Love isn’t exactly the first thing people think about when they consider a topic for a supplement for the World of Darkness, but it actually makes perfect sense especially for Vampire: the Requiem. Vampires have long been associated with the forbidden romance, as they were dangerous beings to have as lovers. Add the allure of being mysterious and secretive and you have a powerful combination of traits that could tempt anyone.
Strange, Dead Love for Vampire: the Requiem is a supplement that plays on this aspect of vampires. While I know some people might complain that this is an unnecessary supplement, I’d argue the opposite. Of all the World of Darkness, Vampire is the one line where player characters are most likely to end up in a romance, and glossing over that fact is a disservice to the genre.
Chapter One goes through a detailed rundown on the various Themes that would fit in a supernatural romance with vampires. Though this is a V:tR supplement, the advice and themes here are applicable across the other types of supernaturals as well (except maybe for Promethean.) The authors don’t give much in terms of hard rules for crunch, but their treatment of story structure and elements in a romance are impressive, and I do think I’ll be revisiting these many times if I plan to implement a romance angle in any game I run.
Chapter Two provides shards, or chronicle ideas that revolve around the theme of Supernatural Romance. Of course, being a V:tR supplement, this is where it starts getting specific. Each of the Shards is given a thorough treatment, with interesting hooks and angles as well as small mechanics that serve to further push the theme of the particular shard.
Chapter Three covers storytelling discussing items such as the social contract in a gaming group. Something that I found as sound advice as not everyone is comfortable with romantic themes in a game. I’ve met many a gamer who would wallow in blood and violence then get very uncomfortable at the topic of intimacy. The chapter also touches on Character Creation, NPCs and pacing for a campaign. But one of the most interesting of the topics discussed would be the overview of one-on-one gaming with one ST and one player as a group for a Supernatural Romance game.
Overall Strange, Dead Love makes perfect sense in the context of the Vampire: the Requiem line, and I feel that many a group would be missing out on a lot if they were to ignore the way that romance subplots fit in a Vampire Chronicle.
While the supplement itself doesn’t have a lot in terms of crunch, dealing with a topic like this doesn’t need a lot. If anything, the advice in the supplement is vital for people because you can’t codify it with a lot of rules to muddy the emotion in the game.
I would recommend Strange, Dead Love to any V:tR Storyteller interested in adding an extra layer of emotional depth to their campaigns, and at a reasonable price.