So, a few days back I looked at the base rules for Brains and Brawn by Fighter Guy Studios. I did that because I had bought Kith and Kin: Vampires to look at as a review, and it was an add-on to the base game. After reading the add-on I now realise it has everything in it that the base game does, and more. So much more. If you like Vampires as a concept, and want to use them in your game, here is a neat little package that is cost-effective and useful in a broad range of vampire games.
The first thing that struck me the most about this add-on is its size. It is four times the size of the basic game, coming in at 15-16 pages. The second thing that struck me was the broad range of influences that go into making this little gem. The author of this game knows his vampires, and as you read it you will see the influences flow through the writing. The first thing is the number of quotes that you will see from Vampires in various media. There is Anne Rice, Stoker, Lost Boys, Blade and many more. I read every quote and realised that the add-on was focused on the areas that I was super interested in.
Then you see the influences themselves flow into the powers of the Vampires. There are a number of “things vampires can do” that you can choose like a menu I suppose. In each of these, I felt I could pick the inspiration for each of the powers. I loved the selection of powers and the focus on the lore of the Vampire was clear and concise.
The add-on does not explicitly say too much about if it is for player characters or the Tale Teller (TT) until the end. There is a section here that specifies how to use the add-on if the intention is that the Player Characters are going to be vampires. It largely alters the material before it to make the Vampires a little less fragile than NPC vampires. This is fair to a degree. It kind of adds up to the old adage in games where if an NPC hit “0 Hit Points” they are dead, but a player could survive such a grievous situation.
There is a good variety of powers and detail about how the Vampires should operate in the system. As vampires have a good deal of depth to them there are new systems involved and created just for them. A way that the Number statistic is varied by age as well as a Blood Point system. Surrounding this there is some nice workaround feeding and the way it affects those fed on as well.
As I am only new to this system, this supplement was a bit confronting when I first looked at it. Four times the size of the base game was a little bit in my face from what I was expecting. With the read of the contents though it all made sense. I liked what I saw, and I saw that the person who wrote this was also a lover of Vampires, which makes a big difference. I think it was $4.99 USD at Drive Thru RPG and I feel this is a good price point. I also saw that there are numerous other expansions all designed to flesh out the simple system if you need assistance. Again, after this read, I can strongly suggest that it is worth investigating if you love a good vampire game. Keep on rolling!
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