REVIEW: The Midnight World

The world is darker, stranger, and more dangerous than you could possibly know. More malicious than you’d ever dare to believe. There are dark forces at work, just beyond the edges of your perception that would drive you spiraling into madness were you to ever look upon their dread, extra-dimensional majesty.

The Midnight WorldBut this, thankfully, is not your world. This is The Midnight World, a new tabletop roleplaying game set in a world that is a much darker reflection of the one we call home. Players find themselves in the part of benighted characters who have seen beyond the flimsy veil that hides the truth of reality from the masses. They’ve seen what horrors exist side by side with humanity, what monstrosities sometimes even inhabit the skins of other people. They undertake missions and quests to explore these terrible truths, to hold the hand of doom back for even one more dreadful minute, all the while teetering on the edge of sanity.

All in all, The Midnight World presents an incredibly well thought out setting that is full of rich, complex meta-history and lore, dynamic systems, and countless opportunities for players to engage in gripping, spine-tingling tales of cosmic horror and bone chilling dread. Stories of self- examination, as well, with The Midnight World including an incredibly well thought out and complex system to track one’s mental health, and degeneration. It allows for players to explore their mental states dynamically, and dramatically, but also approaches the subject of mental health with sensitivity and understanding. It’s a huge breath of fresh air to see it handled so professionally while still delivering an immersive, enjoyable experience.

Mechanically, The Midnight World offers a system geared much more strongly towards narrative gaming and constructing dramatic storylines as opposed to crunchier systems and combat simulators. Character creation in particular offers numerous levels of immersion, but is designed from the ground floor to allow a player to create a character they can fully inhabit during their time playing them. The concept of “the Midnight Clock” is ostensibly the core around which much of the game revolves, particularly in how it affects characters and how they’re played. It’s a unique system that brings one’s relationship with their mental health into the spotlight and it’s handled very well, as mentioned previously. There are shades of the Sanity system of Call of Cthulhu, which is no surprise because it and The Midnight World do share a lot of the same inspirational DNA. But while there are certainly some shades of Call of Cthulhu (and to an extent the World of Darkness games), The Midnight World is very much its own beast with its own mythologies and secrets and hidden depths for the players to explore.

For a brand new game, a brand new world and set of tools to tell stories with, The Midnight World takes some old tropes and stories and makes them fresh and exciting and even a little bit dangerous. The core book is very cool, very well made and written, and lays the groundwork for what could become in-depth and complex stories that players could enjoy for a good long while. Personally, I would love to run a game in The Midnight World, and if you’re a gamer looking for something dark and new, it may be just what you had in mind.

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Phoenix Reviews was a GdM reviewer between 2020-23 who loved graphic novels and comics. They have chosen to depart the internet in search of a happier life balance, and requested their profile be hidden.

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