|Written by Jason Langlois (Gangrel); Clayton Oliver (Assamite); Michael B. Lee (Followers of Set)|
Style: 5 (Excellent!)
Substance: 5 (Excellent!)
Book I: Animals
The Gangrel writeup was superb. MUCH better then CB: Gangrel. It felt more real (Well, partially because it was set back in the Dark Ages, more wilderness, and due to the fact this book out and out stated they aren't good friends with the Lupines). I was fully engrossed reading it. The variations of the animals they take, the different bloodlines mentioned, the different attitudes of Norman Gangrel. They really did alot to flesh out this clan. Including giving a whole new creation myth for Vampires. Sadly, there were two parts of the Gangrel writeup I was not pleased with.
A. The Templates. While they would definitely be fun to play, 75% of the templates given were not of the stereotype. And I am of the opinion that the Templates should explore the stereotype, make the stereotype 3-Dimensional. The rest of the book can break the stereotype all it wants (In fact, it's better if it does break the stereotype), but still, stereotypes exist for a reason. The characters I make are hardly the stereotype, but if I wanted to make a stereotypical character, I'd like something to reference. And the one stereotypical template given, was the flat, 1 dimensional view.
B. The Dark "Secret". It seems it's almost done away with. This section now seems to be made to move forward the metaplot. Well, that's okay, except for the Gangrel section in this book, the metaplot moved forward was the Modern Day one, not the Dark Ages one. I know several people who only want Dark Ages, want nothing to do with the Modern Day version of Vampire. Ah well, it was at least well written.
Book II: Saracens
Now I have been waiting for this for several months. And it was worth the wait. It surpassed my expectations, amazingly enough (For I had high expectations). The Origin of the Assamites was much more plausible (That word doesn't seem right in a game with Vampires and Werewolves, etc.) then the one in CB: Assamite. And I loved how the author got rid of the myth of only Arab Men getting the embrace until the 1700s or so., Plus another good thing was more information on the Keening (See World of Darkness). now if only this could be explained fully some day...
Clayton came up with a good excuse for the need for Assamites needing other vampire's blood in Modern Day, which is also referenced in the Setite section of the book. And why the Assamites in Modern day seem to be total assassins, showed its roots (only its roots) in this book.
And the work on the Scholar and Vizier 'caste'(Read: Bloodline) was above excellent. WWGS really picked the right man for the job. Clayton made it possible to play the Assamites in a coterie. My congratulations.
But, I still have a problem, and yes, it is with the templates. The only two warriors given in the template section were Christian and Jewish respectably. The stereotype of the day was, and still is, the Assamite Warrior class filled with screaming Muslim Men. Explore that please!.
But I will end the Assamite review on an up-note. The Dark Secret seemed to really be a Dark Secret, and was really well written.
Book III: Serpents
Not as well done as the other too. It was almost entire propaganda on why the Setites are great, and that they are misunderstood. Though, from a propaganda point of view, it was pretty good. Especially the origin story. But complaint time:
How many Antedeluvians have prophecy capabilities? Let's count: Saulot, Cappadocius, Malkav, and now Sutekh. Just under a third. Plus, the size of the section on the Prophecies of Set, almost makes it look like they are creating an audience for a new chapbook.
And the Prophecies lead into the next complaint: the first merit I found horrendous. Agent of Prophecy. Well, I've got my own prophecy: "And the locusts will come, devouring all they can for imagined power, and they shall spot, grab, and perverse." This Merit is only asking for trouble for Sstorytellers
And, wow. I'm not complaining about the Templates here. They explored the stereotype, actually made it at least 2.75 dimensional if not 3 dimensional. But sadly, it seems the rest of the book wants to exploit the stereotype also. I guess there's just no pleasing me.
The dark secret for this, really seemed to move forward the DA metaplot. Would be interesting if it bears fruit. And no I won't spoil.