Tabletop RPG Review: Dangerous Prey

Dangerous Prey cover

The Whispering Vault is one of my absolute favorite games that I’ve never played.  I bought the original book as soon as it hit the shelves back in the early 90s and I’ve read it over multiple times.  It intrigues the hell out of me and I think has the potential to facilitate some truly intriguing tales. Sort of Hellraiser meets Lovecraft meets Quantum Leap.  Marvelous.

Dangerous Prey is an extremely uneven supplement. You know how DVDs sometimes have a bunch of random scenes that were cut from the film?  Some of them are polished, some extremely raw? This book feels like that, like it’s made of bits that were cut from the core book and not all of them are ready to be shown.  It’s haphazard in its organization, with sections beginning and ending with little to no fanfare or explanation. Descriptions of creatures or people appear on one page only to have a box with how-to use them appearing several pages away.  Bits of flavor text are spiced in, with little rhyme or reason. The layout borders of Burroughs-esque Cut-Ups.

The last 30ish pages are the most useful. There are lots of ideas about how to actually run The Whispering Vault, which was something the core rule book could have used.  There’s even a sample Hunt (adventure) that seems like it would be pretty cool (and would likely work as a Call of Cthulhu investigation without too much work).  As the original book was not very long, much of this would have been better added into that to make a larger, more complete game book. 

Overall, there’s some very handy material, but not as much as I’d like.  You’ve got to dig and sift for it, too. I guess if you’re thinking about running the game and want a whole bunch of monsters and weird powers for your villains to use, OK.  Frankly, a lot of the early sections seem aimed more at a D&D, hack & slash type of gaming and that’s miles away from what I’d want a game of The Whispering Vault to be like.  If The Whispering Vault were hitting the RPG scene today, most of the material in Dangerous Prey would likely end up as blog entries on the company’s website or something, not a separate book to purchase.

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