Follow TV Tropes


Tabletop Game / Monte Cook's World of Darkness

Go To
The end of the world? No, it's just the beginning.

Monte Cook's World of Darkness is a Tabletop RPG set in a world much like our own, albeit with one not-so-small difference. Thanks to the intrusion of an Eldritch Abomination, the fabric of reality has been weakened. However, the intrusion was (mostly) halted thanks to the collective resistance of a few thousand minds. In the wake of this initial failure, the entity has created various brands of horrors, monsters, and supernatural phenomena around the world. This Cosy Catastrophe is nonetheless subject to a Masquerade as the world is only dimly aware of the true nature and repercussions of the event that devastated a large chunk of the US. In this world, shadows run deeper, mysteries exist in every corner, and humanity is not quite the master of the world or its fate.

Humans share the Earth with various supernatural creepy crawlies that prey on them like cattle, use them as pawns, and kill them when convenient (or at whim). In an interesting tightrope walk, individual humans have little power, but the minds of those who resisted the intrusion gained various powers that they use to fight the influence of the entity and its unwitting and willing servants.

Much like the Old World of Darkness and the Chronicles of Darkness, in this setting there are several supernatural creatures, albeit here they all share the same Mass Super-Empowering Event and have a shared cosmology rather than the sometimes conflicting backgrounds and Fantasy Kitchen Sink of the original setting. Utilizing the d20 System, it allows for a good deal of customization with other supplements and materials outside the World of Darkness. This conversion of White Wolf's Point Build System into a Class and Level System also allows a way of porting some WoD concepts and mechanics into other games.

This role-playing game provides examples of:

  • After the End: Anything set in Minneapolis, the largest inhabited area in the Annihilation Zone.
  • Apocalypse How: Focused metaphysical annihilation at the Conflagration, surrounded by regional societal collapse, for a net effect of global societal disruption.
  • Astral Projection: Vampires and mages can both learn this trick.
  • Beast Man: Werewolves, naturally. Demons may have a natural form that might resemble a beastman in bad lighting.
  • Badass Normal: The Awakened are regular humans who just so happen to be really, really competent.
  • Barrier Maiden: Every human mind that helped push back the Eldritch Abomination. It's now actively pursuing the murder of each and every such human to weaken the resistance enough to enter for good.
  • The Beautiful Elite: True to the World of Darkness, some vampires try to be this, particularly the Daeva.
  • Becoming the Costume: All of the costumes at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis function this way.
  • Blessed with Suck: It is not fun to be a supernatural being in the Monte Cook's WOD. Vampires are humans who've had the soul of a murderer put in them, for example.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Iconnu don't have any conception of human morality.
  • Body Horror: The Nightmare Wave has some pretty nasty effects on regular life that's exposed to it. Demons, being made of Nightmare, are walking Brown Notes in their true forms.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Reality continues to be real because enough people expect it to be. The servants of the Iconnu want the clapping to stop.
  • Competitive Balance: Between the supernaturals and the awakened humans.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Nobody knows what the Iconnu are, how they do what they do, or even if they're aware of life on Earth — and there is no way to take the fight to them.
  • Crapsack World: Not quite as bad as the other gamelines, but the good guys are still badly outnumbered, and there's still that Eldritch Abomination trying to crack the wall of humanity.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Quite a few people have literal Curses affecting them. Some turn out to be quite useful though.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Player Character and NPC vampires, werewolves, and mages can potentially be a Defector from Decadence.
  • Deal with the Devil: Demons are happy to provide. Unusually, mortals don't actually forfeit their souls, although they might believe themselves to be.
  • Demonic Possession: Several variants, actually:
    • Vampires. Although the human may be Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth, leading to Fighting from the Inside and the human taking the driver's seat, and given how the "demon" in question is a human ghost, there's no particular reason why they won't decide to side with their living brethren.
    • Werewolves are what you get when you take a rage-filled bestial spirit from another dimension and stuff it into a human body.
    • Demons, despite the name, are not a true example of this, as they are animating nonliving material and not a person.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Iconnu. On a smaller scale, demons.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Adjustable to Game Master desire, no less.
  • Enemy Within: The second soul possessing a vampire — or, depending, the original human soul, fighting against its possessor.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: A lot of the supernatural splats who fight the Iconnu do so because they need the world to exist to enjoy their particular brands of fun.
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: Depending on the game, you're sometimes left wondering "okay, how the hell can they cover that up?"
  • Fantastic Diet Requirement: Every demon has either a Kryptonite Factor or a daily craving for a specific odd substance, which can range from alcohol to uranium. It's a side effect of the power they use to create their earthly bodies.
  • Fantastic Fragility: Most supernaturals can get all the new powers they want, and more cheaply and quickly than working honestly would bring... at the downside of getting loaded down with (usually permanent) potentially crippling weaknesses. Have we mentioned being a supernatural is Blessed with Suck?
  • Immortality Immorality: In part because some of the more horrible people from history are coming back.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: The servants of the Iconnu do not want the world to know what is threatening it, or how important the Awakened are to it.
  • The Men in Black: Humans fighting the supernaturals usually form part of these. In particular, the Intrusion Defense Agency.
  • Mind Control: Every supernatural group gets this to a greater or lesser degree.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Potentially any and every player and character.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Demons are alien spirits from another dimension that inhabit non-living matter and take on a hideous form, which they can alter. Normal humans who see a demon's true form become terrified.
  • Our Souls Are Different: They can be stuffed into new bodies, fused with primal spirits, and tapped for power by demons.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires are human bodies possessed by the ghosts of sinners. The type of sin tends to determine the "clan" of vampire.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Werewolves are humans sharing a body with a bestial, primordial spirit. Possession tends to turn even the most milquetoast of hosts into a snarling badass.
  • Red Right Hand: All of vampire Clan Nosferatu. Mages that identify very closely with their Path can gain these as well, which can cause problems for a Warlock who starts to look like a Big Red Devil.
  • Romanticized Abuse: Common in the relation between vampires and their ghouls, among other things. Their body-sculpting powers them to reshape victims into house furniture, while keeping them alive and aware of their condition.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: Crossed with Demonic Possession, how vampires operate.
  • Stages of Monster Grief: Just about every splat has members who deny, love, hate, or go off the deep end after changing from mere human. Except Demons, who weren't human.
  • Super Sliding: Demons, being otherworldly spirits projected into temporary physical shells, can learn to control their "stickiness" at will, zig-zagging the trope - one could slide frictionlessly across the floor and then switch to a Wall Crawl.
  • Unequal Rites: Mages' powers are by far the most versatile of all the splats.
  • The Unfettered: Demons, thanks to being completely alien to human morality.
  • The Unmasqued World: The book gives you several suggestions on doing this and the possible consequences thereof.
  • Urban Fantasy: The result of the Nightmare Wave making the normal world a bit... unreliable.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: When you can't tell if a supernatural being has gone good, thinks it has but is an Unwitting Pawn for the Iconnu, has struck out on its own but is still evil, still wants to bring down reality, or some combination of the above, this crops up.
  • The Wall Around the World: The borders between the physical realm and the spirit worlds.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: A demon with a Bane could be a nigh-immortal agent of corruption, who deals in the wealth of nations and runs from the word Belgium.