Posted by: markfender | October 8, 2013

V:tR – Coteries, Nomads, and Rites of the Dragon

Hey, look it’s some more Vampire: the Requiem.

coteries_hc_frontCoteries

I don’t know what’s going on with this Poser cover. Coteries was the first sourcebook published for Requiem and it seemed like a good idea at the time. One of the problem with the ’90s era splat-heavy games is that many of the splats don’t get along with each other. How do you create a group made up of individual splats that don’t get along? (L5R is on its fourth edition and I’m still not entirely sure how you’re supposed to do it in that game). This book attempts to answer that question. In that regard, the first chapter, about mixed Coteries from various Covenants, is a good start at answering that question. However, this chapter tends to look at the solutions as in-universe solutions, which may or may not help with actual player issues. Not a big deal, but something to keep an eye on.

The next few chapters are all about cohesive Coteries made up of entirely inner-Covenant vampires. This is where the book starts to get a little schizophrenic as this is more of a “what does the Covenant do” rather than a “how do you form a group” section like the last one was. That being said, there’s some more details on how the Covenants actually operate and, until their full book much later on, this book acted as expanded information on each of the Covenants. I question some of the write-ups (Circle of the Crone gets new rituals for some odd reason and there’s a whole rule section on Status within the Crone that would seem to apply to everyone, no matter what Covenant you were a member of), but overall it’s nice detail that the main book wasn’t giving you. Other than the first chapter, I don’t think this book will see much use after the more in-depth Covenant books were published.

NomadsNomads

Ooh, a Brom cover. I’m not sure why this book exists. Didn’t the main book spend a lot of time talking about how vampires don’t dare travel? In two different sections, you say? So, it seems like a weird choice for the second sourcebook to be about the very thing the main book warned you against. I guess Justin Achilli was just really mad that Masquerade never got that Near Dark sourcebook.

That being said, this book isn’t too bad. It definitely is laser-focused on something your game might not be about, though, so it’s definitely not for every game. The Invictus section implies that the Invictus coordinates worldwide action, which I thought was another thing the new game wasn’t keen on. This book presents a bunch of templates for standard wandering vampires which are generally well-done. One of them is the Madman template, which mentions that veteran Vampire players are sick of crazy vampires. Hah. The chapter on feeding techniques and improvised shelters was particularly good. I can’t say I’m twisted enough to have thought of some of these ideas, so their inclusion was definitely cool.

Overall, this is a pretty good book for doing exactly what it says on the cover. If you’re not interested in that, don’t bother.

rites

Rites of the Dragon

Remember The Book of Nod? This is that book for the new game. It’s a tinier form factor and is all fiction. It also features a lot of Laubenstein art, which makes this book suck.

It is written by the estimable Greg Stolze, so that helps alleviate some of the suck. This is the story of Vlad Tepes and how he formed the Ordo Dracul. I was hoping for more actual philosophy of the Ordo Dracul but instead we’re treated to an extensive history of the formation of the cult. That naturally includes some philosophical ponderings but not enough for my tastes. I did like the nod to the original novel with the inclusion of Dracula’s three primary advisers and co-conspirators being all women.

The Book of Nod was useful for actual gaming because it included an extensive section of eschatological writings and those are always fun to insert in a game, even if they’re not in any way true. This book doesn’t have much to lend itself to that. It’s just history and doesn’t seem to offer anything of interest to anyone not of the parent Covenant. As an in-universe document, you could have your players discover it and then…I guess they’ll know more than they did before about the formation of the Ordo Dracul. Woo. Also, it has Laubenstein art so it should be avoided.

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