Wednesday 18 March 2020

Review - Esoteric Enterprises

Disclaimer: Note that some of the links below are affiliate links (meaning I get a small percentage of the sale without extra cost to you or the publisher).

Esoteric Enterprises is a modern occult horror dungeon crawling sandbox RPG. It is a synthesis of the premise of World of Darkness and the structured gameplay of old-school D&D, where outcasts and/or adventurous souls venture below the city and become involved in all sorts of illegal things, rub shoulders with the underbelly of society, ally themselves with vampires, and get in the crossfire of various gangs, cults, and supernatural big baddies.

The author, in an interview, describes the game as follows:

    This is a world basically like our own, except magic is real, and dangerous, and wildly illegal. Of course, plenty of things are dangerous and illegal – such as drugs and organ-legging and bank robberies – so the worlds of organised crime and the supernatural have become inexorably linked. Things are only like our familiar world on the surface; beneath every city there is a literal underworld, where strange things hide from scrutiny, and the reckless or desperate traffic in things humans really shouldn’t be meddling with.

The mechanics are chiefly based on Lamentations of the Flame Princess with a few twists here and there. The game also comes with a robust system to generate various underground factions and undercity locations to facilitate the sort of free-spirited dungeon crawling and conspiracy the game is built for.