Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Dark Conspiracy, this book opens with some remarks from an assortment of contributors to and super-fans of the game... and a rather sad note from Lester Smith, who started it all off with the initial core rulebook and much more besides. He laments how the 'work for hire' method of paying authors prevalent in the RPG industry can leave game designers and developers feeling that they somewhat lose contact with works they have laboured over with love and passion once they've been published. Then it's on to the book itself, which is a massive sourcebook for the conurbation formed by Tampa and St. Petersburg in Florida, jammed with flavour, ideas and new stuff to enhance your game.
The Introduction begins with some fiction, a conversation in a seedy and violent bar that I don't think I'll be visiting anytime soon, and then moves on to discuss the development and history of Tampete. It seems a dark place, with all the ills that befall any city in Dark Conspiracy - high unemployment, weak government, lack of investment in infrastructure, rampant corporations and crime - but with an unpleasnt edge. Crimes that include cannibalism and clowns running amok, new and potent drugs, and civil disobedience that's more like terrorism. There's worse, creatures living in lagoons and waterways or underground that are said to abduct people. Rumours of portals to other worlds, and patches of Demonground. Visit at your peril... for they are a quarrelsome lot, and altercations turn violent real fast.
There is a timeline, in accord with the rest of Dark Conspiracy diverging from the real world in the early 1980s and running through to 2034, deemed the present day. There's a map to show you what's where, and then we get down to detail: health and disease, the survivalist communities, the weather (which plays quite an important role here)... and crime. Lots about crime and about the sometimes bizarre laws enacted by the city fathers that probably don't help much.
Next comes a visit to various regions within the sprawl. Detailed maps, locations to visit, history and much, much more. Scattered throughtout are notes on what really happened and what is going on now, so this isn't a player-friendly gazetteer of the conurbation although it will aid you in making a visit a rich experience. There are also 'quick and dirty plot seeds' dotted around, just in case reading the material hasn't already spawed several ideas.
This extensive section is followed by a collection of Factions and Personalities - many of whom have already been introduced during the grand tour of Tampete. This section provides loads of people (loosly speaking) to interact with, do business with... or get into contention with, as may be appropriate. Gangs rub shoulders with strange religious cults, and this section ends with 'A Hundred and One Personalities' - a list of short notes/stat blocks for individuals you can pop in wherever you like. Many could spawn an adventure or two of their own... and many would make good contacts, especially if the party will be staying in Tampete for long.
After a selection of full-page colour paintings of various Tampete scenes comes a section of Dark Adversaries, an array of beasties you can use as necessary to impede and imperil the party. Plenty of weirdness that will have them gawping when they really ought to be running...
Next come several new Protodimensions. Visit if you dare. Or if circumstances mean that you don't really have the option. Finally, there are several Appendices, which are where you'll find new rules, new career options, new DarkTek and several tables to roll on for anything from encounters to what's in a market, drug effects and even more plot seeds. There's also a complete writing system called Underglyphs to scatter around.
If you want a detailed, vibrant, exciting, sometimes threatening and almost always dangerous city to let the party run rampage through, this is a fantastic resource with which to introduce them to the delights of Tampete. It's full of stuff that will give you ideas for adventures or even whole campaigns... once sucked in, the party may never leave! They may not even want to...
Return to Tampete page.
Reviewed: 30 October 2017