|Written by C.S. Friedman|
The Complete Book of Nod Has Been Found
A young Cappadocian receives a mysterious invitation to a fear-shrouded monastery. There he finds fragments of the original Book of Nod - in a language that has been dead for thousands of years. Who has led him to this place? What has he uncovered? And why has he been chosen to transcribe the words of one who could be Caine himself?
Who Found it and Why?
Written by noted science-fiction novelist C.S. Friedman, The Erciyes Fragments is a version of the Book of Nod that has never been seen before by mortal eyes. The most sage of vampiric scholars provide their commentary for your enlightenment. Revealed now for the first time are the prophecies of Nod - and of Gehenna! Tradeback.
Continuing in the proud tradition of the Book of Nod and Revelations of the Dark Mother, The Erciyes Fragments is another "chapbook" containing only setting and flavor information for Vampire: the Dark Ages (and for Vampire: the Masquerade by extension). I was amazed when I heard that the superb fantasy writer C. S. Friedman had been contracted for the book, and I was expecting some high quality material, and I got it. Ms. Friedman certainly did her job, both in writing and in researching the game - it was almost like she was intimately familiar with the setting already.
at a glance
The book has a brown cover, oddly enough. I was half-expecting the same old black, and this was a nice change. The text inside is nicely laid out and well illustrated (some very nice pictures indeed). A variety of fonts are used to distinguish between different commenters, and that works well also. There are none of the formatting errors from the Book of Nod, like having backgrounds too dark to read the text or having lots of wasted space. The only problem was there some pages did not have a comfortable margin towards the spine, making it a little harder to read.
I found that The Erciyes Fragments to be better than I had hoped. This is the kind of thing I've been waiting for from Vampire for a while now, more occult documents that both manage to cloud the issue and reveal more truths at the same time.
The book is the story of a ghoul of the Cappadocians by the name of Niccolo Giovanni who finds an almost frightening number of fragments of the Book of Nod at a remote monastery. After translating the texts (and the comments of older scholars that he found scribbled in the margins of the books), the monk is found as a pile of ash. For those aware of the conspiratorial interplay between the higher levels of the Cappadocian clan and the Giovanni family, the implications of some of the notes and letters in The Erciyes Fragments are instructive indeed.
I was also pleased to find that there were no repeated passages from the Book of Nod, everything was fresh and new. Much of it was the same story, but worded differently, and with different details (including a different number of Second Generation). This new telling of the story, while perhaps clearing up mysteries like that of Brujah and Saulot, adds more questions about Caine, the Second Generation and the Salubri. Some of the most memorable sections of the book include the section where Caine curses the Antediluvians as well as the later prophecies. Throughout the whole book, flavor and mood nearly stains your finger. The Lamentation during the Flood is eerie and creepy, almost sending a shiver down the spine as the mind imagines the scene.
Furthermore, the running commentary throughout the volume serves well to add further insight (and futher questions) as well as provide some context for the book, and emphasize how centralized knowledge is in the Dark Ages, and in the World of Darkness in general. Questions that I could answer in a snap are puzzled over by characters who don't have the advantage of way too many White Wolf books.
The reality that the World of Darkness is a world of mystery and lies is something that is often lost by the wayside in published material as well as many games, I'm glad that The Erciyes Fragments managed to muddy the waters some.
just go buy it
Really, it's quite good - but then again, I really liked Revelations of the Dark Mother as well. I do think that this will be more popular, however, partly because it is more in the tradition of the Book of Nod than that volume. It has more general use in Vampire games, and is, in many ways, much better.
Ms. Friedman has managed to craft a superb addition to the myths and legends of the World of Darkness, I just wish that she will come back for more.
The third "chapbook" for Vampire, this is just as good as the Book of Nod, if not better.
Style: 5 (Excellent!)
Substance: 5 (Excellent!)
The Erciyes Fragments. The last V:tDA supplement to be developed by Richard E. Dansky. In my opinion, this is far superior to Revelations of a Dark Mother, and even better than the Book of Nod.
The Artwork ranges from very good to bad. Though in all fairness, the bad artwork looks like something from centuries ago so it fits.
The book starts off with a letter, and snippets of a journal written by a ghoul, Fra Niccolo Giovanni, who 'finds' fragments of the Book of Nod inside of a hidden Monastery. Several of the fragments seem to be written by Caine himself, and have footnotes written below passages from 5 different 'people'.
The First Chapter, appropriately titled, Genesis, starts with a brief summation of what transpired in the Garden of Eden, and leads on to Caine. Mentioning his sacrifice(s) to God. Real thought provoking peace, even if it is fiction.
The Second Chapter, titled Lilith, follows Caine after his exilation from mankind, his meeting with Lilith, his first drinking of blood. Better written and thought out then how BoN stated these events. Also shows how...odd Caine is mentally.
The Third Chapter, entitled Temptations, shows Caine's meetings with Michael, Uriel, Gabriel, and Raphael. Done differently again than what was written in the Book of Nod. Sharing how Caine got the curses all Vampires now have.
The Fourth Chapter, calling itself Enoch, follows Caine going to the First City, and embracing its ruler as his first Childe. This is radically different than Book of Nod, for here Caine is said to have allowed his Children to embrace others, instead of forbidding it. It leads up to the Great Flood.
The Fifth Chapter, a short one calling itself Lamentations, follows a different vampire. It mentions how Vampires survived the Great flood. Not that many did of course. This was a hard one to read, since it this 'chapter' was written by someone other than Caine. As are the rest to come.
The Sixth Chapter, a superb one entitled Transgressions, starts with vampires spreading over the Earth. The first Elder-'Anarch' war. And how each clan got their curse, and why. It also has a little bit of prophecy, or threat if you will, uttered by Caine. And this was the last seen of him in this book.
The Seventh Chapter, entitled Commandments, lists 10 commandments (Yes 10) Caine gave to all who follow after him.
The Eighth Chapter, Prophecies, is just that. Prophecies. 4 different groupings of them. Each written by a different Vampire. Though the 4th is more of Signs, Portents, not outright prophecy.
And the Ninth Chapter, Proverbs, has several, well, proverbs. Several are reprinted from the Book of Nod, but also several are new.
The best thing about this book though, is its running commentary by 5 as yet unidentified vampires. I finished this book in around 3 hours, and most of it still sticks in my head 5 days later.
The best Vampire chapbook so far.
Style: 3 (Average)
Substance: 5 (Excellent!)