Friday, December 27, 2013

A 'Deeper Look' Into Darkness Visible: Espionage Campaigns for Stars Without Number From Sine Nomine Publishing

Get It Right Over 

 Visible Darkness is the espionage book for Stars Without Number and it contains a lots of in formation lots of factions and terrorist cells that can make life very hellish for your players. 
What this book actually does is act as bridge gap for your PC's to weave the cults, science fictional weirdness in the background of the game , and lots of interstellar action into one place.
With this book, GMs and players are equipped with everything they need to run campaigns of interstellar intrigue and covert action. New backgrounds, training packages and equipment options will kit out your starfaring spies, and the history and context of interstellar espionage will help you plan your adventures in a cosmos in dire need of your help.
GMs are given special help in assembling an espionage campaign, with tools for the cooperative creation of enigmatic intelligence agencies and long-hidden Perimeter outposts. You'll also find concrete, step-by-step techniques for building complex spy adventures and sinister plots, complete with detailed support material to keep your focus on the fun.
Look inside to find...
  • The history of interstellar spying in the Stars Without Number universe.
  • Details of the hideous maltech cults that threaten the very future of humanity.
  • A system for cooperatively creating intelligence agencies for your campaign and handling exploits against their nefarious rivals.
  • 36 new tags for flavoring your cults, all of which can be used as world tags as well.
  • Over 200 new adventure seeds, each one keyed to a different aspect of an espionage agency.
  • NPC, scheme, and method tables for fleshing out conspiracies and dark plots.

Rise of the Maltech Cults
One of the groups that's detailed in this book are the "Maltech cults. These folks are nasty with a capital 'N'.  They're sort of like a group that would make a really creepy foe for an 'interstellar NCIS' style campaign. They've got their prints throughout several different books starting with the rule book, this one, and the Relics book on their hardware. 
The Darkness Visible book gives some background, tactics, and ideals of the Maltech cults. But the Relics book acts upon their technology. Your really going to need both books though to use the material effectively in a long range campaign. 
I've used Maltech cults twice in simple one shot games to see how effectively they are against a group of determined agents. And the results were rather surprising. While the PC's were able to hold their own against the Maltech cell. They did give them a rough time. 

 The long-hidden Perimeter outposts were a welcome source of support, recruitment potential for PC's, and a nice addition to the interstellar back drop of the SWN universe. Once again this book seems to flesh out more of the post Scream SWN universe in one very sort of underscored way. 
The Skyward Steel book has some nice tie ins with this book and actually does allow one to run a weird 'JAG' style campaign against the background of the stars. The material feels some place between Robert Heinlein and several 70's space opera and navy science fictional books.
All in all this feels like another dire  the universe hangs by a thread in the SWN universe puzzle piece and that's a good thing in my opinion. The book makes a DM think and fit things together quite well with a dark but hopeful background.  

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