Game: Dangerous Prey
Publisher: Ronin Arts
Series: Whispering Vault
Review Dated: 23rd, June 2003
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10 [ Really good ]
Total Score: 8
Average Score: 8.00
Dangerous Prey is a supplement for the fantastic Whispering Vault horror roleplaying game. This time round we’re getting something a little more traditional for the series; Dangerous Prey contains more Shadows, more powers and a pre-written adventure. That said, Dangerous Prey is still entirely Whispering Vault, the illustrations are surreally spooky, the tone is intelligent, the content mature and the crunchy bits (yeah, the Shadows, Unbidden and powers) are wrapped in scary flavour and are only as crunchy as the streamlined mechanics of the Whispering Vault allows. If you’ve ever wondered whether an Unbidden can escape the Whispering Vault – and how, then this is the supplement for you.
Dangerous Prey is a PDF. It’s been released under the auspices of Philip J Reed and Christopher Shy. It’s not a cheap PDF but it’s worth it, that said it could do with bookmarks and page 22 (by accident or by design) is blank.
The download begins with an examination of ways to develop an Unbidden. This treatise isn’t as concerned with the mechanical, die rolling, side of the supernatural traitor but with the reasons for its treachery and how this helps define how the Unbidden will act once it reaches the Realm of Flesh. A chapter of new powers for Unbidden follows on from this.
I clearly hadn’t put enough thought into what an Architect’s Lair would be like but thanks to Dangerous Prey it’s clear that these advanced Unbidden could and probably have weird and wonderful haunts. This presents the GM with more options; good heavens, there could even be a Hunt where the Architect is waiting on the 20th level of a dungeon like lair but as the examples show its very easy to come up with a wonderfully Unbidden lair.
Beyond the Vault discusses how an Unbidden might escape the Vault. I think it changes the nature of the game that the Unbidden could escape. This chapter also introduces Wardens who make use of Trustees inside the Vault, those Unbidden who’ve truly repented their errors. “Life” inside the Vault, we’re told, is different, better, for the Trustees than it is for the unrepentant Unbidden. It’s a different game when there is some mercy in the Vault and it’s a different game when the Unbidden might come back but as the introduction to Dangerous Prey stresses this supplement is designed so that GMs can take what they want and ignore the rest. The easiest way to escape the Whispering Vault is to use a Stalker’s key. That’s not very easy at all. It’s possible to pick the lock (roll on more magical toys and plot devices) but this will transform a Warden into a Lesser Fury, a Stalker like creature, which will immediately be sent after the escapee.
If you’re inventing your own Shadows, one of the many attractions to the game, then Dangerous Prey has some miscellaneous powers to gift to them. A bit later on there are some new Shadows in their entirety. In between these two there’s a chapter on Husks; the fleshy shell which the Unbidden place some of their minions. Except the Husks don’t have to be fleshy, if there’s no concern at trying to pass the minion off as a human then a Husk could be made from metal – armour, for example.
The download finishes with a meaty pre-written Hunt (and five pages of plot hooks before that). The “Shooting Script” adventure is pretty tough, it should challenge most Stalkers but the attraction is that it shows there’s more flexibility to a Whispering Vault Hunt than might first appear. If you’ve run a few Hunts then you’ll probably know that but that doesn’t always make it any easier to come up with new and appropriate twists.
I think Dangerous Prey makes a good first supplement (chronologically, it isn’t) for Whispering Vault. If you’ve got the game and are finding it a little too alien then Dangerous Prey should help make it seem more familiar. This doesn’t mean Dangerous Prey is only suited for people trying the Whispering Vault for the first time, I think regular players and GMs (well, the GMs anyway) will enjoy it too.
What do you think? Share your thoughts below in the comment section below.