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Actual Factual: Dracula - A Compendium of Vampires $39.95 $17.99
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Actual Factual: Dracula - A Compendium of Vampires
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Actual Factual: Dracula - A Compendium of Vampires
Publisher: Scaldcrow Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/02/2014 13:41:10

Actual Factual: Dracula - A Compendium of Vampires is an unassuming book. The cover is stock art (I am guessing, not sure) and the preview is text with a small amount of art. That and the $40 price tag (sale price $18) might scare some people off.

That would be a mistake.

Inside are 472 pages of detailed vampire types from all over the world.

In this book we are given a basic overview of vampires (aka the stuff everyone knows) and then we move quickly into the relationship between Vlad the Impaler and Vampires. I will honestly say that this section, while entertaining seems tacked on. The book would have been fine without it, but is likely better with it.

Next we get into the heart of this book. The Compendium of Vampires. The A to Z section detail vampires from around the world and not only represents the bulk of the book (340+ pages), but also the bulk of the research.

Each entry contains the name of the vampire, pronunciation and translation of the name. Also listed are it's country or area of origin, type of creature (creature, spirit, demon...), how it appears, prefered prey, how often it attacks or feeds, Modus Operandi, abilities, defenses against it and how to kill it. Not every creature has everything listed, this is not a Monster Manual, but there are enough. In some cases the author has used her own imagination to fill in the blanks. This is fine really, given that the author is Theresa Bane. But I guess if you want something purer you can go to her pages of resources.

There is a bibliography, which is almost as interesting to read as the entries themselves.

What follows next really puts this book into a different category of usefulness, the indexes. First is a more common index of words, names and other things you might want to find in the book.

Next is an index of Abilities. So if you need a vampire that is Beautiful (as an ability) then you have GREEN OGRESS 124 and SUCCUBUS 274.

There is an index of Appearance. So "barbed tongue" gives you: ASWANG MANDURUGO 23 BICHOHINDU 44 GROBNIK 125 KRVOIJAC 164 UPIER 294 WIESZCZY 330 (one of my favorite barbed tongue vampires).

An Index on Creation. Indexes of How Often it Attacks, How to Find, Origins, Prey, Types, and finally Weaknesses.

Now what would have been a nice touch would be to hyper link all these indexes to the main document. But I am not complaining.

What the book lacks in art, there are only a few pieces, it makes up for in research and utility.
You can debate on whether or not Creature Y is a vampire or not, but I can't fault the authors for doing all this work.

All in all a great book. A must have if you are at all a fan of vampires or use them in your games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Actual Factual: Dracula - A Compendium of Vampires
Publisher: Scaldcrow Games
by rian m. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/08/2013 12:37:10

"Actual Factual" is a decent, solid and highly detailed compilation of what seems like pretty much every folklore vampire from pretty much everywhere on Earth. The details are clear and easily understood, providing great ideas for anyone looking for new and weird vampires and general nasties to throw into any game. the problem is that apart from the most obvious and common (generally speaking) beasties the specifics; weaknesses, preferred victim and time of feeding, the sort of stuff that a complex monstrous villain needs, are absent. The cause for this, simple lack of detail int he source material but still this can be a bit frustrating. If there was only a little more detail, even if it was supposition and guestimation then this would be an emphatic 5 but with the little fault (and perhaps a bit of harshness on my part) this book can nly get a 4.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Actual Factual: Dracula - A Compendium of Vampires
Publisher: Scaldcrow Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/27/2009 15:21:50

I’m not sure why, but it’s a truism that people like myself (nerds/geeks/gamers) love lists. We’re never so happy as when we’ve created or acquired a large collection of information, especially in a cross-indexed, easy to reference form. Making sense of things and having data on hand is satisfying on a truly visceral level. The fact that the information itself is useful and/or fun is a bonus. Given all of that, it should be no surprise that I immediately took to Actual Factual: Dracula – A Compendium of Vampires.

From a technical perspective, the book is presented quite nicely. Almost five hundred pages long, the PDF is quite small in size. Presumably this is due to the small amount of artwork. There are only a handful of pictures here, all of them black and white and found at the beginning of each alphabetical chapter; it should be noted that the cover displayed on the product page isn’t found in the PDF of the book, however. I also wished that bookmarks had been used, as that would have made it helpful to zip around to various sections.

AcFac:Drac is, as the subtitle says, a compendium of vampires. All of the creatures detailed herein are from real-world myth and folklore, as opposed to creatures made up purely for novels, TV shows, etc.; no glitter-wearing Twilight vampires here. However, vampire aficionados are likely to note that it’s difficult to pin down what, exactly, constitutes a “vampire” in mythology, since there can be similar creatures that are called demons, or ghosts, etc. instead of being vampires per se. Interestingly, the book largely side-steps the issue of nomenclature by taking a very inclusive stance, declaring that for the purposes of what it includes, a “vampire” is anything that must consume the life essence of people on a (semi)regular basis in order to sustain itself. Thus, blood-drinking animate corpses fit right in alongside soul-eating demonic spirits. Any unnatural creature that devours (parts of) us is a vampire.

If that sounds like it’d pump up the number of creatures in this book, it does. There are nearly a thousand entries here, all neatly listed in alphabetical order. Each entry has a variety of attributes, including Type (is it a corpse? Demon? Ghost?) Abilities (what are its powers?) Prey (who does it hunt?), Modus Operandi (how does it hunt?), Weaknesses (what hurts it?), Destruction (what kills it?) and many others. In fact, there are a large number of possible attributes for each monster…the thing is, not all of them are present for each creature. Presumably, this is simply because some creatures don’t have that information included in the myths and legends about them, though in some cases this is because a given vampire is just a variant of another (with a SEE listing pointing you to that entry). Frighteningly, a few vampires don’t have certain attributes because they have no weaknesses…or simply cannot be destroyed.

The truly great part of this book, however, is found in its indexing. In addition to a standard alphabetical index, it has a whopping nine additional indexes that catalogue the monsters herein via various key attributes, such as their appearance, how to find them, or method of creation. This is brilliant organization and really makes it fast and easy to zero in on exactly what you’re searching for without having to know precisely what type of vampire you’re dealing with. Something eating babies in your neighborhood? Just flip to that section in the Prey index, and you’ll be able to start researching what you’re likely up against.

This book is nothing short of a must for vampire fans, as its thorough research and exhaustive indexing results in a tome that not only stimulates the imagination, but is easy to use and incredibly referential. Whether you need a new monster for your role-playing session, want a creature for your next great fantasy novel, or just want to know what to watch out for the next time you hear a bump in the night, this resource is the only guide to vampires you’ll ever need.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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