Preludes. Some of my best memories of Storyteller games circle around Preludes. I could sequester away a player for perhaps an evening and, for a session, really get into that particular character’s head. Dice rarely hit the table. It was about motivations and character. I mention this because this eBook flirts with being a look at preludes. Let me clear that it isn’t, but even the author allows that some Storytellers will use it for exactly that purpose.
The PDF’s artwork is mostly good. In fact, there are some pieces within the file that are damned good (no pun intended. Really.). I personally liked Shane Coppage’s art the best (the cover belongs to this artist). The artwork proved a little distracting in that some pieces look like Hollywood was tapped for character inspiration. Is that William H. Macy preparing to get amorous on page 19? Why is Robert Patterson getting fed on by two vampires on page 16? Some is a scratchy piece that has been done in one way or another several times before (page 10).
Valentinelli’s writing, crisp and direct, has a super-specific focus that she mostly stays focused upon throughout the book. Each scene (fourteen in all) takes a look at the Seven Deadlies (two scenes per Vice). Mechanics for these scenes are light, but present. After all, during an Embrace things can go wrong and you might need dice to best arbitrate the outcome.
For such a short book, I’d have to say it isn’t one to start out with. The depth of information contained within is impressive. The author looks at the Covenants while approaching the Vices in order to best see how they would react to each of the fourteen Embraces.
This PDF is 99.99% for Storytellers. From a player’s standpoint, I don’t think I would get very much from the read. A Storyteller could use these scenes directly either as a Prelude, piece of an existing campaign, or simple inspiration as found in Engine Publishing’s Eureka.
Raw unforgiving emotion is a vast playground for monsters to play within; this PDF exploits that. My scores for Scenes of the Embrace are:
Artwork: Three out of Five Dice (The grade would be quite different if I ran artist-by-artist)
Writing: Four out of Five Dice (I like the concepts, but wished the mechanics had been
fully thrown out . . . even though I understand why they couldn’t be)
Overall: Four out of Five Dice (Put on your mining hat; there are some good ideas here)