Game: The Magician’s Companion
Publisher: Visionary Entertainment Studio Inc.
Series: The Everlasting
Review Dated: 27th, June 2005
Reviewer’s Rating: 5/10 [ Perfectly acceptable ]
Total Score: 5
Average Score: 5.00
Visionary Entertainment Studio are doing their player-base proud. VISE really is not the largest RPG publisher but they really are giving their “The Everlasting” product line a lot of support.
The Everlasting is slightly unusual in that there are four core books and players only need one of them to get “modern fantasy” game world. The Magician’s Companion is a supplement for any of the core books. Not surprisingly this supplement dabbles with the magic rules and use of magic in the game.
US$17.95 for 100 pages isn’t usual but this is a half sized book – the pages are not as large as most RPG products. Mind you, RPG supplements of this dimension are not usual either. Perhaps where Visionary first begins to show their ‘learning curve’ status is on the production and layout of the book. It’s the classic scenario where the publisher has a wealth of material and is determined to give it all to the readers – The Magician’s Companion is crowded! Flicking through the book will not endear you to it, you’re likely already to be an Everlasting convert before you pick the supplement up and wade in. It’s crowded but not too much of a challenge to read. I’d rather have all the information in this book in the format it’s in than a prettier format and less information. Mind you, I suspect publishers have to get the visual/content mix right in order to persuade people to purchase the book in the first place.
The book covers a great scope of magical ways and not so obviously magical paths – such as Dark Science. Dark Science is akin to Fortean Science, that mix of alchemy and pseudo-science. Think Dr Jekyll or Frankenstein. There’s Dionysus’ cults, the chaotic maelstrom of Discordian magic and Egyptian magic.
There’s more than a toe in the water for some of the Egyptian stuff. The thirteenth of the Immortals – the Osirians are rich with Egyptian mythology. The Osirians are a peculiar type of eldritch and that’s saying something. In fact, Osirians cheat on the usual The Everlasting scale of immortality as these powerful wizards achieve their everlasting status not through avoiding death but via rebirth. In many ways this makes them terrifying as they’ll always be able to come back in a later life and take revenge, open old wounds, unbury buried treasure and set the cat among the pigeons by turning up so unexpectedly. In fact, it’s not even generally possible to know that someone’s an Osirian just by looking at them as their levels of energies are nice and low until they start to wield their magic.
The first section of The Magician’s Companion dwells on the mysteries of the magical Osirians. We have a look at famous Osirians, chakras, their mythos, their connection to druids and helpfully we look at different Osirian organisations. From the crunchy point of view the Magician’s Companion also dishes up a fair serving of special Osirian benefis and drawbacks as well an extended Osirian affinities chart.
The goal of the book is to give Everlasting players an open-ended system for their magic. Here The Magician’s Companion meets with partial success. What’s a partial success? The book provides us with flexible magic which works rather than wows. More importantly the sourcebook doesn’t feel as if it’s about the flexible magic system, it feels more like an Osirian supplement and then light wander around popular mythologies. I think its very likely that Everlasting gamers will still be hungry after buying The Magician’s Companion. It’s not a full meal. I think this is not an unfamiliar battle for VISE and, as already stated, the urge to include everything at the cost of nothing is clearly visible here. Sometimes that struggles doesn’t go our way. I like lexicons, for example, I love being able to inject rare or even made up words in to my gaming sessions as they’re great for the suspension of disbelief… but I think giving more than 5% of such a slim book to an Osirian specific lexicon is a bit much. We don’t even actually get going on real content until page six.
The Magician’s Companion is for hardened The Everlasting fans and for collectors. This is a book you buy to keep up to date with the latest developments and not a supplement you buy to answer needful questions or take the game in a drastic new direction. It’s one of those supplements which score a safe-and-sound “good enough” without dropping over or popping over the middle-mark.