Clanbook: Gangrel Capsule Review by Nick Kolowski on 29/03/02
Style: 3 (Average)
Substance: 3 (Average)
A well written, if uninspiring addition to the revised Clanbook line
Product: Clanbook: Gangrel
Author: James and Ellen Kiley
Company/Publisher: White Wolf
Line: Vampire: The Masquerade
Page count: 104
Year published: 2001
Comp copy?: yes
Capsule Review by Nick Kolowski on 29/03/02
Genre tags: Modern day Horror Vampire Live-action
I'm not really the best person to review art, but it seems to be expected in reviews so I'll give it a shot. The artwork here is basically par for the course. None of it really struck me as exceptional. Although I do wonder why there are so many sketchy people with no faces, and Richard Kane's over the top chapter intros are not my thing at all. The Leif Jones template pictures are all nice though, they actually match the text.
Aftermath of Independence:
Like practically every White Wolf book this opens with a piece of fiction to help set the mood for the rest of the book. The story isn't anything ground-breaking, but it's fairly nice for gaming fiction. It shows a little bit about how a Gangrel might go about night to night existence, as well as the tension caused by the recent split in the clan. My only real complaint about it is that it's written in a hard to read handwriting-style font. This has been a bad habit of White Wolf for so long that it's tradition now, I just wish they'd lay off the hard to read fonts.
Chapter One: Stone, Steppe, and Sea: A history of the Gangrel Clan:
Like most White Wolf SplatBooks, the first chapter after the fiction is a history chapter. This one is written from the perspective of a Gangrel who has been collecting as much about Gangrel history as he can. It's kind of nice in that for the oldest stuff there are multiple possibilities presented, much of it in a skeptical light. Over all this was a nicely written chapter, with lots of flavor and potential plot hooks, and that's about all you can really ask for in a history chapter.
Chapter Two: Inside the Gangrel:
This chapter is the real meat of the book. Insight into the mentality of the clan, how many members go about their business, info on bloodlines and the crunchy bits of new rules are all here... supposedly. The first two are provided in a fairly limited fashion. Mostly it's just short bits on Gangrel by continent and sect, as well as the obligatory clan stereotypes section. While these sections are done decently, there just doesn't seem to be enough. I find the omission of detail on "things" and "Allthings" (a type of Gangrel gathering with a silly name), especially since they are mentioned in passing in previous sections without describing what they are. There is one nice section about Lupines (subtitled "How to keep Werewolves from Killing You") which is well written and dispels some of the silly ideas from earlier edition supplements about Gangrel tricking werewolves into thinking they're one of them, learning Garou Rites and other such wackiness. The section on the Clan flaw is also a welcome addition, giving some ideas about how to play it. Many of the sample flaws seemed a bit silly, but then again I've never really thought much of the Gangrel weakness. And rounding out the chapter we have new Discipline powers (as well as revisions of some of the older ones). These really are a mixed bag in terms of quality. Some seem a bit overpowered, others are rather nicely done and several are simply forgettable. In particular I really liked the Protean "Animal Swarm" form, and the "Flesh Wound" combo power is fun (it's an obfuscate, fortitude combo that makes you look invincible even when you?re hurting like hell).
Chapter Three: Beasts Among Men:
The last chapter of the book contains templates and NPCs of note. The templates aren't really anything special. A few are somewhat interesting, but most are fairly predictable and uninspired. The NPCs also struck me as fairly standard; like many other parts of the book, they are well written but not really anything that grabbed me.
Overall the book is well written, but isn't really anything special. It's not a bad book by any means, it's just nothing to write home about. I could only really recommend it to hard core Gangrel fans and completists. But I would recommend taking a brief look yourself to see if it's more fitting of your style than it is of mine.