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Blood Dark Thirst $4.00
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Chance P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/12/2017 19:50:52

Explanation: Although Blood Dark Thirst is meant as a homage/heartbreaker of first edition Vampire: the Requiem, I've never actually played it or read it all of the way through, so this review is unbiased by how well it fufills this role.

System: As mentioned above, this new iteration of Blood Dark Thirst uses the VSd6 system. What this means is that for every action you roll a certain number of dice based on how skilled you are and the highest number is your score, with multiple 6s only counting for attacks. You are skilled at three things, which you roll 3d6 for, you are bad at one thing, which you roll 1d6 for, and for everything else you roll 2d6. If the challenge is fairly easy, you add a die, and if it's hard, you subtract a die. If you should have 0d6, you simply roll 2d6 and take the lowest.

Character Creation In addition to picking three skills and one weakness, you also pick three (out of 20) personality flaws, such as pacifist, insecure, and greedy, a name, gender, and age, and supernatural powers. All vampires have three base supernatural powers but there is also another lengthy list of powers that you will pick as you level up, ranging from changing into wolves and bats to telepathy.

Humanity and Health: One of the best parts of this system, Humanity and Health are how you track your vampire's physical and mental state. Humanity ranges from 1 to 6, with 6 being perfectly human to 6 being a horrific beast. Every time you do something especially inhuman, you lose a point of Humanity, but you can only lose one point of Humanity per night. This means that if you go on a nonstop killing rampage, you only lose one point, which in my opinion can lead to nice roleplaying as it becomes one instance of your inner beast taking over. Health starts at 25 and goes up by 1d6 every level. Vampires can regenerate 1d6 Health by spending a point of blood and Humans regenerate 1d6 Health nightly.

Combat: Combat with this system, from what I read, tends towards the cinematic. Whoever describes their action first goes first and you roll a certain number of dice based on how strong your attack is. Then, based on the result of that roll (taking the highest number again), you roll a certain number of damage dice to subtract from your enemy's hit points. It's really quite simplified and I enjoy the mechanical purity. Damage does explode, which, when you're already dealing a lot of damage, could be unbalancing but it can represent the bestial instinct of the vampire taking over. Also, all vampires essentially have cleave, so if they deal more damage than they need to, it carries onto another victim.

Blood, Willpower, and Bloodlust: Points of blood and Willpower both range from 1-6, allowing you to track it handily on a d6, although it is recommended to use tokens. Points of blood are similar to mana, allowing you to use supernatural powers and heal yourself, while Willpower represents a vampire's restraint. You can only spend one point of blood per turn and one Willpower per round and three Willpower per scene. Bloodlust isn't a number but rather comes into play when you're running low on blood. When you have a low blood, you roll additional dice when doing something. When they come up as 1s, you go into a frenzy, and if they are 6s, you have a critical success. The duality of this, in my mind, allows for players to consider whether or not they want to risk running low on blood.

Weaknesses and Truths and Falsehoods: As an addendum of sorts, Venger provides a basic list of ways that the vampires can be killed, as they are essentially immortal otherwise, and debunks some 'facts' from classic films and stories. I can definitely see this being useful to a GM.

Etc.: In addition to the mechanical side, Venger also provides information for blood bonds, or binding one vampire to another, mortal slaves, a few random tables, and a basis for a starting adventure. Because of the more free-form nature of this system, and the random tables provided, having the adventure as an introduction and set of bullet points is actually a boon rather than a bane. It lets the GM decide how he wants to run this adventure, while still having a list of things to fall back on.

Layout: The layout is by Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design, who has done artwork for a variety of Kort'thalis Publishing products as well as recently running a successful Kickstarter for his Midderlands setting. The background of the page is stylized to be blood stained and despite this, the actual text and content is still easy to read, at least for me. All in all, the layout looks especially good to me and the actual content really benefits from it.

Artwork: The artwork is from a variety of different artists and features a variety of different artists, and unlike the WotC Star Wars Roleplaying Game, this isn't jarring at all to me. Every piece showcases a different aspect of the popular culture surrounding vampires and someone's different interpretation thereof. Plus, one of the pieces, by Maxime Taccarde/Priest of Terror, actually did a piece with his own blood from what I can tell! That's the best possible (and most metal) art style to include in a vampire roleplaying game and I have to give credit to both Venger and the artist for including this.

In Conclusion: This is definitely a more free form and brutal vampire RPG than most, with a definite focus on animal instinct versus reason. It seems somewhat alike to Daniel Bayn's Wushu in mechanical and suggested style while staying far, far away from Twilight vampires. The artwork and layout definitely add to the already thematic mechanics and I definitely felt inspired just reading this.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Blood Dark Thirst
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