Eric Christian Berg (eberg) wrote in roleplayers,
Eric Christian Berg
eberg
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nWoD Rundown

Just to offer a different perspective. I was an avid oWoD player who got burned out on the system and the problems I found with the setting. I was on the staff of four WoD MUSHs over a span of several years, ran and played in several campaigns of a year or longer, and ran events at conventions. So, I had a full range of experience with the game. Only thing I never tried was LARPing. I was cynical about the restart of the World of Darkness and didn't think I'd be interested. My past experience had led me to expect them to not fix the stuff I found to be broken and exacerbate the issues I already had. I was wrong and am quite happy with the new games. Here's my rundown. (These reviews only cover the core books, I haven't bought any supplement yet except Antagonists.)

World of Darkness provides a fine, simple system for running any Modern Occult game. I have used it three times, first for a convention event, then for a follow-up game with my regular gaming group, and finally for a Deliria game. Each time I was impressed at how smoothly the rules worked, how well it ran as far as pacing, and how easy it was to apply the rules to odd circumstances and unique situations. The setting, I will admit, is spare without any other books to back it up, but that's sort of its function. It's the basis for general Modern Occult campaigns. Mostly system rather than setting. Still, the stuff on ghosts is useful and with Antagonists you have all you need for the X-Files, Night of the Living Dead, or Friday the 13th: The Series.

I haven't had a chance to run or play in Vampire: the Requiem yet beyond using it for two of my World of Darkness games (one of which was very Dusk Til Dawn), but my reading of the book left me rather more inspired than the previous incarnation had, and I was a fan enough of that game to spend many hours writing up a setting for it, just for my own amusement. I really like the cutting down to five, tightly archetypal clans. I dig the new covenants, though some need work (the Crone, in particular) and the lack of specific us vs. them dynamics. I like the local focus (the international scene never made sense for me). I really dig the replacement of generation with age-based blood potency and the loss of a definite creation myth. Lukewarm on bloodlines, just because of how they are implemented (I'd have preferred sub-clans rather than secret societies). As I haven't run or played in a full campaign yet, I can't comment much on the mechanics but what I have run seemed to work just as well as the base rules. Makes me want to write up a new setting. :)

Werewolf: the Forsaken's predecessor was my least favorite of the old World of Darkness games. I never could get into it, mostly because the politics and ethics annoyed me. There was stuff I did like. The pack focus, the savagery, the shamanistic elements. Thus, the new game seemed like it had been written just for me and it may very well be my favorite of the new games. I've been playing in a campaign set in turn of the century New York City for over four months now and I'm having a blast. The local focus works particularly well for pack creatures and I really am enjoying claiming, improving, and protecting the pack's territory while settling into the pack dynamic. The rules work well, though the high die pools and modifiers introduced by shapechanging make it so that working out the numbers ahead of time is really adviseable. The only thing I've found to be clunky is the conversion of damage when "shifting down". It can be cumbersome and I wish a better system had been devised for damage. Otherwise, the combats run swift and fierce and I've been having a blast. The auspices are nice, giving each member of the pack a distinct "edge" in a particular area without enforcing roles or defining a character. The tribes, for the most part, fade into the background with pack relations being more important (though they do pop into the forefront). The antagonists of the new game are far more interesting than the old and the setting seems better developed, even with only the core book.

I've only had time to read this monster, but so far I am very pleased by Mage: the Awakening. I had really burned out on arguments about paradigm and what spheres were needed to do what after running a two year long game with folks who developed excellent backgrounds for their characters but who were creative enough to make running a freeform system a pain in the ass. Within the course of one campaign, Mage went from being my favorite game to being something I vowed I'd never run again. The new game fixes just about all the issues I had. Sample spells, a heavier reliance on rotes, and an objective reality are music to my ears. I like the paths a whole lot, I find them a much better approach than paradigm to adding magical styles. The new arcana seem well though out and I like that there is less need for multiple ones to do useful effects. The Orders and the Atlantis background I can take or leave. I do appreciate the skill with which they wove elements of Gnostic, Kaballistic, and Abrahamic myth into it, though. Gives me plenty of material to mold it into whatever I need. I dig that there is heavy influence with other realities without letting the focus stray too far from Earth. I am working up a campaign for it now and I'm excited. There's a lot of potential here.

Overall, I dig the new games a lot. They are just the thing to get me back into the World of Darkness after having grown tired of the old iteration.
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