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Welcome All, To Curtain Call At The Opera

In my unceasing quest to scratch the "I want to run a fantasy RPG with political intrigue in it" itch that's been bugging me for the past <strike>couple of months</strike> year-plus since my Triad game failed ignominiously, some people I game with over at SA suggested I stop trying to shoehorn it into D&D4E (the setting was originally for 3.5, so I felt obligated to give its heir a try) and look at other systems. At their instigation, I gave Houses of the Blooded (new game by John Wick, who did Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea) a read, and it's a mixed blessing.

On the good hand, it's definitely an innovative system with a focus on the parts of fantasy literature that I tend to find the coolest: character drama, backstabbing intrigue, political infighting, etc, etc. Allowing players to take a hand in narrative control with a game mechanic was at first kind of jarring, but remembering some of the games I've played and run where the players did contribute to storytelling turned me around on that quickly.

On the bad hand - while its setting is very interesting in a Gothic/tragic sort of way (though some might say that it reaches Vampire: The Masquerade levels of self-regard), I can count the players I'd trust in it on one hand, and they're spread across about ten time zones (granted, I would have been running it as a forum game anyway just because I'm not going to make myself juggle five people's schedules any-fucking-more). The system is fairly intertwined with the setting, too, which means I'd have to go at it with a chainsaw in order to come out with something I could use more generically. So I suspect my search will go on.

Still, I like it, I just never expect I'll get a chance to play it. But the 400-page PDF is only five bucks (for a limited time, anyway), and at least I got a nice read out of it.