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Destiny's Price
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Destiny's Price
Publisher: White Wolf
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/05/2020 23:05:25

This is an extremely uncomfortable book, and it's not clear to me that it's for the reasons the author intends. It spends a lot of time in 2nd person, which I hate because it always means that it assumes things about me that are false and it feels more personally insulting to assume that I think I'm "tragically hip" (I know I am not hip in any way, shape or form), for example. It's description of the streets is extremely dated, and some of the information is outright false (for example, that serial killers don't bother the homeless). The book spends a lot of time berating and yelling at the reader, which is a writing style I dislike greatly.

Overall, I can't recommend this book. Perhaps if you're running a game set in 1991, but almost everything it focuses on has changed drastically over the last quarter century, and all major indicators away from the view it presents of the violent criminal streets.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Destiny's Price
Publisher: White Wolf
by Terry R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/03/2020 22:18:11

This review is from Terry from Mage the Podcast and is strictly my opinion. This book is discussed in the Tomes of Magick: Destiny's Price episode. Destiny’s Price tries to outline what street life is like in the World of Darkness that falls flat within the context of modern America. Some of the other sections prove to be useful but will often only serve as a starting point for investigations of chronicles on the streets rather than street level chronicles.

The book came out in 1995, one of the final years before crime started to plummet in the late 90s. The book reflects experiences that were common in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s but proved to not endure. America’s homicide rate has dropped by almost half since then. Philadelphia’s homicide rate has dropped by almost 50% since 1989 to 2017. Urban revitalization efforts and the high cost of housing in many suburbs have made cities more attractive options for people who value mass transit, short commutes, and proximity to culture. Does this mean the book is useless? No. Simply that the book serves as a poor satire now. What was previously a slight exaggeration is now something more akin to a funhouse mirror. My recommendation is that an ST choose a few elements, but not all of them.

Where the book really shines is explaining the communities that can exist in a gothic punk city. The book outlines the three classes in a city: the respectables, the lowlifes, and the criminals and then expands heavily on the last group, outlining a number of organized crime groups as well as gangs. The book also provides a number of locations you can run with to tell stories in as well as weird urban locations that you can populate. Rounding out the book is some information on how much damage you can do with pool cue, chainsaw, power drill, or table leg as well as the benefits and perils of cocaine. I was pleased to find cocaine grants +1 to perception checks and gives you extra actions but with a penalty for the following day. Worth it.

The book is grim and is intended to be such. I don’t know if the book is meant to be used in play or simply meant as some kind of reflection. I get this feeling with some later books and systems and this is the first so far to trigger that feeling in me. I’m hard pressed to think of who should read this book as it lists very few Mage-specific resources without talismans, rotes, trinkets, or other information except for what backgrounds are useful. If you’re curious about how to make your city more gritty, do a little homework and watch a Vox explainer on the city issue of your choice and I think you’ll be better prepared than reading something 25 years old.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
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