Saturday, April 10, 2010

Loving the Part that Bothers Me

I am currently ripping through Vampire: The Requiem and the World of Darkness rulebook.  I’m finding a fairly even mix of things I really enjoy and things that give me pause.

In all fairness, Vampire: The Masquerade was the 2nd or 3rd rpg I got into (D&D was the first – surprise!) and many of hesitations about giving myself fully to the new Vampire stem from this past love of the Masquerade. The story in Masquerade was solid, haunting, and fresh – it humanized vampires in a way, I’d argue, most vampire fiction fails to, it had interesting clan structures, an interesting genesis story, and enough intrigue to make the Cold War look like neighborhood kids calling each other ‘boogerbutt.’
V:tR loses a lot of the setting material that really pulled me in back in the late 90’s. Gone are the Tremere upstarts, gone is the Caine mythos, gone is the concept of generation.  However, it is not just what V:tR loses but some of the concepts it gains leave me lukewarm – some covenants (political factions) seem to smallish or ill-defined as to why a vampire would care to join them, too many bloodlines for too many niches . . . when you have a bloodline of vampires exclusively to deal with vampires who are institutionalized that may be a sign to reconsider how you are using bloodlines.

But still, this is the game I will be running next. The rework of the rules, the alterations to the disciplines, the streamlining of the clans, the concept of blood potency, these are excellent additions to the game. Also the writing in the book feels like White Wolf – it inspires gameplay and sets the atmosphere well.
Oddly enough the greatest compliment I can pay the book is the reason it ditched my beloved Masquerade storyline – it is a toolkit, a sandbox. There is no overarching backstory, that is for the GM. And all those bloodlines . . . pick and choose which, if any, fit your campaign. Oh . . . do you need new bloodlines? Powers? Etc. WW has done prepared you for that too.
I am eager to jump in and see how the game plays compared to the Masquerade version. Detroit (by night, of course) is already forming in my mind . . . from an Invictus prince to a Circle of the Crone firebrand, I’ve no doubt that I can tell intriguing games, cinematic, gothic games, games that my players want . . . and speaking of player’s wants, more on that next time.

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