The Saving Throw
d20 - Monte Cook's World of Darkness 10.25.2007
Saving Throw's review of Monte Cook's World of Darkness.

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Monte Cook's World of Darkness
published by White Wolf Publishing reviewed by Martin Drury
386 pages, 2007, $49.99
Content 18
Organization 17
Consistency 15
Intelligibility 15
Solid Hit
Review Scoring

   Vampires, Werewolves, Mages, Demons and the Awaken all meet a 20-sided die in Monte Cook's final work, Monte Cook's World of Darkness. In this book, Monte Cook takes on the challenge of converting the World of Darkness from the Storytelling System to d20, and by all accounts, he succeeds with only a few hiccups.

For those familiar with the d20 system, this take on World of Darkness will be easy to pick up. For those with familarity with the Storyteller system might find the d20 version of World of Darkness a comforting way to learn the d20 system. Unfortunately, the Storyteller system is significantly more simple than the d20 system, so any advantage gained is likely to be offset by the more complex system mechanics.

Monte Cook's World of Darkness is essentially split into two parts. Part one covers the mechanics of a d20 World of Darkness, while Part two provides some sample settings. Interspersed in both are bits of fiction designed to provide inspiration for running a World of Darkness campaign and insight into the design of the d20 version.

From a mechanics standpoint, Monte Cook's World of Darkness is very similar to the standard d20 setting, with a few important modifications. First, classes in Monte Cook's World of Darkness can better be described as "racial templates". A Mage cannot be an Awakened, nor can a Demon be a Werewolf or a Vampire. And unlike the typical "standard" races of d20 fare, characters in Monte Cook's World of Darkness always start with more than one hit die. The other major difference in the mechanics has to do with how magic is handled in this setting. Spells are made of components, which the characters apply on the fly to make magical effects. This system allows for more dynamic spell casting, but at the same time requires more quick thinking on the part of the player in order to not bog down game play.

The two sample settings provided in this book cover two areas under different levels of "supernatural" influence, Chicago, IL and Minneapolis, MN. Chicago provides a setting where things that go bump in the night probably are out to kill you, while Minneapolis provides a setting where it is not even safe in the daylight. Also provided are sample "Nightmare places" that might occur anywhere in the world.

It is expected that any work with Monte Cook's name on it is going to be an excellent source for gamers, and World of Darkness is no different. Despite a steep learning cover for handling magic in this game, the over all experience is one to enjoy and cherish.

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