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Valkyrie Magazine and RPGnet are happy to provide this review.

VAMPIRE: The Masquerade
[sterling]8.99 - 86PP

This book is aimed as source material for GMs only. If you want to play using Elders as player characters it is recommended that you are an experienced or mature player because if these guys aren't played properly you could have a comedy of horrors on your hands. These guys are Powerful, these are the bastards that have been screwing up all your previous PCs, as if they needed the help! The Elders are very literally the Powers Behind The Throne and if you ever meet one you won't need to remember to be scared - you will be.

The first chapter gives you a whole host of information on the deadly games that the Elders play among themselves, their relationships with other groups such as the Sabbat, Anarchs, and their own Camarilla. We are given the Five Pillars of Power that the Elders use to keep their young in check - a greatly enjoyable section that no player should ever, ever, see.

You gain an insight into the workings of an Elder's mind in the first part of 'The Status Quo' - Chapter Two. You also get some very good information regarding the world and creating Elysiums - those areas of a city that are held in high regard by the ruling elite, where meetings are held; the theatre land districts, night-clubs, etc., where feeding and display of vampiric powers is forbidden.

Salons are also described in great detail. Salons come in a variety of types and styles, but all have just one real purpose - to give pleasure and entertainment to the Elders involved. Salons can range from anything such as creating new policies to a scavenger hunt where the goal could be an item or a life. The Elders take great measures to gain enjoyment, after all if you've lived for over five hundred years there's not much left you haven't done - you need something hard, or risky, to get you going again.

A breakdown on the various Clan's views on the things that make up an Elders power base are talked about in 'Tools of Control' as are sources of power and tips on Storytelling Elders, although in much less detail.

The next chapter goes into creating your Elder character - now this is handy for both someone wishing to play an Elder and the Storyteller who wishes to give their NPC Elders a bit more personality and background. Now one of the first things you will have to do is to come up with a history, memoirs, and letters, etc., detailing the characters life and exploits throughout time. New Merits, Flaws, Backgrounds, and point allocation all come into effect when creating Elders and they do seem to work.

With the last section detailing a number of Gehenna Cults and giving you new PC and Power Sources sheets for you to fill in I'd say that this is one of the best Vampire releases in a long time - but I still say it should only be a Storyteller's sourcebook!

Review by Angus Abranson

Product Supplied by Angus

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