"...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
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
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
Other Vampire Reviews
This review copyright 1995 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated March 22, 1998