Magic (1990)

Let’s start off the spooky season with something a bit silly: the sourcebooks for the Nightlife line. Nightlife is an urban horror RPG that launched in 1990, a year before Vampire: The Masquerade, in which players take the roles of various creatures of the night and navigate a dangerous supernatural club scene and urban underbelly. It is weird how similar the concept is to V:TM.

This is the Magic sourcebook (1990) which, hey, introduces magic! There are rules for a new class — the sorcerer — lots of spells and rules for covens. Past that is a potpourri of other stuff — new races, some gnarly demons, an ever-expanding list of factions and gangs and bands (one band has the unfortunate name “The Taint” which, wow). There are details on monster hunters (called Stakes in the monster slang) and in a truly surprising anticipation of Delta Green, a government department dedicated to dealing with supernatural threats (while also being staffed in part by supernatural threats).

The art is a weird mix. I tend to like Bradley K. McDevitt’s early stuff (he’s since become a DCC staple) but the other stuff is hit or miss for me. Pamela Shanteau’s cover is…really something else though. I honestly don’t know where to start with it. The cat? Probably the cat. What the hell is going on with the cat? Everything else really pales in comparison to the cat.

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