Monster hunting in the World of Darkness - a Mephisto review
Paranormal Investigator's Handbook
Although the Paranormal Investigators Handbook is, according to its cover, a sourcebook for Wraith: The Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition, it actually serves as a companion volume to the spin-off Ghost Hunters, in which player characters take on the denizens of the underworld as human mediums and ghost hunters. Accordingly, the book adds several aspects to the background.
It starts with material for the player characters in the form of equipment, advantages and disadvantages, and new psychic powers and gifts such as Psychic Healing and Psychic Vampirism. In addition, a concept is presented to handle ghost hunting stories – with various types of ghosts, the effect of different approaches depending on the ghost type, and a system to determine the escalation and success/failure of ghost hunts.
In the Monster Hunting chapter, alternatives to wraiths are presented, namely cryptids such as the Chupacabra, mythical creatures such as Banshees and Griffins, and even zombies created by disease. A few ghost archetypes are not missing either. While some monsters are correlated to the other World of Darkness systems, creatures that were not previously part of the canon also appear here.
The book concludes with a few groupings of necromancers, hedge magicians, and esoteric orders, which are briefly presented with backgrounds and memorable personalities, each also bringing a unique ability in the form of Numina. The range here is wide – from necromancers who find their gift in fire to a cult of formerly possessed people to fans of a mysterious rock band or an aristocratic hunting party. However, all organizations have in common that some mysteries and horrors surround them.
The Paranormal Investigator's Handbook is a small expansion for Ghost Hunter that brings a few character additions and background approaches. With the monster chapter, it provides an approach to steer the game focus away from wraiths and other canonical creatures of the World of Darkness. Thus, this sourcebook is not essential to the game, but is a good way for interested groups to further expand the scope of the game – offering a “unique monster per story”-style of play.