Rites of the Dragon is both a piece of fiction set in the Vampire: the Requiem game world, and a possible in-game artifact. In the first role it’s only so-so, someone reading thing with no background information about the game won’t get much out of it – it’s basically a quick-read variant of the old Dracula myth, as narrated by Dracula himself. As an in-game artifact it works better: this book also outlines the source of the philosophy of the Ordo Dracul (which claims Dracula as its founder) and something like this might well be something that is given out to new recruits as background. To help reinforce this notion, the book has a fancy felt cover and is in a smaller format, looking more like a “normal” book than a “game book”.
It’s not the first time White Wolf has done this, of course. The new Vampire also has The Testament of Longinus which is the counterpart for the Lancea Sanctum, and the old Vampire had lots of similar books, starting with the old Book of Nod. It’s a fun concept.
The tale itself is nothing spectacular. We’re given a bit more background on how the Ordo came to be (well, supposedly anyway) and on some of the other leaders of the Order. There are some fun historical bits, but in the end, this is very lightweight stuff and it’s a quick read; the word count is quite low and there are plenty of pictures. Still, it’s a moderately entertaining expansion on the game background.
In the end, this book really isn’t worth the high(ish) asking price, unless you really want this for an in-game prop in a LARP or some such (in which role it’s great). That’s not to say that it’s a bad book; it’s worth a read if you’re interested in the game and can get hold of a copy for a lower price.