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In the Darkness Review

Posted on September 27, 2007 by Flames


Available at RPGNow.com

Introduction
The Darkness, or ‘In The Darkness There are Many Shades of Grey’ – to give it its full title, was apparently created, initially, as an add-on book for Talislanta – The Midnight Realm. When Morrigan Press took over they decided to expand The Midnight Realm into a more full game of its own and what that became is The Darkness.

Basically, what the game world is, is part of a lower, demonic plane of existence, beneath the other spiritual and other worlds, a place of demons and death and devilry and Tim Burtonesque twisted landscapes where the various demonic races and beasts vie with each other for power and control. A theme which has been explored more than just a little in many other products for many other game lines.

Overview
There are no real surprises here, the game world as such is quite small and restricted and so a fairly complete, if somewhat scant, world guide is present along with descriptions of all the demonic races and monsters of the underworld, systems of government, money, equipment and all the usual information required to get a game up and running.The book runs to 161 pages with black and white artwork throughout but, while it contains additions to the Omni System rules (Morrigan’s in house system) it does not contain the basic rules themselves, for which one would need to buy a copy of the system.

Artwork
Not that I am one to complain about a book filled with half-naked demon girls but a little variety would have been nice. Strangely the cover piece is probably the weakest piece of art in the whole book and surely the cover is the one place you DO want a half naked demon girl with red come-hither eyes… apparently not.

The layout is a simple two-column affair with a rather cheesy and overwrought border on the inside, top and bottom, but it does the job with no fuss.

Writing
The writing is professional quality and quite well edited but no amount of writing can shake off the fact that the whole game feels like a circa 1990 heavy metal-fan’s home campaign, inspired by album covers and copies of playboy.The whole thing reeks of ‘kewl’ and ‘3vil powerz’ and hell, I’d have probably lapped it up when I was 13 or 14 but compared to other games on similar themes this just feels a bit… immature.

Background
An ancient elder race called the Thane once ruled large swatches of the planes and the omniverse until it All Went Wrong(TM). Now they’ve departed the lower planes and sealed up the gap behind them leaving some of their brethren asleep to await the return of the good old days and everything else trapped in this gothalicious heavy-metal hell hole that they have to call home. Now the various kingdoms and devil (not demon, very important) species vie for power and control with each other, not really having any of those pesky ‘forces of good’ to worry about.

While the background is complete it is a little directionless and the adventure seeds given and the city and political backgrounds don’t give you a great deal to work with in coming up with a party concept, particularly given how evil/amoral themed games tend to make such friendships and alliances difficult to justify anyway.

Rules
The Darkness uses the Omni System, you can see my review of the TTA game for an overview of that. This book contains character creation rules for the various devil races, monster statistics for demons and other creatures, new skills, weapons spells and other items that round out the world and let you equip your barely dressed succubus in exactly the right way.

Upsides

* A certain adolescent charm.
* Lots of half naked succubi.

Downsides

* Metal Album-Cover game
* Idea not really developed enough.

Score
Style: 3
Substance: 2
Overall: 2.5

Reviewer: James ‘Grim’ Desboro

Look for other OMNI System eBooks at RPGNow.com.

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