RogerBW's Blog

The Dark Times 3 25 May 2018

The Dark Times, edited by Lee Williams, is a fanzine that follows on from Demonground and Protodimension in dealing with "the horror-conspiracy-weirdness gaming genres", beginning with Dark Conspiracy and drifting into nearby areas.

Most Likely A Meteor (Tim Bisaillon) is for Little Fears, a game I don't know. The progress of the adventure is fairly straightforward (odd thing happens, odd thing happens giving a clue, follow the clue to reach the dungeon, beat up the enemy) and there doesn't seem to be anything here that particularly challenges childhood fears; with a very slightly different framing this could work for Dark Conspiracy or many other horror games.

Apparitions (Finn Cullen) is a very short story. The twist at the end might make an interesting premise for a scenario. (Yes, I'm a curmudgeon who prefers an RPG zine to have RPG material in it.)

A Little Monster Aside (Paul Riegel-Green) gives stats and some legendry for the Kappa, a traditional Japanese monster, in Dark Conspiracy.

BANGS! Unexpected Incidents (David South) are men sent through the door with guns in their hands: sudden events to be dropped into a game to keep things moving. Some of these are fairly major campaign-affecting incidents which I'd want to think carefully before using.

Blest Be The Ties That Bind (Sal North) describes a memetic virus… but not the endpoint that it is apparently working towards. Much of the text is repeated (once as notes to the GM, once as a doctor's notes - perhaps intended as a handout, but the list of fictional acknowledgements is on the same page).

Sunflower Masquerade Part 0 (Joe Klemann) is a scenario based on yet another staging of The King in Yellow, ho hum. There's a fair bit of interesting stuff here; it's a pity that the central conceit is so well-worn.

Sports Day (Paul Riegel-Green) seems to be missing an introduction, but is a list of sports played in the world of Dark Conspiracy. Yes, there are gladiatorial games, of course, but some of the other inventions and derivations are rather more interesting. Some of them are perhaps a bit optimistic for this grim world.

Wooden Heart (Finn Cullen) is another short story.

From the Editor’s Attic (Lee Williams) muses about games conventions.

There's nothing this issue that really leaps out at me as ready-to-use, but the future sports piece may leak into several worlds I run, and I look forward to seeing how Sunflower Masquerade develops and whether it would be possible to saw off the standard setup and replace it with a different one. (Why doesn't anyone try to make a film of The King in Yellow?) The Dark Times #3 is freely available from its web site.

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