Storytellers Vault
Browse Categories











Back
Other comments left by this customer:
You must be logged in to rate this
Yours to Keep: A Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition Jumpstart
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Andrew J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/02/2017 23:36:53

A Decent Jump Start and Good Storyteller’s Aid

I purchased Yours to Keep as a pdf. My goal was to compare an official scenario against the idea I wanted to run. What are the expectations of a freehold? What kind of NPCs and conflicts work? What might I be overlooking as I plan a different game? Those were covered really well.

As a standalone adventure, Yours to Keep features plenty to explore and plenty of NPCs to meet along the way.

I regrettably have a couple of concerns. First, the start of this adventure can require the kind of buy-in that some groups won't deliver. Many players will jump on it, but some may not. Without that buy-in, a storyteller may need to really play up a crucial NPC or two. The storyteller can also focus on the the potential for rewards.

Second, there is a wonderful sidebar on page 20 entitled "Instant Dice Pools." Elsewhere, there are short stat blocks for the NPCs. The sidebar and the stat blocks share no common language. I advise taking a moment before your game to match up how “excellent,” “good,” and “poor” in the stat blocks relate to “master,” “dedicated,” “seasoned,” and “average” in the sidebar.

Once you’ve aligned the sidebar and the npc stat blocks, you will also have a fast, useful system for making your own quick NPCs.

Yours to Keep gives you a lot of brief NPC descriptions, a good story with an idea for how Changeling society works, and a brisk overview of the general Changeling setting The five player characters are fully fleshed out and ready for use with the core rulebook. The five player character sheets are each three pages long, fully fleshed out, and ready to play using the core rulebook as well. The NPCs and working example of Changelings in action make for a very valuable resource. This book has some rough spots, but still makes for a great storyteller's resource.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Yours to Keep: A Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition Jumpstart
Click to show product description

Add to Storytellers Vault Order

Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Andrew J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/15/2017 20:00:12

Nearly Flawless

This is a review of the digital book, purchased on the day of its release.

Things to love: In order:

The opening story is simultaneously the last thing one would expect from Changeling while also very perfectly written. The book balances narrative and rules layout with more finesse than expected.

Naturally, the art is gorgeous. Some of it is recognizable from earlier books but no less effective for it.

Changeling 20th Anniversary presents a very updated Metaplot. This is very different from Vampire 20th Anniversary offering a pick-and-choose approach to world events. In this book, the meta plot feels distant enough to justify story options rather than diminish them.

Rule updates are exciting. The updated Paths to Epiphany provide a great set of options for gaining Glamour/ Unleashing presents a new way to use Glamour. Changelings feel more like their own creatures and less like creatures who must always feed. Nightmare and Bedlam systems are now intertwined. Both, put together, become a mroe focused mechanic than 2nd edition rules. Descriptions for the Scene and Time realms err on the side of verbose, yet end up much clearer than the last edition.

Three kiths and some houses from prior source books are now folded into the core Kithain: Selkies (The Toybox), Piskies (Fool’s Luck), and Clurichaun (Court of All Kings). Sidhe are divided by Arcadian and Autumn, which reflects the expanded plot. True to form with the 20th Anniversary line, the last 120 pages of the main text provide a wealth of other character types. Antagonist characters and rules are provided first, then Gallain and Inanimae. Once the rules are concluded, the book finishes with a roughly 30 page list of Kickstarter backers, a comprehensive 19 page index, then a two page character sheet.

Three separate character sheets are also included with the purchase: A static 2 page sheet is availble for printing. An interactive 2 page sheet and an interactive 4-page sheet allow you to fill in values in Acrobat Reader. Layers such as background images can be turned off in the core rulebook and the static character sheet.

Downsides: A decorative header font has difficult capital letters. The word “Grumps” looks like “Trumps” in those headers, and it’s easy to trip on “Quests” or any word beginning with the letter L. Page 150 has text stating that Selkies can turn into “a sea or sea lion.” Selkies turn into seals or sea lions.

Conclusion: As always, the 20th Anniversary books are a loving compilation of prior resources and a treat to long time players. Character options from across the previous edition are presented in one place. The incredible number of character options, updated rules and background, and even the price made this an absolute delight.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition
Click to show product description

Add to Storytellers Vault Order

Vampire: The Requiem
Publisher: White Wolf
by Andrew J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2010 23:18:29

Vampire: The Requiem

Vampire: The Requiem begins with forty pages of printed fan service to the kind of Vampire player who was too insecure to simply walk into a bar and have fun. The Requiem itself is described at great length as being little more than schemes and social interactions that “all” Vampires they must indulge in. This core focus of the game is thankfully contradicted around 150 pages later.

The text becomes really dry in between this description of the Requiem and the end of the Rules chapter. Much of this is essential reading, so maybe it's appropriate that these sections have all the life and vigor of a textbook. Then again, this is also a game. Games should be fun.

The last pages of the Special Rules and Systems chapter begin to paint a broader picture of different character goals. Now the book starts getting good.

At this point, it is important to stop and point out that White Wolf's staff have taken great care to relate Derangements to real world mental illness. In the days of Second Edition, it was not uncommon to troll White Wolf's own forum and read a frightening number of posts about “A Malkavian who thinks he is a […]”. The staff was no doubt reading their own forums as well.

Beginning with the Third Edition of Vampire, the writers tried to make absolutely clear that mental illness is anything except humorous or cartoonish. They have absolutely outdone themselves with care and responsibility toward the subject in Requiem.

The following section on Travel is laced with a great deal of welcome humor.

Then comes one of the best Storytelling sections they have written. I am a goal oriented person and find the same happiness in role playing games. I also tend to find myself on both ends of the GM's screen. If you can't find a good game from someone else, make your own! The Storyteller section goes so far as to describe the creation of a story, character, and “drama” oriented game with clear ideas and goals for the budding Storyteller. It's the best of both worlds.

Later text goes so far as to suggest that “A good plot needs focus” and that coteries aren't groups of socialites who meet to henpeck each other in bars. Thank you, White Wolf.

Bloodlines provide a mix of interesting new ideas, or new twists on familiar faces from the past. After new bloodline specific Disciplines are detailed, the book focuses on designing new Bloodlines and their disciplines. As much as I love world building, this was a little bit tricky. New bloodlines using existing Disciplines could be amazing. Creating new rules entirely for new Disciplines is a frightening prospect. Playtesting is important when creating new rules, and no amount of advice will ever take the place of testing those rules in a real game situation.

Overall, I am happy with how far this book goes to veer away from some of the worst trappings of their game. Player characters are not super heroes with fangs. Nor do they commit murder without regard for the consequences (and see the next night, anyway). Nor are they content socialites looking to hen-peck each other into or out of status. The game-crushing Meta Plot is almost completely thrown away, except to give flavor and purpose to bloodlines. All of these can be elements to create a fun game, where any one to the exclusion of others is a bland and lifeless experience. This book pushes for a balance of characterization requiring goals, goals requiring actions, and actions requiring reactions again from the characters all to create a consensual and enjoyable story.

Players of prior editions lacked this balance, and I gave up looking for any Vampire group years ago. Hopefully much of the new advice will be taken to heart.

Technically, The PDF file was obviously compressed for ease of downloading. Many images in the book suffer from harsh compression, creating very noticeable artifacts in the artwork. The Table of Contents might have also been moved to a better position than page twelve, but this is readily countered by an even more detailed set of Bookmarks built into the document itself.

I have to give this product four stars for being above average, and even outdoing prior editions in many ways. The first definitions of the Requiem, the long dry spell in the first half of the book, and the sketchy advice on creating Disciplines stood in the way of that fifth star. Overall, this still a really good product at a more than reasonable price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: The Requiem
Click to show product description

Add to Storytellers Vault Order

Displaying 1 to 3 (of 3 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
0 items