Hello everyone, welcome! Today I am doing another Storytellers Vault review for those folks that do the Secrets of the Masquerade Books for Vampire: The Masquerade. I have previously reviewed their Guide to Playable Characters which is a good starter for ten book of detailed character creation in Vampire: The Masquerade. Today I am reviewing Secrets of the Masquerade: Guide to Siring.
Disclaimers. I was provided a free copy for review purposes. This Product is available from the Storytellers Vault, a website that I have affiliate status with. This means that any links to this product or the Storytellers Vault (or other related products on associated sites such as Drive Thru RPG) are tagged, and if you click them and buy anything, I make a small commission. In order to give you choice, I will also include a “clean” link free of tags at the end of this article if, for any reason, you want to support the product but not necessarily this site.
SotM Guide to Siring is a short work that takes a more detailed look at the prelude element of games of Vampire: The Masquerade, though more specifically it explores the motivations that a member of the undead might have for embracing another, essentially creating a rival and damning a soul in the process. In games of Vampire: The Masquerade (or Vampire: The Dark Ages, for that matter) it is easy to get stuck in stereotypes, saying this clan or bloodline embraces that type of person and so on. Guide to Siring takes a look at that conceit and rejects it as a starting point. Certainly there is some truth in embrace stereotypes however, Guide to Siring approaches from a different angle that has one basic principle in mind. Clans don’t embrace people, individual vampires do. And even a mighty elder is flawed and may embrace for the wrong reasons. It is this that provides the very core of this work. It explores the different reasons sires embrace, and the potential for stories to grow from this. For instance, what might happen if the Sire misinterprets something about the player character, and embraces them thinking they will get a powerful asset? For instance, a human con artist has managed to get himself into various society and corporate events as his fake ID is bulletproof, making it look like he is far wealthier and better connected than he actually is. He is embraced by an incautious vampire looking to capitalise on this portfolio, but suddenly they discover it is all a facade. Of course, they’ll still have use for a con artist but perhaps the sire/childe relationship is frosty as the sire feels duped. Guide to Siring explores legitimate and accidental embraces with various motivations. In fact, probably the most useful section of the work is three Human Characters each with three potential embrace scenarios attached to them. This was fantastic in terms of giving ideas for setting up a game based only on human backgrounds.
That all being said, some of this might fly against what some players are looking for in a game. Folks might come to a game with the idea of playing a specific character, with clan etc already chosen. That is fine, this book merely is an excellent alternative.
The Good Stuff
Three human characters each with three different sire stories to work with.
A thorough list of reasons someone might be embraced in the first place. (Including how this can be based on faulty assumptions)
Short, but decent discussion on the prelude.
The Stuff you need to make your own mind up about
I don’t have much to say here. There was some clunky grammar, but the meaning was discernible. In my previous review of Guide to Playable Characters I commented on tone. (It was a bit bossy). This is not the case in Guide to Siring.
The most important question that needs to be answered is, would I use this product? The answer is yes. I am tending to run games where I ask players not to choose clans and leave that to me, and then building the embrace into their prelude depending on what happens. This means that the game is less pre-ordained by me, has a fair amount of player agency, and also builds up character relationships early on. Yes I will use Guide to Siring in future games, and I recommend any storytellers of the World of Darkness “Vampire” games to do the same.
All the best to you!
You can purchase the Secrets of the Masquerade: Guide to Siring on the following (Clean, tag free) HERE