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Tabletop Game / Houses of the Blooded

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Houses of the Blooded is a tabletop roleplaying game by developer John Wick, of Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea fame. It was made as a response to Dungeons & Dragons in a vein of self-described "Anti-D&D". The game starts players off as ancient and powerful nobility known as the Ven, a race native to the lands of Shanri. They are a very self-absorbed and emotional race, more concerned with gathering and gaining power than improving the world in any way that doesn't fit into their own views. The only real advancement is in adding to your power and thwarting others, freezing them in their tracks before crushing them.


  • Abusive Precursors: The Sorcerer-Kings, who created the Ven. The worst thing imaginable to a Ven is the return of the Sorcerer-Kings, who would put them back to slavery.
  • Alien Geometries: The Puzzle House, an artifact one can find on their land.
  • Artifact of Doom: Literally every artifact is this. Someone who wields the tools of the Sorcerer-Kings is explicitly opening themselves up to a karmic smackdown on an important roll.
  • Ban on Magic: Sorcery is illegal among the Ven. Also, most Ven are sorcerers. "Illegal" in this case means "impolite to use in public."
  • The Beautiful Elite: The Ven.
  • Blood Magic: Ven were created with supernaturally-powerful blood for use in this.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "Bad form" and "good form" apply on either side of the fourth wall, and Style Points are given or taken accordingly.
  • Cessation of Existence: The Ven don't believe in an afterlife. Since they're otherwise immortal, they take murder very seriously for a bunch of scheming narcissists.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Ven, again.
  • Decadent Court: The Ven are basically portrayed as having invented it.
  • Direct Line to the Author: John Wick talks about the Ven as if they were real, even providing a bogus bibliography.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Orks; also, anything yellow.
  • Fatal Flaw: As a whole, the Ven suffer from a surplus of passion and a dearth of restraint.
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: For most of their lives, the ven are pretty much indistinguishable from humans aside from the occasional odd eye color. They don't physically age in the same way humans do, growing taller and thinner while developing odd obsessions. Eventually they lose all desire to do anything and stop moving, at which point their bodies secrete a sticky, hairlike substance that cocoons them entirely. This state is called "Solace", and supposedly someday all Ven in Solace will awaken. However much they look like humans, humans they are not.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: One literally run on Rule of Cool. Players get "Style Points" for acting stylish and Ven-like (or getting awesome blowthrough successes on their rolls), which they can use to power magic and improve their die rolls. Taking the Ven definition of awesome further, a Ven can hold more Style Points if they have properly awesome personal gear, and they can lose Style Points for being uncool (either in- or out-of-character).
  • Manipulative Bastard: Many player characters.
  • Our Gods Are Different: The Ven worship the Suaven, their deified ancestors.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Orks. Interesting case, in that not only are the monsters different but the phrase "Ork" itself is a catch all for every dangerous wild monster.
  • Politically Correct History: In John Wick's constructed history of the Ven, he notes that the "real" Ven were terribly sexist, but that their own literature tended to portray women as being on equal footing with men, and that's how he's chosen to portray the social dynamics in-game.
  • The Power of Love: Pursuing a romantic task is probably one of the most powerful ways to generate big dice pools. Note, however, that the Ven definition of "love" is extremely competitive and often downright nasty.
  • Refuge in Audacity: If you do something vulgar (which costs you Style Points) but get blowthrough successes on your roll, you can collect more Style Points from the action than you lose.
  • Sailor Earth: The Veiled Houses, which are Noble Houses lost or banished from the public circles of Ven that may or may not be attempting to rise again, depending on their survival past their veiling.
  • The Soulless: Ven metaphysics doesn't account for the possibility of a soul existing independently of the body. Spectres might take the form of dead Ven to torment their victims, but no Ven mistakes that for a ghost as we'd understand it.
  • Special Snowflake Syndrome: An entire section of the rulebook is devoted to this, where there will always be that kind of player who wants to play something not available in the book. John Wick calls this "the Vach Problem," after one of his players, and suggests that the GM give the player what he wants in such a way that he'll regret it.
  • Sword and Sorcery
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: One Serpent Suaven power works in this fashion, allowing its user to jinx an opponent's roll.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: If a game does not go like this, chances are you're doing it wrong.