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Outstanding Resource for fans of Vamps...even if a little overambitious

4/5

I've been looking forward to this one for a while!

Some of the things I've heard about this book sound a little entitled, complaining that Blood of the Night wasn't at all what they wanted...but in reality, it does exactly what the product description said it'd do. It was never marketed as a sourcebook exclusively for dhampir characters - its trying to cover vampires, dhampirs, and hunters. It tries really hard, falls short in a few places, and is actually really awesome in others.

Instead of focusing on what people thought it was going to be, let's focus on what it really is.

This book is 36 pages long, with about 31 pages of content.

Layout:

The book is spread a bit thin trying to cover three different modes of play, but is for the most part, neatly divided which makes it easy to jump from section to section. I also really adore page 3 with the rules index, telling you page numbers for feats, spells, traits, etc - really digging that. That being said, there are sections that should be next to each other but are instead crammed in elsewhere, like why is "Vampires on Golarian" squeezed in between dhampirs and hunters, when the whole first section is about vampires?

I also need to make mention of the infamous spread on pgs 16-17...one huge mural with three feats floating somewhere in there. I mean, the art is amazing...but its a really weird layout choice and the feats are pretty hard for me to read.

Crunch:

Each of the four vampire races, moroi, vetala, nosferatu, and jiang-shi are well represented and fully detailed...information important to anyone looking to play a vampire, hunt a vampire, or be sired by/born of one. There's also a neat section on some ideas for playing as a vampire PC with a mixed party, for PCs who aren't sure where to begin.

The optional rules for hunger is also really cool - I can see a lot of interesting inspiration in it for enemies (PCs stumble upon a nest of hungry ghouls suffering adverse penalties, etc).

The weapons and feats were kinda sparse, but I loved what they did put in there.

Fluff:

There's a lot of fluff here for each race of vampire, with some really interesting story hooks behind each of them. Each one also gets its own traits and a little box of extra little information...stuff that I really love :)

The only fluff that I really didn't care too much for was the "roles" sections throughout. To me, it feels like wasted space that could have been used for archtypes, or more weapons, etc. However, I do see their importance for new players learning to stretch their imaginations, and GMs for quick and easy NPC building. However, I understand that I'm not the target demographic for them, as I already have a very active imagination and could have come up with these for myself :)

The part where the roles bothered me...was that that was all the hunters really got. I would have really loved to see something much more than that for them, maybe an archtype for the Ranger class, or something. That's not me complaining about "not getting what I wanted", that's me stating that with all of the rich fluff that can be derived from hunting the undead, it would have been great to get something deeper than roles.

This book is also really beautiful - they chose a really wonderful layout with lot's of black and red, but not enough to hurt your eyes.

The artwork is also gorgeous throughout. All of the official art I've seen for dhampirs have been...bad to me. Examples would be the Advance Race Guide, and the weird dhampir on page 19 of this book. However, this book actually offers me a visual reason to want to play as a dhampir in the heritages section with some really neat artwork on each.

Overall:

Four stars!

The positives:
Great layout - imaginative fluff - cool feats/weapons - great resource of info on the overgrown demonic mosquitoes

The negatives:
Pgs 16 & 17 - a LOT of information crammed into a small book; so many great ideas, so few pages! - some of the info is a little scattered - vampire hunter section could have been better...so much potential funneled into roles

Overall a really great attempt at something new. I really look forward to the next book in this style and I hope that its even better than this one was!

-Tirisfal