Teleri (telerib) wrote,

Houses of the Blooded

I picked up a new RPG: John Wick's Houses of the Bloooded. I think of it as Opera: The RPG, and someone else called it "Vodacce on steroids," which is pretty accurate, too. Wick himself has said it's a reaction to D&D - an anti-D&D, if you will.

The PDF is $5. If I have ever GMed for you and you liked it, go spend $5 on this. It's the kinds of stuff I try to do, given mechanics and turned up to 11. All the social interactions, the groundedness, the networks of ties and obligations and loves.

The ideas are very shiny. More PC control over the narrative? PCs who win rolls - so they can describe how they win or how they fail? PCs adding clues and details to scenes, determining the results of their Knowledge rolls? Yup. Very different.

It has a Wanker Rule. If you find a loophole, or a killer combo, or a way to break the setting - just don't. Don't be a wanker. If you have to ask if you're being a wanker, you probably are.

On the downside - it feels like it needed another trip to the editor's place. Insult and Injury both seem to have two mechanical meanings. So does 'Seasons.' Examples don't always tally with the rules. Big chunks of text are copied and pasted, although that might be deliberate - Wick says up front that he'll be using repetition as a flavor device in the text. Heck, it all might be deliberate - the ven, the race and culture the PCs are playing, are all about simple laws with dozens of exceptions. Maybe the rules are supposed to be murky and flexible and open to interpretations.

To be fair, most of the core mechanic is fairly clearly presented. The devil is always in the details. There's a lot of errata on the website.

I am still making my way through the book - about halfway through 400+ pages. It's a player's handbook and narrator's guide combined, and I'm still in the player section.

I don't know if I would make a very good player of this game. It's about tragedy. I would have to hit a hard reset on several of my long-standing gamer habits to play it well. But I'm fairly sure I would be a good Narrator for it.
Tags: gaming
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