A sharp pain echoes through your mind as you try to blink the haze out of your eyes. You are lying on a hard stone floor, with a numbing cold that pierces all the way to your spine. You realize that you’re soaked with freezing water, and your throat is parched. You retch as the salty taste in your mouth comes to the forefront of your senses. The biting coldness around your wrists tightens.
Suddenly, your feeble, exposed body is being dragged along the ground by your wrists. The pain washes white hot across your mind, but you are still conscious enough to notice the chains wrapped around your bleeding wrists. You are yanked roughly out of the shed, too paralyzed to plead for respite, when you come face to face with a creature straight from Hell. It is a dread fusion of flesh and machine, a biomechanical horror possessing naught but a huge, gaping maw lined with saw-teeth, from which the chains originate, and two stubby legs of puckered flesh supported by metal struts.
“There, there, who’s a good girl?” a female voice coos, and a pale hand strokes the creature’s top. It lets out a purr that sounds more like the grating of broken machinery. A stunningly beautiful woman stares down at you, smiling softly like a mother to her child. “Let’s get down to business. We both don’t have much time left.” She pauses, staring down at you, smiling at your broken, suffering spirit. “Form a Pact with me, human. I hardly need to remind you of the alternative.”
The Chronicles of Darkness is a setting for a number of role-playing games that focus on storytelling, character and world-building, and personal adventure. The main themes are urban fantasy and horror, and the setting is staged in the present day, where terrible creatures and unseen allies walk in the shadows of modern society. Players take the roles of certain supernatural creatures, ranging from the mysterious Vampires that rule over the night, to the elusive changelings of Faerie. The Chronicles of Darkness boasts an expansive mythos, covering separate mythologies to entire dimensions.
The playable supernatural races are as such:
Vampires are the kings of the night, the mysterious denizens of the darkness of society. They are predators first and foremost, and evolved to control and take advantage of their prey, humans, through a number of methods that range from subterfuge to seduction to brute force. Vampires are preternaturally resilient, and many are able to walk unfazed through a hail of gunfire or a swerving bus. Contrary to old wives’ tales, vampires are not affected by religious symbols or garlic. However, they are still undead, and are extremely susceptible to sunlight and fire, which burn them to ashes in mere seconds. Exposing them to extremely dangerous situations like exposure to sunlight awakens the irresistible urges of the Beast that lies deep within their psyche, causing to either fight back mindlessly and desperately like cornered animals or escape with their tails between their legs. They draw upon Disciplines, supernatural powers that bestow them with fell strength and speed as well as irresistible charisma, among other things, and special Blood Sorcery fueled by human life force. They call themselves Kindred, and are the most commonly seen supernaturals. Other supernaturals call them the Damned. A group of vampires is called a coven.
- The process of converting a mortal to a vampire is called the Embrace, in which a vampire sucks all the mortal’s blood out of their body and replaces it with a single drop of the vampire’s blood. Many have wondered what would happen if a vampire managed to subdue another supernatural long enough to Embrace them.
- If a vampire somehow manages to Embrace a werewolf, the werewolf would die painlessly for obvious reasons. However, the vampire would be torn apart from the inside out as the werewolf’s spirit-blood reacts adversely to the vampire’s body.
- If a vampire Embraces a mage, the Mana present in the mage’s blood will ignite, burning them to ash almost instantly like a humanoid firework.
- If a vampire Embraces a Demon, [REDACTED], leading to an extremely gruesome and painful death.
Werewolves are the “police” of the Shadow, a realm separated from the Material World in which Spirits dwell, both benign and malevolent. Composed of half Spirit, half Flesh, they are the ultimate predators. Werewolves are not beings that can take different forms, but rather beings in constant flux, able to switch between forms naturally and fluidly to serve their need-in other words, multiple forms existing in one being, as one being. In battle, they are indomitable berserkers, channeling their Rage to eviscerate their prey and heal grievous wounds in mere moments. This rage can spin them out of control in a state called the Kuruth, or the Death Rage, turning them into unstoppable killing machines However, in public, a Werewolf is an ordinary, albeit extremely healthy and fit, human. They channel Gifts, supernatural “tricks” bestowed upon them by Spirits. They call themselves Uratha, and have a deeply shamanistic and tribal but inclusive culture. Other supernaturals call them the Forsaken. A large group of Uratha is called a pack, and contrary to popular belief, anyone can join a pack at the behest of the leader.
Mages are regular human who have been Awakened to the Truth surrounding the Material World. They have been granted a vision of the five Supernal Realms that lie outside of manifest reality, realms of immeasurable power where the mage will attain true ascension and become an Exarch, a mage with the powers of a god. Unlike the other supernaturals, they are unable to freely use their powers in front of mortals, as within each Sleeping human, there lies a shard of the Abyss, the untruth which fogs the Supernal Realms from mortal senses. Using magic so recklessly cultivates the chance to cause Paradox, causing the mage’s magic to spin out of control and possibly even summoning an Acamoth from the Abyss. They draw upon their Path to give form to their magic. Paths consist of Arcana, of which there are ten in total. Other supernaturals call them Awakened, and a group of mages is called a cabal.
Prometheans are beings that are created by other beings, Frankenstein fashion–sewn-together corpses wrought with the Divine Flame, instilled with a purpose for new life. They take their names from their theft of the Divine Fire, and the Titan Prometheus, whose benevolence towards humanity led him to rebel against Heaven. However, the creation process was not perfect. The Created, as they are called by other supernaturals, are forever plagued by the Disquiet, a malignant aura that blights the land around them and drives humans away. Thus, they are set upon an unending Pilgrimage, determined to attain the New Dawn of humanity and free themselves from the Saturnine Night. They channel the Divine Fire to fuel Transmutations, powerful abilities that alter the world around them to their image. A group of Prometheans is called a Throng.
Changelings are regular humans who were kidnapped by the Fae and carried off to the world of Faerie, where they were changed by the strange magics of the world, becoming something enchanting, otherworldly, and often terrifying. They somehow fleed to the Material World, escaping the hold of their captors, the True Fae. On the outside, they seem like normal humans, but this is the work of their Glamour, the twisted magic of Faerie, forming an obfuscating Mask over their being. Changelings are unlike other supernaturals in that they draw power from their pledges and promises, giving their magic raw “possibility” that can be harnessed for free by exploiting a loophole in their agreement. These aptly-named powers are called Contracts. A group of changelings is called a motley. Other supernaturals call them the Lost.
Other supernatural creatures exist, but they are shrouded in mystery, unknown to starting player characters. They are encountered throughout your adventures, whether as friends or enemies.
Just try to survive. You may become something more.