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Minireview: The Paranormal Sourcebook (Conspiracy X)

The Paranormal Sourcebook is the latest sourcebook in the (new) Conspiracy X line. Like the previous sourcebook, it was funded via Kickstarter and did quite well. Also like the previous sourcebook, much of this book has lain in Limbo for ages waiting for a way for Eden to publish it – and now, with Kickstarter, it has finally seen the light of day.

As the title implies, this book describes the paranormal aspects of the game setting, divided into three section: psychic powers, magic and “cryptozoology” (i.e. weird critters). Much of this book is “crunch”, since it contains descriptions and mechanics for all sorts of weird powers. We get discussion on the “Seepage” phenomenon, and how psychic powers and magic interact (and don’t). There’s also some talk about Corruption, and some of the results (Vampires, Werewolves and such, in this game). The last chapter on cryptozoology is a bit of a sideline, but ties in with the two main topics due to some of the creatures in question having access to psychic powers and/or magic.

Overall, it’s a dense package of system into for the new Conspiracy X game. Pretty much essential stuff if you intend to run the game, since the coverage of these powers in the core book is quite skimpy.

Of course, there’s the old “why use this?” system, since there are other competing systems in the “modern day conspiracy/supernatural” genre, with the World of Darkness being the biggest and most direct competitor. There’s really no simple answer to that; this is no WoD clone (the links to X-Files are a lot clearer), and it runs a totally different system (Unisystem). It comes down to which system you like, and which system provides a “feel” that’s closer to what you want. Conspiracy is “lean and mean” compared to WoD, which can be a plus. Also, there are aliens in this setting, which can have a big effect on your game.

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