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Accursed $20.00
Publisher: Melior Via
by Luke G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/12/2014 06:44:32

This setting is pretty much what "Van Helsing" and "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" wanted to be.

I do not have much experience with playing in the Savage Worlds system, so that was not what attracted me to this product. Just the atmosphere and setting concept drew me toward an interest in it. Now, having read through the setting information, I can say it was worth the expenditure on that strength alone.

Anybody who has an interest in the old Universal Horror monster classics, or their Hammer Film dopplegangers will recognize the inspiration for a lot of this book, but the developers went quite a bit deeper than I expected and hooked into some rather interesting myths and legends, with a touch of some classic fantasy as well. The book describes eight of the thirteen witches that came over as part of the Grand Coven and each one is given a very unique style. This ranges from the Djinn, who seems to work her most powerful magic by perverting the wishes others ask of her, all the way to the Crone, a weather controlling witch who seems to have been the driving force behind the invasion.

The setting is dark, but not hopeless. There is every indication that your characters might be able to help turn the tide against the witches and their loyal servants. Oddly, for a setting like this, the morality is fairly clear cut. It is very clear that the witches are evil, and the vaguely Abrahamic "Enochian Faith" is rather pleasantly more tolerant and reasonable than I would expect of a religious establishment in other, similarly grim settings. In Accursed, the "good" generally behaves in a manner that can legitimately be termed good rather than simply being judgmental proselytizers. They aren't perfect, of course, but that just makes them more interesting. Likewise, there's very little grey about the witches. They are inhuman and evil, with motivations that cannot be easily understood.

One would think that the establishment of a clear good versus a clear evil would make this more like a fantasy than a dark fantasy. If the authors had chosen to set the story in the days of the Grand Coven Invasion, this might have been the case. At that time in the setting, most of the Accursed were still under the sway of the witches that created them and the heroes would have been the standard stalwart knight or the grim wilderness wanderer with a clear eye and good musket. What makes this setting dark fantasy, and what makes it so interesting is that there is a clear good and evil...and good lost the war.

The players have in front of them a lot of choices and there's always going to be the temptation of a compromise of their values. Perhaps working with one of the Gorgon's agents is a worthwhile endeavor...if it will insure that the Dark Queen's latest plot fails. Will the characters embrace their curse and become more and more inhuman themselves? Or will they turn aside from their witchmark and seek a return to their time as human. When you're defending a land from the invasion of a great, outer evil, then the "good" choice often tends to be easy. But now that the land is already conquered, being effective and being moral seem to march side by side less and less. It's hard to keep up the fight, at least not without sacrificing something else.

So while the morality isn't the muddled grey you'd expect from dark fantasy, the character choices between expediency and principals makes the situations that much more interesting.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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