Posted on September 20, 2004 by Flames
Written by Peter Woodworth, White Wolf Publishing (WW5009)
Enter a world where you are born from dreams, where dragons are real, and the courts of old still exist. Honor is still upheld in a mortal world full of lawyers, liars and thieves. Nobility live proud, rule true, and still look down on those beneath them. Courts divide the world on ideals. You live by rules, to protect yourself.
In the game The Shining Host, you play a fae trapped in a mortal shell, destined to roam earth in search of dreams, and cast out of your true home, Arcadia. You can still make illusions real, though as time wears on you, it becomes harder and harder. But with the onset of civilization, true artists are hard to find, and the inspiration there once was for fantasy is fading. Personal tragedy is hidden because it is disbelief, making it a tougher, yet more interesting game to follow. As reality becomes more prevalent, your world fades.
There’s still magic in the world, you just have to know where to look…
Despite the romantic sound of the game, the LARP guide holds very little of the story of Changeling. Most of what you grasp is given in explanations of powers, or game play, and not told in story. If someone is really interested in the story of Changeling, this book is not a good reference piece. Also, the history concerning different kiths is lacking. With such a diverse system of kingdoms, the book lacks demonstration of where each kith would take prominence, leaving some grasping at straws when it comes to origins. This makes it difficult for players unfamiliar with the tabletop version of this game to grasp the overall story.
The layout of the book helps players learn systems and challenge orders very quickly. They offer in-game situations and show how to tell a story while making challenges. This helps players with ideas on creativity, which is a theme to this game. With some time, the game flow should smooth out, becoming a seamless storyline. Since this is a big problem for most new players, and even veterans, this section should be the easiest to follow, or fall into. The layout of systems and powers is very easy to read and follow.
Another interesting aspect of the game the book reaches into is the lifestyle and culture of the fae. Oaths, taken very seriously in the fae world, are given, along with some possible consequences if failed. Courts are held very strictly, and sides must be chosen by each and every fae. The rightful ruler of each kingdom must be obeyed, and the smaller dukes must carry out her wishes. The book shows a very medieval lifestyle, with very modern characters. This also offers to the players a different feel, and different appeal than other White Wolf products.
The final interesting aspect of the book is the illustrations, done by Jonathan Rhea and Stefani McClure, which portray a side of the fae seeming. While the pictures themselves do not offer very clear ideas on costuming, they do portray a good idea of how the world looks to the fae, and how a character might truly look on that side.
On a closing note, it is important to realize that this is a different side to the World of Darkness as a whole. The fantasy setting mixed with horror is done very well in this game. With the ease of game play, and attractiveness of the game, this is a wonderful book to have.
Reviewer: Crystal Mazur
Look for Mind’s Eye Theatre eBooks at RPGNow.com.