Investigate Strange Things in Dark Places & Demogorgons
  • Investigate Strange Things in Dark Places & Demogorgons


    Do you want to experience the danger a teenager trapped in a monster haunted town in the 1980s faces? Do you want to fight back against the monsters by break dancing and head banging using old school D&D derived rules? Then Dark Places & Demogorgons might be the RPG you are looking for.


    Kickstarted in 2017 by Bloat Games, Dark Places & Demogorgonsí 200 pages build on the same rules from Survive This!! Zombies to allow GMs to create a monster haunted town and players the teen PCs who want to protect their home. The core of the game revolves around the teens the players create and the monster of the week they uncover. The teens learn about a monster or strange circumstance, spend time investigating what the threat is, and then they find the monster and attempt to defeat it.

    The rules are d20 based roll over with skills (some of which add to ability scores) and psionics. No magic. A unique rule is the usage die which is rolled to see if something finite gets used up. This replaces having to track inventory.

    One of the strengths of DP&D are the various classes. The brain, the athlete, the outsider, the popular kid, and the rebel each have three sub-classes providing fifteen options for players. Each class provides skills and various other abilities for levels 1 to 5. These classes are steeped in 80s lore from the sub-class break dancer to the metal headís Power of Dio.

    Art is supplemented with actual photos of teens from the 80s. The included character sheet looks like it was drawn on a piece of notebook paper. There is a nice chart contrasting tech from today with 80s tech (Blu-ray/streaming versus Betamax/VHS). Other useful charts provide random backgrounds (your parents work for the government or a secretive company), generate random monsters, and provide a list of mysteries to investigate tied to included story seeds.

    DP&D heavily assumes the GM knows old school D&D and can make rulings without rules. I donít have a problem with this approach, but the rules muddy the water with references to rules that donít exist. One example is the Wisdom bonus gives a character a bonus on Spot and Perception checks but there are no rules for Spot or Perception, not even as skills. Another example is basic and advanced weapons which are mentioned in skills but nowhere else in the rules. If you have run D&D you can overcome these small errors, but some players may be confused.

    Despite the rule hiccups, the wonderful adventure seeds more than make up for any rule tweaking the GM must do. There are eleven seeds followed by over twenty pages of NPCs and monsters. The Pope Lick adventure seed has art of the monster, a page of background, a page of combat stats, and a page of how the monster reacts and what the monster actually is. Details are rich and investigation is critical to overcome these monsters. PCs will face a variety of creatures such as the chupacabra, a serial killer, and a werewolf. GMs can use the seeds as inspiration to fully develop the remaining monsters.

    Between the classes for the players and the story seeds and setting materials for the GM, Dark Places & Demogorgons is an amazing RPG. The rules have some rough spots but the concept and execution of the rest of the game overcome the minor shortcomings in the rules. If you want to explore the 80s and protect your home town from monsters, you should consider picking up Dark Places & Demogorgons.

    This article was contributed by Charles Dunwoody as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program.We are always on the lookout for freelance columnists! If you have a pitch, please contact us!
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Excellent review! I had the chance to play with Eric Bloat at Origins 2018 (Survive This!! Zombies!) and it was a blast! Dark Places & Demogorgons looks fun! Thanks for the review! :-)

      Thanks,

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      If you're a publisher that would like to share a crowdfunding campaign or a RPG-related job opportunity for a future article, please contact me here.
    1. Charles Dunwoody -
      Quote Originally Posted by Egg Embry View Post
      Excellent review! I had the chance to play with Eric Bloat at Origins 2018 (Survive This!! Zombies!) and it was a blast! Dark Places & Demogorgons looks fun! Thanks for the review! :-)

      Thanks,

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      If you're a publisher that would like to share a crowdfunding campaign or a RPG-related job opportunity for a future article, please contact me here.
      Thanks Egg! There is a free supplement PDF out as well. https://www.rpgnow.com/product/26063...pdf?src=newest
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