Game Name: Night’s Black Agents
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
Author: Ken Hite
Year: 2012 (Last update 2014); The Dracula Dossier: Director’s Handbook 2016
Pages: Night’s Black Agents – 232 pages; The Dracula Dossier: Director’s Handbook 363 pages
Spycraft versus dark crafts? That’s what Night’s Black Agents brings to the gaming table as the worlds of James Bond and Jason Bourne collide with the supernatural horrors of Bram Stroker and Anne Rice. In an interesting mash up, the game places the player characters in the roles of government agents as they try to unravel a globe spanning vampire conspiracy. Written by Ken Hite and driven by Pelgrane’s Gumshoe system, NBA promises plenty of fast action, high tech tradecraft, and monstrous evil to provide lots of chills and thrills.
There’s a good amount of investigation and piecing clues together in NBA but this is offset by a hard hitting combat system and less “crunchy” mechanics which move your sessions along at a steady clip. Night’s Black Agents is a great fit for players who find a traditional game of Call of Cthulhu or Trail of Cthulhu a bit too light on the gun play and explosions for their liking. Jason Bourne taking down an eastern bloc vampire cabal? Sign me up!
While the award winning core book is an excellent game in it’s own right, it’s the absolutely amazing supplement The Dracula Dossier which makes the core and supplement combination near must owns for fans of modern vampire stories. The premise of the dossier is that Dracula survived his climactic confrontation with Jonathan Harker, Professor Van Helsing, and their intrepid team of vampire hunters to continue weaving a web of death, undeath, and despair through to the modern day. It up to your agents to take down the Count for good this time. The campaign is so good it cleaned up during the 2016 gaming awards season.
I do want to mention Night’s Dark Agents, as well as The Dracula Dossier, requires quite a bit of improvisation from the game master as encounters and set pieces aren’t set in stone or fully fleshed out to the smallest detail as one finds in many RPG adventures/campaigns. This isn’t a knock on the system or the Dracula supplement whatsoever but you should note the game is best run by a clever and experienced GM. There are also handful of other supplements for the core book which are well deserving of a look too.