Its review time, and let me welcome you to our first Dark Heresy article. Lets take a look at Fantasy Flight Games’ upcoming: Creatures Anathema: A Bestiary of Aliens, Beasts, and Daemons.
First up, the basics. We have a hardcover supplement for Dark Heresy, weighing in at 144 full color pages. The book is well put together and is a lavishly illustrated with a combination of old 40k classics and all new paintings and illustrations.
What we have here is a very diferent layout and organization that your typical “monster manual”. Yes we get the stats and very pretty pictures of everything from 40k classics such as the Ambull, on through to Orks, Eldar, Genestealers, and even Enslavers.
The big thing we get out of this book is a set of adventure hooks and “local knowledge”. Dark Heresy is set in the Calaxis Sector, and so too are the creatures presented. For example, we don’t get a generic set of Apostate Tech Adepts and a single stat line for them, but instead a fully documented set of individuals and their horrific tech-heresies and nicely written capsule hooks on exactly how to work them into your Dark Heresy campaigns.
This format is wonderful for both the GM and the players, as the background descriptions and play aids are fluffy and particular. Filled with all the detailed dark horror and dread we expect out of the 40th Millenium, they are exactly what you need to add a good amount of texture to your playgroup.
This design decision gave the writers a lot of leeway to give us gems such as haunted locations, individual Death-worlds, possessed shipwrecks, and the like that fill the halfway point between monster manual and adventure module. Its easy to see how just this one book can provide the seed for dozens of evenings of role-playing adventure. It’s background writing is good enough to provide great inspiration for any fan of the 40k universe, and could easily provide the foundations for wargaming missions and campaigns as well.
Availability: February 2009
4 Stars (Out of 5)
As usual, comments are welcome all.