Review: Between Life and Death

Synopsis:  A Ghost option for player characters in lands living beneath the Shadow of the Demon Lord. 

Review: Robert J. Schwalb’s Shadow of the Demon Lord, funded through a successful Kickstarter way back in 2015, is an excellent and horrific RPG game that ports players into a gritty, dark world dominated by demons, disease and death. The author is one of the designers behind 5th Edition D&D and wanted to create a gritty, dark world with more horrors than traditional fantasy settings.  There are a ton of supplements that add, enhance and expand on the base rules of this excellent game including the Poison Pages, a series that offers a path of player options and the imprint that Between Life and Death, a ghost option for player characters was released under. It’s a really detailed world with some great mechanics and awesome design. For a in-depth review, check out Digital Dungeon Master’s Review below.

Between Life and Death is a quick supplement from the Poison Pages series that grants players the option to start or more likely end up, as a ghost. It’s a very short supplement that like the rest of the setting material has good, meaty role-play heavy information, good art and excellent design, along with a few enjoyable random tables such as Cause of Death and ends with a Ghost Ancestry option for your character. Some of the traits feel a bit problematic (e.g: carting around your best-friend’s corpse just so s/he can remain in the party) and somewhat restrictive (e.g. you’re basically insubstantial) but like most of these supplements this Ghost option is entirely optional – if in my option a tad uber/under powered in many respects. Still, its a great option for players who want to go that route.

You can buy this ghostly addendum to the Shadow of the Demon Lord on DriveThruRpg for a measly 1.49, although you might want to give it some thought and a test-drive yourself before allowing player’s to fully incorporate it into your long-term campaign.

Now…Is it Horrific?

Fear (You’re Already Dead). The premise behind this Ancestry is you’re character died already so you have nothing to fear right? Wrong-just because you’re a ghost, doesn’t mean you still aren’t heading to some afterlife when your essence fades…

Setting (Gory). If you haven’t dipped a bloody toe into Shadow of the Demon Lord yet, you should. It’s only toe after-all, you’ve got nine more…

Consequences (Bigger Failure). Even though your spirit was strong enough to defy death, you could always fail to do what you obviously botched the first go round- and who knows what that could mean in the afterlife?

Suspense (Second Chance Tingles). Apart from being incorporeal, you’re haunted by your initial failure. Every action afterwards is basically a reflection of that failure – if that isn’t suspenseful, then you’re playing the wrong game.

Is it a Horror? Verdict: You’re a ghost – what’s more horrifying than that?




Published by Jesse B

Eclectic taste for horror and dark fantasy

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