Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wrestling With The Legions of Darkness From Kult ~ Review & Commentary

Legions of Darkness for the Kult rpg is considered by many players to be essential reading if not the best expansion book for the game. It continues the bleak Gnostic inspired cosmology first seen in the main rule book. 

The game comes with a warning for the reader but does it live up to it? Kinda, sort of, not really. The book was/is essential to the game the whole thing is laid out that the material within really fits the twisted cosmology of Kult. 
 The Table of Contents provides more then a handy reference for the book it consists of the the paths that the book takes. Basically it takes all of the material laid out in the fluff/setting section of the role book & blows it up in even further. 
 We get a fully realized backgrounds on the Kult baddies & there's lots of them. This is an urban horror game where the various gods, angels, death angels, etc. are all essential to the setting & the PCs stumble into the plots head first. 
 The adventure hooks, plots, etc. all tie directly into  the setting so much so that we get a full spectrum view of the workings of the world here. This is a God sent in a way for the DM wanting to construct adventures but a hazard for those wanting to inject a bit of their own here. 
 There's even more here for the DM willing to impart this information on the PCs in his game. New cycles of power, spells, items, & ritual magic are all here. The Gnositic background clouds, adds, & gives meaning to the powers within the book 

The Hows & Whys of The Legions of Darkness 
 Here we have a typical layout for the book consisting of the power, the envoy, the complete background, & even a symbol for the the stertorous cult. 
 Then we're thrust into the minions, monsters, & the power's locations including a map of the lair of the creature. 
 The maps here are something that a desperate survivor or victim might scratch out on a piece of paper. The world & possibilities are all there. 
 There are other powers, gods, & various monsters etc. I've seen the book described as "Kult's Monster Manual". But really this is a more essential book. This is the expansion that allows one to flesh out the world of Kult. This book is a path way to adventure & horror. Its one of the best monster books of the 90s for a horror game. 

 Here the false front of reality is cracked & breaking down completely. The monsters are not only crawling through but their rule upon this world is almost broken. 
Because of the way the book is laid out the whole package allows a DM to interconnect adventures in such a fashion that an almost unique history of a PC organization might be easily be built. Chill was the only other game to have such a thing until the printing of Delta Green for CoC  
 We've got evocative styles, easily adapting of the material, a fleshed out history, & horror adventure just waiting for the PCs to be dropped into it.

Uses For Retroclone Horror 

 This is a well organized, easily adapatable setting with lots,lots, of monsters who are waiting to get their claws into your PCs. There are powers. backgrounds, a metric ton of locations but how to adapt it? 
 Once again I'm turning to Mutant Future for the adaption because the PCs are more robust  the mutations are adaptable as powers, there's a ton of grade Z movie material that's floating out there that can work in this setting & unlike this game I like PCs to survive.  

 Remember earlier that I had talked about that warning! Well here's why, there are monstrous child killing cults, weird gods, cannibalism, torture, magic,etc. all set against the background of a Gnostic ritual magic setting. In other words nothing that you don't see on the nightly news. The really weird part is the cosmology which makes our everyday reality very, very, depressing except this isn't our everyday reality its a game setting with an intelligent Dave Lynch/Clive Barker world very seen the eyes of a conspiracy nut. 
 There aren't simply monsters in the book there are powers & backgrounds that can be adapted with little ease into a variety of other settings. The cults, monsters, etc can go all the way back to 1000 to 2000 BC and beyond. Lots to use here 

The Ins & Outs Of Legions of Darkness 
The book is easy enough to get a quick hunt around ebay will produce at least three or four copies at very low prices. There's even a number of fan sites that still support the game. The fact is that its about the only place that you'll find new material. The game is long long out of print & long forgotten. 
The Last Cycle was my second home back when White Wolf imploded the Old World of Darkness 
Ten Reasons to use Legions of Darkness 

  1. The book is well organized, fantastically easy to use, & its mostly forgotten by role players. Grab it & go. 
  2. The expansion of cults, monsters, etc all blows up & out the world of Kult easily bringing it to your table 
  3. The material with some work could be applied to any horror based game 
  4. The book is a great pathway to horror adventure & the hooks actually are quite useful 
  5. The expansion of rules, rites, etc are worth the price of admission alone 
  6. The material is mature but handled in a reasonable, well set down way making this one to use over & over again. 
  7. The introduction to the cosmology of Kult allows one to rip, mine, fold & dissect whatever the DM wants 
  8. There's acres & acres of weirdness here to play with 
  9. The book isn't pretentious or high minded it simply presents the material & allows one to get to the heart of  the horror 
  10. Its cheap & easily available 


  1. I love the setting for this game... it's bleak and weird and has a scope that ranges from basic serial killers to Hellraiser to the war in Heaven. The rules are kinda clunky but like you say, it's easily dropped in to other systems.
    I don't find it mashes up so well with Lovecraftian themes though... since the secrets of Kult point to humans being very important where Lovecraft's brand of horror relies on them being insignificant.

  2. Love the game and we've got more tomorrow.We'll get to all of these very things on tomorrow's blog entry when we get into the Metropolis source book for Kult coming up tomorrow. Thanks for the comments! The awakening begins tomorrow!