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  • Writer's pictureFrancois DesRochers

Scholar’s Review #66: Dark Conversions

Updated: Jan 6

Author: Kevin Siembieda

Release Date: December 2002


GENERAL


General. Anecdotally referred to as Conversion Book 3, this book provides a focused series of entries for the GM to use within their adventure settings. It has numerous thematic entries that expand on the cinematic ideas of horror and supernatural suspense. If you are looking for spooky and horrific entries, there is no shortage of them. Covering things like Supernatural Intelligences, Vampires and other Undead, as well as demons of various sorts and power levels, it also highlights conversion rules for Nightbane RPG. It is meant to be a companion book for Conversion Book 1.


SECTIONS


Introduction. Specifically noted as a companion book to Conversion Book 1, it presents a host of demonic and supernatural creatures. I find this somewhat unusual, because several of the entries found later on are reprints from Conversion Book 1. I understand the desire to make a thematic collection, and for the time period this might have made sense.


Alien Intelligences. The supernatural beings that are meant to defy human understanding, they are so powerful as to allow themselves to fragment their essences in both the physical and spiritual worlds. Of note, not all are evil, thought you’d be hard pressed to find one. Of note, this makes the Witch Pact possible with a *GOOD* supernatural intelligence, which could really make for a different dynamic. There is a very handy Alien Intelligence Creation Template that was fun to run through.


Demonkind. Provides a series of demonic and monstrous entries:

  • Hades: Several Lesser and Greater Demons of Hades, the Demon Beetles, and the condensed entries for Lords of Hades (pulled from PFRPG Book of Dragons and Gods).

  • Deevils, Presents Lesser, Greater and Lords from Dyval.

  • Thin Ones. A really well “fleshed out” entry of a truly horrific demon.

  • Winter Storm Ice Demon. A demon of living ice; exactly as advertised.


Undead Legions. Wouldn’t be complete without an entry on the undead.

  • Vampires. Thankfully they wave off readers to World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms.

  • Endless Dead. Details the various powers and vulnerabilities of the “undead.”

  • Aberrations. Unusual undead that I truly can’t describe without it becoming a little farsical.

  • Blighters. Resembles the zombies out of Resident Evil, but not driven solely to feed. They are a sadistic creature with a putrid stench and bite that instantly infects the victim with a Sickness.

  • Blood Wraiths. Thought to be the demonic undead form of a witch, these beings can suck the blood from a victim through touch alone (osmosis).

  • Bone Fiend. Palladium version of a toned down Liche?

  • Evisceral. Undead forms of cowards and betrayers where the skin and internal organs of the chest/abdomen no longer exist. They also retain memories of their former lives and everything they have done since becoming undead.

  • Festulent. Appearing like putrid zombies that are universally ambivalent to everything. They don’t understand they are undead, coming together in communities and working and fighting mindlessly for more powerful undead/Necromancers.

  • Gravedigger. Bizarre undead that craves feasting on rotten flesh of the dead; like cockroaches, they are swarming around the ruins of Tolkeen. Doesn’t kill their food, but happily leads others and waits their turn at “the buffet.”

  • Harbinger. Shapechanging spies for greater beings, doing so in the form of animals.

  • Jaliquette. A being that died, revived with only a head. Four-part mission: find a live humanoid creature, kill it without wrecking the body, decapitate the body, attach itself to headless corpse. This corpse continues to decompose, though at much slower pace. Off to find another host.

  • Mortoii, Zombie Vampire. Vampire beings that drink blood, then eat hands and feet of corpse.

  • Rawhead. By day, a normal looking humanoid. At night, the skin sloughs off and they need the skin of a victim to wear. Special abilities and attacks to strangle and break necks, the better to skin their victims. Once again, we’re leveraging Silence of the Lambs.

  • Revenant. A chimera of an undead, it appears to be a combination of spare parts from various beings slapped together. Includes additional eyes on their head, and one *inside* their mouth. Very powerful fighters with no problems chasing PCs into the daylight.

  • Sladka. Undead warhorse.

  • Sleepwalker. Straddles the living and dreaming worlds, feeding on dreams and memories.

  • Spell Magic Zombie. What a corpse reanimated by magic would be.

  • Voodoo Xombie. Creating a zombie using Voodoo.

Monsters from Beyond the Supernatural. With only a few updates to flavour text and few extra Were-Beasts, largely exactly what is produced in CB 1, up to and including the same illustrations.


Elemental Beings. Almost an identical reprint from the CB1 entries.


Nightbane Conversions. With a very brief review of the Nightlands Invasion, Dark Minions, Nightlands Waste Creatures, and Red Flame Demons are converted for Rifts. We also have the Nightlord, Night Prince and Night Priest RCCs offered. For those without the experience of playing the Nightbane RPG, or if you have no intention of allowing the cross-over, this section could be presented as a series of different demonic and monstrous creatures for the PCs to overcome.


The Nightbane. After presenting conversions for the antagonists of the Nightbane setting, it only seemed logical to include the Nightbane heroes. Rules for converting and/or creating a new Nightbane character from scratch of provided, with several Morphus tables a Player could use.


Dark Magic (Witchery). A re-representation of the Witch OCC (again, found in CB 1), Nightlands Witch, and the Shifter OCC is revisited with some additional reprints of the Random Rifts Tables from the Rifts Adventure Guide.


Diabolist & Summoner OCC. Basically, a reprint from CB 1.


Necromancer OCC. Yet *another* reprint.


CONCLUSION


Initial Assessment (2/10). You’ll notice that there is a rather corpulent amount of repetition of the word “reprint” throughout this review. There’s just **so much** of it! I would love to recommend the idea of this book, but I can’t bring myself to do it. The majority of monsters in this book are already presented in CB1 or other entries. Given the advent of the more recent DB 10: Hades, DB 11: Dyval and WB: 35: Megaverse in Flames there are dozens of pages better represented in these publications that provide the context to dive into the Minion Wars. If all you wanted was a compendium of demons to refer to for encounters, this book could save you from having to buy those three, so there is that, but most Hades Demon /Dyval “Deevils” can be found in Conversion Book 1.


I’ll be honest, there were a few times I had to stop reading for risk of throwing this book against a wall. That’s how frustrating it is. The Alien Intelligence Tables and the Undead monsters, combined with the Nightbane conversions are the only thing that provides any value to the book, but accounts for less than half the page count. This book begins by **explicitly** saying it is meant to be a companion book to CB 1. The idea for a companion book is not to have reprints of information presented already found in the companion book! For that alone, I honestly find little reason for this book’s existence, let alone a reason to recommend it to new Players/GMs. Save yourself some money and keep with CB 1 for value. My copy is going to be collecting dust on the shelf.

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1 comentario


Keith Hunt
Keith Hunt
03 ago 2023

I remember being very disappointed with this book when it came out. When I started aggressively rebuilding my Rifts book collection, nearly 2 years ago, this was one of the ones I made sure to skip.

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