Rites of the Dragon
I didn’t get to work on this main book directly, which is a shame because White Wolf gives you a pay bump for core rule writing. However, while it was being composed, its first couple supplements (Nomads and Rites of the Dragon) were in simultaneous development. I wrote Rites and, to my delight, Justin included qu otes from it in the main book.
The whole V:tM/V:tR transition was just an interesting phenomenon, albeit one with some unreasoning passion on both sides. My impression is that if you played the old game, the new one excises whatever you liked best and whatever you hated most. For instance, extra-movement Celerity is gone, prompting howls of disgust from those who loved doing three or four times as many things as everyone else, and cries of ecstasy from players who hated feeling like they needed to buy up Celerity or resign themselves to never getting any spotlight time. Same thing with the dreaded metaplot, or the free successes of Potence, or the unpronounceable Tzimisce. (Did I spell that right?)
I did the clans section of this, and the fiction, and some other bits. The fiction is okay, but since this was coterminously developed with the main book, there was still some upheaval over how stuff like Predator’s Taint and being staked actually worked. I think it came out all right in the end, but there are still some rough edges. Also, in hindsight, I really wished I’d proposed structuring it like this: First, a discussion of how awful terrible bad dangerous yucky it is to travel outside cities. That could serve anyone’s game, by giving the Storyteller lots of conflict-fodder when the characters decide “We’ll just move to Denver ‘til the heat dies down”. Then, after that, you give all the strategies that experienced nomads use to avoid that crap, and then the clan and covenant-specific stuff. But oh well. Hindsight is 20/20.
My other regret about Nomads is that my bloodline of traveling Daeva megalomaniacs (the Asnâm) got cut out, but maybe I can recycle them into the Circle of the Crone book.
Wow, was this ever fun to write! I keep thinking about what Jack Nicholson said about playing the Joker in Batman: “When you’re wearing a purple suit and have green hair, it’s impossible to overact.” Similarly, I think writing from the perspective of Count Dracula is pretty much carte bla nche to carry on in the most overblown fashion imaginable. Apparently the developers agreed, since the back cover quote – “I saw in the abbot’s mirror my twisted countenance and I knew the hell-wolf I had become” – is, if you ask me, pretty ripe. But in a good way.
The secret bit of Rites is iconography hidden on pages 69, 89, 90, 94, explained in the Ordo Dracul book.
I only wrote the intro fiction for this, but I’m pretty darn pleased with it. Solomon Birch is as much fun to write about as Dracula was in Rites, or Lucifer in Days of Fire. I’m not sure what it says about me that I take such giddy delight in examining the perspective of supremely self-confident evil monsters. I hope it says something good, but it doesn’t seem likely.
I wrote a bigger chunk of this, including the Paths of Fate section that allows a character to, more or less, gain the self-knowledge to consciously invoke his Virtue and Vice. Maybe I’m just a sorry game-wonk, but I think it’s neat that there are solid benefits for (1) staying in character and that (2) I built in a way for character self-knowledge to play into those benefits. I also had a lot of fun with “three versions of Dracula,” though I wish they’d kept it as “people pretending to be Dracula” instead of “Kindred pretending to be Dracula.”
From the way Will Hindmarch powered-down Praestantia and Ahranite Sorcery, I’m getting the impression that I should rein myself in when I write up funky powers. From my perspective, Praestantia should be a little more buff than it is, but I’ll survive.
Party of me wishes I’d gotten my chance to write up two lost clans who fused themselves with desperate spirits. The idea there was that there are only something like 500 Sevenites globally, and they can’t Embrace another until one of their current number has been killed. However, whenever a Sevenite is killed, his memories and spirit and personality aren’t lost. They just impose themselves on the person who gets a Sevenite embrace. Thus, those 500 Sevenites have all been killed and reincarnated, with their complete memories and skills, dozens of times. The only way to permanently put one down is diablerie, which is a touch job since they can usually kill themselves before the diablerist can get the job done.
It’s a neat notion, since you keep killing this guy without getting rid of him, but maybe the origin story was a little twee. The Gomorrah and Irem narrative was plenty of fun too.
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