is in two parts. Part one deals with Mexico City. The city gets a brief but effective coverage - and it's a nasty place. The Technocracy persecutes Tradition mages with exceptional cruelty. Pentex controls the industries (30,000 factories and 11,000 tons of pollution a day!). The Black Spiral Dancers and Nephandi have an especially revolting lair under the city. It's called the Underbelly of the Wyrm and it's a suburb of Hell. Upstairs, the Sabbat rule the night and this is their capital city. There are a few very frightened Bone Gnawers hidden in this vast place and a cabal of beleaguered Celestial Chorus spreading some hope and faith amidst the misery.

The second part is the scenario, "Chaos Factor" itself. Preludes are suggested for PC Mages, Technomancers, Kindred, Sabbat and Garou. Everyone ends up chasing Samuel Haight - the Skinner's bitten off more than he can chew this time. The introduction makes it clear that this scenario is deadly. Even on a good day, supernatural life in Mexico City is ugly, brutish and short. Once Haight sets the Awakened at each other's throats, things go downhill. On top of that, during the Days of the Dead, the Wraiths get to come home and they don't like what they find.

"Chaos Factor" assumes the PCs are a mixed group of Kindred, Garou and Mages. A single-type group will not be able to participate fully in the scenario, lacking the resources, knowledge or firepower.

The story itself is linear and not particularly smooth. Following Haight depends on players meeting certain NPCs or finding clues in specific places. The middle chapter involves an excursion to Jordan, but PCs are very unlikely to follow this red herring. The final showdown is incomprehensible from a player's viewpoint. The puppet master is a significant player in the Jyhad but, at the end of they day, the PCs will either gun him down or else he'll rip them apart. Even Haight is likely to be taken out by a colourful Deus Ex Machina. Storytellers could tone down the mayhem and encourage more detective work, but that would be contrary to the intent of the story and no advice is given for this.

But really, do we really need another bloodbath? We've had Rage Across The Amazon and Under A Blood Red Moon. After sermonising about the tragedy and introspection in Vampire, about the spirituality of Werewolf and about the philosophical and mystical aspects of Mage, the only scenarios White Wolf see fit to print are mindless brawls. "Chaos Factor" is cut from the same cloth as TSR's old Against The Giants modules - great if you like that sort of thing; but if that's what you like, why aren't you playing AD&D?

When are White Wolf going to produce a scenario worthy of their excellent games?

Review by Jonathan Rowe

Product supplied by Hobbygames

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