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Glimpses of the Unknown $5.99
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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7 2
1 0
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2 1
Glimpses of the Unknown
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Glimpses of the Unknown
Publisher: White Wolf
by Quentin B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/30/2012 12:12:21

wow, i could have gotten a big mac meal and it would have been more enticing/filling than this book was. i was expecting a bit more than some plot seeds and perhaps a new merit or mechanic for each section. i would say you get what you pay for, but i think this book is overpriced in regards to what it actually contains versus the write up.

[1 of 5 Stars!]
Glimpses of the Unknown
Publisher: White Wolf
by Scott R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/05/2011 07:07:21

Glimpses of the Unknown crystalizes what differentiates the new World of Darkness from the old. If the World of Darkness core rulebook and its various supplements could be seen as a college-level education on how to portray a unique chronicle using the Storyteller System, World of Darkness: Mirrors would be the graduate course, then Glimpses of the Unknown is sort of a masters thesis.

The old World of Darkness was wonderful, but too many things were spelled out. Fans craved it, hell I craved it. I wanted to know what dwelled in every corner of the imaginary gothic-punk world (moreover, who was vampiric price of MY city, or the shadow wars fought over my hometown) and books like A World of Darkness, Rage Across the World, and pretty much all of the "splat books" provided that detail to the point were nearly everything under the Moon could be tied to one or another of the main supernatural groups; some, like in the case of Rasputin many at once. It's not evil by design. We loved unwieldily metaplot back in the Clinton administration; Babylon 5 was still on the air. This kind of thing was great at first, but then grew clown shoes.

The new World of Darkness inverted this trend. They have not only refused canonical origins for vampires and werewolves and the like but what sold me, stubborn veteran, on the system was reading the fiction chapter in the core rulebook and having this strange feeling when I couldn't place any of the stories into any of the game lines. It was a strange feeling for a White Wolf player.

What Glimpses of the Unknown provides is tools toward continuing this trend. It's all in the title. "Glimpses": Nothing will be spelled out or spoon-fed to you. "Unknown": there are genuine mysteries that defy explanation.

It starts off with quite a barbed piece of microfiction, a Hunter gone wrong (a Wendig joint I'd stake my life on it) then quickly sets out the nature of the book. Four pages are devoted to each and every setting for new World of Darkness including the Blue Books giving a few story "seeds" which are ideas that can be thrown into your existing chronicle to add intrigue or tension, "plotlines" give you a full potential story arch or at least a skeleton upon which you can add whatever flesh you wish followed by new game mechanics. The new setting material for World of Darkness for instance gives suggestions for Unnatural Phenomena such as ball lightning or cold spots. The latter is most often associated with ghosts to be sure but not necessarily.

What makes this a particular treat is that when I say all the game lines get four pages I mean ALL the game lines. As a Changeling: the Lost fan I was tickled pink, but I can imagine the diehard Promethean fan will be overjoyed. That limited series hasn't had a new release since 2007, if you don't count the pre-generated characters. Even World of Darkness: Innocents gets a fair shot, a line that only received a single core book and one Storyteller Adventure System release.

I'll single out the Lost section since it's pretty much my jam. All six of the seeds I would not hesitate to toss into my chronicle, there's a new Goblin Contract that fits right into changeling society and adds welcome-yet-non-essential crunch to a social convention and the two plotlines are gripping, interesting ideas that give you a jumping-off point and gives you the slack to take it in any direction you like. Or the direction players guide you.

As pointed out in the text these seeds and plotlines are not exclusive either. "Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat" from the Lost section can be combined with "The Cat That Isn't a Cat" from Created, or "The Con" from Requiem ported over to Awakening and so on. What is really neat and a proper close to the book is the World of Darkness: Mirrors section at the tail end of the book that gives you suggestions on combining all three Shards into one plot "The Dark Fantasy Destroyer, Revealed". How could you not have a barrel of rabid screaming monkeys fun with that ride?

If you've got jaded characters, know-it-alls who have read all the books or just want to tell a new story Glimpses of the Unknown gives you great suggestions for coloring outside the lines.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Glimpses of the Unknown
Publisher: White Wolf
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/16/2011 17:33:06

You know that a product is going to be good when the intro fiction sends shivers up your spine and fires your imagination for Chronicle ideas. By the end of the book, I only had three words - top notch product. This is worth way more than the 6.99 price tag and I sincerely doubt that anyone would have enough free time to implement all of the really well-thought-out ideas - so you will get years of mileage from this title.

Essentially, 'Glimpses of the Unknown' offer a look at the 'weird stuff' (or as the writers term it 'Unnatural Phenomena') that leaks in through the Woprld of Darkness. The rationale is that in a world where there are blood-sucking monsters, rage-filled werewolves, stitched-together people and faerie-abductees, there has to be some residual oddness sloshing about.

The multitude of ways that this can manifest are detailed in each section, demarcated by game. There are a range of 'Seeds' which are one paragraph inspirations for stories and 'Plotlines' which are much more fleshed out ideas. All of the games receive a few new rules or useful game mechanics too.

The beauty with the product is twofold. Firstly, there is enough information in both Seeds and Plotlines to act as the catalyst to a game. You'll need to invest some time in building plot, but the ideas are brilliant - I could see potential for everything in this book. The Plotlines offer a little more in terms of aligning the ideas to a particular, but leave the idea open-ended, which I find quite valuable. The second aspect worth mentioning is that the ideas are easily transferable (and some even more interesting) if you transplant it to another game. The 'Waste not, want not' Plotline for Changeling, for example, would be an awesome Werewolf game and create a lot of tension if done well, whilst the 'Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat' Plotline (from the same section) could easily be redone for Mage. An enterprising Storyteller will be able to re-purpose and leverage the ideas here for any World of Darkness game (I'll be using it in my oWoD chronicles) or even any horror or urban game. In reading through the book, I could find nothing to complain about - hence it receives one of my rare 5-star ratings.

This aptly named product has given me a glimpse into the creative genius currently on-board at White Wolf and I'll be looking forward to any future multi-game products they release.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Glimpses of the Unknown
Publisher: White Wolf
by Robert O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/30/2011 08:49:53

This book is "must have" for every Storyteller in - doesn't matter - old or new World of Darlness. 50 pages full of story ideas, new spells etc. I played all World of Darkness settings and - believe me - "Glipmses of the Unknown" brings something new, some inspiration for every kind of it. Without any needless blah blah from the very beging throws you into the new adventure. What about price? It is real bargain if you consider how many hours (several hundrends I think) of fantastic gaming can provide. Great job White Wolf!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Glimpses of the Unknown
Publisher: White Wolf
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/26/2011 07:11:30

Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/07/26/tabletop-review-glimpses-of-the-unknown/

Back when I first got into playing pen and paper RPG’s, I started with the game most people have likely started with: Dungeons and Dragons. Funny thing about that, though: while I like the ideas of medieval fantasy, swords and sorcery, and other such things, and while I like the occasional video game, film or novel based around it, I’m generally not a fan of media related to the genre as a whole. It’s incredibly weird to me: I love the concept of such a thing, and I absolutely adore some stories from the genre, but as a general whole I can’t get into the genre, and as a result, I couldn’t get into Dungeons and Dragons. No, the first tabletop franchise that really got me into role playing wasn’t the franchise based around bringing to life stories of ancient fantasy, but rather the one that brought to life stories of dark evil in modern times: the World of Darkness, specifically, Werewolf: The Apocalypse. I’ve always been a big fan of the White Wolf Storyteller System, and while I never got into all of the different franchises that came from it, Werewolf always kept me interested, to a point where I still have multiple sourcebooks and Rage cards around here and there. Sadly, when the old World of Darkness was laid to rest, I couldn’t get into the new one to any significant degree and I basically just kind of moved on with my life, but I still pay attention to White Wolf every once in a while, just to see if maybe they’re going to release something that sparks my interest again.

Glimpses of the Unknown, while not that product, is almost as interesting. Instead of acting like a sourcebook or a storytellers or players guide, it is instead a story guide. The book gives you various threads you can use to create main or side stories throughout the World of Darkness, across the various different sub-franchises that exist within the game world. There are twelve total chapters to Glimpses of the Unknown: the Prologue, which is a short two-page story that sets the tone of the book, as one expects from White Wolf; the Introduction, which fleshes out, in a page, what the book is meant to be used for; and ten chapters devoted to providing content for ten of White Wolf’s core books: World of Darkness, Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The Awakening, Promethean: The Created, Changeling: The Lost, Hunter: The Vigil, Geist: The Sin Eaters, World of Darkness: Innocents, and World of Darkness: Mirrors. Each chapter provides various seeds of stories, full plotlines, and different additions one can bring into the game proper, so that storytellers have plenty of ammunition for creating stories from these elements, for whatever games they happen to want to run at any given time. In other words, it’s a book that you can use to help you flesh out storylines for your campaigns.

Each chapter after the first is broken down into two to three categories: Seeds, Plotlines, and additional rites/ceremonies/compacts/whatever, depending on the sub-franchise. World of Darkness: Mirrors deviates from this slightly by offering seeds and plotlines for each of the deviated worlds the core book outlines, but otherwise the format is the same. Seeds are small plot points that the storyteller can either choose to use as minor subplots in a bigger campaign or can themselves be developed into full storylines, and most are only one to three paragraphs long. Plotlines are full plots for a campaign to follow, giving the storyteller beginning and middle points to work with, though they leave the endings and most of the events to the storyteller, as they’re more ideas than full modules. The various added skills and such that pop up are also offered as new elements to add into the stories, either into the stories supplied in the book or otherwise. Basically, the book acts as a way to add depth to storylines you’re working with already or as a way to create all new storylines out of whole cloth, as you wish.

On one hand, the book is generally very well assembled, as one might expect; the presentation of the book is great featuring the varied and interesting artwork one expects from the company interspersed into the pages, and the writing is as clear and easy to follow as ever. The different storyline ideas in the book are also very creative and easy to work with, and furthermore, they’re also easy to rework if you want to take stories from other sub-franchises and work them into another system or even old World of Darkness campaigns, so you could grab a plot from the Vampire: The Requiem section and cram it into your Vampire: The Masquerade campaign almost fully formed. Another thing the book does that one might not expect is that it gives players an introduction to other systems in the modern World of Darkness. For instance, while I was acquainted with the Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Hunter, Changeling and standard human systems, I hadn’t seen much information on the Promethean and Geist systems, and I wasn’t even aware of Innocents until reading through the book. Really, there are very few people who have the ability to pick up every single core book that comes their way, and something like this, that offers a small sampling of what sort of campaigns could come from a game run under a particular sub-franchise, gives prospective storytellers a taste of what they could do with the core books. It’s a very useful selling tool, to be honest, and the book, at seven dollars, is inexpensive enough to be worth picking up for most storytellers, so it helps make that exposure more readily available by offering it at a low price.

That said, the book is essentially only a book of plot ideas with a couple of random new skills/rites/etc thrown in, and while that’s not a bad thing, well, only so many people are going to get use from that. Again, repurposing the stories in the book is exceptionally easy; for instance, there’s a story here about an energy drink company that makes a drink that causes human blood to lose its nourishing properties for vampires that is meant for Vampire: The Requiem but could be repurposed easily for a mercenary werewolf pack or hunters curious about who’s horning in on their territory. But if you’re not the sort of person who has any trouble coming up with stories for your players to run, the amount of value you’re going to get from such a book is limited, and if you’re the sort of person who prefers whole modules to work with, well, story bits that require you to fill in the important details aren’t going to help you much. Also, as an aesthetic note, while White Wolf RPG’s are generally meant for a more mature crowd of player, putting a topless woman on the cover of your RPG book is… probably not a good idea, I don’t care what your intent was. This is especially confusing since all of the rest of the images on the cover appear in the book but that one, so, literally, this image only appears in the absolute worst place for it to appear if one wants to be able to sell the book in establishments where kids might see it.

Glimpses of the Unknown does have a lot of interesting ideas in it for stories to run, and there are a lot of simple plotlines that a creative storyteller could run as full campaigns or random one-shots in the middle of more complex stories. As a result, it’s a solid reference book to have for the storyteller who’s looking for a little variety or some new ideas to toss into a plot, and there are enough story threads in the book to keep a good campaign going for months with some proper repurposing and development. The book is also useful if you want to get an idea of what sort of concepts other White Wolf systems you don’t normally deal with might explore, and it might even get you interested in a sub-franchise you’d never even looked at before. If you’re not too interested in plot threads to work with, either because you need something more developed or you’re plenty good at making your own ideas, then the book might not be for you, but between the low asking price and the usefulness of the content within, Glimpses of the Unknown is worth taking a risk on if you’re looking for a little something to freshen up a campaign or help develop a new one.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Glimpses of the Unknown
Publisher: White Wolf
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/20/2011 19:19:21

Glimpses of the Unknown is a book that will come in handy if a Storyteller is feeling uninspired. The Seeds and Glimpses provided are all generally interesting, but whether or not they will see use in a campaign is solely up to the GM.

While the seeds are arranged according to game line, nothing is stopping people from grabbing a storyline from one line and using it in another, so thankfully the book’s usefulness doesn’t end with just the chapter specific to the game that the Storyteller is running.

I would recommend Glimpses of the Unknown to Storytellers who often find themselves without the time or inspiration to think up on new plots all the time. Ultimately, it makes for good reading, and with a little elbow grease, many of these plots could be recycled with a new coat of paint if necessary.

That said, this isn’t the book for you if you’re looking for more crunch. As I mentioned before, it’s there, but there’s not a lot to it. People going into this looking to use things to min-max characters are going to be disappointed.

This is only a part of my full product review. If you'd like to see the entire article, please visit: http://philgamer.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/review-glimpses-of-the-unknown/

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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