Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Complete Transylvania Chronicles Redux

Here is the list of all my posts for my series on the Transylvania Chronicles. The experiment didn't really pan out the way I wanted, but it was still an enjoyable and enlightening read. Hopefully other Storytellers will find these posts to be of some interest

If you're a player who might play these, please note that each of these posts is full of spoilers. They were written from the point of view of a potential storyteller, so please do not read these if you are planning to play.

For everyone else, here they are.

Get it here
I started off with the read through of Transylvania by Night. This is still an excellent resource, if perhaps overly ambitious. I wish they had focused more on a smaller area, such as Transylvania itself. Instead, the book seeks to cover the entirety of Eastern Europe, with mixed results. I'd still recommend it for anyone interested in running a Dark Ages chronicle, no matter where you wish to set it.

Get it here
Dark Tides Rising is the first book in the Transylvania Chronicles. This was a decent book, with some decent adventures and settings. While I had some problems with the Acts in this book, none of them were insurmountable, and customizing the narrative for your own Chronicle can actually be rather fun. 

Get it here
Son of the Dragon is the second book, and my least favorite. I found the adventures dull, the NPC's either boring or offensively over the top. And not in the "it's a horror game, offense is to be assumed" but in the way of "this NPC is so much cooler than anything any of your PC's could ever hope to be." Escort missions are the death of any game, but especially so in Vampire. Sure, Act II had it's escort, but at least you could work a cool heist into the middle of it. These are just...bleh. 

Get it here
Ill Omens is the third in the series. They changed authors at this point. While I have no idea why they did, there was a clear increase in quality. While McAwesome NPC-Who-Never- Actually-Does-Anything-Cool is still a problem, the adventures start getting really good. In fact, one of them I would want to run "as is" even if I wasn't the running the Chronicles, and another I would want to run with just a few slight tweaks. This is probably the strongest of the series. 

The Dragon Ascendant is the fourth and final book of the Transylvania Chronicles. It's also the most disappointing, though not quite as bile inducing as Son of the Dragon.  It has its fun parts, but large chunks are just a waste of space for most troupes. Though, there are a few I can some troupes really digging.  The final adventure is just...well, it's not a finale. It's not an end. Nothing comes together, nothing is resolved. Plot threads introduced in the first book remain open. And not in a sense of "there's still more" but in the sense of the final adventure feels more like a subquest than an end. As if Return of the Jedi had focused ENTIRELY on taking out Jabba the Hutt. And, at the end, Jabba and Boba Fett had remained alive and free and vowed to mess up Luke, Han & Leia later, and that was it. No Endor (which, ok, no Ewoks), no Emperor, no Death Star II battle, no redemption of Vader just...the characters dealing with a fun and cool adventure, but one ignorant of everything that came before it. Worth it for Act X, but be prepared to write your own Acts XI and XII.

1 comment:

  1. Wanted to let you know that I've been using your Complete Transylvania Chronicles Redux for a V5 Dark Ages games that I've been running for nearly 3 years now. I'm using Transylvania Chronicles as a partial framework for a much larger chronicle, so we're only just recently getting to Act II with Goratrix, but your advice has been very spot on. I took Act I and II and pretty much completely reworked them.


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