Bought a game, have an opinion, gonna share it with you!
Blood Dark Thirst, a release by Venger Nas Satanis/Kort´thalis Publishing, is a PDF that weighs in at 22 pages (if you do not count the cover and the artpage at the „inside” of the cover). Reading it in order to get ready to roll may thereby be done quickly. What does this title offer?
First of all, it offers really good artwork! While I for one doubt that a 22-pager has to have 7 pages that are artwork only, this artwork is up to the cover illustration in regard to quality, and summons a gritty-sleezy-cheesy vampire vibe. Good stuff in that department, really!
After a small introduction (that does not overstay its welcome), p.3 to p.19 give GM and player all the rules of B-D-T (together with some random tables for character creation, for those who HAVE to have them). The products -is- rules light, it does not even have an attribute or skill set but follows a rather free-form approach where every player picks three things the character is good at, two things the PC is bad at… and thats it! On to the vampire-stuff (which is the real focus of the game)! The rule system is easy to understand and easy to run with. Of course, that means that it is not a nuanced affair where things besides the characters general aptitude make to much of a difference. It is all about the number of d6 that the character may roll for a task (most of the time: one, two or three). If the overall circumstances are beneficial, a D6 is added. If they are obstructive, a D6 is removed from the pool. While this approach speeds things up greatly and makes sure that the rules may be explained quickly, I would have loved to see a bit of info about weapons in combat here. While the author does declare that this title is not about heroes with gear (and offers a quick rule for armor), a(nother) two-line optional rule about weapons in combat would have rounded things.
The rules for the supernatural aspects of the (demon-based, mind you!) vampires were clearly inspired by the “Vampire” product lines of WhiteWolf (and now: Onyx Path Publishing). Blood points are used to measure the amount of the red stuff (optionally called “ichor” here) that a vampire robs from humans and uses to fuel supernatural powers, and the vampires existence itself. A humanity stat goes up and down in response to the good and evil acts of the character (evil characters are easier to identify as a vampire and have problems to animate themselves during the day), willpower is gained by adhering to character flaws and may be spend to fend off mind-control or to boost ones own dice pool for important actions…
In fact, the rules read and feel like a complete adaption of the mentioned “Vampire”-rules to Venger Nas Satanis own VSd6 system. The line between “being inspired” and “being a copy-cat” seems thin to me here.
The available supernatural powers make-up the “vamp-thing” of a character, and these are as rules-light as the rest of the system. In some cases, that works very well but in others, I would have liked a -tad- more information about how to handle a given power in the game. To name a few: Allure, Dread and Evaporate Blood would have gained a lot clarity if just one more sentence with a rules statement would have been added to them (like it it is the case with Acidic Blood and Resilience). A good GM should still be able handle this on the fly with a few house rules, so.
What I personally like the most here is Venger Nas Satanis slighty different take on “blood bounds”,as they no longer are a surefire-way to enslave another vampire: things just -might- end up not as “yes-master”-ish as the donor of the ichor thinks they will…
The advertisement text for the title says that “a brief introductory scenario is provided”, and that is a statement I could not disagree more with. This “scenario” is made up of a plot hook (“you get a LEAVE OR GET KILLED” letter from another vampire of the city), a prop (said letter), a d6 table with six facts about Lyrean (said antagonist), and a random d20 encounter table for the “scenario”. AND THAT´S IT. All in all, this covers the pages 19 and 21, but only 50% or 75% of each page is actually content, the rest is “filler”. The random encounter table (titled “What is going on in the city tonight”) includes the one and only hint to the antagonists whereabouts [“Lyrean Du Kane´s stronghold in the ware-house district”]. To me, that is not a scenario but a plot idea and a random events table (…and how exactly is the stronghold meant to be a random event?).
All in all, you get a nice, quick-and-dirty “Vampire”-rules adaption to an easy-to-learn, fast-to-play d6 based rules system, and the title is thereby true to the first statement of its advertisement [All the bloodsucking, none of the baggage! ]. The artwork is GOOD, the layout is nice and clear, the rules would have profited from one more explanation here or there, but all in all the system is “solid” and ready for a ride. It is not what I call original, so, and thereby I stick to a 3/5. If you are looking for a system that will support your Halloween-Horror-Quicky, do not hesitate and make the purchase. The same is true if you look for something nice and easy that you may build upon.