Dark Races, Volume 1 (1992)

There’s a certain kind of RPG hubris in naming a book “Volume 1.” Just asking to not have a Volume 2. That’s the case with Dark Races (1992) (lol, they “trademarked” that).

This book is a hoot though. Sort of a monster manual, it catalogs the most noteworthy critters and entities in the Dark Conspiracy universe. A rad pool of artists – including Earl Geier, Janet Aulisio and Alan Nunis – illustrate entries by an equally rad pool of writers – including Ken St. Andre, Liz Danforth, Bill Slavicsek and many others.

The result, in typical Dark Conspiracy fashion, is a glorious mess. There are truly terrifying creatures, like the Lilitu, pandimensional baby eaters, and the silly, like super rats, rat that are…well, super. There are monsters from folklore, like the ghastly penanngalan, and those unique to the game, like the alien ravagers, sort of ultraviolent, demonic looking versions of the aliens from They Live. There are strange decisions – four types of gargoyles, really?

And that’s Dark Conspiracy in a nutshell: cool, weird, full of bad and brilliant decisions in turn.

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