|The skeleton looks nice.|
|Page one of the table of contents|
The book does a good balance of providing data in terms of numerous monsters, guidance in building a thematic moody campaign, lore in terms of historical myths and popular culture, and some detailed mechanics in terms of corruption and fear. It metes out all in ample measure.
|Spooky second page!|
The Rag and Bone Shop
Things That Go Bump in the Night
Ominous Feelings, Gathering Shadows
As an aside, it's easy to believe that if these modifiers are written down somewhere, it is gospel truth that needs to be memorized. I like to think of them as helpful barometers that I can try to absorb by osmosis so I can kinda guess, "If a slightly ugly monster gets a -1 and an absolutely horrifyingly ugly monster gets -5, then this one that is pretty ugly is maybe a -3," and of course that inner monologue happens at the speed of thought. Of course I will forget a few/a lot of these modifiers, or just think they don't sound right for my game, so don't worry if they don't work for you or if you can't remember entire pages of minutiae and plusses or minuses. It is there as a barometer, not the gospel.
With that brief editorial out of the way, the section has a lot of useful asides for turning some mechanics, which are fine for simulating the typical battle of trained combatants, into something more fitting for Jane Everywoman dealing with mind breakingly preposterous things, like stun allowing gibbering moaning or uselessly dropping a gun in fright to give a more cinematic mood to frightful encounters. This is followed up with a slightly modified version of the fright system for madness, as well as several suggestions for tuning it depending on the appropriateness in a specific campaign. I find the aside on p.145 an especially amusing read, but I think scary corrupt mental institutions are one of my favorite horror fixtures as well.
After this, we are introduced to a corruption system and mechanic, which reminds me a lot of the tally based magic system from Thaumatology but a few important differences. I think it looks like a bit of an improvement over said system, and might be my go-to if I were ever to run a dark fantasy game.