Dark Globe is a dark thriller role-playing game set in cities with all the grittiness and seediness imaginable. The nights are cold and the days are all too bright. Dark Globe draws on the film noir genre and mixes it with the stark realism of modern police shows. Think of movies like Se7en, L.A. Confidential and television reality shows like 48 Hours and COPS; then imagine that the bad guys are even more crazy and insidious.
Players take on the roles of police detectives in a city that is changing into a nightmare. Crime has taken on new dimensions of sadism and brutality, and no one seems to know why. The steady increase in senseless, decadent crime has made life as a detective hard and unforgiving. The player characters are likely to have lost their family, friends and whatever else usually keeps people sane. They are everyday heroes who have given up normal lives in order to keep the public safe, or at least as safe as possible.
You won’t find vampires or werewolves or any of the other traditional horror tropes hiding in the shadows here. Instead, Dark Globe finds its antagonists in the bad guys that already exist on the fringe of society; murderers, the criminally insane, the ritualistic maniacs are examples of what the players will go up against.
True evil may be a philosophical, theoretical concept in the real world, but in the Dark Globe universe, true evil is real. Some cops say the world has gone to hell; others say Hell has come to us. Either way, the evil of man has been let loose, and what little faith people have in the goodness of others is hanging from a very thin string.
The only supernatural aspect of this game is the idea that sometimes perception and reality become one and the same; perception can become reality. Dark Globe takes this idea literally; when the players are hunting down the psycho killer who terrorizes the city, his perverted, delusional reality can be so powerful that it changes the characters and the world around them. His delusions become real, and the characters are literally experiencing his reality as they get closer to catching him. Let me give you an example of a story that illustrates this idea.
A young man is under suspicion for having murdered his wife and sister. The player characters are connected to the family in some way – by proximity, relationships, history or by being witnesses – and so they are drawn into the world of the presumed killer. They discover that he believes his wife and sister are evil beings trying to kill him. He is found in a cheap, murky hotel room downtown, where the body of his sister is discovered in the bathtub, her injuries so severe that she cannot be saved. The young man escapes and leaves behind his dying sister. But instead of seeing an innocent young women lying in the bathtub bleeding to death, some of the characters see the sister as the killer sees her; her eyes yellow and bloodied, fingernails sharp as knives dripping with blood and a vicious smile on her contorted lips. She tries to lure the characters closer, only to let out a eerie hissing sound and with her last ounce of strength, she tries to bury her nails deep in the flesh of the closest player character.
So what is really going on here? Is the sister just a victim of the young man’s delusions, or is she in fact something much more sinister? This is where Dark Globe is different from other horror games; perception becomes reality. This premise allows your group to experience thrilling stories thick with atmosphere and a touch of madness.