Tonight, you become one of the Kindred, the beautiful and the damned who hide behind our ordinary world. Driven by a hunger like fire, you will struggle to maintain your humanity while immersed in a vicious society of monsters.
But the sharks you swim with aren’t the only ones out there. Your Kindred are the smart, sexy vampires of pop culture, but you are haunted by the Strix — the grisly, demon-possessed corpses of folklore. They slaughtered the Night-Senate of Rome, drowned the tombs of the Princes of Alexandria, and warred with the Plague Lords of Transylvania.
Tonight, they’re loose on the streets of your city. Time for the sinners to become the saints, and the hunters to become the prey.
Vampires have almost as long a history with roleplaying as dragons, and since 1991 White Wolf have been releasing a series of different takes on the bloodsuckers of the night. Blood and Smoke is the newest version, and it updates 2004’s Vampire: The Requiem by tweaking the setting so it feels more dynamic and punchy, rewriting the rules to simplify the cruft while making your character’s decisions and actions more impactful and dramatic, and giving dozens of plot seeds to make a full chronicle out of, ranging from local to global scales.
No matter which scale you choose, the new rules put your characters at the forefront. The experience system now gives you immediate rewards for achieving your goals but also for throwing them into danger and getting caught up in the intrigues of others, and the Condition system gives mechanical heft to your character’s feelings of regret, dominance, inspiration or guilt. Together they give players plenty of incentives to get their character neck-deep in drama and intrigue while firmly establishing the few things their characters truly care about even in undeath.
The included chronicle deals with the Strix, mysterious owl-spirits of smoke, hunger and death who have rose up in modern times bearing countless grudges against the vampires of current nights. While they’re the main focus of the storytelling sections, along with comprehensive systems for their strange powers and abilities, the book gives plenty of attention to the dangers and opportunities of vampire society. Glamorous and monstrous, the many strange ways vampires have structured their lives from Beijing to Berlin are detailed here, and it gives you plenty of grist to run a game with even if you’re not particularly interested in the Strix.
This book contains everything you need to run the game, as all relevant rules from the standalone New World of Darkness corebook and God-Machine Rules Update have been included in here. If you’re interested in giving the book a look,