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Geist: The Sin-Eaters $19.98
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Geist: The Sin-Eaters
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Geist: The Sin-Eaters
Publisher: White Wolf
by Chris C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/27/2014 14:13:43

The good, the bad, and the ugly:

Man, this was a hard review to put together. Geist: The Sin Eaters has some really outstanding elements and some absolutely embarrassingly awful elements. To be kind, I’m going to start with the good.

  1. If you’re a fan of Garth Nix’ Abhorsen Trilogy, the show Dead Like Me, or horror movies about ghosts, you’ll probably dig this a lot. I like all of those things, so I was willing to tackle the massive storyteller project that came with the setting (see below).

  2. The really interesting part of Geist is its Morality system, which centers around ghosts rather than the living. This lets players do some horror movie-esque things that would cause Morality rolls with a lot of the other systems. Ethically, it’s a very interesting system.

And now the bad. Note that this is a longer list.

  1. Right off the bat, experienced storytellers will notice that the setting seems to be comprised of “content chunks” and that they don’t fit together really well. I think that this is the result of different people handling different parts of the development project and maybe not working together as well as they could have, but that’s just me. I’d like to say that this is just conceptual and theme-oriented, but it’s not. In some places the rules contradict one another. No, I’m not going to get into it. Look at other reviews for the details.

  2. If you research Sin Eaters you’ll see that the setting only slightly touches on that concept. I think they just didn’t know what to call it, so they grabbed “sin eaters” and slapped it on the book. I also suspect that’s why this setting isn’t called Sin Eater. Oh, and “geist” isn’t the player- it’s a little like a cross between the Avatar, the Shadow, and the Po. So the setting isn’t even really titled what they players are.

  3. I think that at some point someone in the development/oversight staff said “This is really creepy and gloomy, do something to liven it up (har de har har) and make it appeal to a wider audience”. Thus was born the abomination known as the “krew”. Krews are groups of Geists, and someone thought it’d be cool to basically make them hipster gangs. Yes, you read that correctly. No, I don’t know why either. It’s SO bad it derails the core feel and vibe of the whole setting. Wow it’s bad. How bad, you ask? Krews refer to Charms as “death bling”. That bad. Oh, and one of the “community hub” domains of the Underworld has a wild-west theme. Really think about that for a minute. If you’re not trying to claw your eyes out, then this game might be right for you.

  4. On that note, krews have their own rules for shared abilities. That’s actually fairly impressive, but you probably already know the problem with this: all but one of your players is willing to cash in on those abilities, but that one player already has their min/max plan worked out and won’t play ball. Or worse, the krew abilities figure into their min/max plan, and they’re glaring at the other players and thumping a baseball bat against their palm every time experience is dished out. The other problem with this, obviously, is if you’re running a solo campaign. Then it’s a real mess.

  5. On your end, you’re going to have some hard systems to narrate to your players. PCs that can see when people are going to die sound fun, but can be a real nightmare for you (the storyteller). It’s hard to surprise the PCs without them feeling betrayed “Hey! I should have seen that coming!” You’re also going to crash headlong into a long debate about destiny and chance at some point (Was that man destined to die of cancer? What if he hadn’t smoked a pack a day?). Also, “and that guy over there! When’s he gonna die??” gets old.

  6. The setting badly needs a supplement that covers manifestations rank 6-10 and Onyx Path tells me it’s not even on the horizon yet. If your players are hungry for real power in this setting (and it’s there; Sin Eaters can have attributes/abilities/manifestations up to rank TEN with proper progression) they’re going to hit a wall at some point until this comes out. I worry that the flaws in this setting are going to make that a long time coming and I may just design it myself, which paves the way for later aggravation. Time will tell.

  7. Sin Eaters, compared to the other supernaturals, are shockingly weak. Most of their abilities have to do with scaring people, penalizing dice rolls, and damaging willpower. I said most, not all, but your PCs will likely either be clones of one another “Dude, you've got a fire geist too? No way! Hey, let’s go to the saloon and I’ll show you my death bling.” …or they’ll spend their first 4 points waiting for the attack that comes with the fifth point.

  8. The innate abilities of the Sin Eaters are scattered, hard for PCs to remember, and difficult to incorporate.

  9. There are no projected dates for expansions. I contacted Onyx Path and asked.

I tried. I really did. I even took the time to overhaul the systems and concepts to make it have a more “Wraith” kind of feel. In the end, it was just too much work for too little reward. There are too many concepts floating around without enough common ground to glue them together. The abilities are weak, and it was a nightmare creating game scenarios that actually used their effects. I finally took a long look at the Moros of Mage and said “why am I putting myself through this? I could do all this with a Mage legacy.”

Save yourself the agony. Let them fix it. If they pull together a 2.0 maybe it’ll be worth playing, but right now not so much.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Geist: The Sin-Eaters
Publisher: White Wolf
by Trevor H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2012 15:40:53

I knew that there would be an issue with the bleed when I ordered the print copy, but the cover, binding, and paper quality were all sub-par. Some of the ink on the pages has rubbed off on my fingers like old newspapers used to do, which is disappointing. I still hate that the print copy couldn't be made with proper bleed, but that's really a technical issue that I have with the entire Print-On-Demand industry and not this specific product.

The content is very good. The chapter on the Underworld alone is worth the price of the PDF.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Geist: The Sin-Eaters
Publisher: White Wolf
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/17/2010 03:44:55

This is a fantastic game and probably the best side-game produced for nWoD. Geist provides a well-thought-out framework for a system that is very malleable. Essentially, the characters play individuals that are given a 'second chance' by a Geist - a creature from the afterlife that exists as a conceptual archetype. The alien nature of the Geist is chilling and the opportunities for them to pursue their own agendas (often at the expense of the host) provides a wealth of roleplaying opportunities. The rules are all internally consistent, and convey the balance of celebrating life under the shadow of death quite well. The Krewe structure (Krewe being a group of Geists) is well-explained, but with enough blank space for the players to fill in the details and really personalise their group. However, my only reservation is that there is blank space that needs to be filled with good ideas and a decent amount of planning needs to go into the construction of the Krewe's unique identity.

Overall, I'd highly recommend this game. This isn't something with a short shelf-life, or something to play in between other games. Geist deserves solid attention and would be perfect for a long-term chronicle.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Geist: The Sin-Eaters
Publisher: White Wolf
by Abdul R. I. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2010 21:25:39

A great rpg with many avenues and paths for the Storyteller to explore with his/her players. The Sin-Eaters are so diverse that many exciting chronicles are suggested and can be crafted using the core rulebook alone. Interactions with other beings in the World of Darkness was also explained and easily understood. But the best part of the book for new players comes at the beginning of the book. The little fiction there definitely sets the mood and gives a clear idea on what Sin-Eaters are about.

A must-have for those that wants to extend their WoD horizons.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Geist: The Sin-Eaters
Publisher: White Wolf
by Frederik H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/02/2010 04:54:13

The basic idea of Geist is great and opens up possibilities for cross-overs out of necessity: A player character dies and remains as a geist. You could use this for any of the WoD systems, although this possibility is only explicitely mentioned for ordinary humans. As such it is a great supplement. My criticque is a different one, it is the approach on Keys. In Geist you do not only have supernatural abilites, called Manifestations, but also Keys. Each key allows you to use a Manifestation slightly different. Well, this may sound cool in the first place, but in the consequence the writers lacked the idea to make keys all that different. So you may buy keys to individualize your Manifestations and most of them still remain so similar, it is just sad.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Geist: The Sin-Eaters
Publisher: White Wolf
by Graeme L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/24/2009 09:30:08

For several months now I've been heavily anticipating this latest book by White Wolf, and I have to say that it was most definitely worth the wait. The art is beautiful, the fiction draws you in, and the book itself details things beautifully. By providing a new realm for the World of Darkness (the Underworld), we see White Wolf's cosmology expand in new and unusual ways. The addition of the Underworld and its strange areas, from the Autochthonous Depths (which, ironically, are the upper part of the Underworld) to the Lower Mysteries and the Dead Dominions guarded by the enigmatic Kerberoi, adds an area full of both dark wonder (at the suggestion that treasures thought lost forever exist in the Underworld) and great horror (tight enclosed spaces and darkness, and the sheer madness and inhumanity of some older ghosts).

Geist is based on a simple concept on the surface. Your character died, and then through a Bargain with a geist, an entity that seems part ghost and part spirit, is returned to life. Through this Bargain, your character gains special supernatural abilities, but your character also has a responsibility to help the Dead move on to the Underworld - even though, as stated above, the Underworld can be (and often is) a rather horrific realm. The mechanics are easy to understand and implement, and the variety of characters that can be created is astounding.

Of course, as this is a very new release, there are some things about this that have managed to escape the editors. There are certain areas in the rules that refer to things that don't exist, such as Keys (the way Sin-Eaters access their powers) having levels, which they no longer do. However, on the whole it is well-edited and excellently-detailed.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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