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Victorian Lost $8.99
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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7 5
1 1
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Victorian Lost
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Victorian Lost
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Matthew E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/08/2012 13:48:14
I've always loved these period books! The writers really make you feel like you're there. My only complaint is that these books are only ever done for one gameline at a time, and I think it might be better if they were written as a part of the World of Darkness "Blue Book" line, with rules for all the various creature-types from the other lines.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Lost
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jason W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/20/2012 23:21:37
At first blush, Victorian Lost looks sharp and period topical, a quality White Wolf is well-known for in publishing and equally significant in an online book. The combinations of quaint and practical to set mood, the shadowy, running-away-from-ourselves side to only before imagined progress, steampunk and the blurring of boundaries between mystical understanding and scientific illuminism, the expressed themes of trapped in paradox between identical worlds while gambling on the shaping rules, social mores, or both, of each and conflicted - not conflict, but conflicted - rather as if the dark drama one sees can never be understood without first finding inner peace, all find congruent expression from the first pages onward.

The Victorian ambience of imperial progress for it's own sake as the temptation that pairs with raising social standards, the fears of avoiding blame for self-corruption standing in stark contrast to the seeming chaos of real predatory behavior, dark dread of the unfamiliar, aloof fascination with the unknown, have often served as the perfect setting for stories concerning themes of the conspiratorial engineering of power, abduction from one's indentured status under dubious circumstance only to be supplanted in unfamiliar situations and settings, the constant need to be learning lessons only the respectable will respect in kind, and the struggle to find an adequate place for self-definition. This also serves as an excellent venue for the creation of new and, primarily, transient Entitlements which can provide backstory and motivations for a Changling, or that work as replacing the classic adventures seeking their fortunes who met in a tavern with story-specific reasoning for Changlings working at cross-purposes to others or investigating the truth behind stories of others doing so. For Storytellers and Players interested in crossover stories involving Prometheans, Victorian Lost provides many obvious and more than a few subtle places to include such constructs, with the adjunct possibilities of confusing the real nature of these beings and their role machinations, their political affiliations and social motivations, and what purposes such may serve other than as examples of creation, whether that happens to be on the end of a leash, at behest of a lash, or beholden only to Providence, with similar seeming qualities of experience Changlings may be struggling to master.

With tinkerers, ogres, and a medley of reasons why the Lost of Victorian society tend to imprison themselves at Court and within polite society, along with the tensions of repression and oppression that result from a variety of attitudes this tends to create - stacking the deck in the house's favor, so to speak, a consistent "gothic" flavor for storytelling emerges. An oft overlooked obvious in role-playing settings is the nature of how other people, generally and in a kingdom sense, respond to heroics and foils, although this seems well-covered in descriptions of setting. In Victorian Lost, the atmosphere being detailed is one in which many people who would otherwise, owing to tradition, or to the rural circumstances of many people's ancestries, be attending to small matters and personal affairs, now live among teeming throngs, immersed in a society saturated with other people's dramas on public display, the need for understanding one's circumstances tends to govern politeness. Inasmuch as this makes time spent in Arcadia seem similar to fascination with the macabre, self-absorption or the peculiar kind of self-loathing involved in invention, and the alienation potential in a commercial empire largely justifying it's activities by claiming its crown, mystery stories and social engineering involving the use of ambiguity are regularly suggested themes.

The source materials included with Victorian Lost are rather extensive in the book itself: two detailed settings for use, and a full-length story for use in one's chronicles, all themed and ready to include. Full descriptions of the various characters involved are also written out. This book is dense and tightly written, especially recommended to those who love steampunk, haginslam undercity, and dark turn-of-the-century kinds of stories and storytelling.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Lost
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/17/2012 12:53:15
Victorian Lost is a great book to prime you for running games set in Victorian London. The books includes great tips on running stories so that they emulate Penny Dreadfuls and other similar fiction styles of the time. Also included are a few new kiths, powers, and also some sample chronicles and stories to run, along with a whole motely to use in games.

Now note, I said primer. That means that this book does not include a in depth discussion of the Victorian period. Instead the focus is on how to get the right sort of feeling and mood into your games.

Other gems are the great artwork, hints for LARP games using this setting, and of course great short stories.

Now my only tips? This book in conjunction with Victorian Age Vampire would make for a more complete look at the Victorian period.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Lost
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Scott R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/20/2012 11:59:27
In reviewing Victorian Lost I will describe merits based upon what it is and relate to you what it is not so you can make an informed decision or perhaps assuage buyer's remorse if it was not as expected. I am very pleased to have this eleventh book in what was to be a five book series and I hope this is not the end all of Changeling: the Lost.

I skimmed through my copies of the wonderful Victorian Age Vampire and its supplement London by Night as I was reaching the end of this book. I do not have the Victorian Age Vampire Companion but it is in my wishlist. These are both excellent sourcebooks in that they not only provide an evocative setting in which to game but do a good job in setting the themes and moods, historical setting and a solid front-loaded metaplot and non-player characters; there is grand Guy Davis artwork, too. You will not find any front-loading in Victorian Lost because the latter subscribes more to the New World of Darkness design philosophy than that of a decade ago. This is not to say Victorian Lost is not a wonderful resource for telling stories of gas-lit fairytales in a similar setting as Victorian Age Vampire. It is just that you are not handed a setting as if an elder sibling had completed most of the world-building for you and passed on some good advice.

Victorian Lost provides guidance for creating your own campaign setting, some of which was covered ten years ago but here put in a more cohesive and easy-to-use manner. I have reviewed or have read New Wave Requiem and Mage Noir so I expected about a 90-page count and toolkit format. The writing is excellent, the advice is practical and there are plenty of story seeds. I very much enjoyed the idea of presenting sessions in chapters like a serial novel of the time with form imitating the fiction upon which it is based. Also included are two campaign outlines with two freehold examples at the tail end of each and one complete Storyteller Adventure System arc which is fast-paced enough for a one-shot or convention game. All the stories fit well into period themes and the SAS in particular does a fine job incorporating a Victorian invention becoming a possible weapon of mass destruction to the Gentry.

It is rather sparse on historical information and setting but is more concerned with the tropes of Victorian literature and important themes of the culture. Information is also solidly centered on London and the peripheral pastoral environs beyond so if you wish to game in the British Raj, Cairo, Bucharest, or Poe's Baltimore you will have to do your homework. There are no maps on London so again you will need to do research. Luckily, Brits at the time were entranced by maps and there are plenty in the public domain to download at no-cost. Public health epidemiology even got its start in London of the time. You can find detailed maps of East London correlated with both disease and socio-economic status on building-level basis (a fine prop for your game). Copyright expiration means you can download dozens of ebooks for free.

If that is a deal breaker, having to do your homework after buying a guide and toolkit on how to craft your setting rather than the setting yourself, do not buy this book and instead adapt Victorian Age Vampire to your needs. You could even creatively port over the NPCs to Changeling. If you subscribe to the New World of Darkness way of doing things, however Victorian Lost is a fine resource. Some may complain over the lack of crunch over fluff. I feel using a derogatory sounding term like fluff means you are missing the point. Take the two Seemings in the book; both fit in well with the setting but there are merely two (and a couple of Contracts and just one Entitlement). But Seemings are designed to be just two paragraphs long. I want to create my own for a rat-catcher gnome-like Wizened I want to play. Seemings were designed to be house-ruled so don’t feel constrained into using an "official" White Wolf sanctioned character. So were Contracts for that matter. I saw years ago on the White Wolf forums a fan was writing Contracts named and themed after every Shakespeare play. If you don’t have the time or are offended that you paid your money and expect more my condolences to you but this is not a sourcebook. Toolkits grant you the freedom to make your campaign setting your own. You can make it as steampunk as you want, or a Holmesian mystery or science adventure in the Verne or Edgar Rice Burroughs vein, maybe a Wilde-like clash of wit amongst upper crust society or a squalid Dickensian tragedy. There are points where you feel the lack of information sorely. The largest and most powerful freeholds of London and another of all England (near Stonehenge of course) are mentioned in brief but not elucidated on and never named. You will have to create them as well as the Lords who rule the Courts there.

Now if you feel the lack of crunch and don’t want to buy and adapt the Vampire books, here is what you can do: pick up Chuck Wendig's wonderful and affordable Block by Bloody Block for Hunter: the Vigil and download and print some period maps as I mentioned earlier. Treat each neighborhood in as a freehold fiefdom with some changeling or other supernatural or mortal faction in charge and a boon and cost associated with holding that title. For example, imagine a Winter Court motley of Lost pushing out local vampires and laying claim to the London Underground of 1887, ensorcelling the transit workers and charging a toll of Goblin Fruit or Pledges for the privilege of safe transport. This could be the player’s own motley, their allies or antagonists. What if they were Loyalists of Freebooters and ensnared any Lost who dared to venture into the Tubes? Bam, you've got a solid story seed right there.

There are only two places where lack of content seemed rather insulting. There is a section of Victorian LARPing covering costumes, customs and props as well as a sidebar explaining delicately that White Wolf never intends to put out Changeling: the Lost LARP rules so you’re on your own, kid. I happen to know that the local Camarilla holds Lost games so the rules do exist. It was just a rather bald-faced dismissal but one I can understand. Also there was a sore lack of a character sheet at the back of the book as was provided with New Wave Requiem and Mage Noir. That is what is holding back a five-star rating.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Lost
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Xavier A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/19/2012 03:44:08
There are some things I really enjoyed about this book, and some things that didn't quite work for me. However, overall it does exactly what a good splat should: It made me want to run a game based on it, and feel more prepared to do so.

I really enjoyed the dives into the themes of Victorian age stories and how to use Lost to highlight those. The explorations of what the world was like, how it was changing, and how that affected the core setting of Lost were also well done. For me, this is the meat of the book and the merit of the rating I'm giving it.

As a quibble, I don't think it was necessary to say the kiths and contracts presented were Victorian specific - why would the Gentry respond to worldly events that quickly and specifically?

Also, I would have enjoyed more resources for depicting Victoria's London with a bit more historical fidelity, as opposed to just a steamy set dressing. However, it gives a start (and, for those of us who are into such things, there are many resources available). Indeed, most of my 'complaints' involve wishing there was more - this could have easily been a full book, and I would have happily paid for it. However, I appreciate their decision to make it slimmer source of inspiration, and think that it earns its page count well.

Most games set in Victorian times seek to bring the mortal class system into their game world: here, showing the mirror of the mortal class system as a caste system for the Lost requires a bit of a stretch, and I'm not sure I'm buying it completely. While it does provide some interesting avenues for conflict and concerns of identity and place - it takes a few too many handwaves to really be comfortable for me. A born Peer of the Realm who is abducted and made into a Wizened Soldier or Antiquarian suddenly at the bottom of the class system, while a cockney flower girl turned Fairest rules? Perhaps if I saw how this worked out with more full examples of ruling courts, I might buy into it - but, as is, I'll likely drop it. Fortunately, the book retains its value and utility. (This is most of what keeps me from giving it 5/5, though).

The sample adventures seemed a rollicking good time, suitable for different play groups, and the characters seem flexible enough to bring to a new table and have people find somebody they can enjoy playing. The art was thematic and well executed. Overall, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anybody who enjoys Lost. For people who aren't into Lost, but love the era and setting (and might be looking for a game to run in it)... I would also say give it a try.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Lost
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Patricia W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/17/2012 17:32:03
First, the short version: I like this book despite any problems I have with it, and it has already inspired me in a number of ways, so I don’t feel like I have wasted my time. I purchased it with a gift certificate I won several months ago and saved just for this, and I don’t feel like I’ve necessarily wasted it on something I will never use.

No one is more surprised by this than I am. When I first heard that White Wolf was going to put out a Victorian Changeling book, I was instantly conflicted. I love Changeling: the Lost wholeheartedly and I buy everything I can for it. But the Victorian era didn’t seem like a strong setting choice for changelings to me - though the authors have convinced me to change my mind on that initial assessment.

Now let’s get to it: It isn’t until you get a printed copy in your hands that you realize just how short a book Victorian Lost is, and that sums up my greatest criticism: it’s just too brief to give enough support for such a meaty setting. By my count, 15 of the book’s 84 numbered pages are fiction (which is about as long as the fiction interspersed throughout the entire Changeling core rulebook). Parsing it down to about half that amount and making more suggestions for outside sources would have left room for information that would have made this more of a resource.

The artwork is decent, and the picture of a rudely interrupted garden party on page 21 encompases the incursion of the Fae into the Victorian world wonderfully. A number of charming (and real) antique advertisements hem the fiction, and I have no complaint about them whatsoever. They help give a good dose of Victorian feel to the book. But there are just thorns and gears on the covers and blurb on the back cover makes the whole thing sound like it’s going to be as dry as toast, so I can see how people might pass on it before giving it a chance.

Class differences are key to the whole book and they influence the system as well as the setting. The changes to New Identity and Vainglory 3 make even more sense when you get a taste of the stratified and rigid nature of Victorian society. Even your place in space - whether you’re of the city or the countryside - denoted a sort of class distinction. Not only do class divisions reinforce a very historical difference in perspective, but they also build in further elements of conflict - and I’ve got to say, I like this focus a lot.

The Wizened Inventor kith was something that was needed earlier and which failed to be manifested by the blessing of the Smith, so overall I have few complaints about it. The Darkling Lurker kith, while based in a historical image, could just as easily fit into the modern world. The reason for its disappearance comes off as unsatisfying and flimsy. The fact that there are only two new kiths in the book also feels unsatisfying. While it might be difficult to come up with solid concepts that weren’t covered in previous books, a little more research and brainstorming would have gone a long way.

The Contract changes and the new goblin Contracts are just fine overall, and some of them could be used in modern times (recent news of yellow fogs in China made me think about Smoke Stepping, and Riot could apply in nearly any era). The cost for such a broad-effect Contract as Sabotage seems rather low to me, however, particularly given the prices for previous high-level goblin Contracts. But YMMV.

The Anti-Gentrification League has the seed of an interesting idea embedded in it, but instead of being granted a full treatment as an entitlement, it’s given a sidebar with vague hand-waving as to real, working details. Since a character will gain a penalty if they’re outed as a member and this is a sourcebook, a sidebar just isn’t enough. Another entitlement, The Honorable Order of the Third Hour, is fleshed out later on and is thematically in keeping with the era. It also rounds out any discussion of entitlements.

The coverage of the various seemings and Courts is just fine, and the focus on literary types and themes in Chapter Four is Victorian enough. There are two chronicles outlined in Chapter Five (each with a hollow statted and described) for those who use premade chronicles and/or want some thematic ideas for where to start a game. Chapter Six is a collection of scenes and fully statted characters (complete with their own pictures). The Appendix presents the members of the Back Stairs Mob, who are ready to pick up and insert into a chronicle.

What is missing from the book is support for those who don’t know enough about the era and need the kinds of history and details that will truly set their game apart from modern chronicles. There is no timeline and very little about common technology; the scattered material about the period and the culture best serves as a reminder to someone who already knows a decent amount about the Victorians. And although much is made of London and some of its freeholds are mentioned, there is little information about the city itself.

While some gamers have no use for extensive historical background and will do their own research regardless, for Storytellers like myself, these gaps are disheartening. For most of the year my free time is very limited, so I look for gaming books that offer more so I have to do less groundwork regarding system and setting. Of course I end up doing my own research, but whatever helps me need it less is what I’m going to favor. I want a book I can keep at my right hand throughout the process and use plentifully.

I can already tell that my reference to this book will dwindle quickly as my process goes on, given how much goes unaddressed, even when it comes to mechanics. Victorian Lost has no advice about how skills have changed, no character sheet, no details about weapons, and nothing about tokens, trifles, and oddments in an era known for its obsessive desire and fascination for things. The Victorians were famous collectors, determined cataloguers, and amazing exhibitors. Knowing that and knowing Changeling, I had been hoping for more on this score. And knowing and loving Damnation City as I do, I had been hoping against hope that the authors might use it to sketch the city and some notable locations.

I didn’t want this book at first. I freely admit that I was initially going to buy it only to support any and everything for Changeling: the Lost, as I always do. Since I never developed the fixation on all things Victorian that my fellow English majors did during college, I didn’t even want to want Victorian Lost. But out of five writers and 84 pages, I am left with the impression that it needed stronger direction and greater expectations. I am also left with an overwhelming desire for more on almost every score - which is both a credit to White Wolf and a challenge regarding their future releases.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Lost
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Martyn A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/12/2012 18:10:25
For the price and taking into account that the other 'time setting' books of different lines were shorter than this I felt that the book was worth it. All in all an enjoyable book, well written and simply fun, sure it could have been longer, but anyone with a brain knew it wouldnt be.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Lost
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Robert S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/09/2012 20:47:39
Victorian Lost is a short and very concise summary of the important issues of the time period and ways to use these issues in stories featuring the Lost. The main issue used here are the rigid class divisions, which White Wolf uses so strongly it could actually interfere with running the game. Apart from that over-emphasis, I think it is quite a useful game product.

The book is eighty-seven pages, including the two covers, the title and credits and the ad at the end. This 'low' page count should not come as a surprise, given that New Wave Requiem and Mage Noir were both this size, and that White Wolf has published several books this size since moving to ebook and print-on-demand publishing. It uses a tiny font and is structured to get as much word-space into it as possible.

The book has six chapters and an appendix. Instead of the usual fiction prologue, the fiction story is spread between the chapters. However, the first chapter, on the setting, is done as a fictional piece as well. It does a good job of giving a superficial impression of the 'feel' of Victorian England. If there is any wasted space in the book, though, this is probably it. They might have done better to tell us this stuff directly and then not have to write some of it again more plainly in the next two chapters.

Chapters two and three are the character chapters. Chapter two opens by describing Victorian society and its many divisions, and then how changeling society has been altered from the Changeling sourcebook to fit. The main difference is that fae society, both the True Fae and the Lost, are set up here to be divided and fight among themselves on the same lines as mortal society. The Fairest are seen as upper class and Wizened and Ogres as working class, with the others as middle class, to such an extent that they rarely join motleys across class lines and there is even a new Entitlement whose sole purpose is to murder Fairest changelings for being (viewed as) too far above the Wizened and Ogres. Also, it claims that many changeling at this time did not escape, but were simply released when they got 'boring', and so many changelings do not hate and fear the True Fae.

Chapter three goes into the specifics for each Seeming and Court. It also has a bit on the style of Freeholds in Victorian Britain. Throughout this book there are references to characters fitting in, or not, with the London Courts. However, in this section there is a brief description of the situation in London. There is no one Freehold, instead the changelings are so fractious that virtually every motley is also its own Freehold. These Freeholds barely interact, so I don't understand how the complex political games referred to in the rest of the book are possible.

This setting of changeling against changeling rather than changelings against the True Fae is my problem with this book. One of the core elements of Changeling is that the Lost are separated from human society by their durances in Arcadia, and they have to stick together because no one else can really understand them, and because they have to stand together against the True Fae. This takes away a lot of that without replacing it with any compelling in-game reason to have changelings adopting human bigotry and fighting each other.

Chapters four, five, six and the Appendix are the Storytelling sections. Chapter four is a surprisingly short chapter on moods, themes and systems. Chapter five has two story outlines, one for interaction with the upper class and one in the slums. Chapter six is a complete story. A changeling has come up with a way to use Victorian technology to attack his Keeper. It's a 'solution-worse-then-the-problem' type of story. The Appendix is a sample motley for use by players or the Storyteller. If you want to know what this book's editing is like, the motley's official name is the Back Stairs Mob, but they are referred to as the Back Door Mob throughout the book.

Judged on its own merits, rather than what it could have been with two or three times the page count, I found this quite a satisfying gamebook. There is more than enough information to work around the class division system that I don't like. If you want to set stories in the time of Dracula, The Wolfman, and the Hound of the Baskervilles, this should be of great help.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Lost
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Mikko T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/08/2012 01:48:02
The first three chapters feel very short and shallow. Sure, you get just enough of the right kind of feel, but had I not previously done tons of research I would be left wanting much, much, more. I suppose the idea here is that this whets your appetite, and then you do as little or much research as you feel like. Thereby giving everyone the opportunity to read as much as they like and not complain about boring stuff in the book. For me the meat of the book is in chapters 4 and 5, but there's hardly enough of it. The SAS provided in chapter 6 is nice, and the same can be said about the ready-to-play Motley in the Appendix. It's nice stuff, but hardly gripping reading. For me this book falls short of what I have come to expect based on past Changeling: the Lost products. There's a distinct lack of game mechanics for bring any kind of different feel to the game, and what ideas are in the book are given a very brief once-over. Don't expect this book to provide you with a lot of new tools for bringing the 19th century alive in your games. It's a very bare bones book, but worth a single read-through none the less.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Lost
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jose B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/07/2012 17:34:25
Here's the thing: I love my world of darkness. Its my favorite game setting, my favorite game system, I have invested $$$, in short, this book is a disturbing trend.
I purchased the book, perused it, thought, "nice effort, B-" then realized, every chapter was more of a 'teaser' than a full fledged chapter. The overall lenght of the book is more along the lines of a 'module' or 'SAS' than a full scope supplement on Changeling in the era of Victoria. I even wanted a sample character sheet in the back, nothing. I wanted more info on the courts, kiths, seemings--but only a few pages. The big disapointment, the book was initially posted on this site at full price: 21.99 for both pdf/softcover FOR AN 87pg SAS?!?!

Fortunately, the price was dropped to a more acceptable $15, otherwise sorry, I would not have purchased this.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Lost
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Brian S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/07/2012 08:25:15
A Bad Trend

Right off the bat , I have to say the book is too short. This is becoming a bad trend for White Wolf. A while back they made the mistake of making the V20 Companion only 80 pages and now they have done so here with a book that is 87 pages. Now to be fair, the other books in this line , like Mage Noir are of similar page count, but two wrongs do not make a right. That book should have been longer too.
So what happens is but making them so few pages, you are really not getting the product out that you want to, and the players need/ want.
Case in point, The new Kiths. While fitting very well in the setting, they are neither very imaginative nor special. They are good kiths, but fall flat. The problem with all that is they are the only Kiths in the book . It would have been nice if EVERY seeming had a new kith. Oh by the way, saying something like “these kiths fell out of favor with the gentry later on” makes no sense. Why not just say “ in modern times these Kiths are rarely seen” or something to that manner. The same can be said with all of the crunch in the book(including the goblin contracts, Entitlements etc).
And where the book shines, it again only shines a little. In the second part of the book are the settings and storylines to play at the table. Again WAY too short .
Again , this product follows the footsteps of the V20 Companion Book . What’s there is nice, but not enough.
This all confuses me. The price is right, but the page count is not . I would rather had paid 10, 12, 15 dollars for a larger book then getting the small one we received for $8.99 (15 for book) .

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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