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Minireview: Blood Bond (Vampire: the Masquerade)

White Wolf’s adventure modules have a poor reputation, and it’s mostly deserved. For every one that is interesting and at least somewhat well-written, you get five that are horrendous railroaded abominations. Blood Bond, one of the earliest ones, belongs firmly in the “abomination” category. It manages to showcase almost all of the bad things about a White Wolf module.

The story is set in Chicago, the signature city of the original Vampire, and concerns one of Prince Lodin’s trusted lieutenants, Neally Edwards (first encountered in Chicago By Night). The PCs get caught up in the story of his slow degeneration and fall from grace… and cannot do much anything except act as spectators. As an added bonus, the backstory is mostly opaque to the PCs, needing lots of bad exposition from key NPCs. This whole “watch NPCs do stuff without any say in events” is a signature feature of most bad WW modules.

There is some good here. The backstory is decent – though, as noted, is not really made clear to the PCs in any interesting way. Also, the plot is stretched out over time; the intention is that other game events happen between scenes here. That’s a decent design, and lets the GM place this in a story more organically.

…assuming any GM wants to run this, which I soundly recommend against. It’s a mess. The way a Blood Bond functions in this module is totally bizarre and contradicts much other information in the game. For example. at one point a key NPC Blood Bonds another NPCs, and then proceeds to remote-control him to do horrible things… because Blood Bond! Huh? To be fair, it’s a Sabbat Blood Bond, and the Sabbat here are very very different from what they later become, and maybe the writer thought this was some weird Sabbat mystic shit. If so, it’s never clarified, the text just says this happens because of the Blood Bond. Oh, and the whole thing assumes the PCs are Anarchs and/or hostile to the “administration”, and are quite willing to do things like go joyriding with the Sabbat just for fun. It’s also assumed that at least one of the PCs falls madly in lust with a certain ghoul. Because.. plot! The list of “huh?” things goes on and on, and some of the bits just make no sense at all – at times because of shoddy proofreading.

This is worth reading for humor value if you’re a WoD fan. Otherwise, avoid.

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