The idea behind this book is that, whilst some reasonable speculation had been made in the core rules about the technology of the first few decades of the 21st century, there was a need for some truly weird and off-the-wall stuff to reflect the alien otherness brought into the world by the various dark forces that the party is trying to defeat. They shouldn't look like they tooled up in local stores. Even though not all the predictions about normal human technology were completely accurate, we can at least look at the world around us (or go online) to come up with what the party has access to... but we still need a spin for the aliens' and dark minions' gear. Some of this stuff has been 'acquired' by government agencies or corporations, whether to combat the Dark Ones or further their own ends.
A section titled The Nature of Darktek sets out to explain how the Dark Ones view the universe differently from human beings and that their technology is grounded in their philosophy. Their view is empathic rather than analytic, and organic rather than seeing a definite and distict difference between that which is alive and that which is not. Most of their stuff isn't available for sale anywhere, to acquire it the party will have to find, steal or capture it. And there is a cost to using it, due to its rather unpleasant nature. It can corrupt the user quite easily, something the Referee has to be on the alert for... to use, of course, against the party! Many such items draw their power from the user, who is then afflicted with the desire to consume massive amounts of fresh raw meat to restore themselves. They can also make the user more visible to the Dark Ones or even more vulnerable to psychic attack... and some graft themselves to the user and require surgery to be removed! So use with caution, if at all.
We then move on to the listings, which are grouped by function: biologic devices, electronic devices, weapons, vehicles, robots, miscellaneous items, and consumer goods. Therein, items are presented alphabetically and tagged as to who produced or dreamed them up in the first place. The biologic devices are suitably creepy, but the electronic ones fall far short of developments that have actually taken place over the intervening years since this book was written (of course, you could always say that the Dark Ones happen to be less advanced in this area...). The quality of the other entries is similarly mixed, with excellent alien items and more variable human-produced ones.
Everything is illustrated in line art and has a description explaining what it is and what it does. A bonus is several full-page colour illustrations showing items in use complete with explanatory notes as to what is going on in the scene depicted.
Whilst you could use these items for 'window dressing' to highlight the difference between the real world and the Dark Conspiracy one, they can also be used as plot devices or indeed the inspiration for an entire adventure. Something strange is found, then the party tries to figure out what it is and what it does. Or something has been seen at a distance that triggers an investigation... Some excellent flavour material, well worth a look!
Return to Darktek Sourcebook page.
Reviewed: 12 October 2017