Today we continue our examination of the setting of the delightfully macabre setting of Dark Harvest: legacy of Frankenstein. As I mentioned in yesterday’s article, the first half of the book is dedicated to giving the reader an intimate look into the truth of Promethea, Victor Frankenstein’s utopia.
In the section called “Piercing the veil – Locations in Promethea” the book goes on to give a short description of all the Administrative Counties of Promethea. Each entry is prefaced by a short in-character quote, followed by the County’s name, region, principal settlements, a map of the county and finally a two to three paragraph description of the County’s features and industry. Particular care is given to describing the state of the various settlements and the military strength present in the region.
Save for the quote, each entry gives me an “intelligence report” sort of vibe. Given the sheer number of counties that the book described, it’s no surprise that the entries were a little on the short side. Thankfully these descriptions are very good with a lot of information to fire the imaginations of those looking to run the game while leaving enough space for them to insert their own take on the county.
The only exceptions to the list would be the city of Bucharest, which gets a longer description (but no map, sadly) and Targu Mures, the home of Victor Frankenstein and heart of Promethea which also enjoys a longer description and a better idea of what it is to be in the highest halls of power in Promethea, where a frontal assault would be suicide, but intrigues and spies both have a place here.
I was taken by surprise by the presence of descriptions of “generic” locations that followed, such as an International Border, various military bases and an Augmentation Facility. It’s a brilliant concept, having a description that a GM could just “cut-and-paste” elsewhere, without having to be constrained to Canon. It’s a fine idea that I think other games could learn from.
The last pages of the Setting chapters are dedicated to a short Anthology of stories set in Promethea. While some games tend to place their short stories between chapters, I found this an interesting means of presenting sample stories (and situations) that can take place in the world. The stories are varied, taking on different facets of the setting into account. My personal favorite among the stories would have to be the first one: “Harvest Moon” by Magz Wiseman. Sadly I can’t go into detail lest I spoil anything, but I found it to be a good read as far as fiction in RPGs are concerned.
While people may have different opinions about fiction in RPGs, I felt that the fiction of DH:LoF is the kind that actually contributes to the knowledge (and undersanding) of the setting, while still being entertaining.
And that brings us to the end of the setting material for DH:LoF. Tomorrow we start looking at the mechanics and rules that the game uses in Part 3 of our Let’s Study series.