Review : Sins of the Blood

A book of heresies for vampire: The Masquerade.

By Angel McCoy, Matthew McFarland, Joshua Mosqueira-Asheim, Aaron Rosenberg and Lucien Soulban, White Wolf

Sins of the Blood is a book about the heresies of the vampires. It’s about the outsiders who breach Sabbat and Camarillas taboos. It details ideas on Golconda, Wassail, diablerie, obscure paths of enlightenment, infernalism and cults of personality.

The first chapter is concerned with sins of morality. It’s narrated in character, with box outs detailing rules. I’m not a fan of putting too much information into in character monologues, but in this case it works quite well, though the text does jump in a few places. The chapter covers paths as they are followed in both Camarilla and Sabbat, as well as the more obscure paths of Harmony, Scorched Heart and Self Focus (all revised to be more serious than before). Perhaps the best part of this chapter is the details on Wights, vampires who have reached 0 humanity and succumbed to the beast. Putting a nice spin on this the author gives us vampires who act on a purely animal level and congregate in bestial packs, occasionally acting according to half remembered memories. This chapter also covers Golconda, territory which has been visited before, and in a more intriguing way. This book returns Golconda to a humanity only path, something which I’m not entirely happy with.

Chapter two is sins of society, and covers Autarkis, Anarchs, switching sects and Diablerie. The Autarkis section is good, defining them more clearly than previously, giving a good deal of insight into how they fit in to the grand scheme (or don’t as is more often the case). The anarch section is forgettable, and to be honest I wonder why they put it in when the Guide to the Anarchs is not far off. The section on switching sects covers the pitfalls and advantages of doing so in a readable way, though it does occasionally fall into the trap of describing things which are obvious. The Diablerie section does a good job of blurring the “Sabbat love diablerie, the Camarilla hates it” myth.

Chapter three covers sins of discretion, and is wonderful. It covers cults, who forms them, how they control their members and what they use them for. The best thing is it goes into specifics, rather than waffling on about generalities. Again there’s that annoying tendency to flip between a character monologue and factual information, but the amount of useful ideas make this a minor problem. There’s some good stuff in here, and the author seems to have actually bothered to do some research on cults, which helps a great deal.

The next chapter covers sins of power, which means it details dark and normal thuamaturgy. This is a more rules heavy chapter, but this is not a bad thing, as the rules help reinforce the setting quite well. The addition of prices for each of the dark thaumaturgy paths is a nice touch, and will make players think twice before acquiring them. There are also some taboo rituals (including nectar of the bitter rose), and finally some decent rituals for Koldunic sorcery (about time too). The chapter is rounded off with some Assamite sorcery and a few good supernatural merits and flaws.

Finally, we get an appendix of heretical groups. Each with their own background and plot hooks, and they vary greatly. Most can be easily transplanted into your chronicle should you need a quick plot idea.

Overall: Sins of the Blood is superior to many of the themed books White Wolf have released for Vampire of late, but still suffers from many of the same flaws. If you intend to make use of the setting elements presented in the book, then it is definitely worth a look.

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