The Book of Vile Darkness, a supplement for Dungeons & Dragons, will officially be released tomorrow but I’ve had my hands on one for a few days now. Mwahahahaha!!! <evil grin>

Sorry. I don’t know where that came from. But in truth, I did get a copy from Wizards of the Coast, and I thought I’d give you a brief preview of its contents.

First of all, the supplement is actually three parts inside a narrow slipcover. There’s the 32 page Player’s Book, a two-sided combat map, and the 95 page Dungeon Master’s Book.

The Player’s Book includes options for evil characters—themes, paragon paths, an epic destiny, and feats of various kinds. Among these, I love the idea of the Vermin Lord, an evil-aligned druid with an affinity for maggots, flies, and other swarming pests. Leading off this book, though, may be the most important part of it. That is, advice on how to play an evil character without alienating one’s fellow players.

Sections in the Dungeon Master’s Book contain ideas for running an evil campaign: some monsters and villainous organizations, an adventure series, encounter elements (curses, diseases, traps, and hazards), and cursed items. My favorites are the curses. Among the cursed items, for example, are the Boots of Many Steps. Roll a 1 during combat and the boots walk your character off the battlefield! One of the curses is Noisome Vapors—”A rancid odor follows you and grows worse with each passing day until no one can stand to be around you.”

While the monsters in D&D are already typically evil, that section of The Book of Vile Darkness adds some valuable guidance for Dungeon Masters on how to create a villain that the players can truly and deeply hate.

The title of the supplement is drawn from the name of an artifact that is the subject of the included adventure. It’s also, though, the name of an upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie. According to a note in the book, “This adventure uses elements taken from the film Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness.” So the adventure, it seems, also gives us a sneak peak into the movie.