Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Guide to the Camarilla - Chapters 5-8

In the end, this book was less its own thing and more like 50,000 words that could have been added to the core. It was useful, enlightening even, but it did not succeed at making the case for the Camarilla as a discrete, distinctive setting element.

Part of this comes down to the fact that the Camarilla way of doing things really is Vampire: The Masquerade's default. The thing with the vampire Princes and their council of shadowy advisers from the various clans - those are Camarilla institutions. In fact, to a large extent they are the Camarilla. Which is all well and good, except that your players already know this. All vampire politics are local and a character who does not quickly learn about the Prince and the Sheriff and the Scourge is one not long for this world.

It's not a fault of the book, per se, but it does mean that it comes of as a bit more of a workhorse supplement than it otherwise might. A lot of space is devoted to describing things that would be generically useful in just about any Vampire campaign, like the psychology of elder vampires, or the concept of history.

Overall, I'd say this book is very handy for prospective Vampire storytellers and a worthy addition to my collection. It's a little dated (talking, as it does, about the difficulty of adapting to fancy modern technology like fax machines and email), and I wish it had done a bit more to induct the player characters into the conspiracy, focusing more on stuff like what it means to bribe a dirty cop or intimidate a journalist. And it certainly could have stood to be more explicit about the workings of the Inner Circle and their agenda for the world. But those quibbles aside, just about every page of this book has something useful on it, and that's a high achievement for an rpg supplement.

UKSS Contribution: Oh, I don't know. I guess the Inconnu. They're ancient, powerful vampires who have apparently achieved some degree of inner peace and the one thing everyone can agree upon is that they're terribly mysterious.

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