A Glance At: Damnation Decade

Man, I hate the holidays. So much hustle and bustle, and for what? Seriously, what? Well, I also don’t like Black Friday, but Paizo was running a sale. Tons of things were marked way the hell down. And I got a lot of stuff as a result.

It’s a pity most of it’s rubbish. (Don’t worry, Eric: Misfit Monsters Redeemed is not one of the books I consider rubbish.)

Anyway, one of the books I picked up was Damnation Decade, a d20 Modern setting from Green Ronin. Yes, you’ve heard that name before. I praise them a lot, based on the strength of their OGL offerings, mostly in the D&D field.

But this thing is more of an OTL offering…

First off, allow me to talk about something I haven’t before: Parody. I’m not a big fan of parody, because, very often, the approach people take is to take a figure, place or event and paint it a gaudy color. I would call this “lazy,” but in the case of Damnation Decade, they paint everyone and everything in the 1970s a different color, mostly varying shades of hideous day-glo hues, but also a lot of black. I would be remiss to call this “lazy,” as it isn’t. It demonstrates a lot of effort.

It just doesn’t demonstrate enough effort. Also, it doesn’t work.

Damnation Decade takes place in an alternate history version of the 1970s, specifically, 1976. Actually, to be even more specific, it takes place in a Crapsack World version of 1976: The icecaps have melted, many nations are gone, the West Coast is gone, monsters and mutants rampage across Americo (their pastiche of America. Lotta paint went into this one…), aliens are invading, demons are enroaching, and to top it all off, the world is going to end on December 31st, 1979, unless the heroes manage to stop it.

… Though, if you ask me, that’s a pretty big “unless.” I’ll get right back to that, though.

What annoys me most about this book is, as I said, their tendency to simply paint things a different color: Just as a very small example, Stantom Spobeck is Richard Nixon, line and number. For another example, his political rival is the pornographer Hunbolt Suede, and while I don’t know who he’s supposed to be based on (can’t be arsed), his true story uses elements from The Omen, right down to his being the Son of Satan, and he can only be killed by these enchanted daggers and… Ugh.

Also, there’s even a parody of Leonard Nimoy (as if they needed to bother…), who himself has a parody of Nimoy’s old show “In Search Of…”. (Again, as if they needed to bother.)

Oh and there’s even a parody of Elvis (again, as if you needed to bother!), simply called “The King,” who goes about fighting aliens. While I do admit to cracking a smile at that one, I can also say that this is the closest it came to amusing me…

That’s my main chief problem with this book: Everything in it is just things from the 70s, only with a few small twists, mostly to make things more bleak and depressing.

Which brings me back to the “unless.”

Simply put, there IS no good ending for the world of Damnation Decade. If Suede wins, he nukes the world. If Spobeck wins, he continues to fuck up the world. Biscuit, the actual third runner in the presidential race, seems to be a good guy… And he is. Too good, in fact, to do anything. There are Antediluvian horrors who are trying to rebuild their empire, zombie goasts mutants (Complete with a Charles Manson “parody”, come to think of it), who will infect or simply devour everything, aliens who want Earth for its fertile land, and if you somehow manage to defeat ALL THAT, “The Bloc,” Damnation Decade’s version of the Soviet Union, will simply continue to steamroll the world.

Sure, the book SAYS there’s room for funky, over the top play in this, but it sure as Hell does not feel like it. Indeed, it feels more like they were GOING for that, but shot too far in the direction of being the 70s, and really just became a depressing mess.

When it’s not an obnoxiously unfunny one. On top of the shit I mention above, there’s even a Fantasy Island pastiche, oy…

But unlike the world of Damnation Decade, I have good news, and better news. The good news is, I also picked up Testament, also from Green Ronin, and it’s a lot better than this. Once I’ve read it more, I will probably review (or just as likely, Glance) it. The better news is, it’s not the worst book I picked up from this lot, oh no. That is probably Green Races from Fast Forward Entertainment, which is also very likely getting a review, since, well… Unless I missed something on my first glance? This book is bad. So bad, in fact, that I can’t NOT review it…

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