||Glimpses of the Unknown crystalizes what differentiates the new World of Darkness from the old. If the World of Darkness core rulebook and its various supplements could be seen as a college-level education on how to portray a unique chronicle using the Storyteller System, World of Darkness: Mirrors would be the graduate course, then Glimpses of the Unknown is sort of a masters thesis.
The old World of Darkness was wonderful, but too many things were spelled out. Fans craved it, hell I craved it. I wanted to know what dwelled in every corner of the imaginary gothic-punk world (moreover, who was vampiric price of MY city, or the shadow wars fought over my hometown) and books like A World of Darkness, Rage Across the World, and pretty much all of the "splat books" provided that detail to the point were nearly everything under the Moon could be tied to one or another of the main supernatural groups; some, like in the case of Rasputin many at once. It's not evil by design. We loved unwieldily metaplot back in the Clinton administration; Babylon 5 was still on the air. This kind of thing was great at first, but then grew clown shoes.
The new World of Darkness inverted this trend. They have not only refused canonical origins for vampires and werewolves and the like but what sold me, stubborn veteran, on the system was reading the fiction chapter in the core rulebook and having this strange feeling when I couldn't place any of the stories into any of the game lines. It was a strange feeling for a White Wolf player.
What Glimpses of the Unknown provides is tools toward continuing this trend. It's all in the title. "Glimpses": Nothing will be spelled out or spoon-fed to you. "Unknown": there are genuine mysteries that defy explanation.
It starts off with quite a barbed piece of microfiction, a Hunter gone wrong (a Wendig joint I'd stake my life on it) then quickly sets out the nature of the book. Four pages are devoted to each and every setting for new World of Darkness including the Blue Books giving a few story "seeds" which are ideas that can be thrown into your existing chronicle to add intrigue or tension, "plotlines" give you a full potential story arch or at least a skeleton upon which you can add whatever flesh you wish followed by new game mechanics. The new setting material for World of Darkness for instance gives suggestions for Unnatural Phenomena such as ball lightning or cold spots. The latter is most often associated with ghosts to be sure but not necessarily.
What makes this a particular treat is that when I say all the game lines get four pages I mean ALL the game lines. As a Changeling: the Lost fan I was tickled pink, but I can imagine the diehard Promethean fan will be overjoyed. That limited series hasn't had a new release since 2007, if you don't count the pre-generated characters. Even World of Darkness: Innocents gets a fair shot, a line that only received a single core book and one Storyteller Adventure System release.
I'll single out the Lost section since it's pretty much my jam. All six of the seeds I would not hesitate to toss into my chronicle, there's a new Goblin Contract that fits right into changeling society and adds welcome-yet-non-essential crunch to a social convention and the two plotlines are gripping, interesting ideas that give you a jumping-off point and gives you the slack to take it in any direction you like. Or the direction players guide you.
As pointed out in the text these seeds and plotlines are not exclusive either. "Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat" from the Lost section can be combined with "The Cat That Isn't a Cat" from Created, or "The Con" from Requiem ported over to Awakening and so on. What is really neat and a proper close to the book is the World of Darkness: Mirrors section at the tail end of the book that gives you suggestions on combining all three Shards into one plot "The Dark Fantasy Destroyer, Revealed". How could you not have a barrel of rabid screaming monkeys fun with that ride?
If you've got jaded characters, know-it-alls who have read all the books or just want to tell a new story Glimpses of the Unknown gives you great suggestions for coloring outside the lines.
[5 of 5 Stars!]