Posted by: markfender | February 12, 2014

V:tR – Clanbooks

Five books. One post.

ventrue-lords-over-damned-chuck-wendig-paperback-cover-artWhite Wolf, for whatever reason, decided to go with a different format for the Clan books. For one, they’re in full-color. For two, they’re almost completely fiction. For three, they’re over-designed. Each of the books is a collection of notes, transcriptions, random photographs, scrawlings in the margins, ripped up napkins, and a bunch of other detritus. Supposedly, they’re explaining some interesting things about the Clans, but it has to be done in this annoying style where someone is usually interviewing a bunch of people who provide different aspects of the Clan to light. That makes these books really annoying to read. I’m not sure I gleaned much from any of them.

The first of these books is the Ventrue book. Apparently, the Ventrue are descended from Aeneas. Or something. I think I got that much. As for their relationship with the Julii (the Clan of Roman vampires that were wiped out), the Ventrue are apparently from the other branch of the family. There’s also hints that the Strix (owl spirits who hunted the Julii to extinction) are back and have begun to hunt the Ventrue. There’s also a decent section about the Ventrue weakness and how that sort of sucks. As far as rules go, we’ve got some neat Breeding merits and expanded palette merits. There’s also some new derangements, including Preferential Blood, which is basically the weakness from Masquerade. Neat. There’s also a new Malkavian bloodline complete with Dementation as a Discipline. Except, this time, it’s a supernatural disease that inflicts madness. And Dementation can only be used while you’re currently operating under a Derangement. So that’s sort of interesting.

daevaThe Daeva book is next. This one starts to explain what happened to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, so that’s somewhat interesting (this gets expanded in later Clan books). The rest of this book, unfortunately, is about how Daeva like seducing people. Most of the book is a long story about a mortal who gets wrapped up with a sexy, sexy Daeva. Even after this, the book just keeps talking about seduction. Does the Clan not do anything else? I like the GM section that talks about seduction and how to roleplay it. This includes making sure your players are okay with it and how to dance around the too sexy bits. It’s good advice, except the entire book is slathered in nudity and graphic sex descriptions. So, each group is different and has different trigger limits, but the book buying/reading public doesn’t. Good stuff.

gangrel1The Gangrel book is the worst of the bunch. First, the font is practically unreadable in large sections. Second, the authors of the book took the title of the book, particularly the words “savage” and “macabre”, a little too literally. The book is full of incredible violence, disturbing sexual connotations, and all the good stuff that’ll squick you out. I’ve already mentioned I’m not looking at this game as horror and am mostly in it for the political gaming, so this whole thing wasn’t appealing. And, for whatever reason, almost every page has a variation of “What the Fuck” scrawled across it in big bold letters. I’m not showing these books off to my parents or anything, but it felt a little excessive. Like a 14-year old who just learned how to swear. And that doesn’t even begin to talk about the Undead Menses trait. Allow me to insert my own “What the Fuck” right about here. The only interesting bit of the whole book to me was the discussion of draugr, which happens to vampires who hit zero Humanity.

mekhetOkay, I sorta liked the story in this one. It wandered around a lot and didn’t tell me a whole hell of a lot about the Mekhet, but I liked it. It’s basically about a poor waif who gets manipulated by a bunch of shadow cults. This book really pushes that the Mekhet have Obfuscate as a Discipline, but they’re not the only Clan to have it so I’m not sure why the emphasis. This book also has rules for creating your own shadow cults as well as Hollow Mekhet – Mekhet who have no shadow. Their shadow can wander around during the day and pretty much exists as a seperate person, who might be out to destroy the vampire. It’s got some magical artifacts that show up in the next book, too. So this book was okay. It helped that it only had one poor font choice. I probably wouldn’t read it again, though.

nosferatu1Why does the Nosferatu book have the brightest cover? This book spends a lot of time detailing various Nosferatu involved in a shadow war with one another. But doesn’t really go anywhere after that. And, for whatever reason, decided to take its title too seriously also since apparently Nosferatu are bound to ghosts now. I have no idea why. Or what that came from. As for rules, it’s got a system for designing your own necropolis and an alternate flaw system to give your Nosferatu some hideous physical characteristics.

I’d skip all of these books. I hated the format, hated the fiction, and didn’t find much use in a lot of the text. Some of the books spend a little extra time discussing how to play a member of that Clan, but not all of them do that. So, even as general gaming aids, these books aren’t great. It’s just more White Wolf fiction displayed in the worst possible format. Bleah.

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