Art of the Genre

Each year, when my high school gaming buddies and I get together for an uninterrupted week of gaming, we always like to schedule in a game of Tour of Darkness.  It has become tradition since the game came into our possession back in 2008.

My personal DM, Mark Timm, is a huge fan of war, pretty much any war, but certainly Vietnam holds a special place in his heart.  And, since he’s also an evil DM, and loves Cthulhu, so setting a horror campaign actually IN Vietnam was too much for him to resist.

I finally managed to pick up a copy of the Savage Worlds: Tour of Darkness at GenCon in 2012, and I have to say it is a very nice supplement to Savage Worlds, especially if you like fast action combat set to the backdrop of modern warfare.

Written by ‘Teller’, and with a cover design by Zeke Sparkes, the book comes off as a kind of military manual, the camouflage on the cover speaking of jungle warfare and the dried blood splatter [shaped like a soldier] just enough to give a hint of the death that lies around ever turn in the jungle path.

Artistically, the book is little more than a collection of black and white stock army footage, but as a player you are inspired by that, and the true grit of the campaign comes alive seeing the real life struggles of common soldiers.

It isn’t until page 125 of the manual that we get our first look at drafted artwork, that being an enormous wasp creature with tentacles dangling from its maw.  After seeing all the stock footage, this piece immediately ups the intensity, as you are catapulted from reality into all the possibilities of what Tour of Darkness can be for your campaign.

The next thing that comes to mind is Billy from the movie Predator saying ‘There's something out there waiting for us, and it ain't no man... We're all gonna die.

Yeah, it’s just like that, and the remainder of the b/w illustrations take me back a bit to Palladium’s Revised Recon with a harder edge and much more at stake, like maybe your immortal soul…

In all, the setting is fantastic, and the artwork is a perfect blend of reality meets fantasy.

Artistic Rating: 3.5 [out of 5]

Written by Scott Taylor — August 15, 2013

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