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Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
 
$4.95
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
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Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
Publisher: Vajra Enterprises
by Andreas G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/28/2014 05:24:13
Well, this book is just awesome. For a price of round about 5$ this is a nobrainer if you have any interest in this setting. It are not the rules - which are a bit cumbersome - but the great and carefully researched background informations that make this product a great catch. If anyone is interested in a longer german review by me, check here: http://neueabenteuer.com/roleplayin-down-south/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
Publisher: Vajra Enterprises
by Gary W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/27/2011 00:37:50
As has been said before, the game enjoys a very original and cool setting, and the mechanics are generally good, the rules are deep without being overwhelming. However, the mechanics also have some serious flaws. One is that two of the character classes given, the Hag and Loup Garou, are not really useful for PCs as they more or less force you to be evil and kill innocents. Troubled, flawed PCs are great, ones that have to kill every week just to live get uncomfortable real fast. Save these classes for NPC villians.

Next, the weariness rule is terrible. The games seems to encourage the playing of Ageless, and very old characters, but if you have to subtract 1 or 2 points from your Will attribute for every decade, your will is quickly gutted unless you put a 20 in it at the beginning. As the game's magic system often depends on WIL, this is a very serious problem: your ancient hoodoo woman has no will to make hands anymore. Better to have some one born in the 1980s.

I really like the game, but would advise not using these rules when playing.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
Publisher: Vajra Enterprises
by Tommy K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/01/2010 08:16:38
First, a little about the reviewers relationship to RPG's.. I have played RPG's for 13 years, and have tried a lot of different games. I am mostly interested in small game lines, and is not much for the bigger ones (D&D and such). I have owned Hoodoo Blues for about a month, read it, but haven't got the chance to play it yet.

Hoodoo Blues presents a unique setting based on americas southern lore - hoodoo, voodoo, ghosts, werewolfs etc. Players portraits ageless characters with different powers/abilities, and thus is a part of the lore itself.

SETTING: The setting fills approximately a third of the 312 pages, and handles the southern history and culture, including the supernatural. The setting is rich, inspirational and also very well written. I have a bad habit of getting tired of books easily, but with this book i just kept reading.

CHARACTER CREATION: This chapter is another third of the book. This lets you create one of the six different character types; Voodoo user, Hoodoo doctor, Loup Garou (kind of a werewolf/dog/etc), Medicine worker (shaman), Hag (witch), and crossroader (who made a deal with the devil). Since you play ageless people, you need to define what you did with every decade in your life. This takes time, but also fleshes out your character. This chapter gets two big thumps up, since it's almost impossible to create a character that you don't like.

RULES: Utilizing the simple game mechanic ORC (Attribute + skill + D20, reach a difficulty), the rules of Hoodoo Blues is pretty gritty. The rules set is about 30 pages long, and easy to understand. Personally, i have never liked to use the D20, but this system is way more "stable" than the D&D rules.

ADVENTURES: A very helpful chapter, spread on 40 pages, gives tips on how to GM Hoodoo Blues, writing adventures and campaigns, creating interesting NPC's and antagonists etc. The chapter also includes to ready-to-run adventures of high quality. The adventures are maybe a little bit linear for my taste, but i can imagine it fits perfectly to introduce the setting. The plots is also very good, and function as a good inspiration for further adventures.

APPENDIX: 30 pages wich contains some live-action rules (haven't read them), good glossarys of supernatural and southern terms, map of the south, character sheet, quick reference sheets for combat and character creation, and a index (wich is only focused on setting-related things).

LAYOUT: The PDF is 50mb, but contains no mumbo jumbo - even a real old computer can read it fast. Works well with both Adobe, PDF complete and Foxit. The books uses many old free photographs (wich looks very nice, fits with the setting and also allows for a cheaper product), but also contains some good art. One thing that should become industry standard, is the "In-Brief" boxes. In all pieces there is a box that explains the content in one, short sentence. This makes the books content extremely easy to navigate through. Over all, the layout it a bit minimalistic (in a very good way) and very easy on the eye. The book is also pretty printer friendly (aside from the grey boxes).

PROS: Great and unique setting, but not hard to come up with stories. Gritty rules engine. Extremely well written. 'In-Brief'-boxes should be a standard. And, Vajra is practically giving away the PDF for five bucks!

CONS: PDF is not bookmarked (although it is not hard to find what you're looking for, thanks to the table of contents and 'in-brief'-boxes.) Personally, i don't like to use a D20, but the system is still solid.

CONCLUSION: If you are interested in the supernatural, like unique settings or just RPG's in general, you need Hoodoo Blues! Together with Eclipse Phase, this is the greatest and most innovative RPG in many, many years.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
Publisher: Vajra Enterprises
by Anthony C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/15/2010 20:39:50
This is seriously one of the best games I've seen this year. The PDF price at less than five dollars makes this massive book a must-have for any gamer with a supernatural bent. The setting allows players to take on the role of various immortal types from Southern American folklore. One of the shining aspects of the book is the history section, which offers an insightful (especially for a RPG) look at Southern American history.

In the mood for something different in the horror vein? This book is it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
Publisher: Vajra Enterprises
by John D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/23/2010 11:33:31
Just when I think there is nothing new under the Louisiana sun, premise-wise, in roleplaying games, some inventive souls come along to prove me quite happily wrong. "Hoodoo Blues" is an obvious labor of love; I know because I'm a folklorist and history teacher with over twenty years' interest in American folk religion and magic, and I love the game's subject matter too. Fortunately, you don't need to be a scholar to appreciate the depth and vitality of what Vajra Enterprises has accomplished with their newest game -- all you need is an interest in rich, complicated characters and their struggles across years of conflict and upheaval.

In "Hoodoo Blues" players take the roles of the ageless, Southern individuals granted (or cursed with) supernatural longevity. Character class selection further defines the reasons behind characters' ability to transcend the aging process, and also suggests internal conflicts and goals. As another reviewer has noted, players will need to create their characters carefully so as not to produce irresolvable interpersonal differences during play; on the other hand, one of the strengths of Southern history as a gaming backdrop is that characters of disparate races, social classes, and religions *will* come into conflict with each other, and it seems that the game designers welcome this tension to a large extent.

The game centers on the folkways and magico-religious traditions of three groups in the South: Blacks, Native Americans, and Whites, with the emphasis definitely favoring the first. Characters might be root doctors in the syncretic hoodoo tradition, laying hands and conducting a shadow war against other hoodoos; priests and priestesses of the American voodoo tradition most often associated with New Orleans; or traditional medicine workers from one of a number of Southern indigenous cultures.

All of these options are sensitively and accurately (within the confines of a gameable milieu, anyway) presented, and each is rich and entertaining in its scope and abilities. However, "Hoodoo Blues" also offers another sort of player character role: that of an individual desperately trying to outmaneuver the Devil, who gave her supernatural power and longevity in the first place. This broader category includes Robert Johnson-esque "Crossroaders" who sell their souls to Old Scratch in exchange for various sorts of power; Loups Garoux, the cursed werewolves of Cajun and Creole legend; and Hags, women (and a few men) who ride mortals during the night in order to drain their vitality. Again, all of these options *feel* right (to this folklorist, at least), and show the deep and attentive research the authors have clearly done.

Each character type has its own strengths and weaknesses, but in addition all character classes can take skill levels in Conjure, the game's catch-all term for Southern magical practices. Conjure includes the making of hoodoo hands, the petitioning of voodoo loa, and even the ability to summon the Devil at a lonely crossroads at midnight. The rules for Conjure are detailed and well-thought-out, and contribute greatly to the richness of the setting.

Speaking of which, it's hard to imagine a denser and more wonderful context for great storytelling than the past two hundred years or so of Southern history (and I'm saying that as a Yankee); impressively, "Hoodoo Blues" offers a truly massive amount of gamer-friendly historical and cultural detail covering everything from the daily wages of Confederate soldiers to the code phrases of the Underground Railroad to the etiquette rules that comprise Southern manners.

All of this information is potentially highly relevant, because "Hoodoo Blues" supports what it calls flashback play, a style of game in which gamers explore earlier periods in the ageless's long lives -- your 150-year-old Hoodoo Doctor might be powerful, prosperous, and respected today, but flashback play allows you to tell stories about his suffering under the lash of slavery during the Antebellum Period, and about his harrowing escape to freedom. Flashback play is practically a must in such a historically rich game setting, and while the game's mechanical guidelines for this style of roleplaying aren't tremendously extensive, there is certainly more than enough cultural and historical information to get GMs and players started.

The rules themselves derive from Vajra's house system, the Organic Rules Components, or ORC (heh). I find them a bit fiddly in places, but no more so than most tabletop rulesets I've encountered over the years. There's a rules-light version in the back of the PDF for anyone who wants less crunch, but really, the amount in the default mechanics isn't onerous. Creating characters will take a long time -- my first took me about two hours -- what with all the different aspects of characters' abilities and lengthy personal histories, but it's an investment of time that will certainly bear (strange) fruit during play.

To sum up, it's been a long, long time since I've been this excited about a new RPG, and I recommend "Hoodoo Blues" with enthusiasm (even if you're not as much of a folklore wonk as the authors or this reviewer, you really can't go wrong paying $4.95 for 312 pages of really nifty material). And heck, any game that asks me to define my character's personality by specifying his favorite *musical styles* is a game I wanna play.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
Publisher: Vajra Enterprises
by RAISTLIN W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/21/2010 11:44:45
This is an absolutely fascinating game at an incredible price point.

Hoodoo Blues is steeped in the mythology, folklore, and religion of the South, particularly the Antebellum South. PCs are members of a community of the ageless, immortal for one reason or another (each character class uses a different justification) and witness to the atrocities and heroism that have comprised Southern history. The book doesn't shy away from the darkest depths, which is why I will say this game isn't for everyone.

I have only two small quibbles with this book that prevent me from giving an unrelieved recommendation.

The first is that the character classes as presented have to be carefully chosen to create a viable play group. Several character classes have as a primary motivation the eradication of a couple of the others! Simple hostility could work, but having a medicine worker and a loup garou as friends is hard to imagine.

The second is the crunchiness of the Light (L) ruleset. This is part of Vajra's design philosophy and so I don't see it as something to criticize in the Regular (R) ruleset -- but the LARP rules section in the appendix, while lighter on the numbers than the main book, still isn't quite light enough to work away from the table. A little more tweaking is needed there.

As a tabletop game, though, and with a carefully-selected party, this game is potentially a masterpiece. The concept and characters are fascinating, the authors actually know what they're talking about with Hoodoo, Voodoo, and Voudoun, and the world promises to offer a very deep and serious roleplaying experience.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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