Reviews: The World Of Darkness
Sturgeon's Law: The Playing
The World Of Darkness is one of the most popular non DND RPGs out there, it has the mix of tragic monsters and Urban Fantasy that has attracted a good deal of "indy" fame and fortune. The games are all
pretty much exactly the same, turn a normal human into a supernatural creature, (usually monstrous) of five "races" and five "political groups", magical powers that go one through five, a Shadow Archetype race, an Eldritch Abomination (or twelve) that want to kill/eat/enslave/torture you, humans that want to kill you, random beasties, a Hunter Of His Own Kind, a Karma Meter, Power Levels, Mana and backgrounds. Note that the only game to slightly diverge from the norm was their best.
Now, there are good parts to the game, the fluff is generally fun and scary the art is pretty and distinctive for each book, and the series is second only to Warhammer 40 K at creating a World Half Empty. The powers may be unbalanced but they're detailed and thematically pretty awesome, if occasionally redundant coughWerewolfcough. All in all, white wolf excels at story and mood, and they're pretty good at that, if you ignore the repetitive repeating repetition of the games.
Now, this is the clincher, the flaws which really kill the game. The terrible editing, Protection From Editors is supposed to apply to your idea, not spelling and layout, the books have a lot of really simple mistakes in them, and weird layout an spacing problems which just scream that they don't have a proof reader. The indexes or uniformly horrible, with the Lunar Exalted book taking the cake. "The Jodhpurs of Gaia", ugh. And now, for the final blow, the gameplay. The d10 system is boring and generic, and the system is terribly balanced. Game is mechanical and cold, and as deeply flawed as dnd is, at least the game is fun and detailed, "three successes" is just uncool compared to rolling a 38. Not to mention how unrealistic combat is, the best shot in the world with a sniper rifle should not take multiple hits to kill someone! The rules don't as much encourage innovation and bravery as much as Rules Lawyer-ing. An original idea ruined by bad rules.