Saturday, August 19, 2023

Deal of the Day - Bloodshadows: Fantasy-Noir RPG (Third Edition)

I remember getting Bloodshadows in the good old days of West End Games. It was a very pulpy feeling homage to the Cthulhu Mythos, dark fantasy, and other similar fiction. Seeing the third edition of the ruleset as the Deal of the Day on DTRPG is making me want to dig my original copy out of storage - or simply buy the third edition PDF. I guess the latter will be quicker ;)

Today's Deal of the Day is Bloodshadows: Fantasy-Noir RPG (Third Edition) from Precis InterMedia. Normally 14.95 in PDF, it is on sale until tomorrow morning for 5.98.

The spellslinger upstairs conjures too loud. 

The guy down the hall drinks blood from a six-pack.

That stiff you left in the alley is walking again.

The undead factory workers are on strike.

Your client skipped town before paying.

And your landlord is looking for his rent.

"Think Harry Dresden, Cast a Deadly Spell, and The Shadow rolled into one exquisite mix, and you’re playing Bloodshadows…"

Bloodshadows combines pulp adventure with dark fantasy and noir stylings. Tough detectives in weathered trenchcoats swap biting comments with vampires in evening gowns. Humans walk the dark streets of the city alongside demonic breeds and long-dead ghouls. Magic is everywhere, even if just to light a cigarette. Death waits around every corner--undeath sometimes follows. The Wilderness holds even more danger, kept at bay only by city gates and those who patrol them. It's a dark, brooding world filled with shadows and wonders.

Picture a medieval world with two opposing cosmic forces locked in battle -- the Godwar. As their armies dwindle, new soldiers are called into the fight via magical constructs and exotic species summoned from other planes of existence. Then the war comes to an end as if its leaders abandoned the battlefield. The perversions of the war flee to the Wilderness, while Humans shelter in cities, the two avoiding each other as much as possible.

Almost a millennium later, Humans run the civilized cities and guard against the Wilderness. Some Unnatural breeds, undead, and shifters have been accepted by the Humans, though not as equals in most cases. Some, like Vampires and Succubi, hunt Humans and are able to freely roam the cities as long as their true natures are hidden. Others, like the garbage-eating Gris and fast but smelly Skethspawn, often conduct their seedy business in the shadows. Then there are the Taxims, demons who inhabit the bodies of the dead in order to indulge in all manner of vices. Man walks beside them in the streets of the cities, but often unaware of their true natures. Humans and Unnaturals share one common trait--they simply want to live their lives. Indeed, this is what drives some Humans and Unnaturals to work together for a common goal.

Now picture these cities as they would appear in film-noir. Combine violence and ambiguous morals with a dark and brooding world. Envision cities built on magic, but limited by the status quo imposed by the Big Rich or others in charge. Law and crime is a microcosm of a greater struggle between order and chaos that has been reborn after centuries of relative inactivity -- a new Godwar brews. Magic is everywhere. Some know enough to light a cigarette, while others like Spellslingers, can animate the dead or create portals to other locations.

Combine elements of Noir, Pulp, Fantasy, and Horror and you have the world of Marl. The dead struggle for the same rights as the living. Unnaturals compete for the scraps of civilization. Magic rules, but only so long as it doesn't blow your head off. And you'd be lucky to end up dead in the Wilderness, for the other options may not be so pleasant.

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1 comment:

  1. Negative points for not mentioning Glen Cook's Garrett, P.I. series, which is much closer to being what Bloodshadows was actually an homage to than any of that other stuff and that despite the fact that Dresden steals a lot from Cook itself.


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