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WoD Changing Breeds (The World of Darkness) Hardcover – December 19, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Changing Breeds is a WoD supplement that provides very flexible options so that players/storytellers can generate various anthropomorphic shapeshifters without needing to rely on the Forsaken line. With this book, you have the option of utilizing WAtP or other Forsaken materials and even Mage materials in order to get exactly the type of shapeshifter that is appropriate for your concept.
With CB, you can even choose to use non-Forsaken werewolves if for some reason you don't happen to like the canon Werewolves. There are many different breeds available for play, including many "prey" species that were previously unavailable in OWoD.
Some of the "breeds" or factions of breeds are poorly written in regards to the cultural references they draw inspiration from. Chavalier's Rapace (eagle, falcon breeds) in particular manages to utilize a bit of reference to Charlemagne and the use of falconry by elite and militant nobility throughout European history. However, the Rapace has become a more modernized Breed that involves themselves (or at least their breed kin) with politics and courtrooms (Harvey Birdman, anyone?). To me, some of the breed history is poorly written fluff that doesn't satisfy my own needs for a rich, built-in game history. Maybe that's part of the nature of the CBs (they're *so* rare and all).
No veteran WoD player should expect game balance to be a thing. But I feel the need to emphasize that the stat boosts for the Breeds is *dramatically* imbalanced. For example: I would expect the Land Titans (rhinos, elephants) to be hoss in combat, but I would also expect the combat-oriented Hummingbirds, who draw inspiration from the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli (war, combat, sacrifice), to be a bit more deadly than they are.
Other folks have mentioned that this book lacks a character sheet, which is fine in my opinion because I generally use Mr. Gone's sheets anyway. However, there are other aspects to this book that I think are far more lazy and more important: The Valkyrie-like Brythians (swanmaidens) lack any Breed bonus, unlike every other breed listed; there are numerous typographical and page numbering errors that White Wolf is historically very guilty of; some of the creatively shaped text frames are difficult to read; etc.
I feel that this is a very necessary supplement to WoD and an overall improvement over the previous incarnation of the Changing Breeds. The breeds themselves are very interesting and the book leaves it up to you to really do the customization. However, this is not a book you can just take at face value... it needs house rules. I really enjoy the content, but I yearn for a more polished product from such a veteran RPG publisher.
I was pleased with the new format for creating the changing breeds and the inclusion of so many of the breeds in one book. I had honestly expected there to be less breeds in the book but I was pleased that there were a fair amount contained within.
You'll find good writeups on the bastet, gurahl, ananasi, nuwishi, and others. The weretigers have better stats now than the werelions, but that's just a problem because I prefer playing werelions. However, I will say that I think this book is a definite improvement on stats and mechanics from the previous edtion.
I do have a pet peeve with white wolf over the lack of a character sheet in the book. This isn't so much of an issue for me right now because I'm creating npcs to interact with the characters and it's easy enough to use the npc stat block for that purpose. It is however annoying when the gm is dealing with a group of players who are new to the nwod and wod in general. It's just nice to have that character sheet there to help them through the learning process.
As of this writing I was told by white wolf customer service that the basic nwod character sheet will have to do. Hopefully the exclusion of character sheets in their products is not a trend being set, as I think this is a bad decision.
To me, a character sheet is a basic element that should be included in a book where characters can and probably will want to create characters.