Wow! Bunch of Crunch Award!
Darkwalkers is a real deal for the money.
One hundred and twenty three pages packed with crunch. The graphics are great and atmospheric. I'll let other reviews compliment them, let me tell you about the crunch.
Objectively – What you get.
Perhaps the best made PDF I've ever seen. Great bookmarks and.... an index with hotlinks to subject matter. For a second I thought I was missing the page numbers but then I clicked on one of the spells and acrobat jumped right to it. HUGE benefit for in game usage! Why don't other PDFs do this?
The clear organization made it easy to quantify whats in the pdf.
123 Pages – Bunch of Crunch! - This is the page count of the PDF with out any repeats, reproduced inserts, or duplicating 'features'. Four pages of that are Intro and Cover Art another four are Licensing & Promo, the rest is thoughtful crunch. With less than 10% of the page count spent on introductions and legalities that leaves over 100 pages for your game.
A survey of the evil outlook for the base classes and many prestige classes.
New uses for Skills
Discussion for evil players in a non evil party.
Discussion of Evil ambitions and a culture of evil
4 Core Classes
12 Prestige Classes
1 Legendary Class
25 New Evil Powers
14 New Evil Domains
28 New Evil Feats
12+ New Magic Items
60 New Evil Spells
Subjectively – What I thought.
I have to confess that I wasn't sure how I'd take this book. I like to play 'Heroic' games and I have no experience with The Hunt: Rise of Evil, the setting that influenced this book. After reading Darkwalkers, I can say you don't need any experience either. Actually the references give you the bonus of one possible way you can use these rules (and a bunch of extra classes & spells). I found the description and structures for evil characters really exciting and game stretching.
Evil is the other side of the coin but in other mainstream works, I've found it badly described. Sure you know how bad the baddest Necromancer is by the heights of his power but what about everything leading up to that? Darkwalkers makes a refreshing attempt to integrate evil characters in at lower levels. It suggests a believable path for things mainstream books wont touch.
It has functional game mechanics. Classic elements from a whole genre of fiction get a cohesive system including DCs for varying types of torture, rules for selling your soul slowly, and the corruption from gifts of infernal power. The consistency of the system helped me imagine motives and goals for my BBEG and even his henchmen.
Too often evil characters suffer from 'NPC treatment'. “This is how bad they are now, don't worry about how they got there!” This can make the role play of these NPCs thin and predictable. Evil characters do evil things at great risk and expense .... because. Darkwalkers presents a system of Evil Piety or Evil Favor. Ambition makes evil creatures compete side by side not simply kill each other. The culture of evil receives some much needed attention. Darkwalkers is very successful at presenting a toolkit from the evil character's point of view.
I think the strength of this focus would save my bacon with an evil party by providing a measure of how the players in the adventure would treat each other. The NPC treatment in other books usually means that every evil character class is designed to be a lone menace. Filling in some of steps before 'all powerful' would lend life to an evil campaign. (Just the rules for binding and the various evil classes would help tremendously.) The powers feats and classes would be fun as an evil player. I particularly like the Fiend Summoner – a class with really evil servants.
Darkwalkers takes an unblinking look at the dark side. Players looking for an evil career path or rational will find it very useful. DM's looking to flesh out their evil baddies will get motives and mechanics to give purpose and depth for their stories. By being very clear in its outlook I think the book separates itself from a lot of other smaller pdfs. It is a mature work of obvious dedication that will lend depth to my gaming table. I recommend it for yours.
Darkwalkers: The Evil Within