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Kindred of the East
Vampire: The Masquerade

Justin Achilli, Phil Brucato, Mark Cenczyk, Robert Hatch, et al.
White Wolf

Kindred of the East
Additional Information
Kindred of the East is a giant hardcover sourcebook describing the unique and deadly vampires of the East. The volume includes new character creation rules, new powers, descriptions of the Eastern spirit world (and rules for travelling there), and two chapters full of setting and cultural information. Features include:
-- All-new vampires, ones not descended from Caine;
-- A new way to advance in power -- without the use of generation;
-- New powers, including spirit-swallowing, head detachment and the summoning of ghost-flame;
-- Notes on other Asian supernatural creatures.

White Wolf Games

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Henry Harding

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Back when I was just a wee gamer Mamma Harding use to say to me (after I'd thrown a petulant fit) "Don't hit your Mother or after you're dead your hand will grow out of the grave and everyone passing the cemetery will say 'That bad little boy use to hit his mother!'" Besides going a long way to explaining certain phobias I now exhibit, it also shows that Mamma was hip to the what-goes-around-comes-around thing, which is the raison d'être for vampires in White Wolf's Kindred of the East.

Oh, sorry. Not vampires; these eastern bloodsuckers are called Kuei-jin. Except, they don't have to be bloodsuckers necessarily. More about that in a minute.

Designed as an Asian exploration of Vampire: The Masquerade, Kindred of the East isn't a stand-alone game. You need the rules in Vampire: The Masquerade to play this. In other words, you have to have your sushi with good old American walleye.

I have to admit I have a penchant for Eastern culture, so when one of the first things in the game was an invaluable list of suggested resources I was in Nirvana. Shangri-La, baby! Everything from books like "The Tao of Pooh," "The Book of Five Rings," and "The Art of War" to movies like "Ninja Scroll" and "Big Trouble in Little China" to more surprising sources like Peter Gabriel's soundtrack album "Passion." All give indications to what the exotic atmosphere of Kindred of the East should be like, and really that is what White Wolf games are all about. Mood. They are group improvisations where the characters, acted out by the players, live in exotic locales, cope with life-and-death dilemmas, and have really gnarly powers.

The authors (too numerous to list by name) have done not only their homework, but the homework of everyone else in the class as well. Bravo folks!

Kindred of the East is a daunting work. You ain't going to have a game up and running an hour after getting this book. A large reason for this is having to become familiar with a large set of new concepts and phrases and I don't just mean yin and yang. The Eight Lotus Path, the Fivefold Way, Dharmas (just Dharmas, no Gregs), P'o, Hun, Wu -- all have to be digested in order to play this game. Yeah, sure, it's hard slogging at times, but it's definitely worth it. Kindred of the East is a fantastic storytelling platform on which to explore not only Oriental culture and art, but also the intrusion of Western culture into that ancient society. Plus it's neat to have your Devil-tiger Kuei-jin rip the snot out of a haughty Toreador from Boston who thinks sake is just hot wine.

Particularly intriguing is the entire history of Asia condensed into one chapter with Kuei-jin highlights. It is a blend of historical fact and imagination. (Did you know the expulsion of westerners from Japan in 1639 and for the ensuing two centuries was due to a group of Jesuits trying to destroy a vampire enclave? They don't teach you stuff like that in school anymore.) Plus you get thumbnail travelogues of the modern day Orient, all the five-star attractions an undead tourist can hope to visit.

In a way, this work is almost like a primer for an English teacher going to work in Tokyo for three years. It's not Kansas anymore, Toto, and that's the point. The vampires don't necessarily drink blood. The Kuei-jin aren't bitten and Embraced: they walk the road back from the other side of the grave because of a karmic debt from when they were alive. They might have hit their Mothers, but Kuei-jin don't just have their hands grow out of the graves -- they go to noodle bars and get tattoos.

Copyright © 1999 by Henry Harding

Henry Harding has been gaming since he was knee high to an elf. If only someone would pry the dice out of his hands he might get started on that sequel to War and Peace he's been thinking of writing.


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