|Written by Brad Freeman|
|Cover Art: Timothy Bradstreet|
I read a review of this before I bought it, which said that it would provide info that would make the Gangrel the most powerful Clan extant. I've read it several times and haven't found the information that would imply this. The writing (from the point of view of a Victorian England type and a Gonzo journalist a la Hunter S. Thompson) is entertaining, however. Background material is definitely worth it, and it does provide enough information to make the Gangrel quite unique.
Clanbook: Gangrel and Book of the Wyrm just hit the stores locally. I picked up Clanbook: Gangrel, and given all the speculation on it on the list, and considering I haven't seen much discussion of it since it actually came out, I thought I'd let you know what I thought about it.
First of all, since this seems to be the point a lot of people were worried about: the length. Not counting the ads in the back, it's 70 pages. The (extremely good) characte templates take about 25 pages; combine that with the sample NPCs, the four-page Gangrel extended character sheet, and the credits and preface, and you're left with just over thirty pages of the actual description of the Gangrel clan. Perhaps a third of each page is art, which is of the usual exceptional White Wolf quality. So, if you're purely measuring by text, you may indeed have cause to wonder whether it's worth the $10. (I certainly did when I picked it up at the store. :) )
But what you're getting is of extremely high quality. First of all, the writing style is extremely effective; the contrast between the precise, sometimes even pedantic style of the old-fashioned British Gangrel who supposedly wrote most of the material, and the in-your-face style of the American ex-muckraker-journalist Gangrel who edits it, makes for very entertaining reading, and really gives the reader a sense of the Gangrel opinion towards things. I felt like I got much more of an insight into the clan than I did from the Brujah clanbook; character conceptions were writing themselves in my mind as I read it.
As a Werewolf fan first and foremost, I found the section on the interaction between the Gangrel and the Lupines to be particularly good. I don't want to spoil it for you, but for me the section on the Ragabash was worth the price of admission all by itself. :)
As I mentioned earlier, the character templates are extremely good, and you get ten of them. Many of them, like the Biologist, are way outside the conception I had of the Gangrel, but they make sense once you look at them, they're well-presented, and the quotes are priceless. ("My, what an interesting evolutionary adaptation--a hybrid of _Canis lupus_ and _Homo sapiens_ specifically occupying a leucocytic niche in the biosphere. How, I wonder, does it manage to violate the First Law of Thermodynamics with its transmogrifications? It appears to regard me an an intruder upon its territory...")
Finally, there's a few new rules and skills presented, for infiltrating Garou society, varying the forms taken by the Protean ability, and so forth.
To summarize, this is a great book, if a bit light on material. Is it worth ten dollars? Probably. Is it worth at least taking a long hard look at? Definitely.
[Disclaimer: As you probably know, I did some work for White Wolf for an upcoming Werewolf book. I bought this one fair and square, though. :) ]