Hello everyone, welcome. Today I am going to be sharing my review of Cambridge Security, a product available for sale on the Storytellers Vault Website.
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.
Not that long ago I wrote a review for the Bloodline Book: Cambridge for the Vampire: The Masquerade line of games. This product outlined the story of a rare bloodline that only ever embraced from twins descended from the original mortal family, embracing one twin whilst having the other bound as a ghoul so that the vampire would have a mortal double. This Bloodline has existed for approximately 1500 years and has dedicated itself to protecting humanity from the supernatural. They do this using their corporation, one of whose Subsidiary companies is Cambridge Security.
Cambridge Security tells the story of a humble bodyguard firm established in Victorian London, that over a century and a half with the stewardship of very old vampires, becomes an eminent private security firm offering close protection, cyber security and other various options. Of course, that is just the day job. In the shadows, Cambridge Security fights a clandestine war against the supernatural. And on the forefront of this war, the tip of the spear is their even more secretive sub division, Black Aegis.
This work gives a very brief introduction to the history of Cambridge Security, and an overview of the various Head Offices situated around the the globe though the bulk of the book (50 pages) is given over to character details to the various Directors, Strike Team Leaders and (in the case of Alpha Team), Strike Team Members.
Each entry dedicated to a character has a brief biography, roleplaying hints, physical description and full character sheet detailing stats and powers (where appropriate). At the end of the book there is a bibliography of all the source books used, which I suspect would be necessary if you wanted to use all of the powers listed.
Each of the characters also has artwork drawn so you don’t have to visualize , you can just look.
The Good Stuff
The strength of this book is the volume of NPCs it brings to the table. Even if you don’t plan on using Cambridge Security in its entirety, and truthfully I would only ever use them as adversaries in a Vampire: The Masquerade or Werewolf: The Apocalypse game, you could focus on a field office with a Strike Team based out of it and have some of the named NPCs as shadowy figures for players to find later. (Remember, The Cambridge Bloodline are trying to safeguard humanity, which makes a fun dynamic in an rpg as it forces the players to evaluate their character morality).
The idea of Black Aegis was quite interesting, it felt to me like a response to Pentex First Teams which are more often than not villains in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Given one of the team members listed in Alpha Team is is basically a Tzimisce War Ghoul (reformed) Black Aegis would be a fun adversary to pit against experienced players given that they are likely to assume First Teams, and then Pentex. The Misdirect could easily lead to lots of fun gameplay.
The layout was professional looking, and I only detected a couple of mistypes.
There is a bibliography of hyperlinks to reference material.
The Stuff you need to make your own mind up about
This is a niggle I have with many World of Darkness products, not just Storytellers Vault products. Many of the Main NPCs felt overpowered.
This might be due to influence of other World of Darkness books/podcasts, however in places the lore of Cambridge Security felt a little bit too clean. That is to say that in World of Darkness there really aren’t supposed to be any saints. The best it can normally manage is some form of cynical broken champion with enough personal demons to fight the hosts of heaven. This didn’t feel like the case overall though there is nothing to say you cant add some demons, or build upon a few things that are covered
Whilst I liked the details on the Directors and Team Leaders, as well as the corporate locations, I felt something was missing about the Company itself. Legitimate, day to day activities are touched on but could do with a bit more detail and I feel this could help segregating the normal operations from the more secretive Black Aegis ops.
So, let’s put it to the test. Can I find a use for this particular sourcebook? Well, yes. I already mentioned I liked the idea of using Cambridge Security as an adversary in a game of Vampire: The Masquerade as I do like games where morality enters into play. As written, the Cambridge Bloodline are “The Good Guys” in a world where there aren’t any white knights left. For all that I didn’t feel this book was as strong as the original Bloodlines Book: Cambridge, it is a worthy addition to a collection. And sometimes, when their aren’t any white knights left, the best you can hope for are Dark Ones.
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