White Wolf Publishing seems to have covered everything possible for Vampire the Requiem; it helps they had a previous edition of the RPG – Vampire the Masquerade – to hash out what players though was useful and what they didn’t want. Along comes a small tidbit like Invite Only, and I for one am left wondering “Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?”
Written by David A. Hill Jr. and Chuck Wendig, Invite Only is a guide to parties — more specifically, parties hosted or attended by the Kindred. Besides giving the less combat-oriented Kindred something interesting to do, parties are also the focus of a lot of deals and surprises in the V:tR world. A Kindred who pays attention could learn a lot at a party – if she survives long enough to make use of this knowledge.
This 82-page electronic book includes a wealth of information on parties, from notable Kindred annual gatherings in several spots around the globe to guest lists for Kindred parties, to party types and sites by Covenant and Clan. Chapter One, “Dead Man’s Party,” covers why Kindred both love and hate parties so much, and includes rough outlines for six different clan- or covenant-based parties from Europe and the U.S. Also, there’s a section of anecdotal accounts of a different set of Kindred social events to offer ideas for more variety in types of Kindred gatherings. This Chapter describes not only the most basic questions of “what” and “when” of parties, but also the “who” in it’s coverage of guest lists, Vampire group dynamics, and the subtle messages sent by who is and – more particularly – who is not invited.
“The Hottest Spot in Town,” Chapter Two, details a number of interesting locations suitable for Kindred parties. Besides descriptions of mansions, underground cities, and nightclubs, this section also offers useful advice to Storytellers on building their own locations for their players, with numerous suggestions on how to personalize the location and it’s contents to the story, and to the characters and players themselves. This chapter is all about the “where” of the event.
“Being Talked About” is something of an event-planning primer for the Storyteller. Suggestions are offered for assigning suitable Virtues, Vices, Attributes, Skills, Merits and Disciplines to a party or gathering; more than creating a simple theme, these ideas add layers of detail and meaning that exceed the more basic concepts of Clan, Covenant and occasion. This section is the “why” of the book.
Chapter Four, “The Center of Attention,” offers a selection of five scenes that, with minimal tailoring, could easily be dropped into any Storyteller’s campaign. Several concern events happening at the party; one covers crashing a party and another deals with preventing a party from being crashed by a group of… undesirables. Small cheat sheets for each event, plus a few blank versions to enable Storytellers to crib essential notes on scenes of their own devising, are included at the end of this section.
The last chapter, “Barbed Words,” is an appendix, offering a brief set of rules for social combat. This verbal sparring allows opportunity for the less combat-oriented Kindred to grab some action – more likely on their own terms – and can offer benefits for the wise and clever, or penalties for the foolish and rash. Successful verbal or social combat offers the victor an edge for the evening in the form of a bonus to social interactions for the Vampire or another of her choice for the rest of the event. These include limiting or resisting Frenzy, providing a bonus to physical combat, and automatic bonuses to using Social Disciplines, other Social rolls, and even to resist the effects of Social Disciplines used on the Vampire by others. Offering this alternate rule set is a tremendous boon to the less physical characters, allowing them a chance to shine without necessarily having to get beat up to do it.
As is usual for White Wolf, this is first rate material. It includes a fair amount of detail for relatively short descriptions, and plenty of story hooks for Storytellers and players alike. I found Invite Only intriguing and inspiring, filling me with the desire to get my own Kindred character back in action.
Invite Only is available strictly as a downloadable PDF at this time. Should it prove highly successful one might hope that it would appear in a print edition at a later date. Regardless, the PDF is a solid value at $8.99, and can easily and seamlessly be integrated into any Requiem game.
This review originally appeared on Flames Rising.com.
[4 of 5 Stars!]