Hello everyone, welcome. Today I am doing another review for folks on the Storytellers Vault Website, this time the Scenario Sourcebook New Blood written by Jacob Klunder (Sorry Jacob, I know there are dots above the U in your name but I have no idea how to do that). This post contains affiliate links to New Blood which means if you click on these links and decide to purchase the item, I gain a small commission. I was gifted a copy of New Blood for review purpose.
OK, now that the official stuff is out of the way with, let’s get to it. New Blood is a 40 page supplement for Vampire: The Dark Ages which includes a scenario about a Mage and a Tremere discovering a method to create artificial blood. Such a discovery has the potential to seriously shift the balance of power among the vampires of the Dark Ages, as they would no longer be beholden to their standard food supply. As such, the enterprising Tremere and Mage do what any others might do in this situation. They announce that the blood they have manufactured, the formula and the Mage are for sale at auction to the highest bidder. Understandably various factions of vampires from all over Dark Ages Europe send their delegations to make bids. Players take roles of members of one of these delegations, or as an entirely separate delegation should they wish, on their way to the auction site in France. The Supplement provides background information on the plot, the Mage and the Tremere, as well as a bit of flavour about Europe and France at the time, as well as providing information about all of the delegates and observers, and the various possible methods of travel and the encounters and hazards that any journeying vampire is likely to encounter. There are even stats for Lupines, which players may encounter travelling the wilderness.
The Good Stuff
Once again I was impressed with the professional layout of this product. Again, without the Storytellers Vault watermark I would be hard pressed to say that this is community content. The story also draws upon NPCs and lore of the time period which would allow this scenario to fit in with other products.
This supplement doesn’t label itself as a Jumpstart. It is simply a scenario, so my usual gripes about the label are not present this time. Not every scene is scripted or outlined, however Klunder does a good job of outlining the various things that could happen, and this includes the travel from wherever the players are based all the way through to the machinations of the various factions at auction. This level of thoroughness means that the scenario itself could easily span two or three sessions, possibly more depending on how far the players have to travel.
There are a lot of NPCs all helpfully sorted into factions. Each faction has an overall feel to it, and each member of the faction is given a background. The level of detail here is impressive, particularly as more than one faction has traitors in their midst…and there is at least one faction present that is not entirely visible, adding to the story.
The Stuff you need to make your own mind up about
There are 36 NPCs (I had to go back and count them) spread out over 11 known factions (with other secretive factions also included). This is a lot. There are a number of encounters listing various NPCs from various factions and how they will interact with each other, which is great as players who are interested in spying on the NPCs have a lot to get their teeth into, however it is a little overwhelming – even for me.
There is a lot of detail describing the setting, but how the encounters run is entirely up to the discretion of the Storyteller. I Like this – despite the large number of characters, they all have backgrounds and I feel confident I could run those NPCs. This supplement does not label itself Jumpstart, and it is my experience that many scenaro prompts for Vampire are simply that, prompts. And details are left to the Storyteller and players. An inexperienced Storyteller would be advised to keep this as something to run after they have some practice under their belt.
I really, really enjoyed reading through this Scenario. I think I would like to run it, but in truth I think I would want to read though it a couple more times and then sketch out how I might do the various politics scenes before I attempt it. I think preparation on how to run the various politics scenes is probably key to an enjoyable scenario. I also felt that a fair few of the NPCs were very easily reusable in other scenarios, so that is another plus if you want to add travellers from faraway lands to your chronicle.