||Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/09/20/tabletop-review-blood-s-
Blood Sorcery is the newest supplement for the New World of Darkness’ Vampire: The Requiem. Of course there are rules for blood sorcery in the core V:TR rulebook, so it’s not as if you’re getting a new facet of the game with this book. It also means if you’re low on disposable income, you can get by just fine without it. That said, Blood Sorcery is a well written supplement that guarantees to enhance the entire premise and use of blood sorcery in your chronicle. So if you have PCs that use either Theban or Cruac sorcery, this book can give them an entirely new dimension for their art…as well as an entirely new way to use it mechanics-wise. All in all, Blood Sorcery is one of the best Vampire: The Requiem supplements I’ve ever read; let’s see why.
Blood Sorcery consists of three different chapters interspersed by five short pieces of fiction that revolve around the vampires Boon and Kitty. These five pieces cover a span of seventy-one years and not only showcase the sad and pathetic lives of these two Kindred, but also the art of blood sorcery itself. The fiction is well done. Usually I don’t care for the fiction in V:TR (or New World of Darkness in general), but this was especially good. The caveat is that unless you’re quite familiar with V:TR, you’ll probably get lost on both the nuances and details alike, but for those who enjoy the NWoD, you’re in for a treat here. Things end about as one would imagine (It’s White Wolf fiction about vampires after all…), but the fiction here is as good as the actual mechanics and that’s a rare thing for any system.
The first chapter, “Rites of Damnation,” is all about reinventing how the Storyteller and his troupe use blood sorcery in their chronicle. You are given an entirely new set of rules for how to build a character that uses either path of blood sorcery, but also how to use it in terms of mechanics and rolls of the dice. This is an entirely optional system and it does not replace the original rules for blood sorcery unless you, the Storyteller want them to. If you like the rules in the core V:TR book and don’t want to rock the boat…don’t use them! Even then, you’ll still find some great things of use in this supplement.
So what are the new Blood Sorcery rules? Well, honestly, after re-reading the book twice, I feel like things are more like Thaumaturgy from Vampire: The Masquerade, and to me that’s a good thing. I’m not saying blood sorcerers in V:TR are going to begin to resemble the Tremere from Vampire: The Masquerade, but rather that the new blood sorcery is more flexible in terms of what you can do with it and how a character builds it up. It’s very customizable and the end result is a combination of the old V:TM discipline and rituals that remind me of something straight out of Mage: The Ascension. The requirements to become a blood sorcerer (or -ess) are unchanged. The core change is that now, instead of purchasing rituals with experience points via the dots in Disciplines, they now learn rituals and rites through common “themes,” which are basically Thaumaturgy paths. If you have dots in more than one path, you can combine two (or more) to make a whole new ritual. Say a vampire has dots in both the creation and destruction path. They can use the power of both “themes” to create a ritual that transfers blood from another Kindred into his or herself. Half the book alone is devoted to this new way of playing blood sorcery, so expect an in-depth and detailed look at this process.
Chapter Two is “Threnodies.” Unlike the rituals of Chapter One, a Threnody is one part sacrifice and one part song. Now the song could be a mantra, a poem, literally singing, or something else, but it is required. Threnodies also specifically channel the Beast, making them far more dangerous to perform. The sacrifice part can also be pretty harsh (especially Animalism’s. Ouch) and these two factors combined will probably keep most PCs from performing them. For the more inhumane and sadistic Kindred though, this is definitely something to check out. Threnodies are died to specific disciplines rather than the “themes” in Chapter One. Be warned that this chapter is pretty intense. At times I felt like I was reading an old Black Dog V:TM publication in this chapter. It’s all really good stuff, but the power of the threnodies comes with a price tag only a few will be willing to pay.
The final chapter, and my personal favorite, is “Antagonists.” There’s a lot of great potential NPCs and/or enemies here. The backgrounds for each are incredibly well done and I’d have recommended Blood Sorcery just for this chapter alone. It’s that good. Inside you’ll find The Sons of Phobos, the exceptionally creepy Empty Liars, the Prince of Riots, Mister Fixer, The Prophet of the Eyeless Face, the Wild Priest, and The Ash That Devours. All of them are especially fun to read about. I think the most fun to add to a chronicle would be The Prophet of the Eyeless Face as it could fit in anywhere, remain extra creepy no matter what and gives the PCs a real enigma to deal with. The Ash That Devours is almost something out of Call of Cthulhu or the Crimson Death from Forgotten Realms and could be a great creature to base an adventure around. There’s so much an enterprising Storyteller can do with just this chapter.
All in all, as I said at the beginning of this review, Blood Sorcery is one of the best Vampire: The Requiem supplements I’ve ever read. It’s high quality from cover to cover and it’s well worth picking up even if you’re a casual fan of the New World of Darkness. If you have the disposable income to spend, then definitely head on over to DriveThruRPG and pick this up. You won’t be sorry.
[5 of 5 Stars!]