I’ve been running games set in the World of Darkness for quite a while now. That said, I’ve not run all these games due to time, and the fact that I really couldn’t afford a copy of all those books. However, being a gamer for enough years means I get to exposure to a number of them. That said, here’s my opinion on all the World of Darkness books that I’ve encountered:
- Vampire: the Masquerade – I was hooked into the World of Darkness by being exposed to a quickstart for V:tM that came with a copy of Inquest Magazine (1997, I think). The setting was intriguing, the Clans were equally compelling and scary, and Tim Bradstreet remainsthe iconic artist for Vampires in my mind. Sadly, I’ve never actually run a game of V:tM, but I feel that I could give it a fair shake. I will probably ditch a lot of the metaplot (as I would with most of the oWoD) and run it with a narrower, localized focus as I would with Vampire: the Requiem.
- Werewolf: the Apocalypse – After coming to realize that Vampire was pretty awesome, one of the WoD people that I came to be acquainted with started showing off Werewolf: the Apocalypse. Again, each of the Tribes were interesting, and while a few of them felt just a little bit thin at first glance (like the Fianna) it wasn’t anything that I had felt was detrimental (hey, the first game had the Ravnos.) I wanted to like it, but it felt too combat-intensive for me. I understood the principle and actually found the Earth Warrior ethos interesting at the time. Again, I didn’t get to run this game, but I did get to read a good deal of their books.
- Mage: the Ascension – Here we go, finally a game that I did run. Mage and I had an interesting start. The same guy who shoved me Werewolf: the Apocalypse handed me his copy of Mage: the Ascension, 2nd Edition for a night. Unwilling to hand a book back unread, I sat down and read the thing from cover to cover. I was hooked. I loved the different philosophies and cultures presented, and the Paradigm concept and Freeform Magic was novel to me as I haven’t encountered it before. I ran Mage almost exclusively before, collecting as many of the books as I could given the anemic availability of RPG books here in the Philippines at the time.
- Changeling: the Dreaming – This game confused me. After being so suffused with the World of Darkness vibe, the colors and art threw me off. I felt that it was the red-headed stepchild of the series, and only realized my stupidity when one of the GMs in my gaming group, Zugzugtheorc, took the reins and ran one of my favorite campaigns to date. I credit him wholeheartedly for getting me to buy Changeling: the Lost without even reading the blurb.
- Demon: the Fallen - I remember reading this and being blown away by the backstory and the writing. I also remember being thoroughly disturbed enough that I couldn’t even consider running it. If any of the writing team of D:tF are reading this, kudos to you guys. I love your work, but as a Catholic with a Jesuit education, I had to draw a line somewhere. Pushing too close to the edge of my comfort zones.
- Orpheus – Corporate ghosts peddling dirty deeds done dirt cheap… what’s not to love? Orpheus was one of those games that could have been White Wolf’s baby steps to shorter line games like Scion and all the 4th games of the new World of Darkness. Sadly I wasn’t able to buy the rest of the series (though I’ve heard that the campaign was pretty badass.) Then again, in this age of PDFs… I might be able to catch up.
Looking back at it, I wish the age of PDFs came sooner. I’d have been able to collect more of the books back then. I’m aware I haven’t been able to detail some of the other titles… like Wraith, Kindred of the East, but honestly I’ve not had any experience at all with those games.
WoD has given me a lot of experience and a lot of fun as a GM and a Player, and it does make me happy to have had this much exposure to it. I’ve learned a lot about how to run a game from running this… which probably explains my penchant to look for story solutions as opposed to mechanical ones.