Houses of the Blooded

This was undoubtedly the year of Houses of the Blooded. We played a demo at Dragonmeet 2008 with John Wick himself and that was a really good idea because without that I really doubt we would have got past the dense, pretentious and expensive rulebook.

There is a game between the game as written and the game as played and I sometimes wonder if rulebooks are poor substitute to learning things by playing them with people.

Our game is part documented in this wiki (this was also the year of Couch wikis) but it was really fun with each week ending on some kind of event that we couldn’t wait to return to in the next session. It really set a benchmark for everything else we did.


This was also the year of being punched in the social club and attacking people with lewd dancing. PDQ is a system that powers games such as Truth and Justice, Jaws of the Six Serpents and Questors of the Middle Realms.

It can be a bit abstract but we enjoyed the usual trick of having characters that embodied the ideas you have for them when they are created. Having a unified mechanism for conflict also means that you can carry “social damage” around as easily as physical by having lowered relationships with groups and people.

PDQ was perhaps 2009’s go-to system for our group.


Easily the best mechanical invention of the year was Aspects, first seen in FATE and then Spirit of the Century, Houses of the Blooded also adopted them although with a totally different ruleset. Aspects represent a massive mechanical leap forward in terms of blending narrative with mechanics by rewarding negative behaviour and describing the environment in the same way as characters.

They also meshed with Heroquest’s damage system of accrued negative traits to create a new way of expressing harm done to a character or the chance of something bad happening. It feels like we are only beginning to explore this new way of describing gaming.