PPRPG Review – World of Darkness
This is a personal review of the World of Darkness, I will be reviewing the book (WW55002), the system, and the setting. I am going to try and compare this setting to some of the older stuff, and I will also be looking at it from a couple of different points of view. Some key phrases will be oWoD (Old World of Darkness), and nWoD (New World of Darkness).
For starters, the book doesn’t really make any promises up front. In the oWoD, there wasn’t really a middle ground. You made your Vampire if you were playing Vampire the Masquerade, you made a Werewolf if you were playing Werewolf the Apocalypse. The thing about the old systems was that the systems didn’t really talk. You could do conversions, you could give your GM headaches, and things still didn’t quite match up. The worlds didn’t mesh.
They have changed that in nWoD. You start with a mortal, and from there you add a ‘template’ from one of the additional settings, (i.e. Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, etc). This tends to be a little more work (and a lot more chance for RP), but in the end, it means that all of the systems have a middle ground. All of the ‘supernaturals’ start out from the same materials, a mortal body…a mortal soul.
The new system, like the old, works around d10s. Each of your ‘Attributes’ and ‘Skills’, are filled out as ‘dots’. Each dot represents a d10 you can roll. Typically, when attempting a skill, you have an associated attribute, such as Medical (Skill) and Intelligence (Attribute). You would take the total number of dots between the two and roll them as your ‘Dice Pool’. All 8,9, and 10s are considered successes. This system is different than the popular d20 system, and in my opinion, allows the game to focus more on the roleplaying, without a lot of worry about math in public. This system is also increasingly good for new players, (new to the system, and new to roleplaying as a whole), as you don’t need to worry about different types of dice, or really any major modifiers to your rolls.
Now for the setting. Each of the expanded titles, (Vampire the Requiem, Werewolf the Forsaken, Mage the Awakening, etc), has a different ‘theme’ to the play style, whether it be survival horror, personal horror, thematic horror, etc. The base game can be a mixture of all of those. I have ran, and played in many World of Darkness games in which the players stayed mortals for the entirety of the campaign, and each of the games were very different. Each player brings a little of the story to the game, and the ‘Storyteller’ (or Game Master), brings them all together into a melting pot of RP goodness.
Later, if the players transcend their pseudo-normal (albeit horror-filled) lives, they can all add similar templates, or, if the Storyteller is up to it, the party can go ‘Chop Suey’, or a co-mingling of different supernatural templates. I have seen both, and have worked with both. The game allows for so many unique and creative ideas, it can sometimes be hard to track certain things down.
As for the book, it is filled with excellent fiction, and a good sampling of examples for the rules. Each skill and attribute even have fiction examples of what they are and how they can be used. The book has an index, character sheet examples, and NPC examples, as well as a good portion of a starter adventure for those that need a little jump-start.
Overall, the book is incredible, and an amazing opening to a great series.
I give it a 9/10 dice.