It hasn’t been that long since I took the time to run a 6-part Let’s Study series of articles for Iain Lowson’s Dark Harvest: Legacy of Frankenstein. Still, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to check out the first supplement for the game, Dark Harvest: Resistance.
As the name implies, DH:R is about the Resistance movement in Promethea, providing all the sordid details of their origins, the reality of their struggle and methods and recruitment. It’s a sobering take on the harsh reality of it, and despite all the talk of taking back what’s theirs, the Resistance lives a harsh life. As always, Iain’s writing brings the setting to life in a fashion that plays up the bleak nature of the setting without it being too depressing to play.
But what surprised me about DH:R is the fact that it goes deeper than just talking about the Resistance. There’s also a discussion about the Promethean Authorities, whichs I feel is an excellent addition. Sure the corebook communicated the fact that many of the larger cities of Promethea felt like military camps, but we don’t really get to see the details behind how they operate. DH:R goes into great detail about the Promethean Domestic Security Forces and the Promethean Military Forces, who work hand in hand to keep things under control.
But what truly shines about this is that there’s ample information to try and portray why people would actually actively support Victor Frankenstein’s vision for Promethea. Entirely new avenues of play with players serving the Promethean ideal are opened up for exploration in play.
DH:R Also provides even further detail with an entire chapter dedicated to maps of Military Bases. It’s a lovely addition to the game, and the cartography is downright inspiring. I can imagine the looks on players faces if a GM prints one of these maps in a large format, ages it a bit and makes sure it’s got creases and folds and puts it under a lamp in a dark room.
Like in the corebook, DH:R also has a few short stories in it, all written by Iain Lowson. Nice for a few inspirations on the tone for Resistance games.
DH:R Isn’t just all about fluff, of course, the next two chapters add new Rules and Mechanics, while providing clarifications and additions to the corebook. I have to admit that I did like the detailed listings of equipment and weapons with the occasional illustration. It’s a handy thing to have just so you have a visual aid for players who aren’t too familiar with the weapons of the time period. These chapters also provide a character creation example, and a whole bunch of sample NPCs, both in a full character sheet and in the NPC stat block format.
Finally the last chapter is a complete adventure for Dark Harvest. It’s a good thing to have, both for something to run, as well as something to study and steal ideas from.
Dark Harvest: Resistance joins the ranks of those few first Supplements that actually feel like they contribute to the game as a whole, and isn’t a money grab. The detail on the Resistance and the Promethean authorities expands the scope of the setting and opens avenues of play that were only hinted at in the corebook.
I’m very happy with the kind of quality of content that the Dark Harvest line is showing and I’m looking forward to seeing where Iain Lowson is taking the game next.