Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
Authors: Alison Cybe, Matthew Dawkins, and Michele Masala
Artists: Durwin Talon, Brian LeBlanc, and Ken Meyer Jr.
Genre: They Came From Beyond the Grave! player archetype supplement
Pages: 66 pages
Price: $6.99 in PDF on DriveThruRPG
Heroes in a World of Horror introduces They Came From.. fans to the Skeptic, the Kid, and the Escapee: three new archetypes, complete with fresh tropes and quips. Each of these archetypes features a substantial degree of skill customization, admittedly making them a better fit for those used to building characters within the Storypath system, but offering a delightful experience for players with even a little experience. The added customization, of course, greatly expands the kinds of characters that can fit under the Archetype —of course your skeptical art history professor will have a different skillset from your skeptical photojournalist. The new Tropes are fun and feel right at home in the world and with the character types they support; after all, is there a more classic pairing than “A Boy and His Dog?” Quips likewise receive a sizeable library of additions with “Someone has to be the adult!” ranking as a new favorite.
The new archetypes are designed to slot nicely into Beyond the Grave’s sister title, They Came From Beneath the Sea, as well. These feel like connections intentionally built from the ground up, rather than a cavalier stapling on, resulting in a rich broadening of the experience. Why wouldn’t the old sea salt confronted by teenagers claiming to have seen a Giant Shrimp be a Skeptic? Why can’t a G-Man have a curious Kid prone to getting in over their head? Who could ever be a better ally to an Escapee than a known Survivor? The possibility for using these new Archetypes across both games adds real value to the supplement and offers a delightful expansion for fans of both titles.
The roster of pre-made characters offers a 1970s and 19th century take on each character, allowing for flexibility in story use. Storytellers can drop these characters in on an as-needed basis as NPCs, steal their backstories and repurpose them as an adventure hook, or pass them out to players as ready-to-go characters for a quick start to a game. While there are appropriate differences in hook between the versions of these characters, both have plenty to offer; a young woman trained as the ultimate witch-hunting weapon becomes an Appalachian folk hero while a woman haunted by her father’s Holocaust trauma becomes a pioneering, if socially isolated, alienist and psychiatrist.
Heroes in a World of Horror pulls off the nifty trick of being an expansion to two games without compromising the vision or spirit of either one. The book offers fun new possibilities that invite creativity and allow players to create just the right fit for their particular vision. The Quips and Tropes not only feel distinct from the existing material, but firmly grounded in the Archetypes themselves. For fan of Beyond the Grave or Beneath the Sea, Heroes in a World of Horror is an excellent expansion sure to excite players and storytellers alike.