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Cthulhutech; Mortal Remains [Hardcover]

Grau/ Mckay/ Vaillancourt

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit shallow at times but still useful 5 Sep 2010
By Kyorou - Published on Amazon.com
This book, though not as good as the rest of the CT line, is nevertheless a good read and a good buy for CT players and GMs alike.

The chapter on the Migou is in my opinion the best part of the book. It provides useful information on what the Migou are trying to do with Earth and how they plan to achieve it. This will be valuable to GMs. On the other hand, it is a bit of a spoiler: reading it will make the Migou seem less alien and mysterious to you. So I recommend that only the GM should be allowed to read it. You can also use it to run a Migou game (in the same way Dark Passions allowed to play cultists) but this doesn't strike me as a particularly good idea : the Migou are best suited as an antogonist, imo.

The chapter on Nazzadi culture is also a good read for both players and GMs. It gives valuable info on the Nazzadi culture and society which can be helpful in playing Nazzadi characters (most of it can be infered from former CT books though). This chapters ends with a few new Nazzadi-specific Assets and Drawbacks to personalize your character.

I found the chapters on the NEG society and politics somewhat disappointing. The authors of the line aren't sociologists and it shows. This chapter isn't terrible but I found it to be too short and somewhat shallow, particularly regarding its explanation of the NEG's political system and lifestyle. It provides very little information on matters that I regard as being essential (a 'Who's who in the NEG' would have been a minimum) while going on at lengths on minor issues. I didn't need half a page about how easy it is to get laid in this setting, particularly as the MRB already had done a good job in conveying the idea of the NEG as a very liberal society. Moreover, NEG society is depicted as being pretty much the same aroung the globe, which I find a bit hard to believe (besides, it is not like regional diversities would have made the setting less interesting...). Maybe my expectations on generalist setting SBs are too high but MR is still a far cry from DP9's Life on Terra Nova. The less-than-subtle approach of the book on religion also does it a disservice. As an atheist, I have no problem with a religion-free SF setting but I would need at least a more compelling argument on why religion took such a hard blow.

In conclusion, Mortal Remains is an OK-buy as a setting sourcebook but don't expect too much from it or you may be disappointed.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mortal Remains 27 Sep 2010
By Dale Andrade - Published on Amazon.com
I agree with the other reviewers that Mortal Remains is a let down.

The Good:
The Migou section is well written with some interesting hints at things to come. The demystification of their society carries a certain danger but could be worse. Overall, this portion is well written (perhaps too well in light of the NEG chapter...)

The Nazaadi section is interesting enough and valuable for players and GM's alike.

The Bad:
The NEG portion of the book is a complete train wreck. Not only is the society portrayed bland in the extreme, it seriously pushes the boundaries of suspension of disbelief that it could actually function. The bland, culturally devoid, nature of the NEG provides little for players or game masters to fight for. The religion section shows a laughable mishandling of the subject and the portions on NEG culture and society are just plain boring. After reading this book, I am almost inclined to side with the Migou.

For those looking to GM C-Tech, I highly recommend ditching this book and its stock portrayal of the NEG. You would be better served to create your own, vibrant, multi-cultural civilization using the framework provided in the main book.
16 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disasterous sourcebook for what is an interesting game line 28 Nov 2009
By Nate R - Published on Amazon.com
As stated in the previous review, the setting details made me less enthusiastic about the Cthulhutech game line.

Its treatment of religious beliefs is nonsensical, but not a surprise given the hand-waving that leads to English as the one true language of humanity in this universe. Perhaps the truly hard-core anti-religious Atheists might delight in the treatment of religion in the setting, especially those who delight in the failings of Christianity, but what is in the book is neither true to Lovecraft nor reflective of the history of religion. If Lovecraft's characters lose their faiths, it is because they have derived it through the misery found in life... it shouldn't be something like, "due to the existence of Cthulhu & extraterrestrial life, Christianity becomes invalidated and ceases to exist" (not a real quote from the book, but you get the idea).

The addition of the Migou was also something of a mistake, as said before. The time spent rationalizing their motives & behaviors does not make them more impressive or interesting. If they tried to de-mystify the motives of dread Cthulhu, that might be an even bigger failure, but making the Migou more understandable in the style employed by the authors was pretty wrong IMO.

What could have been done in its place to make Migou playable? It's not up to me. Certainly, playable Migou is an attraction of this book. How it was pulled off was not satisfying to this reader, however. It may please others.

Good parts... more Nazzadi information & background is always helpful. How the Nazzadi got to rule over Cuba & the mystical hand-waving involved... meh. The Nephilim are also interesting. Thus, it wasn't a total waste of time.

I guess I'd want sourcebooks to at least pose new questions if they don't fill in the gaps in a setting. "Vade Mecum" was successful in that, and was a solid sourcebook. In contrast, "Mortal Remains" seemed to demystify the setting in a completely unsatisfying way.

Unless you are running 100% Nazzadi games & want the info incredibly badly, or really can't do without the Nephilim rules or the Migou rules, then I couldn't recommend "Mortal Remains". Perhaps if you failed in your World History classes & find organized religion to be totally reprehensible, you may be intrigued by the setting as described.

"Mortal Remains" is mostly a background/story sourcebook with some additional vehicles & rules. Given that the quality of story & background in the sourcebook is almost enough to turn this reader off of the game line completely & have second thoughts about other books by Catalyst, I think "Mortal Remains" might be in the Complete Disaster category of gaming sourcebooks. I would still give Cthulhutech a shot, but the setting has an uneven quality to it & it really shows in this sourcebook. Get "Vade Mecum" long before you get this one.
Cthulhutech Vade Mecum
9 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Disappointment... 15 Nov 2009
By Artaban - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
As a long-time gamer, having played and purchased supplements from White Wolf, TSR/Wizards, Eden Studios and others, I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I was enthusiastic enough about the CthuluTech line to purchase the corebook and "Vade Mecum". Sadly, with "Mortal Remains" it appears that Catalyst Studios may have begun the sadly typical decline into mediocrity so often seen in the gaming community.

Do not assume that the potential displayed in prior books actually comes to fruition in this work. There is very little character/world development happening in these 140 pages, in no small part because there is a lack of personalities evident in this setting. There are organizations and races with nebulous intentions and vague ideologies, but no humanity.

While most of the artwork remains equal in quality to the aforementioned books, there are more than a few substandard pieces, which detract from the gritty and realistic feel fostered previously. The same could be said of the "provocative short fiction" at the beginning of chapters. The portrayal of the Migou throughout the book seemed superficial, with numerous passages reminding the reader that they are "truly alien creatures who experience the universe in a very different way from us", and that the depiction in the book is instead an "approximation".

Aside from being a waste of space (compounded by the authors repetition of identical sentences throughout the supplement), such vagueness puts the onus of imagining and portraying the Migou on the storyteller. After reading the book, I was no closer to creating a compelling antagonist-race than before, and while the "hive alien" trope has been successfully used before in science fiction (see Orson Scott Card's Ender series), it falls flat on its face here.

Consumers buy supplements because we either need inspiration for our games or because we don't have the free-time to flesh out a setting ourselves. I'd warn Catalyst that opting out of their responsibility to provide the "flavor" defeats the entire purpose of buying their works (nor will we continue to do so).

Finally, a full quarter of a page was spent on a disclaimer urging the reader to remember that "it's all fiction". The authors were correct in guessing that there would be content many/most would find objectionable and offensive, especially in regards to the dimension of religion and belief.

Given the comment made above--and the sudden death of all the world's religious traditions--it should not surprise the reader/buyer that the producers of "Mortal Remains" have envisaged a setting that is increasingly displaying socialist/liberal political leanings. Like its counterparts in the real world, it is lifeless and uncompelling.

Grammatical errors seem to appear more frequently. Perhaps Catalyst had to fire an editor due to today's economic conditions. Perhaps they just rushed "Mortal Remains" to production to cash in on the holiday market. Regardless, the shoddy composition of the book shows.
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