Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Review & Commentary On Wretched Darkness Rpg By Miguel Ribeiro, Sílvia Clemente, Joe Coombs, Chris Cotgrove From The Red Room

 " Welcome to the nightmarish realms of the Wretchedverse, where horrors lurk around every corner, and the darkness hides untold terrors. Wretched Darkness is a mature horror role-playing game where players take on the roles of anti-hero characters who must face the unknown and confront the supernatural and the paranormal head-on. Wretched Darkness may be played as a dark fantasy game, or you can make it into an actual horror experience. Players can choose from several factions for their characters, some already featured in previous Wretched games, such as the Knights of Cydonnia, BurroughsTech, the Araknyd Brotherhood and the Daughters of Ksenia, and a few new ones, like the Warden Foundation and the Children of the Night."

"By default, the game is set in modern times, in urban environments, where danger lurks at every turn and death is never far away. However, you can use it to play horror games in different timelines. Combine it with Wretched Époque or Wretched Country for a 19th-century terrifying experience, pair it up with Wretched New Flesh - Postcards from Avalidad for a near-future surrealistic horror campaign, jump into the far future by using Wretched Space, or set it in any other age. This book presents you with a sandbox-style setting inspired by the works of masters of horror, such as Clive Barker, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, John Carpenter, George Romero, Wes Craven, Dario Argento, Tobe Hooper, Lucio Fulci and Mario Bava, but expect sources of inspiration as varied as William Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, William Gibson, Paul Auster, exploitation movies and Leonard Cohen’s poetry."
"As a Game Master, you will find here tools and game mastering hints for running any style of horror game, such as Giallo, gore, supernatural, psychological, apocalyptic, surreal, sci-fi horror and more. Wretched Darkness uses a revised version of the Wretched mechanics, an old-school set of rules designed for playing characters that are not necessarily good or virtuous. The revised rules are still entirely compatible with previous versions. Still, they include new mechanics for sanity and the use of magic, as well as several new classes and playable races, such as Incubus/ Succubus, Loup-Garou, and the Wampyr. Player characters are also more vulnerable than they were in previous Wretched games: The Hit Point increase was downgraded (now, by default, you don’t roll for Hit Points when you level up, you only get 1 additional point per level), and the level cap is set at 10."

Miguel Ribeiro of the authors of The  Wretched Darkness rpg 

Wretched Darkness is a four hundred & seventy six page OSR horror rpg game that has quite a few difference from other Wretchedverse games. And that difference is the amount of care, work, planning, & thought that went into Wretched Darkness. Wretched Darkness is an OSR horror rpg game but it's one that can handle anytime frame from modern to hardcore ancient Lovecraftian themes or adventures.
Wretched Darkness falls hard on the adult side with lots of horror tropes & adventure cavets that one comes to expect in the horror gerne. The usuaul suspect PC classes are here from the chaos magicians all the way to the murdering psychopathic killer. What set's Wretched Darkness apart is the how & why of it's OSR systems. the Wretched Darkness rpg has the vibes of a Kult style OSR game.  The Wretched Darkness rpg has the potential to really take in the 90's style Golden Age horror movie like campaign in spades. Wretched Darkness lives up to it's OSR roots but incorporates a whole host of new systems that really bring home the horror as both personal adventure or full on campaign. Then there's several optional tarot card systems that can be used as 'horror adventure tool kit' in it's appendixs. And this is only one small part of Wretched Darkness. 

Wretched Darkness takes the horror adventure center stage as a solid OSR horror game that really ups the themes & ideas of the other Wretchedverse rpg games. Then it breaks off the knob of the volume & it does this by being a game that incorporates tons of factions, bits of magick, reams of supernatural lore, and more. But these are optional allowing the DM or players to bring the customization factor into the Wretched Darkness game itself. The pdf for Wretched Darkness is massive & yet I really want a printing of the game to truly cement it as a cornerstone of the Red Room's rpg systems.

And it's this cornerstone approach that makes Wretched Darkness rpg that will work well with Wretched Époque or Wretched Country for a 19th-century horror campaign or it can be used with  Wretched New Flesh - Postcards from Avalidad for a Science Fantasy horror campaign,or as a jump off point into an OSR horror game fueled by  Wretched Space especially combined with Venger Satanis's Cha'alt. And this is one of the strength's of Wretched Darkness it's ability to be adapted again & again to various niches of horror from it's own corner of OSR gaming. For me as a reviewer Wretched Darkness is a five outta of five.

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