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Block by Bloody Block $8.99
Publisher: White Wolf
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/14/2011 13:21:46

This was my first order from the print-on-demand section, so this is as much a review of that service as it is of the book itself.

Damnation City is one of the best and most overlooked supplements for Vampire: The Requiem. Its strongest part was a method of creating influences and control, and adjudicating players' and NPCs' attempts to maintain and expand their power in Your Campaign City. Ever since its beginnings, Vampire has had a game of politics and power as one of the many options, but Damnation City was the first to put in game mechanical terms how much easier and more permanent murder is as a means to power. By tempting players to choose unethical strategies, the characters were, for the first time, really, pushed down a slippery slope. Those that tried to maintain control and their humanity were taking a dangerous stand and a challenging path.

Hunter: The Vigil also lends itself to this kind of approach, because of its investigative angle. The characters must find the monsters before they can learn about them and learn about them before they can kill them, and even after they kill them, they must know what other monsters are tangled in their business. Organizing monsters in Hunter: The Vigil is a very time-consuming (but very rewarding) part of that game for the GM.

Block by Bloody Block describes how you can use geography to organize the monsters in your Hunter game by theme. It contains an explanation of the approach, followed by several examples - a suburb whose motivational organization is a murder cult, a set of public housing projects whose drug dealing gang is headed by a warlock. These excellent examples are layered with several sorts of hooks for the various sorts of Hunter campaigns there are.

I really enjoyed the work, and appreciated that it pointed out that while Grand Theft Auto may be a cartoony and satirical videogame, it also realizes neighborhoods and controlling them as part of the geography of the game(s). This is a good insight. I have often thought that GTA has a lot to teach gamers if we really look at it closely. The influences from GTA are clear in this book.

I got this through print-on-demand, so some discussion of that service is necessary here too. The book was mailed within 48 hours of me placing the order and received in good condition. The quality was very good, the cover was glossy and the colors were as good as anything I've seen from White Wolf's normal producers. The internal pages were well-aligned and the whole thing seemed sturdy enough. If you're like me and you end up printing out a lot of material from a book to use, or if you prefer a print copy for various reasons, it's a bargain to get both.

Because I loved Damnation City so much and it fits Hunter so well, because geographic organization in sandbox play is a hobby horse of mine and because my first POD experience was so great, I'm reviewer-tilting this one up a star to give it my highest rating. Kudos to everyone involved.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Block by Bloody Block
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