Storytellers Vault Roundup: Savannah by Night Storyteller’s Guide and Player’s Guide and Humble Bundle
  • Storytellers Vault Roundup: Savannah by Night Storyteller’s & Player’s Guide; Humble Bundle


    For my second Storytellers Vault Roundup, I'm doing a Vampire: The Masquerade review and looking at a Humble Bundle that offers a Storytellers Vault discount.




    The Humble RPG Book Bundle: Vampire The Masquerade by White Wolf Entertainment not only includes a variety of core and flavorful Vampire: The Masquerade books such as Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition (the 3e core rules) ranging to Victorian Age Vampire: London by Night (detailing London for your games set in the late 1800s). Beyond gameplay products, there are several unique additions:
    • Clan Novel Saga Vol. 1: The Fall of Atlanta (A prose novel set in the World of Darkness)
    • Vampire: The Eternal Struggle Digital Cards
    • Judas Goat (A film that touches on the mood of the WoD)
    • Access to the ebooks on WorldOfDarkness.com, and “three months of classic book subscription access to select eBook titles at WorldOfDarkness.com.”
    • 20% OFF at Storyteller's Vault – Digital

    While this bundle offers a collection of neat products, it is not an internally consistent line-up. The core rules are for 3e, there are adventures written for 1e, 3e, and the spinoff version of the game set in the Victorian era. While the differences in the various editions of VtM are small enough that this isn’t going to be a challenge for veteran storytellers, there may be confusion for newer storytellers and players. Still, at the $1, $8, and $15 levels, this is an amazing bargain (especially the 20% off Storyteller’s Vault coupon). This Humble Bundle ends October 17th at 2:00 PM EDT.



    Beyond the bundle, let's look at Vampire: The Masquerade in my home state of Georgia. David MacDowell Blue’s Savannah by Night COMPLETE is a 56-page book collecting Blue’s prior products, Savannah by Night Storyteller’s Guide and Savannah by Night Player’s Guide.

    Before we get into this book, let’s talk about the real-world Savannah, Georgia. I originate from metro Atlanta (raised in the next town over from White Wolf‘s first headquarters), and coastal Savannah is about four hours ride away. I’ve frequented the city over the decades, but my knowledge is touristy instead of local. The city is a colonial port known for its historic and well-preserved downtown area, graveyards, unusual urban layout, and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

    With that preamble, let’s look at the book. The first section is the player’s guide, 20 pages (less cover, title page, and table of contents) that gives a Masquerader-tourist overview of the colonial portions of Savannah. Some sites, some people to meet, some history. The sites are focused on the historic city and the surrounding islands, omitting the “newer” suburbs. There’s a deal of focus on Savannah’s unique qualities, its layout around the Oglethorpe Plan, its notoriety as one of the most haunted cities in America, and its atmosphere, which is key to using this guide. For the city’s kindred, the Masquerade is deeper than hiding their world from that of the mortals, it’s also used among their own. Every vampire resident of the city, with only a few exceptions, are pleasant, free spirits. Their nature is a part of the stereotypical coastal spirit / Southern charm / nice/nasty culture that pervades the literary South. In this case, it’s used to great effect. On the surface, the vampires mostly get along and seem exceedingly jovial toward their fellow bloodsucker. However, their pleasant veneers hide a world of agendas and vendettas.

    That leads into the second section of the book, the storyteller’s guide. 36 pages detailing the reality of what the player’s guide suggests of the world. This guide really delves deep offering stats, appearance, history, goals, and roleplaying suggestions for every NPC in the city as well as the frequent visitors and a few unseen puzzle pieces. Within the city there are a number of cliques that the book breaks down offering the deeper intrigues that move this world forward. There is a great deal of focus on the Tybee Island bomb, a nuclear bomb that was lost in the ocean off the coast of Tybee Island, Georgia (just off the coast of Savannah) in 1958. Each of the immortals would like to locate the bomb for their own reasons, which offers a unique set of WoD story ideas and how to address them.

    It should be noted, while only a light touch here or there, the book does note some of the racial challenges that exist in Savannah. Historic Savannah was funded through slave labor with that foundation still visible in certain areas that remain economically segregated. While the book does not detail the racial history of the city, it offers hints that can be used to affect.

    As to the overall packaging, writing, and editing, this is a Storytellers Vault book and, like many of those, it is a mixture of professionalism and the early days of RPG when so much of it felt DIY. The layouts look excellent has many of the Vault’s products do. The art is a pleasant mix of work from the Storytellers Vault art packs and filtered photos of Savannah. The book could use a copy editor here and there, but that’s a common note for books from the Vault (and, really, could be said of so many RPGs). That is not to imply any great editorial need because the book reads well.

    One notable omission within the setting is SCAD. The art college owns a number of the historic buildings in downtown. Their presence is a mix of preservation and educational repurposing. For legal purposes, I’m guessing, the college was omitted and that’s a shame. As an opportunity to bring artists into the setting as both inspiration and cattle, SCAD would have been a setting appropriate addition. However, it could have created a legal headache no author would want to confront so that has to be avoided like the sun.

    Looking beyond those quibbles, David MacDowell Blue’s Savannah by Night COMPLETE offers a slice of what historic Savannah looks like tonight. There’s enough tourist information to make Savannah a good stop if your vampires are tasting the flavors of America. The book also offers an excellent location for a campaign set in a middling-sized coastal city with a unique history combined with an even more unique personality.

    This article was contributed by Egg Embry as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. Please note that Egg is a participant in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to DriveThruRPG. As well, he is a Humble Partner, an affiliate program that earns advertising fees by advertising and linking to Humble Bundle. We are always on the lookout for freelance columnists! If you have a pitch, please contact us!
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Jer's Avatar
      Jer -
      Access to the ebooks on WorldOfDarkness.com, and “three months of classic book subscription access to select eBook titles at WorldOfDarkness.com.”
      Can anyone explain what the subscription here means? I looked around for a review of what a subscription on WorldOfDarkness.com gives you as far as these eBook titles and I'm not finding much. What kind of format are these books in? Is it some kind of dedicated webreader or some kind of Adobe DRM PDFs (like Overdrive uses) or something else?
    1. marcoasalazarm -
      As a man who has never played "Vampire" in any way, shape or form, I really need to ask if it's worth the purchase.

      No, seriously. Sell me, guys.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jer View Post
      Can anyone explain what the subscription here means? I looked around for a review of what a subscription on WorldOfDarkness.com gives you as far as these eBook titles and I'm not finding much. What kind of format are these books in? Is it some kind of dedicated webreader or some kind of Adobe DRM PDFs (like Overdrive uses) or something else?
      As a part of the review, I bought the Humble Bundle and signed into the WorldOfDarkness.com store (they also have a direct link that says Redeem Your Bundle) and entered the code that Humble Bundle provided. Under My Subscriptions on WorldOfDarkness.com, you have access to a large number of WoD titles (more than the Humble Bundle I purchased). You can click on any title, it loads in-browser, and, while it scrolled as smoothly as a PDF file, it appears each page is an individual JPEG or PNG. There is no offline option with this subscription. I hope that helps.

      Thanks,

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by marcoasalazarm View Post
      As a man who has never played "Vampire" in any way, shape or form, I really need to ask if it's worth the purchase.

      No, seriously. Sell me, guys.
      My quick setting pitch:

      Tonight, you are a horror that drinks to live. You and your fellow beasts are active participants in the world's darkest conspiracy, the Masquerade. Through it, you hide the brutality of your existence, because if you're discovered, when the sun comes up, you'll be defenseless, found, bound, and put down. Despite your monstrous nature, you were human once and you're aware of the crimes you're committing, yet you can't help yourself. The setting is the World of Darkness, but the darkness is in you.

      Thanks,

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
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