‘Church of the Damned’ is a very strong follow-up to ‘The Black Sepulchre’ and proves without a doubt that sequels can be as good as the first instalment. It offers from the outset a promise that there will be something for everyone, whether you like action, mystery or simply just immersing yourself in the creepy horror that is the forty-first millennium.
It shares the same format as ‘The Black Sepulchre’, offering three interlocking stories. What is very appealing about this is that the authors have taken great care in making each adventure a distinct, unique experience, and have utilised the backdrop of the 40K universe effectively for this purpose. The first adventure takes place in a cathedral and offers insight into the daily workings of the Ecclesiarchy from sermons, holy texts, relic authentication and the medicae (including treatments for ailments of the mind, body and soul). The second moves to Gunmetal City and a tromp through the Underhive in pursuit of the less than salubrious elements of society. The adventure wraps up with a visit to a Shrine World where the level of blasphemy has been ‘turned up to eleven’.
As you can well imagine, the product delivers on its’ promise to offer all characters a chance to shine, but it was the little details that really made this a joy to read. Snippets of information about the daily duties of the Sisters of Battle, odd currency systems in the Underhive and even artwork which reflects the current range of Games Workshop miniatures (like the Skyshield platform just visible on p. 52) show that the authors are just as enthusiastic as the players in creating a believable, faithful world. The player handouts in the Appendix are excellent props and care has obviously been taken to make each look authentic – print these in colour for your players (accept no black and white substitutes).
I really can’t fault this product in terms of content, art direction and layout. The production values are high; but I would have liked to have seen the internal links to chapters and pages that have been evident in other FFG products. This is, however, a minor flaw in an otherwise perfect product. I’ll be eagerly awaiting part three to see how this all ends (which will hopefully be with a bang, and lots of fire).
[4 of 5 Stars!]