Before I start this review, I wanted to admit up front that I did not read the entire book. Once I got past the first scene in the adventure, I stopped. This is because I want to play in this adventure, and I don’t want it spoiled for me by reading the adventure portion of the book. Having said that, here is the review of the material I did read.
This is a review of the Free RPG Day book entitled ‘Geist’ by White Wolf Game Studio. Geist is a game for the recently nearly dead. What’s that mean? Basically, the characters are people that, through some misfortune or malfortune, found themselves dead. Then a Geist stepped in to bring them back to life to finish business that needed closure. This awakening through death gives the character special powers, which makes them supernatural and superhuman people.
After a wonderfully written one page introduction to the game environment and setup the book jumped right into the basic rules of the game. It’s standard White Wolf fare (which is great in its simplicity) with some unique twists specific to this game. This is how all of their games are, and I’m glad they have found, and stuck with, a successful formula for a gaming system. Following this section is six pages about the game specific abilities, setups, powers, and miscellaneous information for playing a character in Geist. As always, the prose used to describe the specialities of the game is top-notch. White Wolf has always been the master of “fluff” without sacrificing too much “crunch” in the process.
Pages 10 through 36 (out of 48) detail the sample adventure. I read the background, setup, environment, and misc. details of the adventure before jumping into the first scene. I read the first scene, and stopped there before jumping to the characters in the back of the book. The information is presented in a clear and concise manner with plenty of advice for new Storytellers. Not only does this book introduce a player to the concepts of Geist, it could easily be used as an introductory book to role playing in general, both for the players and the GMs… er… Storytellers. This is the primary reason I stopped reading the adventure. I want to hand this book to one of my players and see if I can convince them to run a game instead of just playing.
The last several pages of the book are about the characters. The details provided here go far beyond a simple stat block. There are full details about the character’s abilities and powers and how they are played. Beyond just the game mechanics, the book provides for detailed backgrounds, descriptions, role playing hints and some game items such as Virtue, Vice and Archetype. I love the character build outs in the book, and I only wish more characters were created with this level of detail in my games. It’s good stuff. Plain and simple.
Grade: A. The book was well put together (I would expect nothing less from White Wolf), clear, thorough and made me want to come back for more. If I can convince my group to play in the game (or one of my players to run the game) and it goes well for our group, I might invest in the books for this RPG. The Free RPG Day book did it’s job. It setup a lead for a possible sale.