Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/11/02/tabletop-review-children-of-the-revolution-vampire-the-masquerade-2-
White Wolf’s first Kickstarter project, Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Companion was a financial success, but a huge failure in the eyes of critics and fans alike. Plagued by massive delays, backers were outraged with the final product which was formatted poorly, typo laden, lacking any real content and massively overpriced. Fifty dollars for eighty pages of crap was what it boiled down to. If you visit the Kickstarter project page you can still see irate backers complaining about this thing.
I bring this up because Children of the Revolution was White Wolf’s second Kickstarter project and the thing nearly failed because of how bad the V20 Companion turned out to be and because of how poorly White Wolf handled the whole affair. In fact, it came down to the wire (twenty-two hours or so before deadline) for Children of the Revolution to be funded. In the end, it had only half the backers and little over half the funds that the V20 Companion raised. Like many who were unhappy with how White Wolf and Onyx Path handled the V20 Companion I refused to back Children of the Revolution because I didn’t want to pay sixty dollars for a book that would have been the same low level of quality. Now, the physical copy of Children of the Revolution that backers were supposed to receive still has not arrived (three months late and counting) but the Print on Demand version, which is nearly half the price but lacking the faux leather cover, can be obtained easily. Ouch. As well, Kickstarter backers had to pay $25 or more for just the PDF while it’s on DrivethruRPG.com for “only” $17.99. Bigger ouch. So once again, White Wolf and company have kind of screwed over their most loyal customers and charged them MORE for getting the project out the door in the first place. At least they got their PDF in early September. That’s…something I guess.
The good news is that Children of the Revolution is a vastly superior product that the V20 Companion. It has nearly double the page count and some very nice artwork. The problem is that the book is of limited use to most people that play Vampire: The Masquerade. That doesn’t mean the book is bad by ANY stretch of the imagination. I rather enjoyed reading it. It’s just that the contents are nothing but NPC biographies and stat blocks, so it’s really only useful if the Storyteller isn’t that good at making his own characters. The book contains eighteen different biographies and an eight page introduction discussing how the core thirteen Clans deal with rebellion. Again, it’s an interesting read, but it’s not a book many will find a use for in their own campaign. As a fun foray into V:TM fiction, it is well written, but still way overpriced for what you are getting. I could recommend this in its PDF form for $9.99, but not for $17.99. Aside from that the book is laid out better and contains far less typos and content errors than the V20 Companion. I’m not a fan of the extremely small type or the font it is in, as it makes the PDF hard to read, especially on an iPad or Kindle Fire, but it is what it is.
One amusing note, the timeline for upcoming Onyx Path products is massively incorrect and it’s amusing to see things like Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition listed as coming out in October 2012, when the Kickstarter for it just ended on November 1st. You would think they would have corrected this on a product released in late October 2012, but it shows you that neither the editing side of the Onyx Path nor it’s relations side are not where they need to be. I am quite excited to see a ton of Mummy: The Curse items on the docket for 2013 though.
So who are the eighteen Kindred in Children of the Revolution? Here’s a quick rundown for you:
Lados: The Lion of Bactria -8th Generation Malkavian from Greece.
Lizette Cordoba: The Poet of the People’s Occupation – 10th Generation Toreador from modern times and the Occupy XYZ movement.
The Nabataean: Pawn of Ancients – 7th Generation Lasombra (Should be Antitribu, but isn’t listed as one) who is a little too attached to his sire.
Svein Fortinbras: Azrael – 12th Generation Follower of Set and member of a Lordi wanna-be band.
Lady Margaret Willoughby: Keeper of the Lost Secret – 9th Generation Tremere from the Victorian era who was a prisoner of the Sabbat and now stays simply because she knows no other way.
Meixiu: The Black Dragon Princess – 10th Generation Malkavian whose artwork makes her look Hispanic instead of Asian and who resides here in Washington D.C. while desperately searching for the Bái Zé Tu,a grimoire that may only exists in her own delusions.
Edgardo Robbia: The Robber -8th Generation Brujah who tries to pit the Sabbat and Camarilla (and the Anarchs) all against each other to help further his own arms deals.
Dastur Anosh: The Seraph Dying & Reborn – 5th Generation Assamite Antritribu and original Seraph to the Black Hand who faked his own death in order to hide from his enemies in the Tal’Mahe’Ra.
Laurette Morel: The Coquette of Cannes – 8th Generation Torreador whose arts of choice are the cinema…and Necromancy.
MaryAnn Fletcher: The Hangman’s Bride – 8th Generation Nosferatu whose speech impediment made those around her think she was a stupid or mentally handicapped. A Nosferatu named Warwick (You might know him from a certain “By Night…” book) saw her for what she was and turned Ms. Fletcher into one of his spies. Unfortunately for her she was horribly burned when a tavern was set ablaze and embraced after the fact. Truly horrific and by far the most interesting character in the book.
Nasch the Circassian: Serpent Among Kings -7th Generation Venture who betrayed his clan for the Followers of Set.
Marc de Brabant: Shadow Prince Apostate – 10th Generation Gangrel monk from the 12th century. Very high generation for that time period.
Roderigo al-Dakhil: Lich of the Dead City – 6th Generation Nagaraja who almost single handedly guided the Sabbat from their true purpose soon after their formation and made them into the ineffectual band of psychos they are today.
Andrew Seneca: Emissary of Lies – 8th Generation Venture born into slavery who fought vehemently against giving his fellow African-Americans the same rights as other American citizens.
Jaromir Cerny: The Judas of Prague – 9th Generation Old Clan Tzimisce who worked tirelessly to bring about the fall of communism in the former Czechoslovakia before being embraced. Once becoming undead, he finally succeeded…
Colm Oliver: Autarkis at Large – 11th Generation Brujah. Kind of a stereotype this one is. Almost a parody of the typical Brujah with a little Guy Fawkes thrown in for good measure. The least interesting out of all the characters.
Esperanza Lucifer: The Devil’s Darling – 5th Generation Lasombra and very cheesy pirate filled with every trope you can think of, right down to being a Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride rip off. This reads like a Mary Sue style character that some player foisted upon a game that every other member of the troupe grew to hate. By far the worst character in the book and it pretty much hits every character creation pet peeve most V:TM players have. How the hell did this make it into the book is beyond me and it’s a sure sign of how far White Wolf’s creative has fallen since the 90s.
Apacia: The Queen of Tombs – 6th Generation Cappadocian of the Sabbat. For some reason she takes the form of a serpentine woman but yet has no points in Serpentis, which is either a huge editing gaffe or just plain stupid.
So that’s what you get. Basically it’s a little more than a dollar per character (More if you get the print version), which sounds rather pricey when you think about it. Although the entire book is interesting, the last three characters in it are downright terrible and it makes me sad to think they are actually canon Kindred now. Another three are truly well written and quite imaginative, while the other dozen are just kind of in the middle. Their bios are fun to read through, but are easily forgettable and even the most devout Vampire: The Masquerade fan won’t lose any sleep if they don’t pick this one up. Again, very few gamers will ever actually USE Children of the Revolution, but it is a nicely done, if way overpriced piece of V:TM fiction. If you really need a book of nothing but NPC information and stats, there are other options out there for you from previous editions of Vampire: The Masquerade – but if you already own those and you’re desperate for what little new content for the game there is, you might as well pick up Children of the Revolution. It’s a much better purchase than the V20 Companion, but once again, you won’t get much use out of this unless you’re just looking for something Kindred related to read.
[3 of 5 Stars!]