Instant Antagonists is a new series of mini-supplements by Jess Hartley and Matt McElroy that drop a unique villain or perhaps even a shady ally to plague your players in your modern supernatural or horror game. Each of the supplements will be completely system independent, aiming instead to give you enough background on the antagonists to recreate them in the game system of your choice. The first installment kicks things off with a "Selfish Succubus" who lurks among us by the name of Lily Sinclaire.
The supplement opens with a piece of short fiction featuring our villainess and is told from the perspective of her latest "fling." The scene sets up the hedonistic and predatory nature of our antagonist and starts to get the creative juices flowing. From there we dive into the creature's background, and we are provided with an array of possible origins, powers and story hooks for introducing Lily into the game.
The idea of a temptress who entices men (or let's be fair, perhaps women too) toward ultimate damnation is nothing new or innovative. Lily's background and motivations read exactly like you would expect based on the mounds of modern fiction featuring succubi. She's the life of the party with a seemingly insatiable sexual appetite who prays on the week of will or character, ultimately seducing her prey to give into fleeting and carnal pleasures while manipulating them into somehow damning their eternal souls. This supplement doesn't give any new spins on that basic theme.
However, it does bring some interesting ideas to the table for how a succubus might have found herself (itself?) into your world -- even one that doesn't normally feature creatures from the heights of heaven or depths of hell. The story hooks provide an instant launching point for adventurers starring Lily as either a villainess who vexes the party or a dangerous ally in a fight against something even more sinister and threatening than her. While the six story hooks presented are brief summations of no more than a couple of paragraphs each, they give the game master some great inspiration on using a creature like Lily Sinclaire in their game, and they are the real gold to be found in this supplement.
The idea behind the Instant Antagonists series is a brilliant one. Many games gloss over these kinds of background and flavor details, and instead they focus on throwing stat blocks at the game master that translate into little more than empty bags of hitpoints. Here is where a product like Instant Antagonists can step in to give the game master some real guidance on how to introduce a captivating villain that his players are sure to remember -- and loathe -- for a long time to come.
I eagerly await the next installment...
[4 of 5 Stars!]