While engaging myself in Adventures in Darkness, by Atomic Overmind Press, I was often reminded of the old cliché that less is more.
Adventures in Darkness: An M&M Superlink is a supplement that contains writeups of heroes and villains from the Lovecraft comic series published in the early part of the 20th century. Despite its age, the flavor of Lovecraft really picks up in the books, despite his non-contribution to any of the comics or characters. As you can expect, its all Golden Age goodness here. Over the top heroes and villains that capture the feeling of that era. You won’t find too many things that you have not found in other golden age series, but there is that twinge of bizarre that can only be derived from the Lovecraft world.
The game stuff is solid, but the comic related stuff is just not interesting unless you actually have collected the comic, and were avid about it. Adventures in Darkness is unfortunately written for a very specific type of Mutants and Masterminds player. I thought myself to be the demographic, both a fan of Lovecraft and a fan of the Golden age of comics, but the supplement also seems to require that you be a fan of the comic book series as a good quarter of the 47-page book is geared towards the history of the comic and a price guide for collectors. The history is very well written, if not dry in many places and the price guide seems a bad choice considering that comic prices can change from month to month or any significant discovery.
Luckily the Mutants and Mastermind gaming stuff really stands strong with detailed writeups of the 17 heroes and 11 villians. The writer’s knowledge of the comic book shines in these parts as each has a brief history and power overview. The brevity of the writeups is refreshing and was missing from the earlier parts of the book. Each hero felt like I could pick them up and run them the way I wanted to without the writer imparting how the character should be played. I also liked how specific heroes had specific villains attached to them. The villains, both minor and major, are over the top like I expect a Golden Age Villain to be.
For the Player
As with most Golden Age comics, most of the heroes seem to be a play on other heroes. Thankfully the writer is talented enough to make heroes like The Mask and Mystico more than cheap knockoffs.
For the Gamemaster
Skipping towards the end of the book is a nice set of rule for tracking sanity in an Mutants and Masterminds game. Also pay attention to the villains as they can be used for non Golden Age games.
The Iron Word
The comic book history may be a bit too much in the beginning, but plays a vital part in making these characters we have seen before seem like true new versions. Adventures in Darkness brings the Cthullu mythology to the Mutants and Mastermind world in a fun way.