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I’ve been carrying this book, Horror Recognition Guide, around off and on over the last few months.  It wasn’t until recently that I really took a crack at it. It’s a fascinating read! I expected something analogous to Mysterious Places, a treatment of various phenomena accompanied with hints as to how to use them. It has the former, but the latter is conspicuously absent.

As it stands now, I’m nearly 100 pages in— more on that in a moment— and it doesn’t break character. It’s a collection of files, notes, journals, and ephemera detailing people’s encounters with the various nasties in this book. There’s nary a stat to be found and even the credits are at the back of the book rather than the front. Altogether, it’s 300 pages, covering 16 different phenomena. If you were to mistake this for a collection of short stories, you wouldn’t be far off the mark!

It’s definitely in a more Hunter-y context than any of the other games, a plain World of Darkness mortals game being one big possible exception. By that I mean that these stories are laid out more like mysteries than threats. So far, they’re fairly localized phenomena, though for at least a few of these horrors it’s obvious how you could increase their scope, at least to the point where they might give any of the other supernaturals cause for concern.

Anyway, it’s a real treat so far. It adds a lot to what might come to mind when you think about Hunter: the Vigil in particular and the sorts of things you’d see in World of Darkness in general.

All that said, I imagine you’ll get a bunch more more mileage out of it if you pick up Collection of Horrors. From what I can tell, it gives you something more concrete than a story, using the SAS system, various props (incl. audio) (!), and presumably statistics for some of the phenomena concerned. I’m intrigued, to the point where I’m considering buying the bundle. I like it when companies experiment like this, and I suspect these would be ideal for one-shots.

Since it’s evening when I’m writing this, I’m going to have at the rest of the book.

Holy crap out of butts, this book is huge! I thought at first that I might’ve been ignorant, not having read the page count in the catalog entry. I don’t see it in there, though. It’s about 254 pages, and roughly on par with some of the core books in terms of size. 

On the way home with it, I joked that it had must have character creation rules for playing a murderer. (“Step 1: Attributes … Step 7: kill somebody. Step 8: don’t get caught.”) I was intrigued enough to start flipping through it. This is quite a bit more thorough than I expected. 

For starters, it looks like they’re almost a splat in their own right. They’re much like  hunters, in that they have a bunch of specific tactics and merits that set them apart from regular people, mechanically and stylistically. Enumerated herein are also a bunch of archetypes, called “undertakings.” I must say that I appreciate that choice of word.

I’ll confess that I was expecting something more along the lines of the other supplements to annual games, and this surprised me. Good times.

Oh, I’ve also got my hands on Mekhet. More on that later.

Also, look for a post on Monday about, of all things, gnomes.

I spent the last week, including part of this week, out of town and working longer hours than usual, so of course my blogging suffers as a result. I didn’t slack off completely, though: I’ve been reading many of the books in my backlog!

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On Friday, I secured myself a copy of Hunter: the Vigil. (It turns out that they weren’t lying after all!) I didn’t get a chance to spend much time with it until yesterday afternoon, and by this point I’m about halfway through.

You know what that means: first impressions!

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Let’s talk about stuff that isn’t out yet. Good? Good!

I saw on EnWorld the other day that, among other things, the Player’s Handbook II is in the latest catalog from Wizards. It’s due in March 2009.

I’m glad we’re hearing about it but March? Dammit! That is basically Forever. I’ve really been spoiled by White Wolf’s release schedule, where there’s a 128-pager every couple of weeks. There’s always more material to read, and it’s almost always really good, even though I’ve really only run one game of Mage: the Awakening. (I intend to remedy this once 4e slackens its grip on my cold, shriveled heart.)

Some of the classes that appear to be as good as confirmed are the bard, barbarian, druid, swordmage, and sorcerer. After paging through the Swordmage preview (click the “Download the preview material” link), I am sort of interested in that class.

But let’s be honest: it’s the old classes redone that I am most interested in. I like seeing how they express the core concept of the class. I think the fighter’s never been cooler than in 4th Edition, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the old classes.

…except for the bard.

Yeah, all right, fine! I can’t lie. I’m curious about the bard, too! Despite my inherent skepticism, I know they’re going to do something interesting with it. I just have no idea what.

I guess there’s a Monster Manual II coming out in May, also. That’s like Forever plus Infinity.

Fortunately, Hunter: the Vigil is due out in a week or so. Or so they tell me.

OK, I’m going to level with you, blog: I find this hard to believe. Deep down, I suspect shenanigans; there’s no way it’s August already. Right? The Pacific Northwest barely got a summer as it is, and now the summer is over? Look, you might be able to fool everyone else, but I’m not falling for this one.

Still, I decided to play along. I told my FLGS that I’ll be buying Hunter when it comes out, even though I’m signed up for D&D for at least a few more weeks, and I’m thinking about running a paragon tier game after this one.

On the topic of Hunter: the Vigil, I will almost certainly buy it. I’m caught up with the previews, and I like what I’ve read so far. This is mainly because so far, they appear to be utterly mundane.

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Today I had a longer commute than usual, and to that end, I took a few things with me to read on the bus: the Hunter: the Vigil quickstart and Midnight Roads.

I only got a little ways into Midnight Roads, but I did finally finish reading the quickstart. Now I can comment on some of the stuff I talked about in my last post.

I’ll keep this free of any specifics that would constitute a spoiler vis a vis plot, but there are one or two comments I have about pacing that may spoil you if you want to keep yourself pure. I don’t think that applies to anyone reading this, but there you go.

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I bought some books today, blog. They are new World of Darkness books. I did this despite being behind on reading many other books that I already have. I also got something for free!

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I feel like a jerk for not even bothering to read the previews for the new Hunter game. I really like most of the work that White Wolf does when it comes to the World of Darkness. (Exalted, on the other hand, I don’t much care for. But to each his own!) And I think I’ll like Hunter when it comes out.

However, the D&D monkey is on my back, and it must be satisfied by at least a couple more months of obsession. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing: by then, I believe Hunter will be out and I could perhaps maybe kind of possibly run it.

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