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Ventrue: Lords Over the Damned (Vampire: The Requiem) Paperback – 2 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: White Wolf Publishing (2 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588462730
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588462732
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 21 x 27.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,461,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I bought the first VtR clanbook for one reason and one reason only: for the return of the Malkavians.

Yet I was expecting alot of games stuff.

Here's what I got: a load of rubbish.

The book is anything but inspiring, perhaps except for the Malkavia portion of the book.

What really upset me, was the fact the book was laid out as a series of "essays" and "eye witness" accounts. I was expecting something with lots of rules stuff, especially on the Malkavians, bloodlines, discplines ect. The book is chock a block of trash. The writing is okay, some of the "stories" were really good (Notes From A Dead Girl, I loved that one), others were so bad, you couldn't use it as bird paper. It would have killed the bird with boredom.

However if you enjoy White-Wolf's fiction (which I do, but if I wanted to read a whole book of it, I would have bought the VtR novels), then you'd enjoy this. But if you are looking for something with lots of rules and disciplines, then you're better off buying the "Bloodlines" series or anything else for that matter.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Could have been better. 30 May 2008
By Darkraven112 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I find myself wondering where I should start the review for this product. Do I talk about the amazing art and the sudden change to color or do I discuss the mechanics or lack thereof? The book has great qualities but they seem to be obfuscated by an alarming number of bad qualities.

The art is simply beautiful. Many of the pictures really bring to life the imagery of what is being discussed in the text. I found myself looking at the art like it was a coffee table book.

Like older white-wolf clan books, nothing in this book is in stone. The book is masterfully put together to create an illusion that the book you are reading is a compilation of a vampires years of investigative work. If this is the design that white -wolf was going for, it worked. The book does feel like a collection of works from a historian. Even the art and page layout gives the impression of a work is progress.

The writing is top notch and completely consistent throughout the paperback tome (an odd change from the normal hardcover) however the story seems to suffer from a major problem; it's unnecessarily contradictory to other white-wolf products and is in many places simply pedantic. Rather than having a clear cut story or an easy to understand account, we are given a rather boring ancient text that suggests that divine forces did not like a king and cursed him. After you get through page after page of this, you begin to wonder why you just did not make up your own history.

If you have read Requiem for Rome, you most likely had questions on the Julii. After all they looked just like the Ventrue, minus the flaw. Are they Ventrue? Are they a new clan? Where did they come from? The Ventrue books slaps together some short hypothesis on the issue but does little more than what your gaming group could come up with in fifteen minutes. Yet another mystery unsolved.

One of the new things added to this book is the Malkavians of the old game. Are they a new clan? No. Why? I don't know. Instead, they feel more like a "D&D template" that you apply to your vampire. It's a disease that can be spread and it is causing fear throughout the vampire community. I'm not going to lie, the Malkavians seem interesting and they have many plot devices, however, they would have been much more appealing as a bloodline or (heaven forbid) a new clan. Having them be a "D&D Template" that you apply to your vampire seemed a little forced, even in the text. (More on their Discipline later)

If you have been wondering why the Ventrue are considered the lords of men and Vampires and why they have not been consistently overthrown by the Daeva, then unfortunately (to my great surprise) this book does not help. This leads me to Game Mechanics. I was hoping that after all these years; we would see some interesting Bloodlines and devotions for the Ventrue who consistently get little of both in all of white-wolfs books. This does not happen here.

The first thing we are introduced to in the "crunch" section is the new bloodline called the Adrestio. They are without a doubt the most uninteresting bloodline I have ever read. With over 2000 years of the Ventrue history, we get a 20 year old bloodline that is an unprofessional (sex, drugs and rock n'roll) Ventrue that gets protean. At the very least, they could have tossed in a few other Ventrue bloodlines from the different ages. Very disappointing.

Next we get Merits. The merits are both interesting and seem to add flavor to the Lords. Rather than going through all the different Merits that are here, I will say this. The merits are the best additions to this book. Not only are they easy to implement into your game, they also add many role play opportunities.

The Devotions are fascinating but nothing that you would write home about. By the time you're done reading them you are not sure if you like them or you don't. The Devotions are not bad, but they seem like an afterthought. I can see using any of them but not necessarily going out of my way to put them on my character sheet.

The new Discipline is for the Malkavians. If you played the old game then you know what this power is. Dementation, is a mixture of Nightmare and Dominate with a unique flare to it. If your PC's aren't crazy yet, they will be.

Is the book bad? No. Ventrue Lords over the Damned does what it set out to do. It has unknown history mixed with fun vampire interviews with eccentric elders and unique individuals. The problem with the book is that really there isn't much more there. Where amazing opportunities could have been grasped by the writer in describing the Ventrue, I continuously wondered why other vampire did not simply wipe the Ventrue out. They were weak and really have not proved that they are Lords of anything.

Then when we get to the "crunch" section, I find nothing but cobwebs and an "IOU". I understand that this book is supposed to be an information supplement but...really? Nothing at all to distinguish the Ventrue from other clans? Wow.

In closing, I will say this. If you like the Venture you may be disappointed in this book. It just doesn't have the kick that was really needed for them. If on the other hand, you are indifferent about the Ventrue, you may like this book. There is a lot of usable material that can be placed in your game right now. I for one am going to use very little from this book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great read for non-gamers too 23 Sept. 2008
By Keith Tokash - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm part of a strange sub-culture that reads these things but doesn't actually participate in the games (simply have no time). I also read a lot of the old V:tM books and the core material for V:tR, so despite being a non-gamer I'm not a noobcake. This book is eminently readable and highly enjoyable for non-gamers. The reason is it's not about the mechanics. As an engineer I appreciate the mechanics, so I read those too, but here are the real enjoyable aspects:

- The stories. These are of course the meat of the book, and they're dark, with the barest of light peaking out often enough to avoid predictability. You see Ventrue cast not just as the stereotypical CEO, but in roles like king of a trailer park. Very creative

- The art. Every page or two has a really interesting piece of vampire artwork. It's tough to find "monster art" that isn't cheesy or somehow silly. These guys have done a great job, and the artwork really complements the writing, particularly when you look back and forth between the portrait and the story and correlate the two; it really brings the story to the next level

- The production. High quality. Between that and the artwork, that's where your money is going (as opposed to 8 clams for a simple paperback)

I'd like to point out for any other horror fiction fans that due to this book's size (8.5 x 11 inches, think a full piece of printer paper in the US), the page count is a little deceiving. It's tough to justify paying a lot for a novel of 120 pages, but these are bigger pages, so it's probably closer to 200+ (not all of it is writing of course). Also, if you're not planning on playing the RPG, you don't really need to read anything before this, though obviously the core Requiem book would help. You can truly enjoy this book as a standalone.

At any rate I hope this helps people looking for quality vampire fiction. Due to the fact that Ventrue is part of a larger world, if you like this you can count on more stuff right down your dark alley. Sorry, couldn't help myself.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
For Vampires, by Vampires 6 April 2008
By R. Spottiswood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The White Wolf writers are fond of pointing out the characters haven't read the books. With this, that is no longer true. Apart from the appendix, this is written completely in-game. There is no prologue fiction. There is a brief introduction from the in-game author to the mysterious person who decided to compile it. The first chapter is on the origins of the Ventrue. On the one hand, it gives essentially one, clear explanation for the origin of the Clan, how it differed and separated from Rome and the Julii, and the origin of the name Ventrue. On the other hand, the origin is firmly encased in human mythology. It is an explanation the Ventrue can and do believe, teach their neonates, and use to explain various aspects of the Clan. But gamers that wanted an explanation that can stand without mythology don't get one.

The second, much larger chapter is about the culture of the Clan, from a wide variety of angles and without exactly clear and concise descriptions. It is a collection of stories from Ventrue about the Clan, interviews with Ventrue that do, do not and really do not fit the stereotype of Lords. There are a couple of mad conspiracy theories and a contribution from a would-be saboteur dealing with Ventrue that drag the nickname Lord in the mud. There is an excellent essay on how the Ventrue manipulate the mortal world. The arrogance and madness of the Clan really comes through. They claim to have stood behind every successful ruler in Europe. It also explains Malkavia, which takes the idea of a sub-group of Ventrue that are mad but still operational and gives it a unique spin.

The technical stuff is covered in a short appendix. It introduces a new Bloodline and provides rules for using the Discipline that Malkavia allows access to. There are also some new merits and Devotions that fit the Ventrue. You don't need any book besides Requiem to understand this, but reading Damnation City's Lexicon and description of the neo-feudal system do come close to being required. There are references to many other Vampire books. Outside Vampire, World of Darkness: Asylum is a great fit with this book. The final technical aspect is the artwork. A White Wolf staffer commented on their forum that the artwork is the same, just in colour. He's wrong. Colour allows things that cannot be done in black and white, and the artists have taken full advantage.

From a Storyteller perspective, I think the contents are mostly for roleplaying and character providing. It should provide more depth no matter how well the Ventrue have been played. Also, there are stacks of in-game characters that the PCs now know by reputation. In fact, there are several systems explained in the book for Ventrue being known by various aliases, so the PCs may later learn that their allies or mentors are mentioned or even interviewed in it. Obviously, as an in-game document, there are no plot hook sidebars. Personally the information seems too vague to use as plot hooks without considerable development.

It's the book itself, as an in-game artifact, that provides stacks of options for the improvising Storyteller. After a player mentions it at the table, have his character dragged before some notable city figure. "This was distributed exclusively for Ventrue elders, how did YOU get it?" This book really emphasises the paranoid nature of vampires and specifically Ventrue, and what better way to bring in that theme than by the in-game reactions to the book? The political firestorm in the city should be massive - and probably way out of proportion to whatever was said about or by a prominent city figure in the book.
Better than expected, but still pretty vanilla 2 July 2010
By A. McLaughlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'v never really seen the appeal of Ventrue, being generally aristocrats with a power to literally make people do whatever they want. This book didn't really change my mind about the clan, but it happily brought some depth and variety in order to avoid the upper-class pidgeonhole. The artwork was also enjoyable, and the recurring theme of madness and degeneration kept me reading. The Merits, Flaws, and Derangements were the highlight for me, but it should also be noted that Malkavians are presented in this book as well. Malkavia in nWoD is a disease of madness with the accompanying Dementation Discipline, including the option of rolling Malkavians as a bloodline. I'm sure this is the result of popular demand, but given that the 2nd ed. Masquerade clan book for Malkavian was one of the best things White Wolf ever published, this offering pales in comparison. Sorry, still not enough to interest me in Ventrue.

Worst of the Requiem clan books in my opinion.
The Ventrue: Justice or Injustice? 26 Feb. 2009
By Byron C. W. Venn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When I first heard about the clan books I was stoked! I was so excited that I would finally be able to hear more about the clans and learn more of their heritage and secrets, I was very anxious to be able to read about them. The Ventrue book was the first one to be launched, I was so excited because I always have been a huge fan of the Ventrue, however I did like the Ventrue book for the most part. The Various stories within were decent. I especially liked the story of King Rat, and of Luke the Lords of uncommon territory. However the rest of the book didn't seem too interesting, I never really could get into their historical parts. Based on Mechanics however with only ONE bloodline, and an admittedly weak one at that. Its not worth what White Wolf asks for, rather the Amazon.Com price is. I'm not saying its a bad book, but its not the greatest book, however I do like it, and it making Malkavia a disease is indeed most interesting.
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