mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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In my Father's house there are many rooms...(115)

Book of the Dead by White Wolf.

No dark sarcasm...
...wait, there is dark sarcasm.
Also, dark chasms.

I was really surprised when I peeled this out of the package to see that it was "World of Darkness" branded & not "Geist" branded. I'm fine with that...I think I've decided that I don't care about Geist. In the end analysis, they just lack mythic resonance; the only character concepts I can come up with are serial killers. Maybe that is just me? I feel like there is a slasher flick vibe underneath it, but without any, you know, murder. Or less of it than you might think. That said-- I'm really pleased this is a generalist book. I've said for a while now that I'd like vampires to be associated with the Underworld in the same way that werewolves are associated with the Spirit World...I think Vampire: the Requiem got screwed again, being first: locking vampires out of the greater cosmology of the World of Darkness is a mistake. Book of the Dead doesn't quite rectify that, sadly, but it does contain a nice fat section about making the Underworld work with the various spooky monsters of the World of Darkness. I particularly like the rules on how vampires & prometheans (frankensteins) interact with the semi-arbitrary Old Laws of the deeper kingdoms.

The first section of the book deals with...well, historical story hooks, I guess? It suffers from a major problem that a lot of White Wolf books share: reading it is a pain in my ass. I get that neat cursive fonts are fun to use-- but they really don't work, especially in long blocks. Some metatextual play with fonts is great, I'm all for it, but the tiny cursive or faded faux glyph is nearly indecipherable. After that is the aforementioned section on how various monsters interact with the lands of the dead. Really useful & evocative. After that you've got some rules crunch-- new merits, a new Key for geists, & a new Manifestation. None of the merits are all that great, but they aren't terrible by any means. After that, you get down to the nitty gritty: the first section talks about the Authchthonous Depths, the first layer of the Underworld. Passages to & fro, more Rivers (maybe the best single page of the book), some thematic discussion & random details, & then a few NPCs. It closes out with the Dead Dominions-- some of the many individual kingdoms of the dead. Places across rivers, where Old Laws hold sway. Some of these are better than others, but as a whole, this is some nice world building. I will say this, obligatorily: I miss Wraith: the Oblivion. Like many of the New World of Darkness games, I think there are great ideas here, but I think some of the Old World of Darkness games had better, or at least competitive, ideas. I would ideally like a blending, you know? Alas.
Tags: books, geist, haiku, rpgs, wod

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