" It is an excellent lesson in medieval history and Cainite history both, and makes for a stunning adventure. "
Title: Fountains of Bright Crimson by White Wolf
Format: Vampire, the Dark Ages Adventure Supplement
Reviewing Monkey: Genghis Kong
The Hype: A stand-alone adventure for a Vampire, the Dark Ages chronicle in which characters discover "one of the oldest and most terrifying secrets of Dark Medieval Jerusalem." For use with the Jerusalem by Night setting supplement or entirely on its own. Is it worth running for a night, or terribly forgettable? Well, Monkeys, we'll just see, won't we?
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Drama: If I were to say that the story contained within Fountains of Bright Crimson was one of the best Dark Ages adventures I had ever heard of, I would be drastically understating my impression of the text. This adventure is phenomenally crafted, and there are places within where characters will likely be fearing for their immortal souls. Asked to Jerusalem in order to track down an order of infernalists, the characters are drawn into a web of intrigue when an insane but powerful Cainite crosses their path and sends them searching for clues that unlock a powerful and ancient secret; the resting place of the Malkavian Antediluvian himself. Characters are harried and hunted by Baali, Tremere, Assamites, and Nosferatu, and the truth they find may be more confusing than the mad ramblings that led them to it. Fountains of Bright Crimson is set in the accurately detailed city of Jerusalem during 1197, though events in the story are directly affected by the First Crusade's sacking of the Holy City in 1099, when the citizens were slaughtered wholesale until the streets overflowed with blood. It is an excellent lesson in medieval history and Cainite history both, and makes for a stunning adventure. 5 out of 5.
Layout and Presentation: The adventure is a very simple read-through at 32 pages, with pleasant borders and a very linear set-up. It begins with an adventure overview and a quick history for the storyteller before leading into the five Acts of the game itself, where NPC stats are included as the characters make their appearance and notes are placed in easily memorable sections for quick reference. The artwork is standard Dark Ages fare from Vince Locke, who generally does good work but has a few images which are too grainy or choppy. Mitch Byrd throws in a few very good pieces (especially the back cover), and William O'Connor has painted a memorable and interesting front cover. The vines-of-ivy border of the Dark Ages series is used to good effect, being pleasant to look at and not taking up much space, and maps are provided so that locations can be laid out for the players. 4.5 out of 5.
Playability: I cannot think of any Dark Ages players who would not want to be a part of this adventure. The chance to learn one of the most ancient and esoteric secrets of Cainite history is nearly irresistible, especially when placed in such a fast-paced and intriguing series of events. Any Dark Ages storyteller can (and should!) place his characters in the proper situation to be drawn into the story of Fountains of Bright Crimson, and the potential for further adventures using NPCs and elements from the book are numerous. 5 out of 5.
Desired Content: One buys Fountains of Bright Crimson looking for a fun one-shot adventure to throw at his Dark Ages group, and finds himself hooked as if reading a novella, where one of the greatest mysteries of vampiric history is revealed in full. Fans of Vampire game lore will not be disappointed, nor will gamers looking for a great story hook into the medieval World of Darkness. 5 out of 5.
|Though not an integral part of a White Wolf collection by any means, Fountains of Bright Crimson is a fantastic one-shot adventure and a source of considerable information on the history of the World of Darkness (and the world, in general). There is something in it for every Vampire fan, and will not fail or disappoint on any front.|
The Good: Fantastic and intriguing story, accurate historical facts, and one of the biggest revelations in the history of the World of Darkness.
The Bad: At only 32 pages, you'll be crossing your fingers for a sequel that will likely never come.
The Overall Ugly: Better than you'd expect for a cheap stand-alone adventure.
What it's Worth: Market and then some.