Before I begin with the review, I want you to know, that I have had a privilege to work with this game. I did the layout, edited the text, made covers and a character sheet and discussed rules. But this review is not biased, because when I received the draft for this game, I fell in love. As I said, it was a privilege for me to get a change to work with The Blood Hack and its author +Matthew Skail.
I love The Black Hack. It takes my favorite rules system and tweaks it to simplier and more versatile form. Even though I still enjoy early D&D and OSR games, The Black Hack is something different, yet familiar. And because it is a versatile system, it is easy to reproduce for different genres, like Cyber-Hacked! which makes cyberpunk fun and fast or The Super Hack which makes super heroes not a chore, with roots to my favorite game(s).
In early 2000 I played Vampire: The Masquerade. I played it a lot! So much I grew sick of it for various different reasons. When I found OSR, I started to think what V:tM would be with OSR rules. When I found The Black Hack, I started thinking what playing vampires in World Of Darkness style campaign would be with it. Then at Google Plus I found out, that Matthew was working on a game using The Black Hack rules with a feel of 90s vampires and modern gothicpunk world.
And damned The Black Hack system works brilliantly with vampires!
You get the normal rules, where you roll everything under your Stats, be it fighting, different tasks or saving rolls. Because this game is set to a modern era, you also get rules for vehicles, firearms, chases and such, which all work great with the simple core mechanics.
There are four different vampire classes from four different Houses of the Blood. They are not just those four core fantasy races re-dressed with fangs, but great write-ups with different knowledges and skills. Each of them is great for different types of archtypes from magisters to warriors.
Vampires naturally have their supernatural powers, Gifts. They gain Gifts more experienced they get, and start with few. You are free to develop your vampire with Gifts you want to take, and are not restricted to bloodlines that determine your future gifts. The gifts are not only things that boost your vampire to be more powerful than human, they are many really clever and more towards roleplaying rather than rollplaying.
Some vampires can also learn rituals, which are blood powered powerful magic. There are three levels of ritual powers, from quite simple to truly horrific! The rituals are absolutely fantastic and don't feel that they are just replacing fantasy roleplaying game's spells. They are a different beast, and add extra flavor to the game.
The great thing is how the innovation of usage die is used with blood points and morale (basically humanity from V:tM). Instead of calculating and spending blood points like hit points, you roll usage die for blood for example when powering gifts or healing. Morale has an absolutely brilliant adaptation of usage die what really captures the downward spiral of vampire morality! Really elegant adaptation of the original system, where you used usage die for inventory items.
You also get lots of different NPC stats from commoners to supernatural beings. Many have special rules, which are simple, yet flavourful.
The Blood Hack has everything you need to begin playing in dark modern days as an undead vampire, who only doesn't struggle with her humanity, but also the dangers of the night. If you liked World Of Darkness games, this is a must have or you like The Black Hack, this is a great addition to your collection to mix with other "hack" genres.
Year 2017 has just started, but as an ex-Vampire fan and a big The Black Hack rules system fan, at this point I can already say, that The Blood Hack will be one of the greatest RPG products of this year.
[5 of 5 Stars!]