Posted on June 22, 2009 by spikexan
Blood Drive ($6.99 PDF) is the newest installment from White Wolf’s Storytelling Adventure System. This Hunter: the Vigil adventure offers an action-oriented romp for slightly seasoned characters (XP 25-29). This adventure plays on a personal favorite of mine. It’s the classic tale of the supposedly “easy job” that becomes something else altogether. At eleven scenes and forty-six pages (none of which are ads), this is a healthy night’s adventure or (more likely) multiple sessions of fun.
The direction of this adventure, like other White Wolf products I’ve recently reviewed, continues to impress me. The layout of the adventure offers both the detailed story, which the Storyteller will have to go over and a collection of Scene Cards to act as Storyteller cheat sheets.
You keep the full file on a nearby laptop while just maintaining a few scant pages of Scene Cards at the game table. How easy is that? There are also a few handouts to be printed for those gaming groups that enjoy a tangible clue every now and then. The layout of the adventure looks great and no distractions. I especially like the look of this adventure’s Scene Cards.
The art of the adventure lends itself to the artwork in other Hunter: the Vigil books. Most are sketches while one is an enhanced photo. Matt Dixon’s piece on page 25, which depicts a priest forcing a confession, is doubtlessly my favorite bit of artwork in this adventure. Like most of the SAS line, artwork takes a backseat to story. Most of the text’s artwork is reserved for character pics and props. I think this makes perfect sense from the publisher’s perspective and contributes to an overall better product. I’ve seen too many modules with plenty of art and sporadic writing. That just doesn’t work.
I’ve already mentioned that this adventure works best with seasoned characters. There are two reasons for this. One, the threats in the game aren’t to be sneezed at. Two, this adventure works really well as part of an on-going campaign. The gist of the story is this: the players are “given” a vampire to transport from Philadelphia to Chicago (it isn’t paramount that these two cities are used, but the distance should be roughly the same). Most Hunters would just want to kill the bloodsucker; however, this particular vamp claims to seek redemption and also promises to reveal some high-level supernatural secrets.
Of course, there is a small amount of lies tied into things as well.
Before the players know it, they are being tailed by multiple entities seeking to kill their “package;” furthermore, their secret-laced penitent has his own agenda to complete. What works about the writing to Blood Drive is the care to make it make sense. In a relative small amount of space, it addresses a yawning stretch of possibilities. Multiple bits of information is possible for the vampire to offer the team (not to mention what individual Storytellers may incorporate). There is also discussion on each compact and conspiracy in regards to how they view this story of redemption and information. Some care about both; most don’t. The feeling is that everyone is playing the characters. Perhaps there is a reason for that. I was surprised that this adventure didn’t offer a bit more to its mental and social ratings.
The scores are mental (2), physical (5), and social (2); however, it doesn’t really feel like this will always turn into that sort of adventure. I saw it more as a mental (3), physical (4), and social (3) adventure simply due to its depth.
At the cost of a movie ticket, this PDF will provide more than a night’s entertainment. It’s an excellent SAS addition and probably the one I’d most recommend from those I’ve read. My scores for it are:
Layout: Five out of Five Dice (No Waste)
Artwork: Three out of Five Dice (character pics were somewhat uninspired)
Writing: Five out of Five Dice (intricate plot)
Overall: Four out of Five Dice (lots of potential)
Review by Todd Cash