The name Monte Cook rings pretty loudly in the RPG world, I admit to buying more than one book because it had that embossed on the cover, and this book only adds to the weight of his gravity. In a sweeping reformation from earlier World of Darkness titles, Cook aligns the entire gaming mechanic to a d20 system that mirrors the world's greatest RPG. Most importantly he does it successfully- but did you expect any less?
Cook expands the entire gaming world with this title because he uses an easy mechanic that rarely alters itself and ties to so many other popular games. The d20 mechanic is easy to learn for a beginner and so completely realized new possibilities are always available to experienced gamers.Plus this title is actually self-contained , so it is the only necessary book for players to start gaming which is nice on the wallet.
The use of the d20 mechanic really is the best selling point to the title because it is a system so many people already know that they can forget learning a game and actually play it. The system allows an endless choice of creativity in that it already possesses setting titles for every time frame or reality that gamers wish to use, from true history to high fantasy to futuristic to modern day; and all of it fits together cohesively without any alteration.
In comparison to other WoD texts the Monte Cook version holds its own very well with an equal amount of game mechanic and flavor text that really sets the stage of the game. There is plenty of story line built in place within the system so there is never a want for gaming plot or characters.
The entire history and current status of the setting are fully explained in detail with strong examples of actual game usage.
There is one piece that defies my explanation within the text, why he granted extra hit dice to beginning characters, it seems that such a move creates imbalanced characters across the different game setting divide, but in the WoD setting alone it remains balanced since all characters receive them.
[4 of 5 Stars!]