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Ephemeral Influence
Publisher: White Wolf
by Justin S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/20/2019 14:49:23

One of the things a lot of people have had trouble with in Chronicles is the Influence system. While assorted books get into the basics of what dot of an Influence can do, they're meant to be mostly plot devices. This doesn't help some of the more mechanically-minded storytellers, or players (as PCs are capable of getting Influences).

Ephemeral Influence breaks down the mechanics, still leaving some open to plot device but giving you a sturdy framework to build off of. It starts with breaking down each dot, similar to how Mage has its Practices, it offers you some rules capable at each dot of Influence. Then it goes into specific Influences, covering Air, Authority, Death, Dogs, Disease, Earth, Electricity, Emotions, Fear, Fire, Information, Location, Time, Vice, and Water. Each Influence has many individual powers beneath it, offering rules and Tilt suggestions for them, including multiple options at different dot levels. There's a wide variety of powers here, and they're under suitably generic Influences that a ST should be able to convert them for more specific needs (Air to Smoke, Water and Earth to Mud, Water to Blood, Dog to basically any other animal). Each Influence has between 13 and 15 powers.

And while that makes up the bulk of the book, that isn't it. The last chapter offers ideas and mechanics for how some other gamelines can gain Influences (the Mortal section references some other books, mostly fanmade: Hurt Locker, Borrowed Power, and Second Sight: Third Eye, though it offers mechanics of its own). For Vampire there's an update to Blood Tenebrous, the spirit-affecting Discipline from first edition's Book of Spirits. There's a new Rite and Emotion Gift for Werewolves (that offers for the most part Influences over emotions). A spell for Mage that allows for a sort of 'reverse claiming' allowing mages to put spirits and their abilities at the disposal of another. All use the second edition rules.

It's a pretty good book. If you've ever had issues with figuring out mechanics for Influence, I can't recommend it more.

The only complaint I have is pretty minor, in that the Honor Facet of the Gift should probably allow for targeting packmates, given the Essence cost. And Dalu is misspelled.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ephemeral Influence
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Creator Reply:
The typo I'll mark down and update shortly. As for the Gift, I didn't want to double up on Fearless Hunter (Inspiration); I'd personally allow a character with Fearless Hunter to gain the bonus to the Clash of Wills granted by Neutral Observer, which would then effectively wipe the effect away from pack-mates suffering from it. Still, I can see that not always working, especially with mundane conditions/tilts. When I make the update, I'll ponder a more costly activation option that will affect packmatess as well. Fearless Hunter could then perhaps be more of a shielding, while this Facet is more for removing such problems after the fact.
Spectral Hunger
Publisher: White Wolf
by Justin S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/31/2019 21:19:33

This is a really cool supplement for a surprisingly low price. I'm not an Ordo Dracul fan, but as someone who plays and STs I can see ample use for the powers here among players and NPC antagonists. That said, the writer points out that to really get use out of this you will need one of the books that has rules for ephemeral entities (absent in Vampire the Requiem 2e). These can be found in Chronicles of Darkness 2e, the second editions of Werewolf the Forsaken, Mage the Awakening, and Promethean the Created, as well as Demon the Descent.

The first is Lemurifex which is a full Discipline, anyone can learn once they do a certain deed. 1-5 Discipline abilities, and 2 Devotions and 1 Merit. This Discipline is all about ghosts, and if you were rightfully disappointed with the ghost-oriented Disciplines in first edition, including the abilities of the Dragolescu bloodline, this will definitely be what you want. The power comes at ghosts the way vampires do with humans. They're prey, tools to be used. In addition to being able to eat from them and interact with them, a practitioner of Lemurifex can even ghoul ghosts. And that's not even the peak ability, as there's others that allow for the vampire to alter and change the ghost, physically and spiritually, to suit the vampire's liking. My only problem with the book was in this, my favorite section. It mentions torpor-dreams that might occur when a vampire has learned this ability, but I think it could have used some time, maybe a sidebar or something, to explain what STs should be doing with this.

Then the Mystery of Polyphonte which takes, I think, a very interesting view of the strix. The Mystery is two-fold, offering the ability to fight the strix on their own terms, but also allowing the Dragon to gain the powers of these so-called vampire progenitors. The Strix are rather hard to deal with, requiring a few rare abilities that don't particularly seem made for fighting them, and an Ordo with this Mystery will definitely be able to get their coterie to go toe-to-toe with the wily shadowy predators. The learning of Strix powers does not skimp, there is body jacking. Five Coils, five Scales.

The Mystery Tenebrous could be seen as a 2e upgrade of 1sts Blood Tenebrous Discipline, which allowed vampires to deal with spirits. But taking it the route of the Mystery and Coils of the Ordo definitely allows a wielder to expand on that. One doesn't 'merely' gain an ability to feed and deal with spirits, but to take their powers into them and gain new and interesting servants. Five Coils, Five Scales.

There is also another Merit that can be used with any of the Mysteries or Discipline.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spectral Hunger
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