Saturday, August 9, 2014

Kult "Rumours" Review

"Kult Rumours"

August 5th, 2002

Hardback 167 pages, plus character sheets
24.95 US ISBN 0-971865-0-5

Four Years ago, almost to the day, we Kult fans were dealt a fatal blow. The publishing company in charge of the Kult books went under, selling off it's rights and with no word of future books. Over the years a dedicated few of us (You know who you are) kept the spirit of the game alive through promotion, fan created material, and even a website dedicated to bringing the game back. We hunted and hunted for the current rights owner and found them, Paradox Entertainment. but indeed it was only a blessing in disguise. Repeated attempts were made to offer them or at least ask for a price to publish the game with hardly a response back.

Then surprisingly Neko and John Berk of Seventh Circle stepped up to bat and was awarded the rights to publish it, with the express condition that they keep the spirit of the original work.

Now after many frustrating months we have the result of this wait, Kult: Rumours.

I am left wanting.

My grading system is as follows.

Binding and Presentation
Art and Cover
Typography (Ease of Reading)
Fictional Content and layout
Core rules and changes

Each of these will be Two Points

Binding and presentation:

When I first held it open I did so delicately, barely opening it and only taking a slight glance inside knowing full well the lessons learned with my copy of SLA first edition. I steeled myself and opened it fully once I got home. with a nervous shudder there was a slight pop in the spine... I gritted my teeth and looked at it again, no apparent damage, so it all held together pretty well. Being a new book I'll give it a few months before I see how time wears on it.

The book looks nice, though a bit thin, nice dull grays and subdued tones on the front cover continued around to the back. I have only a few complaints about the back cover.. mostly minor, one of which is the glaring typo "RECOMMANDED FOR MATURE PLAYERS ONLY" um... recommanded? okay I can kinda deal with that... but it is the cover. I feel a little more care should have been taken.

The other things are the new Kult "Symbol" on the back, I could do without having my fave game reduced to Heavy Metal status but I suppose I will make due. See I kinda liked the one included on the first page of the character sheet but the second page you can see the difference, thinner, weaker, just not the very powerful image that I expect of Kult

Lastly is the huge "7th Circle" logo on the bottom of the back cover, it's not very clear, and it's in French! I bought an English Printing here folks, I want English, it's not that hard people. but again this is only minor

Overall the book looks good, not what I expected, and this is a good thing.

Art and Cover

I have never seen this newcomers work, but I have to say Samuel Arraya is pretty talented, very clean work, but I still hold some resentment over the cover and it's image.

For those that are not "in the know" I was in correspondence with Neko and John Berk throughout the process and I gave Neko the e-mail address of Jason Just, a rather good friend and obviously very talented. Jason was responsible for the majority of design work on the Abyss ( and many of it's interior images as well.

Neko had told me she wanted to keep the Tortured Angel concept on the cover from the first printing of the book. if you don't know what that looks like you can find the image again on the inside of the new players guide.

Jason spent a great deal of time and money following Nekos guidelines and produced a very good image, which for one reason or another was rejected... in favor of an image that isn't within the concept she had given me. Jason at this point decided to not work with them at all, and I can't say I blame him after that. Jasons image can be found on his site ( under the Atelier section.

The interior art is clean and crisp, and presented in a good manner, with only a few exceptions I have to mention. First is the glaringly annoying double K symbol appearing on every even numbered page. UGH what an eyesore, and only my opinion.

Second are the images found flush with the sidebars on the bottom of the even numbered pages. With the exception of the first, second and last chapter those images just don't seem to flow very well and in fact create slight confusion as to what is going on there at least that is the way I see things.

Third, we have all waited a long time to see this come back into print and the inclusion of recycled art is slightly disappointing. But such is life, I understand that 7th Circle is a relatively small company and can't afford to shell out bucks for new art every time they needed it. however several artists have offered to donate work for inclusion.

Typography (Ease of Reading)

With previous Kult books we all know the difficulty that can be found trying to read one of those horrible on the eyes but very nice looking books, One has to maintain a delicate balance between beauty and readability, and I have to say that 7th Circle has pulled this off rather well. Everything is laid out well and no text overlaps art so this gets good points here. I can't find anything wrong with the typography with the exception of one small typo and the choice of fonts used, but that's just semantics.

Fictional Content and layout

The third printing includes some new small fictional works inside and new quotes as well, I found most of the short works entertaining, but it left me wanting, some were rather weak, but within the tone of the game as I see it. The quotes were well used although I would have tried to come up with something new rather than the tired "I am become death the destroyer of worlds" line that I see as almost cliche these days.

Overall I'm going to give this section good marks, as it "feels" right and well within the feel of the game.

Core rules and changes

The new books seem to have the rules down fairly well, not alot was changed from the first edition, my only disappointment here was the mental balance rules were kept the same, I've always thought these rules were a bit off, and I still think they are.

The upside

The book looks good, feels good and I have to say I like it overall, though I may be a bit jaded when it comes to Kult I have to think I have a good feel for what is and what isn't "kult" and I think the Rumours book "is almost" Kult.

The Downside

Perhaps I think the book feels a bit tame like a PG-13 version of the rules, I think this has alot to do with the exclusion of the GM orientated material kept aside for the GM's guide. The other large disappointment I find is not giving enough rules to create the *complete* character. All the rules are there with the exception of Dark Secrets, I have to agree with my fellow French Kultists on this matter, I think they should have been included within the players guide, though I can understand 7th Circles viewpoint as well. The reason for the two books are many, but mainly it has to do with keeping the masses ignorant, which is the best way to run Kult.

Sure those of us with older books won't be at much of a inconvenience here, but those new players and GMs will be hard pressed when it comes to playing the game.

When it comes to complaints of splitting the books I say it worked for that bigger company it should work even better here because it's not just a way to keep advanced rules from the player, but a way to keep the secrets of the game away as well.


Overall I am going to give this book an 6 out of 10, and I will be honest, one of the reasons behind such a high score is my love of the game and the years I put into it both as a game in print and a game out of print.

All those years of waiting and fending of those who would have just copied it and put it online have paid off, and I feel that if you like Dark/horror/splatterpunk gaming you should to pick this book up, and obviously the GMs book as well if you intend to run it.

Overall I have to say I'm slightly upset with John Berk and Neko over a few points, one of which was the way they handled us hardcore fans of the game... KITD/FOHS (if you don't know what that means feel free to ask) I was promised a free review copy with no turnout, we were promised regular news and got nothing and a few of us were nearly in arms over this matter but I will continue to talk with John and Neko and hope for the best now that the hard part is over hopefully we can all look forward to some new stuff.

No comments: