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Dark Lord

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In Dark Lord, you play as the Big Bad Evil Guy, leading your minions into battle against the forces of light, and stopping at nothing to conquer the world!

Players in Dark Lord each play an evil overlord as part of a dark council, but only one player controls their overlord at a time. When you are the dark lord, the other players at the table take the role of your minions. When you are a minion, you must balance boldness and cowardice to maximize your plunder in order to receive mana rewards that you can spend when playing your dark lord. The forces of light are arrayed against you and your dark council, but with enough cunning and tenacity, your reign of terror will be eternal.

Each season begins with a meeting of the dark council, when the dark lords discuss who shall embark upon what adventures. Some adventures will involve sacking towns and villages for their treasure, while others will involve scattering the gathering armies of light before they can strike at your holdings. There’s not as much plunder in driving back the heroes, but someone has to do it or it’s game over for everyone. You can strike a deal with your fellow overlords to fight the heroes in exchange for a cut of the market pillage, but can you trust them to keep their word?

When the planning is done, it’s time to march, each dark lord taking their forces in a different direction. When you head off to fight the heroes, the other players take on the role of your minions. Each of them rolls dice and finds out which minion classes from your unique list they can play. When you take the role of the Lich King of the crypts, your friends roll the dice, hoping to become a powerful ghoul assassin or vampire blood mage rather than lowly skeleton infantry. Your minions want the rewards that come from earning your favor, but they also want to live long enough to reap those rewards, they're probably not above knocking off their fellow minions in order to pull ahead in the competition for your favor, and most of them have secret agendas ranging from the inconvenient to the outright treasonous. Stay canny, and you might be able to herd these bloodthirsty cats towards the heroes long enough to sack their defenses and take their treasure.

When you return to your domain, bags bursting with treasure, you'll take it in turns with other dark lords to spend your ill-gotten gains on investing in your dark domain, building fortifications, establishing markets, and raising armies. Perhaps you want to establish occult academies and make your domain a stronghold of dark academia, or maybe you're hoping to build a mighty colosseum and host terrible blood sport in your name. Maybe you keep your peasants in line with an authoritarian police state, or perhaps you use a dark cult honoring you as god-king to inspire fanatical loyalty. Whatever your goal, you will need conquered territories to use as labor force, wealth to buy from the markets, and mana to conduct mighty rituals.

Be sure to keep an eye on your fellow dark lords as you do, as all of you buy from the same market and suck mana from the same leylines - if they buy something you had your eye on, you'll have to wait for the next season before it's replaced, and if too many other dark lords are casting rituals, you'll have to wait until the background ether quiets down a bit, or just pay a stupendous amount of mana to muscle through anyway. If your goals as dark lord are unrelated, you can probably strike a deal to manage who buys what from the market and who casts rituals when, but unfortunately most dark lords tend to gravitate towards trying to maximize their magnificence, a measure of the decadent power of their realm, and that tends to put the dark council into competition with one another for resources. Just sacked a valuable territory? Better make sure you've got troops to invade with immediately, or one of your "allies" might use ritual magic to conjure up an army to invade, land borders be damned.

When it comes time for someone else to play a dark lord, you will take on the role of a minion. Your goal when playing a minion is to amass a bounty of mana that you can spend when playing your dark lord, usually to build up your dark domain. There are two ways to go about this. The first is to win the favor of your dark lord. Each adventure, the dark lord has favor to distribute amongst the minions, and receiving more favor as a minion means having more mana as a dark lord. If you've rolled up a powerful minion, you can try to reap the rewards of winning your overlord's favor by destroying their enemies.

If you've rolled up a weakling, you could try suicide rushing the first dangerous looking knight or wizard you see, hope to get blown up, and maybe reroll something better, but there's an alternative, the second option for accumulating mana as a minion: Weak minions come with high retirement awards, especially if they survive multiple adventures. The weaker your minion class and the higher your level, the bigger your mana reward for choosing to retire the minion at the end of an adventure, instead of leveling them up. Maybe if you cower behind your stronger party members for an adventure or two, you could get yourself a lucrative payout from a terrible stat line. When you roll a new minion, you also roll up a secret objective that pays out a bit of extra mana if you complete it and then retire (but not if you complete it and then die!). Be careful, though, some of the secret objectives are things your fellow minions and/or dark lord might frown upon, and being frowned upon can have fatal consequences in the forces of evil...

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Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
DIOGO A July 19, 2021 1:24 pm UTC
Is this book the Game Master's Guide plus Lords and Minions ?
Customer avatar
Chamomile A November 27, 2021 8:52 am UTC
Those two and also Complete Council.
Customer avatar
Adam C April 01, 2021 6:34 am UTC
Will a PoD be available shortly? I really want to get my hands on a physical copy.
Customer avatar
Abraham Z March 06, 2021 5:30 pm UTC
This one sounds very interesting; do you have an email where I can contact you? I would love to feature this one on my reviews channel, if there are PDFs available for review that is.
Customer avatar
Chamomile A March 09, 2021 9:38 pm UTC
Yeah, you can contact me at
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File Last Updated:
March 04, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on March 05, 2021.
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