From publisher blurb:
A massive 414 page vile grimoire woven throughout a glorious tome of resplendent holy gold and luxury!
This is THE book for evil in 5th Edition!
Yet the Book of Exalted Darkness is more than just that, paired beside a holy decopunk campaign setting (think Rocketeer or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) for players to destroy or subvert.
Centuries ago the Celestial Heroes emerged from the Twilight of Suffering, leading the peoples of Askis through the ages to the bright utopian future of today. Their great works enrichen the world, the institutions they begat maintain order, and the gift of inaequa has changed the very face of civilization—machinery powered by the divine gift has urbanized society and the resulting radiation lengthens the lives of creatures good of heart.
Evil is dying out. Those of a malevolent bent are treated by The Ministry's sanitariums and when they cannot be rehabilitated sent to the Samovi Preserve to live out the rest of their shorter lives among other foul beings. The empathic Justitia roam about Askis guarding against criminals, and for the few heretics that persist The Inquisition has agents everywhere. On the eve of ridding all of Askis of corruption however, a grand ploy by the most despicable mad scientists lurking below the surface has taken hold!
The Night of Largitio terrified the populace of the world but seemed only an anomally, only now bearing its horrible fruit: you. Before you were conceived destiny bestowed an inherent heresy on your soul, forever corrupting your very destiny. All of the bureaucracy that once served to occupy the people of Askis now bursts at the seams as you and your kind proliferate, and in turn the church-state has redoubled its efforts to contain the seeds of evil spreading across the globe.
Your maleficent benefactors — the mad scientists that instilled the flaw in your soul — are your most powerful allies against the theocracy arrayed against you, but with their aid you may well succeed where all others have failed. Better yet, with the assistance of the many dark powers that entreat you certainly the vaunted demigods protecting Askis could not stand against you. Indeed, yes, yes, for the powers of the nether draw from a well never-ending, and the fools before you that attempted to make these gifts their own were simply weak.
Not like you.
A few highlights include:
- Sanctity and Sin, two new thematic attributes that evil PCs use to manipulate the strange technology of Askis (either tricking machines or perverting them!) and gain an edge on their do-gooder enemies!
- Inherent Heresies! Askis has the standard races for Fifth Edition plus aasimar, and this new element of character creation colors how a villainous adventurer interacts with the world at large.
- The theocratic world of Askis! From the Contiguous Continent to the Escarion Maelstrom and back there are over three dozen cities (each with their own saints) to tear down into rubble.
- Three classes: the mad scientist, the diabolist, and the occultist. Take hold of technology, use the original iteration of the 5E master conjurer, or the first rendition of adventurers devoted to transforming themselves into monsters (and if yours isn't on the list below, try the dark transformation prestige class!)
- Evil backgrounds and archetypes for every class. Join the Circle of Necrobotany, take the Oath of Heresy, submit to your fury as a Feral Rager, feed your ravenous patron the Meat, utilize the power of dark chi, and much more!
- Nearly 50 feats ranging from grafting on monster parts to rituals for infant-skin cloaks to voodoo!
- A whole new school of Vile magic including spells by James Introcaso and Savannah Broadway. Fling bone spurs, conjure a sanguine razorstorm, inflict unbearable pain, and much worse!
- Equipment galore. Looking for some drugs? Augmetics? Maybe a jetpack or some power armor? Got the coin for one of those newfangled motorized inaequa-chariots? Or maybe you want to get at some of James' amazing evil relics!
- 20 pages for Evil Gamemastering including the very important discussion of consent between players and the GM, tips on how to keep a group of villainous adventurers from destroying each other, a system for handling trouble at the table, all of the poisons (including a great two page table summarizing each!), a bank of diseases, and more types madness for a deranged game.
- 6 unique mad scientists (master villains with lair actions!), their lieutenants, and three dozen creatures and NPCs counted among the forces of darkness. They are joined by over 50 NPCs and monsters amidst the Forces of Light focused around builds for bards, fighters, rogues, sorcerers, paladins, rangers, clerics, monks, and wizards of 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level (in total well over 100 new statblocks and templates for GMs!)
- Two adventures! The Killing the Golden Twins module to get your evil campaign in Askis off to a wicked start and the scaling Searching the River Styx adventure for when PCs find themselves headed to the afterlife — perhaps escaping the underworld to live once more.