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World of Darkness Rulebook
 
$14.99
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
66 18
45 9
22 1
5 0
1 0
World of Darkness Rulebook
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World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Jamey J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/18/2014 17:54:15
This is a great game to play! The pdf are very well done.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Chris D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/14/2014 15:22:14
A great sourcebook if not a little hard to follow. It takes a few read throughs in order to pick out the rules from the flavor text. This is not to say the flavor text is not well done, the text sets a great tone and draws you into the mechanics of being a Storyteller. I greatly enjoyed this product.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/22/2013 20:26:37
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=30711.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a role-playing fan that doesn’t at least know about the World of Darkness. Many know it’s modern horror and many understand that it serves as the base for many different gothic horror settings published by White Wolf. However, there are lots of gamers out there that stay clear of horror games as they prefer epic fantasy or space opera and hesitate when they can’t simply kill the main antagonist (a common feature in horror gaming). Even though the World of Darkness, new and old, has been around for quite some time and many reviews have been written, I’m going to focus more on those who don’t really know about The World of Darkness and the Storytelling system and what it has to offer.

The World of Darkness presents a world much like our own, but where nasty creatures of horror and gothic horror fame lurk in the shadows or terrify people at night. It is not an alternate history whereas something in the timeline has changed, it just presents a more horrific version of the world that we know. The core rulebook presents the modern world with various horrors; other settings may add additional elements or place things in a historical era. However, the core rulebook is strictly modern and serves as the base mechanics for World of Darkness settings. Using only the core rulebook, characters are human and have standard human qualities and abilities (albeit maybe better than others). Other settings introduce supernatural concepts and abilities, but for this core rulebook, it’s all standard humans.

With this in mind, the stories to be told are not going to be like epic fantasy or space opera. They are not going to be filled with mind-blowing combat or extraordinary feats of unnatural abilities. They are most likely going to resemble modern horror stories and movies, investigation thrillers, or any number of feasible media that depicts humans in a modern environment, albeit with a horrific flair. The focus here is more on the story including how the characters immerse themselves within that story and how the story resolves. Another thing to keep in mind is the separation of The World of Darkness and the Storytelling system. The World of Darkness is the underlying setting used abroad for the core book and the setting guides. The Storytelling system is the mechanics that power game-play set in The World of Darkness.

The Storytelling system is a roll-over dice pool whereas a pool of d10s is constructed according to the character’s Attribute + Skill + Equipment with any bonuses or penalties applied. This dice pool is rolled to achieve a number of successes (rolling an 8, 9, or 10) against a static target number according to the difficulty. Target numbers are not floating and are determined according to difficulty, which all players would then be able to translate into the number of successes they need (such as a target number of 5). This is the base mechanic that the entire system is built upon; quite simple if you ask me. Attributes and Skills are listed as dots on a character sheet representing the number of dice you add to the pool being constructed. You could use numbers instead of dots; either way will give you the same result, just shown in a different way. Combining Attributes and Skills is quite dynamic as the two are only linked by general category (Mental, Physical, and Social), but not defined as a combination. In other words, you can combine skills with different attributes to create different effects, resulting in a different task being performed. This is a great way of reducing the number of skills required while maximizing their possible usage. Some systems reduce the number of skills available, but you may be left with wondering what skill applies to a specific task because it’s directly linked to a given attribute (which may not apply to that task).

The Storytelling system is simple, yet powerful and the World of Darkness is an excellent setting. This core rulebook definitely presents a story- and character-focused role-playing game with no shortage of possible horror.

OVERALL

The World of Darkness core rulebook serves as the base mechanics for all of the World of Darkness setting books. There’s enough content in here to run a modern horror game without a setting book, but the Storyteller will have to fill-in the gaps concerning antagonists. The good thing is that horror games don’t need a lot of antagonists like fantasy games do and this shouldn’t be too hard of a task. It’s a fantastic presentation of an excellent game system, but more importantly it presents a setting that is a great representation of modern gothic horror. The World of Darkness, and moreover the Storytelling system, definitely focuses on characters and their uniqueness by giving you mechanics that don’t hamper your creativity. Oh yeah, it’s also a great read, even if you don’t like the mechanics or don’t plan on playing the game; there is no shortage of content that can be extracted to create your own world.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
The World of Darkness core rulebook looks fantastic. The layout is simple and effective, the formatting looks great, the majority of the artwork has a great blend of horror and modern-feel to it, and the complete package is pleasing in many regards. It’s a very easy read and I truly appreciate the mixture of narrative and game content.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
The Storytelling system is a solid dice pool system with simple mechanics that can be very flexible. I’m not a huge fan of representing traits using dots, but it definitely drives the point across of how simple using the dice pool can be. As stated before, you can easily convert the dots into a number, but then again dots are easier to fill-in as you go on a character sheet (no need to erase to write a higher number). I’m not particularly impressed with the antagonist list, but then again this book is meant to serve as the base mechanics only, and does that quite well. If you are turned away by the dots, use numbers, and storytellers would do well to look into additional material to flesh out additional antagonists if necessary. Otherwise, I find character creation to be quite flexible allowing you to create virtually any human character imaginable.

Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
If you compare the Storytelling system to other horror games (such as Call of Cthulhu), you get a lot of the same principles regarding how those systems view characters and their inherent flexibility regarding creation (no classes here). It’s another approach using dice pools instead of other means, and the low count of dice may not allow for a lot of granularity, but then you also don’t want to get tied up in too much dice rolling (horror is meant to focus more on the story and the characters than combat encounters). If you compare the World of Darkness to other horror settings (such as the Cthulhu Mythos), again you get a lot of the same principles, just with a different face (gothic horror instead of supernatural horror).

That being said, The World of Darkness and the Storytelling system do both of these things extremely well, presenting an excellent game package to Storytellers and players. Those who like dice pools will find an excellent dice pool system. Those who like horror will find a setting with plenty of twists, turns, creepiness, and horrific possibilities.

Overall: 9 out of 10
The World of Darkness is one of those games that is well-known for a reason. It has solid mechanics and an expansive setting, both of which fully embrace their fundamental goals. It’s not going to replace your epic fantasy, space opera, or even Cthulhu Mythos games, but it definitely gives you a perfect outlet for experiencing gothic horror in the modern world; all done with a focus on story and characters.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Anders L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/30/2012 13:47:48
This is one of the best roleplaying game's I've ever played. It basically fixes everything that was wrong with the oWoD and updates the rules to fit into a much neater and standardized setting. Aside from some of the artwork not measuring up to the standard the rest of the book sets, the text is wonderful and easy to read. The rules are clear and it's not often you find yourself wondering what they mean.

I recommend this both for the grittyness of the rules and the realism of the rules.

The bookmarks however are... horrible. For a purchased PDF, there should be -far- more bookmarks than one can find in this book. One for each chapter is not by far enough. DriveThruRpg should really work on getting a few more bookmarks in there. As it stands right now, I'm going to have to add them myself.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Sean D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/19/2012 05:07:02
Though I bought the original Vampire when it was first released, I never got a chance to play it. So I missed out on the whole original World of Darkness line. Recently I needed to put together a street-level superhero game with a strong supernatural element. The Dresden Files was off the table for reasons I won't elaborate here, so I decided to give the World of Darkness a shot.

And I was pleasantly surprised at the results. It is a smooth, easy to grasp system that I was able to tweak to meet my needs. The Morality mechanic provided just the right spice I was looking for. My campaign was not quite the sort of thing the rules set is intended for, but it still did the job admirably. This is a hugely popular system with a multitude of available settings. After running it I now have a better understanding of its popularity.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/23/2012 15:23:41
Not only is this a good book it is also essential to play any of the New World of Darkness games. This book contains all of the basic rules you need to play a Storytelling System game and if you never move beyond a mortals chronicle (which is actually quite feasible depending on the story you want to tell) you may never need much more than this one book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Geoffrey R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/23/2012 14:45:29
Although I collected dozens of books from the 1st WOD, among all the game lines, and I loved the setting - the 'Real World,' but through a glass darkly, populated with all sorts of monsters - I much prefer the new WOD. I really like how there's 1 main rule book (this one), which all the other game lines start from. And especially how - using the main rule book - there's no duplication of rules in each core book, and the rules are all the same, making crossovers or mixed-race stories so much more possible (you don't have to mess with trying to make the rules from the various game lines mesh with each other). Also, the fact that you can start with mortal characters, whose eyes have been opened - at least somewhat - to the nWOD, to play games featuring ghosts or other 'lesser' monsters, especially with a new troupe of players, is a perfect way to introduce them to this type of role playing (Storytelling).

The other thing I've always been so impressed with White Wolf and it's Storytelling games is the obvious amount of research and detail they bring to their games, especially given the setting is in an altered version of our world. So, much of what is brought up in their game books are things we (may) already be familiar with.

Congratulations to White Wolf for reimagining what was already a great gaming system and set of game lines, and I look forward to what more they'll come up with!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Robert S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/21/2012 06:22:34
Most RPG companies operate on an economic model similar to that of Microsoft. In the same way Microsoft releases a new version of Windows every few years, most RPG companies release a new version of their game mechanics every few years and new versions of their campaign worlds at the same time. White Wolf Publishing ended its old system and folded up their old campaign world in 2003.

The first World of Darkness only served as a backdrop and setting justification for the old lines of Vampire, Werewolf and so forth. However, in the new game the World of Darkness itself received its own line of books, starting with a single book titled the World of Darkness. This book describes the new setting and provides the game mechanics for all the following games, including Vampire the Requiem, Werewolf the Forsaken, Mage the Awakening and the White Wolf Publishing game that produces the most sweaty night terrors, Mimes the Silence.

Books in the basic World of Darkness line are nominally for a campaign featuring mortals, rather than the usual grab bag of monsters. However, most of the books in the World of Darkness line are useful with the other main lines of games. It is worth noting the main lines, vampire, werewolf and mage, to some degree each encourage players start with a normal mortal that something turned into a monster, or who later discovers their own latent power.

The World of Darkness as a setting is a hungry version of the modern world, one in which every stark horror movie, every predatory urban legend, every irrational conspiracy theory either is true or at least could be true. This is the only kind of modern world in which vampires, werewolves, mages… and mimes could exist.

Events moved along in the previous world of darkness as part of a metaplot, or a larger story dictated by parent company White Wolf Publishing and one that impacted all the game lines. While dynamic, the metapplot also proved to be confining, limiting game possibilities. The new World of Darkness books do not have a metaplot and what is made of the world is in the hands of the storyteller and the players.

The book is also home to the basic game engine, called the storyteller system. This grew out of the original game mechanics of the storyteller system used in the old games, thought the new version is simplified and unified across all the current game lines White Wolf Publishing produces.

A series of dots on a characters sheet represent the various abilities, skills, supernatural powers and so forth a character possesses. At the time of character creation, player distributes a finite amount of dots as they choose. Experience points allow you to purchase new dots. The number of dots represents the number of 10-sided dice the player may roll to try to accomplish something. This game only uses 10-sides dice and it usually has to use a lot of them. Getting an 8, 9 or 10 on a roll indicates a success at a task – and getting multiple successes is useful. Getting a 10 allows the player to reroll that dice and if they get another success, it adds to their total number of success – and they get to reroll the 10 if they get another. It is theoretically possible to keep rolling forever if you keep getting 10s.

A drawback is keeping track of lots of 10 sided dice can be a hassle, slowing the game down when you roll six or seven or more of them, count out success versus failures and then gather your dice. Further, pegging the minimal number required for a success at 8 is too high – a 7 is more reasonable.

The mechanic system is distinct, but ultimately no better or worse than the other systems available on the market, such as d20, 4th edition D&D, the system employed by the Call of Cthuhlu game and so forth.

Something that really sets the system and the setting apart from others is its approach to a character’s morality. From the book, “Morality reflects a character’s sense of compassion for his fellow human being and basic respect for the rule of law.” All characters created in this system have a morality score, running from 1 to 10. Each level comes with its own list of sins, sins if committed character feels bad about, if they have that score or higher. The default starting point of 7 reads; “petty theft.” If your character has a 7 morality score, then she should feel guilty about shop lifting. If a character violates their morality, if they do something they should feel bad about, then the player rolls to see if the character actually feels bad or stops giving a damn. If they stop giving a damn, their morality score decays. As the character’s morality decays, they become at best unpleasant to be around and more likely become a danger to themselves and others.

Anyway, included in this mechanical package is a characters willpower score – or their ability to really apply themselves and kick ass and take names. This score bounces around a great deal, as the players spend willpower points to do many things, included negating mental and emotional attacks. The character also has two traits related to willpower, these traits are the characters personal vice and virtue. The lists of both vices and virtue are strictly biblical in nature and selected at the time of character creation. Indulging in the characters vice will grant a willpower point, but can erode the characters morality score or otherwise land them in hot water. Pursuing a virtue is difficult and time consuming but also grants a willpower point.

The nature of the World of Darkness means the character’s morality score is more or less under constant assault. Vampires have to do harm to others to survive – period. Werewolves have hysterically bad tempers. Mages prosper by being ruthless bastards. None of this is conducive to a moral life. Even normal mortals, assuming they are player character, will face a steady stream harrowing decisions to make and consequences with which they must deal. This morality system more dynamic, and perilous, than the simple alignment system of D&D and is a corner stone for the entire new storyteller game system. It is arguably what makes them system distinct because by 2011 White Wolf Publishing is not the only RPG company to offer players the chance to run vampires, werewolves, mages… or even mimes.

This moral system is also a significant part of why the game can legitimately claim to be a mature title. Everything else is just titties and blood.

I hope my mother never learns I just said that.

Another thing that sets the games from White Wolf Publishing apart from others is their sense of style – the books look different from other game books and always have looked different. While not pretentious – or at least not very pretentious – the style can get in the way of the substance. Text that opens the book and chapters can be difficult to read while the font at the heads of chapters and section is too busy in design. The White Wolf Publishing tradition of using 100 words where 40 or 50 would do makes the pages dense and grey. This is not a damning sin, but it is a hurdle for a reader.

Art in the book ranges from decent to good, though there is less of it than there could be if the text were less wordy. The book sports a blue color tone and an attractive and mysterious cover image. As a mature title, the interior art does convey sexuality, violence and sometimes violent sexuality.

In terms of organization, the first portion of the book lays out character creation with admirable clarity, the middle of the book breaks down and describes its use of skills, abilities and powers while the last section of the book provides guidance on running a game. The end of the book also contains a section on antagonists that is adequate and could be better. Ghosts – as presented here – are a disappointment. However, it was probably too much to expect something like a new version of Wraith.

The World of Darkness gets a 15 on a d20 roll – issues of style and presentation, minor issues of game mechanics and a relatively mediocre antagonist selection keep it from getting a perfect score. It is still worth exploring, though the elements that make it so distinct mean that like the Vampire the Requiem book, buyer beware.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Alex G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/12/2011 19:38:05
The big blue book that rebooted a franchise.

This core element of White Wolf's World of Darkness revisioning, published in August 2004, provides a central set of basic rules applicable across all of White Wolf's new World of Darkness games, from Vampire: the Masquerade through to Geist: the Sin-Eaters, their last core game.

This book covers all of the basic rules, from character generation and development to task resolution, combat and basic Storytelling. All the World of Darkness core game supernatural types, from Kindred vampires, Uratha werewolves, Awakened mages, beleaguered Prometheans, anxious Changelings and paranoid Vigilant hunters through to morbid Sin-Eaters, have the same general attributes, such as Intelligence, Stamina and Composure, divided up into three categories - Mental, Physical and Social - and the same general skills, from Academics through to Streetwise, again divided up into the same three categories of Mental, Physical and Social.

These basic rules cover the computing of common characteristics from the Attributes, such as initiative, speed, health and perception rolls. The basic Morality characteristic is defined, along with the Virtues and Vices which remain the same across all the games.

From the opening fiction pieces by Rick Chillot, this core rulebook lays out the basic setting premise for the World of Darkness: that in the shadows of this world, otherwise very much like our own, darker shadows move and occasionally prey upon ordinary people.

Now, while lacking in actual monsters to fight other than a basic outline of ghosts, this book does manage to set the scene very effectively. And while later books allow players to become the dark creatures, or to take up the fight against them in the case of hunters, all the games that followed required the base rules in this book for everything from the creation of a mortal character in whom to base the supernatural template, through to the design of NPCs and Storytelling unique to each of the branch games.

As the root of all the World of Darkness games, this book is absolutely crucial.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Allison H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/10/2011 17:49:56
I was introduced World of Darkness through a friend of mine wanting to start up a campaign. Once I read through the Sourcebook, I was enthralled. No matter who you are, there is a skill or Merit to fit you, and as most books, this is a much more basic, but still rich system. The starter character sheet in the back of the physical copy is way too little for those who keep advancing, but for starters it is fantastic. The flavor in the book is fantastic, if confusing to have at the beginning, but don't let this stop you from trying this game out!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Robert F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/21/2011 07:37:36
This is a well-crafted and well written product. Despite not being a dice pool system fan, the game mechanics are elegant and flexible enough for most situations.

Perhaps the most striking thing is the wonderful senseofatmosphere that the game communicates.

My one complaint, and what loses this a star is a real lack of anatgonists that aren't either incorporeal or demonic. A few more tangible anatgonists would be useful.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Dev S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/17/2010 12:35:25
One of the classic rulesets and a must have for any RPGer

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Dean B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/13/2010 14:44:55
Very informative and the system really shows rules aren't as distracting as other games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 11:03:01
The new system reads and plays well. You don't need any supplements to play a classic supernatural thriller game, although I recommend you check out the new game line. The resolution system, while abstract, is versatile and contains a level of mathematical sanity not present in the previous versions of the game system.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2010 19:35:54
The Bad: one-roll combats can be simplistic and too arbitrated as compared to having an active defense(parry, dodge), and subtracting or adding to a dice pool can be tricky.
The morality system feels forced, especially for experienced roleplayers, and would do better as a sanity rating ala cthulhu.
The skills can feel a little generically broad, as there are only 24 in the whole book(though with specialties).

The Good:
EVERYTHING ELSE.
Good Fluff, Good streamlined rules, a good split of the attributes and skills and talents into physical/social/mental, this book covers a lot for only 224 pages. from attributes/skills/talents, derangements, antagonists, some basic equipments, explanation of mechanics, explanations of storytelling vs roll playing, there's even an explanation of an in-game example of each skill or attribute.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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