The World of Darkness RPG (review)

Much like Dungeons and Dragons, the World of Darkness Storytelling System is a fantasy based role-playing game. Unlike D&D, however, WoD is set in the modern day, in a version of the world we live in, albeit a darker, more dangerous reflection thereof. Published by the White Wolf Game Studio, the World of Darkness brings a little dark magic into the everyday happenings all around us.

The World of Darkness Rules Set

The Storytelling system emphasizes story over dice roles. Unlike some game systems, there is very little math involved. When a roll is necessary, the system makes use of ten-sided dice, known as d10s. However, no addition is needed, except for counting up the number of “successes” a given dice pool (the number of dice assigned to a particular task) rolls. As long as a particular die rolls an 8 or above, it is counted as a success. Any die which results in a 10 is rerolled, with any additional successes gained added to the total.

The rules exist to minimize dice rolls and to encourage roleplaying while still keeping the playing field level. For anyone who prefers the acting side of roleplaying to the numbers game aspect, WoD does wonderfully. That is not to say that dice aficionados will not be able to roll. There is something for everyone in this game system, due in a large part to the very flexible character creation system.

Going Beyond the Mortal

The World of Darkness Core system provides the basic rules and everything one would need to begin play as a mortal. However, further options, in the form of successive hardcore ‘template splats,’ provide the means and rules by which mortals can transform into and be played as:

  • Vampires
  • Werewolves
  • Mages
  • Prometheans
  • Changelings

and other denizens of the dark supernatural world. These supernatural templates are added onto the mortal character, building on that human foundation.

Players can thereby experience different types of supernatural being, and different aspects of the horrific fantasy genre. The world of Vampire allows players to explore a Machiavellian political world dominated by the inhuman lust for blood. The world of Werewolf focuses on primal savagery and the struggle between humanity and the beast inside. The world of Mage brings out the debate between hubris and wisdom, focusing on what is and is not a responsible use of power. Other games focus on other themes.

Due to its rich focus on storytelling and the flexibility of its rules set, the World of Darkness line can provide something for almost any taste in roleplaying. Step into the World of Darkness. It is well worth the visit.

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