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Mind's Eye Theatre Vampire: The Masquerade Volume II: Issue 1 $0.00
Publisher: White Wolf
by Timothy A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2019 13:57:32

After having some time to review the material I wanted to let others know what I thought of the book in general. If you just want to know if I would recommend the book please advance to the end for my final thoughts.

Layout and Format: I would say that there is some room for improvement in this area. Currently the book reuses art from their previous works and does not seem to have any new pieces that I could find currently. This to me is not necessarily a bad thing but I do hope that they do get some new pieces of artwork for the Volumes as a whole when they move to consolidate them in the omnibus. The current layout is readable and does not seem to have any cut-off paragraphs and flows from one section to the next in a logical fashion for a book that is intended to be an update and expansion of a previous work. My only critic of the layout at this time is that the table of contents seems too long for a PDF supplement that has book marks. Currently the table of Contents spans 8 pages and this could be condense down to one or two. 4 out of 5 stars.

Chapter one: This introduction gives me all the information that I need on the intentions of the company moving forward that I would require for an update to the current rules and though I do not find it useful for my purposes it does give advice for integrating the material into an existing game and I find that useful information to have. 5 out of 5 stars.

Chapter two: As this is an update/Errata section and much of this material is free online in the form of errata, I did find it nice to have it in one convenient location that is now much easier to find. I do however not like continuing to use the Blood and Betrayal story line elements since they only apply to that chronicle. Most games use the cannon metaplot or diverge from that with their own stories and I find using a chronicle specific meta confuses players of many games and since it has effected my games in the past was not happy to see it continued here. I would much rather see a chronicle agnostic approach to the meta given by sticking to the cannon given in the source we already have. That being said there is not a lot of material in this section dedicated on that subject. 3 out of 5 stars.

Chapter three: This chapter is lengthy, 28 pages, and give each clan and blood line three new merits. Though I find the usage of the term "alternate" rather than "additional" to be somewhat confusing on the purpose of these merits in regard to wether the writers intended for these to replace the existing merits or is not really relevant since these merits will be used as STs see fit anyway, I would like it clarified in future installments. The merits are intriguing and overall I find this to be one of the more useful sections of the book and one of the primary reasons to buy the book in the first place. 5 out of 5 stars.

Chapter four: Another lengthy section, 31 pages, and another reason many buyers will wish to acquire this book is this chapter on Techniques. This to me was a let down. Though I feel that everyone should get some love in a book that is for everyone, I found this section caters to Rarer Disciplines more than Common ones and wish the dispersion of the techniques was the opposite. If you look at discipline rarity to classify the techniques into common, uncommon and rare classifications the book gives you 25 Rare techniques (3 Warrior Salubri, 3 Healer Salubri, 3 Ravnos, 3 Gargoyle, 2 Kyasid, 3 Bali, 2 Daughters, 3 True Brujah, and 3 Samedi), 21 camarilla/anarch uncommon (3 Malkavian, 4 Assamite, 4 Followers of set, 1 Giovanni/Tremere, and 7 Gangrel, 1 Protean/Quietus, and 1 Protean or Dementation), 7 Sabbat uncommon (4 Lasombra and 3 Tzemisce) and 14 common techniques (3 Toreador, 1 Malkavian, 1 Knight of the Moon, 1 Gangrel, 1 Nosferatu fit current discipline spreads). Brujah and Ventrue have to buy an out of clan for any of the common techniques to work for them so they get the least amount of love here. I didn’t look to see if any of the rare or uncommon techniques required out of clan disciplines since common disciplines are easier to come by. The clans I have listed is due to the discipline in question being the primary focus of that particular clan and when looked at from that perspective you the clan dispersion you can see a more balanced approach from the authors even though Ventrue and Brujah get the short end of this stick and the Gangrel see a lot of love. This would have been a better section for me personally if the number of common and rare techniques had switched but that is just a personal opinion. It would not have been much of an issue if Rare Clans and bloodline only got 1 each since all clans have access to at least two common disciplines for the most part. 3 out of 5 stars.

Chapter five: This chapter was 45 pages of good information, though it is primarily up to your ST on wether it gets used or not since it is mainly system for them to use. I found this section to be very good and has a lot of information. The only thing I did not like is the 1 page of Blood and Betrayal chronicle specific info and I don't think it will ever become anything but a sticking point for me even if I played in a Blood and Betrayal chronicle I would rather it be in their chronicle's setting document instead. Another thing to note about this section is that it is also material that you can find in other places such as the quest system from werewolf and it is primarily a cut and past of that. I do think for players and STs that do not own or have the Werewolf book it is nice to have it in this one so it did not bother me to see it here. 4 out of 5 stars.

Chapter Six: This is a good chapter full of information for your ST. It covers some very interesting topics which I will not go into detail on. Obviously not every question you could ever have will be covered here, but it did make me want to look in to BNS' other essay titles. If you are looking for advice on how to run a better game this section has that in spades. 4 out of 5 stars.

Final Thoughts: As an update and look at what is to come, I find the book useful and overall tries to give a bit of something to everyone. That however is a part of its downfall as well when it comes to the price that is being charged, especially when you add in the information that was cut and pasted in, artwork reused, and material used that is free online already. If you are an ST I still think this is a good book but the price should have been $10. The essays, merits, techniques, dramatic systems and so on are useful to you as an ST. For players however, you typically only have one character and when all is said you will use very little of this book and do not get any new artwork to look at for your investment. With 3 merits, 2(other clans)-7(Gangrel) techniques, maybe locations and beast trait section being the only things useful to you in the systems update, you are paying $15 for less than 40 pages worth of stuff, 60 if you want to know the Quest rules. I would say it is not very sound since nothing that I saw in here was particularly must have material. If you are a player that likes to have info for your next character and you don't know what you wish to play and your STs are not very restrictive I could see you wanting to pick up the book but as a pLayer that is the only times that the material will be very helpful. even though I say this, I still think people should pick up the books and support BNS, if we don't help give them money we won't get more stuff in the future that may be much more useful to us.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

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Mind's Eye Theatre Vampire: The Masquerade Volume II: Issue 1
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