Drinking & Dragons

User:Wizardoest/Read/World of Darkness (d20)

From Drinking and Dragons
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Monte Cook was approached to rework the World of Darkness from the Vampire, Mage, etc. line of roleplaying books using his unique vision. What he came up with was a modern horror almost-post-apocalyptic campaign. The book features a heavily modified d20 system that blends with the story.

About my reading

I have not read this cover to cover. Due to a limited amount of reading time, I elected to read the more interesting bits (classes, spells, and the like) of the book and skim the rest.

Lights up the imagination

Ignoring the system stuff for a moment, the book is laden with inspiration for modern campaigns. Each "class" has several pages of fluff to get a player in the mood and inspire them. The introduction to the world is laden with ideas that could be dissected and used as the basis for a campaign by themselves. When running a modern game I will likely find myself mining this book for inspiration.

Classes aren't really classes

Character classes aren't classes as much as they are types of characters. There are Vampires, Werewolves, Demons, Mages, and Awakened (Humans fighting for survival). The classes are ramped up slightly over other d20 systems to compensate for the overly weak first-level problem. For instance, a Werewolf 1 has a BAB of +4 and 4d12 hit points. At 20th level that same Werewolf has a BAB of 23 with iterative attacks.

Each class has special abilities and each ability is mechanically different from one another. This helps to make them feel different in play, but introduces complexity as GMs (and other players) have to commit more patterns to memory.

Spellcasting is complicated

Spells are constructed using complicated tables and are intended to be used on the fly. Now they do promote the use of Rotes, or pregenerated spells. I could see using the spell building system to create new spells outside of the game, but in game it is unwieldy.

Managed correctly, a caster could cast spells all day long. Not a good scenario.