Dust to Dust is the first Storyteller Adventure System supplement for the 20th anniversary edition of Vampire: the Masquerade.
I'm very excited to be reviewing a Vampire: the Masquerade property, makes me feel like I'm back in the George H. W. Bush administration. In fact, this SAS (and I imagine the V20 core book) have a great retro look to them complete with artwork by Cobb, Timbrook and others dating back to the early 90s.
I have not read Ashes to Ashes or the old intro adventure in the back of the 1st and 2nd edition of Masquerade but after reading Dust to Dust I intend to rectify that. What you've got here is a pretty decent adventure. It's one that I wouldn't mind running with a few changes to tighten things up and oh look the Wrecking Crew already ran it at Grand Masquerade 2011 and have left their notes interspersed in the text even though they recommend some pretty drastic changes. That's a nice touch. I even liked their Mickey Mouse cocktail napkin sketch they used for one of the action sequences. That's a term that old people use for something simple, kids. Disney: don't sue CCP.
I like a lot of things about Dust to Dust. You have the opportunity of at least two really awesome scenes happening with dire consequences on the line depending on how feindish your player characters are. Most of the characters are solid too, with Prince Mobius of Gary, Indiana being sublime in his faded glory, one real barbed fatale of a Giovanni and a low generation foe that'll curl your toes. I support Wrecking Crew's suggestion to leave the mortal hunter out of the action, however. There's enough conflict as it is and while he is a decent retro Masquerade kind of dude the plot is tighter without him. I dig the mood and theme of the piece too, and imagine it meshes well with the rest of the tripditch.
On the bad side the pacing might be a bit off. Some scenes are real talky-talky chuffa with not a lot of results. Establishing atmosphere and mood as well as putting the chess pieces in place is important but it would rule out making this a decent one shot or convention game. Trim them.
I found the layout a bit cumbersome but I think it's because I'm too used to SAS products being in landscape format and I didn't print this one out. That would have erased the retro feel, however.
I could follow the mechanics just fine considering I haven't gotten V20 yet and it would be pretty easy to translate into any previous edition of Masquerade or even Requiem if you have the Translation Document. The price is a bit high for the digital release but hey it's a 55 page book and I say it's worth it if you want to revisit Gary, or just drop by for the Zombie Walk.
[4 of 5 Stars!]