I had a discussion with a person on the facebook group KULT rpg fans. There I listed 10 things that I really like about the new edition of KULT. And then I was asked by the owner of the Beyond Elysium blog to put my list on Razors Through Flesh so here we go:
1. It feels like old KULT but it is not old KULT
First edition of KULT is a child of the 90s and I love it to death. But it just don’t hold up as well anymore. And the thing with this new edition is that unlike previous editions that just built on the first edition and pushed in more and more weird things in it, KULT: Divinity Lost rewrites everything. It is a completely new game but it is still true to what KULT is. And it feels modern, fresh and spiritual to me.
2. The old Metaplot is Gone
Do you remember the old Metaplot? Astaroth gathering his armies of Damned Legionaries in different military bases around Elysium to “conquer” the illusion by force incarnated as the Antichrist? Well, I was never a fan of that idea. Now it is a struggle to gain control over the illusion via the principles, be able to “slither” in and gain influence. That is something I feel much more interesting.
3. The system actually creates great, personal, horror stories.
The whole concept of using the Dark Secrets to build the stories around the characters and that there are several chapters to guide you as a GM just works very well. And the rolls creates excitement and drama that pushes the story forward. But it is as not “indie” as the original Apocalypse World. I would say it is a perfect balance for a horror game.
4. It’s not Splatterpunk.
It is less focus on weapons, action, and shooting down razides with machine guns. The writers of old KULT have said that they made a game for teenagers and I guess it shows. The writers of new Kult go more for the drama and I find that more interesting.
5. The Art & The Layout
The books are amazing when it comes to the artworks and the layout. The gold print, the religious symbolism. Heck, I would say the core book could stand on its own as an art book.
6. The Archons & The Death Angels
In old KULT they were always a bit vague and strange but here I feel they have come to their right. They feel like a vital part of the machinery of the Illusion. The insight how they bind us with their principles and how they sort of seep into everything makes them feel… intriguing.
7. Different kinds of stories
The Quick Play scenarios that have been released are all very different. They push KULT in new directions that I did not expect (but I am very glad for). Everything from survival horror on jungle islands, crime scene investigations, disturbing family dinners, surreal art exhibitions and intrigues between lictors during the US presidential election campaigns.
8. Less 90s Cenobite Fashion
Old KULT was very much Hellraiser in style and tone and that hasn’t aged well. I am really happy with the new direction for the Nepharites and their more religious style. The creature design in general feels much more interesting.
9. The Setting
The setting is better written. I love the feel of Metropolis, the weird mysteries of Inferno, Gaia, the Underworld, Elyisum and its strange lure. It is just more vibrant. The texts in old KULT just don’t hold up as well anymore while the ones in new KULT, to me, is just amazing in atmosphere. Take the earlier editions of KULT and go through the setting chapters and compare it with the new edition and you will see how different it is. And according to me in a good way.
10. It feels connected
When I read KULT: Divinity Lost I just get a feeling that things fit together in a way that old KULT did not succeed with according to me.