Robert J. Schwalb has given fans of his fantasy/horror roleplaying game Shadow of the Demon Lord another excellent expansion. As with Tombs of the Desolation, when Terrible Beauty came out, I dropped everything to read it and was rewarded immensely.
There are new ancestries (what many other fantasy RPGs call races) that fit nicely within the existing materials. As with Tombs, you will also get more of just about everything which includes spells, magic items, settings and monsters. It’s cherry on top is a fey centered adventure you can drop in almost anywhere.
While reading Terrible Beauty, I discovered what exactly is there that I enjoy so much about this game. It has the feel that Mr. Schwalb digs into the superstitious past like a mythical archeologist to bring us Game Masters the authentic roots of these topics. He then delivers it as he finds it whether they be delicious, just palatable or even stomach turning. He makes no excuses.
Like the setting in the core rulebook and the previous expansion, Terrible Beauty offers up just the right amount of setting. By this I mean for those that don’t have the time or inclination to build a fantasy/horror world from scratch, there is enough here to get them through any adventure they either purchase or create. For those that do want to build their own world, what is offered up can easily be pulled out and rearranged to fit the world builders unique desires. The most important aspect of this offering for me is that there isn’t so much divulged that I feel daunted in even attempting it. I am a big fan of Forgotten Realms and Krynn but I don’t feel like I could ever know enough to do them justice.
Right now, I consider the core rulebook, Tombs of Desolation and Terrible Beauty must haves for this game. I am looking forward to whatever RJS writes next.
[5 of 5 Stars!]