I often hit the local “outlet” book store where surplus books from the various chain stores are sent to die. Often I find nothing, but recently I came up with this little gem.
by Shane McDougall
Please ignore the title. It is clearly designed to catch the eye of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” fans. This is a disservice. Its design, organization and research quality make it an asset to any game master. The book is a massive tome of 600+ pages covering all kinds of vampires.
“Vampire” is very loosely defined. All sorts of creatures of darkness that devour souls/blood/body parts/sexual energy are included. I was very happy that the author breaks down the vast listing of monsters into manageable pieces. The book breaks down all the monsters by region, alphabetically. These sections constitute the majority of the book. Other chapters convey useful information such as “Fighting the Undead” and “Defenses Against the Undead.” The appendices are thorough and useful. I am fond of the the “Quick Reference Guide” that lists vampires by type, ie blood drinker, sexual, flesh eater. It makes tracking down the right monster for your campaign a snap.
Each beast gets an entry, most are only a paragraph or three, but some are much longer. Writing quality can be a bit uneven at times, but the information is top notch and ready to torment your players. Nothing like dropping a “Pontianak” instead of a regular vampire on the table. For those interested a “Pontianak” is a flesh-eating beast that appears as a beautiful woman. It springs from the legends of Java. Much more fun than your standard “euro-trash” vampire with a bad accent and a cape.
Unlike the the excellent Encyclopedia of Occultism , this book is of modern vintage. “World of Darkness” role-playing vampires, Blade movies, Buffy and other modern versions of the vampire myth put in an appearance.
I feel it is my duty to mention the art. Although good/great in places, there are some photographs and artwork that were very amateurish. The inclusion of various goth girls that looked like “Suicide Girl” refugees annoyed me.
Overall, the content of this book is excellent and deserves a look by DMs looking for some fresh horrors to visit upon their players.
Full disclosure: I do get a small commision if you buy this book from the link above. I found it at a “Borders” book store outlet for $5.00 in the bargain bin. Do some hunting and you might find a bargain. I, of course, would prefer you buy it through me. 😉 Either way, drop me a comment if you find this information useful.
Trask, the Last Tyromancer