" A Storyteller can view the book as a veritable bag of tricks from which to pull interesting plot arcs and NPCs, though even then their use is a bit limited. "
Title: Book of the Wyld by White Wolf
Format: Werewolf, the Apocalypse Sourcebook
Reviewing Monkey: Genghis Kong
The Hype: The final sourcebook for the Triat (Wyrm, Weaver, and Wyld), the Book of the Wyld offers a look at the most enigmatic and misunderstood of the great spirit-forces of the universe; that of unbridled possibility. Long regarded as an ally to the Garou, the Book of the Wyld paints a more accurate picture of the flighty and unpredictable force of Chaos, tearing down the illusions held about the Wyld being a benevolent and helpful force of nature and revealing it as the true and dangerous bringer of change it has always been. Sound like your cup of tea?
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Drama: The Book of the Wyld offers up quite a bit in story and flavor text, with much of the book actually written as various transcribed spoken word tales about the Wyld. The opening fiction about a reluctant Black Fury mother-to-be is a little weak and trite, but the short stories throughout (especially those dealing with the Ratkin) are gems of humor and allegory, and make up for the opening text being a little flat. The history of the Wyld is a unique take on the creation stories of the Changing Breeds, and information on the Gorgons (the Wyld's imbued servants, analogous to Fomori) is interesting and informative. The stories focus quite a bit on changing a monkey's view of the Wyld from favorable to wary, constantly reinforcing the fact that the Wyld doesn't play nice, doesn't particularly favor the Garou over anyone else, and is every bit as dangerous as the Wyrm or Weaver, but in different ways. Though somewhat forced, this makes for an otherwise fascinating read. 4 out of 5.
Layout and Presentation: I suppose it's fitting that in a book about the Wyld, the fundamental force of Chaos in the World of Darkness (at least from a Werewolf or Mage standpoint), the organization is somewhat haphazard and unintuitive. Information is spread all over the book, with no real pattern discernable. This is a forgivable offense, in some respects, for a book that is almost entirely informational text and very slim on systems and rules, but even so, it makes for some tough navigating. The artwork is, for the most part, atrocious. Richard Kane Ferguson contributes a cover and full-page artwork that is nigh unintelligible (even for him!) and very difficult to look at, and it would take a soused and crooked art critic to call it so much as passable. It is ugly, grainy, dark, misshapen, lumpy, and poorly drawn - this monkey wonders what the art director (the normally astute Aileen Miles) was thinking. Jeremy Jarvis, an extremely gifted and insightful artist, also has work within the pages. Unfortunately, his artwork translates very poorly to black and white, and the amalgam menagerie style he attempts falls well short of his usually incredible work. Jeff Rebner rounds out the contributing artists, and his work is excellent and welcome, with a few being some of his best pieces in print. Unfortunately, his artwork isn't as heavy, consisting mainly of smaller side images, which doesn't make up for the atrocious bile Kane splatters at the chapter heads - that particular travesty of illustration truly tanks this category for the book. Borders and typesetting are Werewolf standard, being unobtrusive and pleasant to look at. 2.5 out of 5.
Playability: The unfortunate truth about the Book of the Wyld is that it is useful almost exclusively to Storytellers. While anyone looking to brush up on his or her Wyld knowledge is in for a fascinating and surprising shock, it means almost nothing if one's Storyteller has not read the text (and thus likely still thinks the Wyld is a benevolent bringer of change). There is little within that any given player can use to his advantage, and in fact it may hamper the group if a player knows too much, as the text harbors a lot of tricks and double blinds that a crafty Storyteller can use in a chronicle. While the text and information are fascinating and informative, there simply isn't a lot within the pages for use by your average gamer. A Storyteller, however, can view the book as a veritable bag of tricks from which to pull interesting plot arcs and NPCs, though even then their use is a bit limited. 3.5 out of 5.
Desired Content: This book promises new and interesting details about the Wyld, and it most certainly delivers. Hard-hitting and shocking revelations are made about the member of the Triat the Garou consider to be on their side, and this monkey found himself blinking in surprise more than once as a new truth was revealed unexpectedly. The addition of Gorgons makes for a rather cool and unexpected addition to the Werewolf cosmology, though making humans unavailable to become Gorgons sort of dampens the fun. 4 out of 5.
|The Book of the Wyld is a revealing look at the final member of the Triat, showing that the Wyld is no more benevolent than the Weaver or the Wyrm, and is in its own way every bit as dangerous. If nothing else, it makes for a great read, and broadens a monkey's understanding of the Werewolf cosmology.|
The Good: Great information, interesting flavor text, and revelations on the true nature of the Wyld
The Bad: God-awful artwork by Richard Kane Ferguson, haphazard organization, and limited usefulness
The Overall Ugly: Great resource for Storytellers, but only marginally useful for players
What it's Worth: Market