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Nightmare Fuel / Chronicles of Darkness

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The Nightmare Fuel page for Chronicles of Darkness.

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In general

  • The sourcebook Asylum probes the fear of lobotomies for all it's worth, tying it into a setting where having one's brain destroyed is not the worst thing that can be done in the asylum. It's one of the most unsettling books in the line.
    • So as to prevent a story from losing its impact and reducing mental illness to just another clue, among the variety of potential explanations for what goes on at Bishopsgate Mental Asylum, the book's authors make sure to also provide entirely mundane causes to every horrible atrocity described therein. No supernatural compulsions, no mind control. Sometimes, it really doesn't take the supernatural for man to display his inhumanity. There's a reason one of the story seeds for Bishopsgate is called "The Evil That Men Do".
  • Antagonist is a supplement book meant, as its title suggest, to provide a wide array of antagonist for any of the gamelines, each chapter covering a different type:
    • The first chapter focuses on undead enemies, primarily the different type of zombies, including the classic flesh-eating mindless zombies, but also the lesser-known voodoo ones who actually possess some degree of intelligence and actually are pretty powerful. It also provides rules to create creatures similar to Frankenstein Monsters (this was before Promethean came out) and "Revenant", beings born from corpses being reanimated either by their own ghost or by a spirit. Oh, and you can actually create zombies who won't die if you shoot them in the head, leading to a very bad surprise for the players. As well as zombies smart enough to pick locks or use weapons, ones with enhanced strength, ones who only die when all their body has been destroyed, and even ones with a Healing Factor.
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    • The second chapter focuses on hunters. Since unlike Hunter: The Vigil, this was written with them as antagonists in mind, they are portrayed in a less sympathetic light, describing how some of them are downright psychotic and perfectly willing to stalk and murder the human families of the monsters they hunt. One of the fictions inside this section describes how a young werewolf comes back home to find his human parents slaughtered, with a message from the killers informing him they also stole the silver jewelry to forge a bullet from it, and taunting that they will be coming for him next. Ouch.
    • The third chapter focuses on Cults, and proceeds to show us just how bad the setting is on these side of things; Cults come not just in great number, but also in large varieties, covering everything from the ones formed by supernatural beings so they will have their personal snacks/servants/test subjects, to more grounded ones formed by greedy or mad humans, to more subtle organizations that are technically legal but manipulate people through prejudices and racisms. You also get to see things like murder cults and suicide cults. And in case that's not disturbing enough, you are provided mechanics for how they brainwash their recruits.
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    • Finally, the fourth chapter focuses on urban legends, covering all sorts of supernatural critters that don't really fit in any categories. Highlights include Witchcats (cat familiars with a lovecraftian mouth who suck the life out of children), Aswangs (beautiful women who spend a normal life during the day, but turn into blood-drinking hideous hags at night, luring young boys with their song), Groenitch (prehistoric giant fishes who would eat everything, including human flesh, and can actually crawl out of water) or the Hunger (a viral Wendigo-like curse that slowly turns its victims into cannibalistic giant shark-men).
  • The nWoD games are filled with guys trying to show evil is the only true way. There's implications everywhere, both in powers and fluff, that they are indeed correct. It's like WW is saying "Dude, this is a horror series. Whachu expect?!"
    • Vampire: The Requiem gets Belial's Brood and the Strix.
    • Werewolf: The Forsaken gets the entire amoral spirit world, the idigam, the Bale Hounds, etc.
    • Promethean: The Created has the Centimani, but they are much less of a pure, unified "evil" faction than their counterparts in other game lines — quite a few aren't really evil, just world-weary and hurt, or simply follow unusual philosophies.
    • Hunter: The Vigil is no picnic, either. The Cheiron Group, the Lucifuge, and the Cainite Heresy are of dubious morality, while Ashwood Abbey, the Hunt Club and the Knights of Saint George are considerably more than dubious. Consider that that last one serves the local analogues to the Elder Gods...
    • Oddly enough, Geist: The Sin-Eaters doesn't seem to have this, at first. That's right, the game where you play a person who came back from the dead by making a bargain with some sort of incredibly alien ghost-spirit hybrid is in fact probably the lightest and happiest member of the nWoD gameline.
      • Of course, there's a catch. If you die again and haven't fulfilled your end of the bargain sufficiently (and you aren't dying of natural causes like old age), the Geist brings you back and someone else dies in your place. You get to live through the death of your replacement, and the trauma of being brought back can cause your grip on sanity to slip. Die enough times and the Geist takes over. Sure, you can say you want to be allowed to die next time, but the Geist can always do it anyway. And that's not even taking into account the Kerberoi.
      • The Geist themselves ARE the "guys trying to show evil is the only true way". By all means, they are insane half-death spirit ghosts. And they're ALWAYS hanging around the Sin-Eaters. In fact, your soul is bound to them. And when the Geist actually take over... it's not pretty.
  • Now we have God-Machine Chronicles. Take all the horror of Cthulhu, add in conspiracy thriller, make the cosmic horror in question an utterly amoral machine best described as a Passive-Aggressive Skynet God, and then for a final terror sundae, add in the fact that it can Time Travel to its heart's content. Are you sure that your past is your own...?
    • To say nothing of the God-Machine Chronicle anthology book. Everything is a cog in the machine. Everything! An office worker is manipulated into acts that cause long-term, horrible consequences. Twisted dealings affect an election year in Chicago. A woman and her husband are put in a Stepford Wives situation and quickly lose their minds!
    JoAnn's muscles moved automatically, which was just fine, just the way it should be. She followed Bill out of the room. She knew where she was supposed to be. She was a reproductive organ. The reproductive organs had no reason to be in the heart. How silly of her.
  • The Contagion. A reality-warping plague that infects the God-Machine itself, twisting Infrastructure, people, and even the laws of reality until they're nigh-unrecognizable. It's so bad that the various supernaturals will join forces just to get rid of it. And the worst part? No one knows what it even is, much less how to stop it.

  • Maybe the scariest thing of all in the World of Darkness isn't the monsters or ghosts or strange happenings that sometimes have no explanation, even by magical means. No, what's possibly scariest of all is that these evils still pale to what still happens in the unknowing mortal world. Wars are still fought, people are still raped, and children still die. The monsters may cause it sometimes, but then there's the times when all it took was one sick person with their own ideas. The human evil, the real, non-mystical human compulsion for hate, is still a more powerful force than any magic in this setting.

Alternative Title(s): New World Of Darkness