Archive for the ‘Vampire: the Requiem’ Category


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Blood & Smoke marks the beginning of a new cycle of World of Darkness supplements from the people of Onyx Path, one that updates their earlier work to the rules as first introduced in The God-Machine Chronicle.

Though labelled as a sourcebook, Blood & Smoke is a stand-alone product that allows Storytellers to run campaigns of Vampire: the Requiem without the need to buy the World of Darkness Corebook or Vampire: the Requiem. This is a good thing, as the last thing I wan tto be doing is to be referencing multiple books when I’m running a game.

I have to admit that I found my initial impressions of Vampire: the Requiem to be a little less than stellar in my first round of Let’s Study articles on the game. The groups felt artificial, and while the Clans were neat, I felt that the game lacked a certain edge, a passion that was present in the classic World of Darkness’ Vampire: the Masquerade.

Because of this, I’m happy to report that Blood & Smoke was an absolute surprise to me. Written in a much more interesting and engaging voice, Blood & Smoke reimagines Vampire: the Requiem and drags the reader along to witness the glory and depravity of the Kindred.

Right from the start, Blood & Smoke wastes no time reintroducing us to the Vampire Clans. The new writeups are much more visceral, and take a stronger show, don’t tell angle that does a great job in relaying the feel of the various Clans. Rather than get caught up in jargon and terminology, each writeup paints a sketch of the Clan by use of examples and a small section of “Why you want to be us” is perfect for cementing the motivations of each Clan.

The Covenants were given a similarly drastic change in tone, with a short bit of fiction to show just how they operate, and again motivations and methodologies are called out and communicated in a way that is best suited to getting players to get a strong grasp of their characters.

The vampiric condition is given a thorough treatment as well, though again the tone of the book is one dedicated to teaching by example rather than the less engaging recital of facts.

The Character Creation rules are similar to that of the God-Machine Chronicle, with the use of Experiences, Aspirations and a few interesting new systems.

Masks and Dirges are similar to the Classic World of Darkness’ Nature and Demeanors, but take over the place of a mortal character’s Virtue and Vice.

Touchstones are persons, places or things that remind a character of her humanity and keeps her grounded. Think of them as a memento or sorts that help anchor a Vampire by reminding him of his time as a human.

I won’t go too much into these mechanics but each one is a bit of genius when it comes to managing life as a vampire. I’ve been in too many games where players end up more callous than their characters ought to be. These systems give the vampires something to care for, and a reason to care for them.

I’m not too familiar with the already existing systems for Disciplines in Vampire: the Requiem, but what I’ve read from Blood & Smoke are promising. The Disciplines themselves are flavorful and some are downright creepy, as they ought to be in a game like this.

It’s only after these that the book presents the basic rules of the game, and after the God-Machine rules update, this is pretty much already well ironed out.

The Strix have their own section, talking about what they’re like and their history, but the best part of the section aside from Strix creation rules, are the various sample Strix provided. Each one would make an interesting opponent for the Kindred, with a canny ST being able to maneuver them to become recurring antagonists.

Another remarkable section in the book is the one that deals with the Kindred of other locations from around the world. From Athens to Beijing and Tokyo each one is a mini-setting in itself. Though without the same depth as the treatment of New Orleans in the original Vampire: the Requiem book, there’s more than enough material here to get a long term campaign going.

The book finishes off with an extensive Storytelling chapter, and a list of common conditions to a Vampire campaign.

Blood & Smoke is a beautiful nightmare of a book. It’s taken Vampire: the Requiem and exposed it’s horrifying and alluring nature and made it even more streamlined and accessible with the God-Machine rules update and a re-imagined take on the game itself.

Anyone who has ever felt that Requiem was a less impressive game than Masquerade owes themselves to get a copy of this game. Those who loved Requiem needs to check out the improvements made on it by the new rules.

If this is the new standard of the Chronicle books, then consider me addicted. This has gotten me stoked to actually run a campaign of it and I’m already earmarking funds to pay for the Werewolf and Mage Chonicle books if this is the kind of quality I’ll be getting.

Blood & Smoke The Strix Chronicle is now available from DriveThruRPG for $19.99 or roughly Php 860.00

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Over the past few years, I’ve been pretty much locked into a standard pattern of games mostly revolving around Mage: the Awakening and Legend of the Five Rings. Both are excellent games, and are certainly worth playing, but I think I’ll need to figure out if changing my usual focus will help me improve in directions that I don’t usually take.

I think if anything I’ve learned that my Social/Political games are pretty involved, so maybe it’s time I lean slightly away from those. The current game I’m looking to work on is a Supers campaign, but I’m still not sold if I’m going to expand it to a full-length campaign just yet.

While that’s going on, I’ve taken to the habit of going over my collection of PDF books, some of which I’ve already mentioned in yesterday’s post about Games I Ought to Run. Upon further review, maybe I should force myself to run games that I found to be either too difficult or too arcane the last time.

Push myself further, in a manner of speaking.

So I’ve been taking a look at some of the games that have traditionally been giving me some trouble. Either with concept or getting a game off the ground. I’ll see if I can document the process of planning as well once I successfully sling a pitch to my players as well.

I don’t have a list of games as of yet, but already some of the early shoe-ins for this will be Geist: the Sin Eaters and Hunter: the Vigil but also some of the older classics like Werewolf: the Forsaken or Vampire: the Requiem.


Whether you’re a fan of White Wolf’s Vampire: the Requiem and you’re looking to fill out your collection, or if you’re a curious newcomer to the World of Darkness, the latest sale on Vampire: the Requiem PDFs on DriveThruRPG is something that you should pay close attention to.

All of the Vampire: the Requiem PDFs are on discount right now, with the corebook going for a mere $15.74 (Php 670.00) and many of the supplements going for far less than that.

Being the most popular flagship of the World of Darkness, Vampire: the Requiem makes for excellent personal horror gaming, with issues of morality, depravity and all sorts of disturbing detail that work to make Vampires scary again.

 


Next to Fantasy, Horror has to be one of the most popular genres for Roleplaying games. In today’s installment for Games to Start With, we’ll take a look at the games focused on the creepy and horrifying.


Call of Cthulhu by Chaosium
If you haven’t heard of H.P. Lovecraft, then you have some serious catching up to do. Call of Cthulhu is one of the most revered and well respected horror roleplaying games in history. Aside from having an incredibly rich tradition of horror literature to draw from, the game’s Sanity system ensures that nobody survives an encounter with evil without developing a few derangements.


Trail of Cthulhu by Pelgrane Press
If the classic Cthulhu experience sounds a little dry, then perhaps the newer Trail of Cthulhu game will be more up your alley. Powered by the Gumshoe system, the game focuses less on being able to find clues and more on what to do with them. Pelgrane has some terrific support for this line, and you can’t really go wrong with this pick either.

World of Darkness by White Wolf Publishing
Perhaps the most popular horror game series in recent times, the World of Darkness puts players in a world similar to ours, but where things hide in the shadows and prey upon humanity. The default of the game has players take the role of ordinary people who have had a glimpse of the supernatural and need to survive it (like the protagonists vs. Sadako in The Ring.) But the line truly shines when it starts getting into the supernatural games, where the aspect of Personal Horror becomes clear when the players take on the role of the monsters themselves, as you’ll see in the games below.


Vampire: the Requiem by White Wolf Publishing
The most popular of the World of Darkness supernaturals, Vampire: the Requiem is an unrelenting look into the vampires of the World of Darkness. It’s vicious, ugly and horrifying, and there’s nothing sparkly about the vampires here. Some enthusiasts have likened it to The Sopranos with fangs, where the politics of the undead take center stage and the struggle for power is eternal. (Requires the World of Darkness Corebook to play)

Werewolf: the Forsaken by White Wolf Publishing
Predator and Prey, the Werewolves of the World of Darkness are live a life of constant struggle for survival. Tasked with an ancient duty to police the spirit world and mortal realm from incursions from both sides, the Werewolves live lives of terrifying violence and constantly ride the razor’s edge between fury and sanity. (Requires the World of Darkness Corebook to play)

Mage: the Awakening by White Wolf Publishing
What would you do if you had the power to change reality? Players take on the role of Mages, ordinary people who have been blessed or cursed with the ability to see beyond the boundaries of this false reality. Much like the protagonists of the Matrix, Mages have been made aware of a higher reality and can no longer close their eyes to the unreal horrors that creep in from the cracks of this fallen world.  Mages are cursed with knowledge and hubris in equal measure, and the world shudders at the tragedy that follows in their wake. (Requires the World of Darkness Corebook to play)

Changeling: the Lost by White Wolf Publishing
Players take on the role of humans who have been abducted by the Gentry to the realm of Arcadia, home of the Fae. In their terrifying period of capture they are twisted and transformed, turned into something no longer human. They are the Changelings, and their escape from Arcadia was no easy feat, but now that they’re free, they must constantly remain vigilant against the jealous Keepers who want them back. (Requires the World of Darkness Corebook to play)

Hunter: the Vigil by White Wolf Publishing
Something happened, and you know it wasn’t some freak accident that took her away from you. The players take on the role of Hunters, humans who have seen the supernatural and have taken steps to take back the night. Desperate and perhaps more than a little crazy, the Hunters live a lonely life of struggle to find closure by killing the monsters that shattered their normal lives. (Requires the World of Darkness Corebook to play)

There’s more to the World of Darkness, with Promethean: the Created, Geist: the Sin-Eaters and the upcoming Mummy: the Curse but I feel that the above titles are the strongest in the line so far.

That’s it for my initial batch, next week we’ll look at another genre: Sci-Fi

If you’re interested in picking up any of these in hardcover, you can order them directly from Gaming Library.

To place an order, please go to Gaming Library’s special order express page : http://www.gaminglib.com/pages/special-order-express-page

Take note that placing an order there doesn’t mean you’re committed, rather the Gaming Library team will be giving a quote and you can now choose whether to push through with the purchase or not.


Nothing is permanent, even Damnation

In the eyes of the Ordo Dracul, the vampiric state is but a phase in what is ultimately an evolution of their kind to something else, something far greater.  One of the youngest of the Covenants, the Ordo Dracul are a forward thinking and admittedly optimistic society dedicated towards transcendence, or perhaps even Apotheosis.

Claiming descent from the legendary Vlad Tepes himself, the Ordo Dracul embraces their founder’s struggles against God, with the use of vicious and relentless experimentation to find ways to circumvent the nature of His curse.  In some ways they represent a philosophy that God cannot stand against the will, and a truly determined Ordo Dracul vampire will find a way to overcome.

The Ordo Dracul count some of the most brilliant minds of Kindred Society among their number, perhaps because the Ordo Dracul’s key philosophy is one that fits the very nature of experimentation.  Their organization is a strange one, a melding of Victorian-era secret societies and mystery cults with the structure of the the academe.  It is a meritocracy of sorts, mostly centered on a Kindred’s advancement along the Coils of the Dragon, a series of “cheats” that allow a vampire to alter the nature of their vampiric curse, allowing them to become more efficient at the consumption of blood, or even withstand limited exposure to sunlight.

The Ordo is not afraid of experimentation, and hold the act of observation and understanding through many years of experience to be key in their ability to survive.  Despite the fact that they are among the youngest of the Covenants, they are cold, calculating and methodical and use these characteristics to their advantage when it comes to any sort of conflict.

There’s always a better way

The Ordo Dracul understand that transcending the vampiric curse is something that isn’t about to happen overnight.  Nevertheless the gains made by improving upon the Coils of the Dragon have been bandied about as proof that they are on the right track.  This is profoundly disturbing to most of the other Covenants, particularly the Lancea Sanctum who hold the vampiric curse as their lot according to God.

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I must admit that after reading all the 5 main Covenants in Vampire: the Requiem, I can’t help but get a strong Mage: the Awakening vibe from the Ordo Dracul.  They’re cursed, but refuse to see it as a permanent state.  They work with remarkable determination and their zeal for experimentation (at whatever unholy cost) tends to breed all sorts of horror and “progress.”  Weaker-willed vampires will probably give up, or recoil at the depths at which the Ordo Dracul will explore in order to find their answers, and that’s just the way the Ordo probably like it.

If I were to choose a second Covenant after Invictus, the Ordo Dracul makes a very compelling case for a character I’d enjoy playing.  If anything, I can also see them working very well in crossover games that deal with the other supernaturals, especially against Mages.