Dark Destiny

Edited by Edward E. Kramer

White Wolf Fiction. $19.99
(paper $5.99)


"...The monster needs to prowl. It needs to feed. It needs to howl. It needs to grab us by the throat and let us know how bad things are. If we don't give the beast its due, it has no choice but to devour us."

So says John Mason Skipp in the introduction to this book of horror stories from White Wolf. His premise is that we use horror -- fiction, movies, or gaming -- as vicarious experiences so that we do not need the experience itself.

What began as loosely connected roleplaying games created by White Wolf, including Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse, has now expanded to include novels and anthologies of short fiction. These 22 stories (and occasional poem) of Dark Destiny take place in the "World of Darkness," a universe similar to our own but with werewolves and vampires and other sinister beings that lurk on the edges of sight.

Lucretia Borgia might have been a vampire, while Edgar Allen Poe devoted his life to exposing and destroying them. Soccer star Escobar's unfortunate score might have been the result of misguided meddling by a paranoid magician. A raging werewolf might descend upon Winnipeg tonight....

Unlike fiction published by other gaming companies, such as TSR's "Dungeons and Dragons," the stories of Dark Destiny are not so formulaic and obviously game-derived. This anthology's main flaw is its reliance on the intricate historical backgrounds encouraged by the game rules. Some stories are more guilty of this than others: "The Love of Monsters," for example, tries so hard to "tie-in" to the game that it includes an intrusive and largely irrelevant 5 1/2 page history on one character.

On the other hand, the best stories, such as Harlan Ellison's "Sensible City," stand perfectly well outside the context of the "World of Darkness"; and "The Scent of Vinegar," by Robert Bloch, has won the 1995 Bram Stoker Award for Best Long Fiction.

Nevertheless, Dark Destiny's best audience will be the reader who is already familiar with White Wolf and its games. It is not nearly as enticing an invitation to play as the game reviews have been.

 

This review originally appeared in the July 9, 1995 edition of The Roanoke Times.

Also available from White Wolf Publishing:

Dark Destiny II. White Wolf Publishing, 1995
Dark Destiny III. White Wolf Publishing, 1996

White Wolf web site

Other Vampire Reviews

 

This review copyright 1995 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated March 22, 1998


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