It's often a challenge to sit down and write a review for a product. We've all been there. What do you say? What deserves criticism, and what deserves praise? How does one take their thoughts and turn it into meaningful words that accurately encapsulate and state just what others may be getting into? Often, this is because a work is balanced in both positive and negative qualities. This .. Is not one of those cases. It's still difficult, sure, but not because of the negativity; Mostly, it's because I don't feel that there's much that's ACTUALLY negative about the work.
I dunno about anyone else, but I often am skeptical about reviews that offer only swimming praises. It makes me wary. So.. Let's see if I can get to something concrete that is helpful, eh?
First and foremost, this work does proper respect to the tone of the Baali. No one can kid themselves about these creatures -- They're dark, they're evil, and they are most assuredly f'd up. This is a given from anything that typically falls under the Black Dog imprint. What separates this book from the original source material, however, is where it expands upon that evil and provides alternative contexts. Sure, you can run with a moustache-twirling, baby-eating monster. That's fine. I guess. It works for a monster, which the Baali are. There's other kinds of monsters, however. Things defined not from within the moral ethos of humanity, but rather by the very lack thereof. "Alien" is an appropriate term, and this book does a solid job of presenting some of that sort of perspective as existing.
For the discerning and lore-thirsty, there's some quality spins on existing concepts here, and a Dramatis Personae at the end that runs the absolute gamut of expression, suitable for just about any sort of morality play you and your table want to explore.
From a rules and crunch standpoint, the addition of two full Discipline-trees is, itself, an awesome thing. What stands out for me, though, is the "Build-a-Blasphemy" approach -- Rather than a small, defined list of powers and sure progression, you have wildly diverse array of potentiality. From a player standpoint, the possibilities of design are immense; And from a Storyteller perspective, it's incredibly useful to not have to worry about your players immediately guessing just what they're dealing with based on the powers manifested by an antagonist. When combined with the particular type of grit and appeal that I've come to love out of Clinton Boomer's work, you get something that's sure to spice up the table and keep people on their toes.
Then there's the Merits, Flaws, Combo Disciplines, new Paths to explore, a new system of infernal investitures..
.. You know, I was once told that I often should keep things simple, and to the point. To not indulge in diarreha of the mouth (or written word, in this case). That peoples' attention only goes so far, and even if you have that attention wrapped up, it's still disrespectful to keep them going on, and on, and on, and on, and..
The fact of the matter is simple, and it is this: This book is worth every penny.
I'll see you in the Organ Pit. /salute