I purchased this in preparation for a historical chronicle begining in the late years of the Roman Empire. This book is absolutely amazing in detail, depth and information. It provides specific dates for the history of the Camarilla, as well as a detail chapter on splats from the perspective of this era, including a new Clan: the Julii. Included in this is rules, disciplines and rituals for the time period plus the most evocative and terrifying antagonists of the Kindred: the Strix. This book is more geared to the players in the group and serves as a Players Handbook per se. The companion volume "Fall of the Camarilla" is the full lenght chronicle and ST Handbook. This book really sets the standard for historical gaming in the Vampire Requiem setting and even allows for characters to change the course of Kindred history.
Importante note: You will need the Requiem core and World of Darkness core to use this book.
Here is a quick run-down of each chapter:
Forward: The Deathless City by Kenneth Hite
Very evocative Intro fiction by one of White Wolf luminaries. It felt as if I was being relentlessly run down by a Roman legion--could not put it down. It is a very hard hitting section and I couldn't get those horrible images painted of Rome out of my head. Very appropriate.
Prologue: The developer talks about the reason for making this book, and the importance for the time period in Kindred history.
Introduction: Basic primer on how to use this book, complete with film, movie, and literature references. There is description of theme and mood, as well as a lexicon.
Chapter One: The History of Rome
This chapter does a great job of not being dry and covering (in broad strokes)the key points in the history of Rome from fabled beginnings to the bitter end. There are cross-references within this chapter giving historical context to kindred in Rome. They too, are caught up in the machine of The Great Republic. There is a great sidebar on each page that moves you through the timeline for quick reference.
Interlude I: Additional background info essential to the setting.
Chapter Two: Player's Guide
This section descrives in detail the Camarilla. The Camarilla is a very structured kindred society with three traditions, and four wings. The three traditions are Dominion, Destruction, and Amaranth. The four wings are The Senex (Wing of the Ancients--they make the law for all kindred, Legio Mortuum (the military wing), The Cult of Augurs (the wing of prophets), and The Peregrine Collegia (basically the wing of bastards). As a kindred in Rome you will belong to at least one of these wings if not more--whether you want to or not. The Lancea Sanctum are recognized, nominally, as an independent organization within the Camarilla. All of these wings/organizations function like covenents in Requiem--each vying for a little bigger piece of the pie. The Lancea Sanctum's power base grows with time, starting out on the bottom and rising near the top toward the end of Rome.
Here you will also find the clans with one omission and one addition. The Julii take the place of the Ventrue and function as primary rulers with the majority of them falling within the Senex wings they are the movers and shakers. They are very much like the Ventrue in discipline and weakness.
This chapter also has era specific merits, devotions, and theban sorcery.
Interlude II: Additional historical background information relevant to this time period.
Chapter Three: Rome and Necropolis
The geographic background chapter. Everything from Iconic locations for scenes (these are great visual tools), what it means to be a Roman citizen free or slave, and some really great rules for debate in Elysium which covers getting frustrated and possibly frenzying when you fail in debate--very Roman stuff here. You can actually loose points in merits if you loose on the floor here. Beware the debate!
Interlude III: As above described.
Chapter Four: Storytelling and Antagonist
The monster chapter: The Strix are described. Complete with numerous types of conflict, sample settings that span the breadth of time and space of the Empire. The Strix are a very creepy supernatural creature that looks like a smokey black bird in it's natural spirit form when it isn't possessing a body, which they do to experience the world. These things are not ghosts, or spirits, they are something older, more sinister, darker than anything else I've read about in other books... and they are linked with the Julii.
Index: Very well written and referenced index with no noticeable errors (those pesky See page XX errors, which are not here).
Epilogue: Closing fiction and hisotircal info.