“... Spectre attacks have always been a danger of conducting business in the hereafter, but they were easy enough to avoid if you had half a clue and kept your wits about you. Now, hive blisters appear across the city like an ethereal cancer run amok...” (p. 125, “Hive Proliferation”)
Shadow Games is Orpheus’s four book, detailing an explosion of ickiness from across the Shroud. The material here hints at larger issues with the world that the crucible must now deal with as a large artifact from beyond is thrown into the world.
The world is getting nastier, and Shadow Games is taking a scenic detour before the worst occurs. The book takes a stock footage look at how the world outside the US is handling the ghostly events of Orpheus Group and its fall from grace. Several sectors of the world have to contend with an upsurge in cultist activity as some people are turning away from typical religious sources to make sense of the new world order. Several of the older spooks see some of the cult activity as what it is, a recruitment tool for the power behind the Orpheus attack.
This book offers a lot of detail in the operations of cults in the World of Darkness, and showcases how to use and break away from them. While a minor part of the overall plot, these cults can be used to heighten the drama of the crucible’s life.
While this book also details new uses of Spite (to fuel a character’s Horrors) and artifacts that have presence in the hereafter, the main thrust of the metaplot sees an event strike from the beyond the Shroud and unleashes a small storm of Spectres.
In the opening act, a building from the Underworld is thrown into the real world. Only problem is that only spooks and projectors can see it, the unenlightened see the event as a localized earthquake with no possible way of occurring. The masses make due with what they can, but soon the area becomes a hub for Spectre activity and the place begins to drag down those that are there.
This impact changes the way the crucible operates again, as they must shift from survival from starvation to survival from assault. Hope reappears in the form of Lazarus Redux, a company built from former Orpheus Group projectors.
Overall, this book tries to resolve some of the dangling plot points made in the earlier books. While the Bishop plot line continues, if briefly into the next act (or so the ending has us believe), the rest of the real world pressure should be just about gone as the events here draw to a close. This book marks the end of the second act of the Orpheus three-act play, though it could easily be translated into the last act by storytellers that would like to leave things beyond the Shroud alone.