|Year of the Lotus|
It's bright, the cover is a red "mandarin" (the first word that comes to +mind) pattern background with a shiny gold border and a greening square with the white KOE symbol (check white wolf's site for particulars)
If I has to sum up the book in a sentence: Vampires meet a cross between the Risen and Werewolf.
Forget what you know about the Kindred, the Kuei-jin (as the eastern vampires call themselves) are a whole 'nother bag o' creatures.
First they're dead. No really, they died and came back, unlike the Kindred who are brought to the brink of death and then fed blood.
For anybody who looked at the previews at whitewolf's site, you know that these vampires run on Chi, which an either be Yin or Yang, dependeing on the source. What they didn;'t tell you was how a kuei-jin may acquire chi, which can be by eating flesh/ blood/ breathing or simply abosrobing it from the surroundsings, depending on the level of power the kuei-jin is.
Which brings me to the non-generational power levels these creature possess. Kuei-jin think they're back for a reason, and that they are cursed. There are no clans, after all, Karma/Dharma/Fate, what you will, decides to make you into this creature. All kuei jin follow a dharmic path ( think sort of like Sabbat or DA paths). Even more interesting is that the Kuei-jin have P'o, which is like the Beast and the Shadow all rolled into one (More like the Shadow however). The P'o has an archetype itself (like the Shadow). Your P'o can take over your body, but can also help you get out of tight situations.
Moving along into disciplines, there are 4 groups of disciplines (Shintai/Chi/Soul and Dragon) which, at first glance (a very rapid first glance) are very attuned to the character's Chi or virtues.
Okay what are the Kuei-jin's virtues. Well there's Yin and Yang. Yin being negative energy , while Yang is life energy. Just as a side note, there are no eastern ghouls, and no blood bonds, Kuei-jin's blood does not work that way, however, if a Kuei-jin has excess yang, they become more" alive" and can even pregnate mortals... leading to dhampyrs, the product of such a union.
The other two virtues are Hun and P'o or your ratiinal side and the Beast, or the Demon as it is known to the Kuei-jin.
So, you say I see the Wriath connection, where's the werewolf connection?
Well, the Kuei-jin are able to sidestep into the Spirit World (Umbra) by certain methods. Oh, and they have some rituals as well.
If by now you're saying what a twinkie-combat monster dream, I'd say sounds like it, but as I said at the beginning, this is first glimpse and I did not cover all the background of the book, including society.
It is definitely not just an extension of the Kindred, such as the early Gaki from Dark Alliance: Vancouver were. It seems to be well thought out treatment of significantly different culture where the rules operate in a much different manner.
I'm really impressed with the depth that the Kuei-jin have, and the lack of a system-based power ranking ( didn't really cover that, but that can be left for a more step by step in depth review).
I think it will take a whole lot of time before I can firmly grasp the possibilities that creating and running a Kuei-jin allow.
Last impression: So far I give it 2 thumbs up.