(received as a review copy)

Darkwalkers: The Evil Within is a PDF supplement that weighs in at 123 pages and retails for $9.99. The main focus of this book is how to play an evil character. The book has a default setting of Gothos, first introduced in, I believe, The Hunt: Rise of Evil. Mature subject matter is discussed throughout the book. Both the authors and this reviewer recommend viewer discretion. I know this is a book that I would not want my young children looking at right now.

Intro section

The beginning section of this book contained a history of how it came to be, from its initial start under the Mystic Eye banner to being published under Dragon Wing. There is a warning that the subject matter is meant for mature audiences. There is also a two-page table of contents.

Chapter 1: Playing the Darker Role

This chapter discusses how to be evil, especially in a group of mostly good aligned adventurers. There are brief explanations on a number of common crimes and how to get away with them. It also discusses how to use natural advantages (low-light, resistances, immunities, etc) to you advantage.

Chapter 2: The Very Nature of Evil

This discusses the mechanics of piety and favor. If piety is used, the character’s piety score will determine how strongly their turn/rebuke undead checks are. This makes for a grittier feel, which, from reading through this book, is how Gothos appears to be. Favor is how you keep track of how pious your character is. Your actions determine if your favor increases or decreases.

Chapter 3: Evil Core Classes

This chapter begins by discussing how to play various classes from an evil perspective. It even goes on to explain how, from a certain point of view, a paladin can be considered "evil" when they are following the tenets of their faith.

It then details out four core classes, twelve prestige classes and one legendary class.

Core
Hunter of the Child – this class’ purpose is to hunt and kill good aligned creatures
Magician – a divine caster who binds evil spirits for malicious intent
Unholy Warrior – warriors who follow evil powers, and gain powers and abilities for it
Warlock – evil witches. A sidebar in this class description includes two types of athames.

Prestige
Angel Hunter – hunts and kills celestials
Arcane Spellchanneler – these characters hate wizards and sorcerers, and learn how to wield arcane energy so they can destroy them
Beguiler – uses sex as a method to entrap people
Fear Forger – character incites fear in others, and draws strength upon it
Fiend Summoner – a spellcaster that summons fiends
Grim Extractor – a class specializing in using pain to extract information from people
Harvester – a class that harvests organs from cadavers, and uses the energy therein
Hustler – a conman
Martial Master – a monk variant for the last half of the class.
Silvertongue – a character that uses their voice to get what they want
Slaver – self-explanatory
Slayer – a character that seeks destruction and violence

Legendary
Child of the Demon – this class is for half-fiends

Chapter 4: Evil Behaviors and Character Options

This chapter consists of ten pages. It first discusses what kinds of combat options (aka, underhanded tricks) are open to an evil character. It then discusses the extremes that evil can take in a character; ranging from "quirky" to outright "cruel." The third section of this chapter gives the character some options of taking disadvantages. Taking a disadvantage gains the character skill points or additional feats. The final section of the chapter lists seven new templates, one each for the Seven Deadly Sins. Each of these templates slowly gains in strength over seven levels (the level taken and six beyond). Each sin grants the character advantages and disadvantages.

Chapter 5: Pacts, Powers and Agreements

This chapter details out feats that represent "bargains with the Devil." There are over twenty feats laid out here, ranging from the simple material gain to gaining fangs and claws as natural weapons to living forever.

Chapter 6: Feats

This chapter lists new feats that characters can take. Like in the previous chapter, there is an additional 20+ feats available. Characters can bind celestial beings, become a tyrant and/or warlord, or even gain the ability to sneak attack.

Chapter 7: Skills

This chapter gives new uses of existing feats and has new skills. Most of the new skills are various Knowledge skills. There is one new Profession skill, Torturer, and an entirely new skill, Seduction. Within this chapter is also page-long sidebar showing real-world torture devices, like the rack or iron maiden. There are high-level mechanics in how to torture someone.

Chapter 8: Malevolent Magic

This chapter contains new magic items, domains and spells. The first part of the chapter discusses how to use magic items and cursed items for evil intents. The chapter then goes on to explain the new standard magic items and the four new intelligent items. The last part of the chapter contains the fourteen new domains and over fifty new spells.

The Good

Initially upon looking at this book, you will find a highly detailed, and hyper-linked, two-page table of contents. There were a few entries that didn’t have links to them, but almost all did.

I enjoyed the explanations on how to play classes, both core and prestige, from an evil point of view. Playing a paladin as evil would never have occurred to me.

Artwork in this book was average to well done. By my count there were 15 predominantly black-and-white drawings and 18 full-color drawings (which includes the front cover, but not the thumbnails in the Table of Contents) A minor quibble with this was that there was no "print only" file available to reduce file size. The one piece that really struck my attention was on p. 35 with the angel hunter prestige class. It showed a character with a saw-toothed blade holing an angel’s wing. All the full-page drawings were excellent.

This book shines in the advice and information provided in how to play and run an evil-based character.

The Bad

Editing

p. 28, Spells
"see Chapter XX"

p. 28, Dark Ally description
"see Table XXX"

p. 30, Arcane Spontaneous Casting description
As above

p. 54, Disadvantage options
As above

p. 62, Special Powers and Abilities
"see pg. XX"

Rules Issues

p. 40, Child of the Demon
This is more of a rules quibble than a true issue. The Legendary classes detailed out in Fantasy Flight Games’ Path of... series are 5 level classes. This one is a 4-level class. I’m not sure if this was on purpose or not.

p. 46, Hustler and p. 44, Grim Extractor
Another rules quibble. This class is a 4-level class. Most prestige classes are 5 or 10, with an uncommon 3-level.

p. 85, Manticore Whip
Description says it deals both 1d4 and 1d6 damage. Which is correct?

p. 88, Corruption Domain
The spell is geas/quest, not geas

p. 88, Decay Domain
Should circle of doom instead be circle of death? If circle of doom is correct, where is this spell, as its not defined in the book?

p. 89, Plague Domain
The spell should be create greater undead instead of create undead (greater)

p. 90 Temptation Domain
The spell is geas/quest, not geas

p. 110, Swarm of Imps
Is listed as a 5th level Blackguard spell, and their spell list only goes up to 4th level spells.

Spelling
p. 82, Belt of Demonskin
"However, should a demon wearer this belt..." should be "However, should a demon wear this belt...."

p. 88, Annihilation domain
Should be bull's strength, not bull strength

p. 110, Tempt
Evil and Mind-Affecting are listed as sub-schools instead of descriptors

The Ugly

I’m all for cross-pollination of OGC material. If there’s something that’s already been invented, there’s no point in re-inventing the wheel. However, it irks me that, when material is re-used elsewhere, all the supporting material to use the reuse is not also brought forward. In the introduction, it says "despite being a book that focuses on The Hunt: Rise of Evil campaign setting, the information in this book can easily be used for any other campaign world...." Without including the information for the player or GM to use, several items are crippled.

The magician’s and unholy warrior’s spell lists were woefully incomplete. The only spells listed for these classes were the new ones listed later in the book.

Sacred domains require Faith or Constant Faith, and these feats are not present.

The rage, retribution, temptation, shadow and undeath domains include spells that are neither in the book nor in the RSRD.

Overall

I found the material in this book very interesting. The layout and the artwork were well done. The setting descriptions definitively left one feeling with a very dark world. The mechanics were rather solid, with some minor quibbles. This source will be an excellent source for game masters who want to give more flavor to their evil characters.

Overall rating: B-