Vampire: the Requiem Storyteller’s Screen Thought #1: Apparently, White Wolf wasn’t kidding about the new World of Darkness being all hardcover. Thought #2: 14.99$ (149 Dkr.) for a screen and nothing else!?! Holy crap, good thing I get a discount at my FLGS. How subjective this review is going to be was underscored by my wife’s comments after I bought the thing; “I don’t normally use screens.” Whether or not people use screens and what people will want on screens vary from GM to GM (and ST to ST and DM to DM and so on). People are also divided as to whether or not a screen should come with something extra. I will try to remain neutral and objective in my review, clearly marking my own subjective thoughts. The Look The Vampire: the Requiem Storyteller’s Screen (“the screen” to save the word count) is hardcover. Where most other screens I have seen are the thickness of softcover covers, this one is as thick as the covers of the V: tR core book. That makes it one big screen folded – as thick as a 128-page softcover book. The screen in four-paneled and fold in the classical harmonica way. Here, the thickness works against the screen. I am afraid to fold it fully into my preferred shape (which is [ ). Instead, the best I can manage is a shallow M, which limits the space behind the screen some. Still, that is hardly a major complaint and the thick stock of screen is likely to stand up to a good deal of use. The screen is the same shades of reds and black as the cover of the V: tR book. The “front panel” of the screen (the one that is the fist one when the screen is folded and becomes the rightmost one, seen from the from) bears the legend “Vampire THE REQUIEM” as on the V: tR core book at the top. Underneath is the vampire skull and towards the bottom, under a stylish divider, are the words “Storyteller’s Screen”. The writing and skull are done is silvery gray, which looks pretty good against the red background. On the other three panels, the very top is dedicated to the Clan and Covenant symbols (including the symbols of the lesser covenants of The Seven and Belial’s Brood, the Unaligned symbol and symbols for the 5 bloodlines given a write-up in the main book). The bottom third is dedicated to various pictures, alternating between black and white and color, with the color pictures being covers from books like Covenants and Nomads. The backgrounds on the three panels are pictures from the main book done in shades of black and red. Finally, rose petals spill across all four panels. All in all, the front is stylish and mood-setting. I doubt players will get sick and tired of looking at it. The back of the screen is a separate piece of white paper put onto the screen. The writing is black and the same type as in the V: tR book and it is easy to read. With a single exception, the tables all stick to one panel and there is not too much blank space. The Contents Here’s where the real meat of the screen is. I will be going through all four panels, one by one. The first panel, the leftmost, contains a Combat Summary Chart, with a special Grappling Summary. There is also the Melee Weapons Chart and a chart for Extended Actions. The three first seem given to me, since combat and weapons are things that I often find myself checking in books. However, the Extended Actions chart seem a bit of an odd choice, though this may just be me thinking I am a veteran and able to set my own Time per Roll and Target Number. I can certainly see it working for people who’d like to get some suggestions on these things. The second panel (working my way right) contains the Ranged Weapons Chart, the Armor Chart and Fire Damage for both Vampire and Mortals. The Armor and Ranged Weapons Charts are both given, but two Fire Damage charts seem redundant since there is very little difference between them – the Vampire chart is slightly more descriptive and has “or more” tacked on to the Damage from an Inferno, but otherwise, they are the same. The third panel contains as Explosives Chart, a chart of Sample Objects (with Durability, Size, etc.), a Feats of Strength chart, Electrocution Damage, Poisons Sunlight Damage and a chart with Effects of Blood Potency (which slides slightly over to the fourth panel). All of these are good charts to have, but I would prefer it if they had included some quick notes on the mechanics of Feats of Strength and Poisons. This means that if I don’t want to go through the book looking for the mechanics (which are likely to be near the tables that are on the screen), I need to memorize them. The fourth panel has a chart for all three types of frenzy, an Experience Cost chart, a chart of Aura Signifiers, a Humanity and Sins table and the requisite White Wolf legal info. The frenzy chart is great and I won’t really complain about the lack of mechanics, since they are easy to remember. The Experience Cost chart is, to my mind, a really good idea. While you’ll likely be cracking open the book anyway when it’s time to use XP, the chart makes it easy for those who already know what to buy to see if they got the XP for it (and makes it easier for you to double-check costs while some player is reading through Disciplines and Merits, deciding what to get). It also helps in character creation. The Humanity and Sins chart is definitely a given. However, I really don’t like the Aura chart. Sure, it allows you to easily describe what colors (and possibly effects) are seen with Aura Perception, but unless the player has memorized the chart, you’ll need to explain what that means, breaking the narrative flow anyway. While it might serve as a handy reference to common emotions, it is not something I would put there. The Extras Basically, nothing. Many other screens come with some form of introductory adventure, which I am glad we’re not seeing here – V: tR does not seem like the kind of game where you can easily plop an introductory adventure into the screen and besides, there is already on freely available (Mary’s Child, check the White Wolf homepage). Other screens might come with a small booklet or with character sheets. In general, I am satisfied with the lack of extras for this screen (imagine a “small” hardcover booklet – man, that would make it huge). However, the lack of extras also accentuates the price. 14.99 seem pretty for nothing but a screen, even one of such high quality… at least to me. I will freely admit not having checked the price against the price of other recently published screens. The Final Verdict Nothing wrong with the look. If you liked the look of the V: tR core book (as I did), you will like the look of the screen (as I did). The text and charts are easily readable and clear, so it’s a solid 5 of 5 for the look. As for the contents, well, most of it is spot on. I really think they could’ve included a short summary of a few mechanics to go with some of the charts and the Aura chart rubs me the wrong way. And then there’s the price. It really is pricey. If it wasn’t because A) I’ve just gotten a job, I get a discount at my FLGS and C) I am compulsive about collecting the new WoD stuff, the price would be enough to turn me off, no matter how useful the screen is. In the end, we get a 4 of 5 on the contents for me… 3 might be more appropriate for people who are more turned off by the price tag.