(please enjoy the commercial above. We'll be adding a personal video soon)
“Darkness cannot cast out darkness – only light can do
–Martin Luther King, jr.
Welcome to the world of ESPER, the society for Extraordinary
Supernatural Phenomena Explored and Revealed. It is a world much like our own,
with a single exception… every scary story, every myth, and every fireside tale
is true. It is a world where your worst nightmare could be lurking in the
darkness, hiding around the next corner, or disguised as your best friend.
In this world, where every imagined horror is made manifest,
the natural evolution of the human race has included a closer attunement to the
magickal forces of the universe, the development of powerful psionic abilities,
and, most importantly, the creation of an organization to battle these unseen
foes and keep their existence from the rest of the world. This organization is
What is ESPER
ESPER is a horror role playing game in which players take on
the roles of those special people who either have felt the encroaching darkness
or will be feeling it very soon, and who have decided to fight against it and
help keep those who aren’t aware of the hidden dangers of the otherworld entrenched in
their ignorant bliss.
The game uses a simple percentile system which makes
character creation and gameplay much quicker and easier. Under this system,
combat can be much more detailed and tactical while maintaining a simplicity
which keeps it from getting bogged down in numbers.
ESPER is primarily a role-playing game, and so every
precaution has been taken to make sure that what happens in the game can be as
detailed and realistic as possible without giving rules lawyers fodder for
argument. The primary rule of ESPER is that everyone should have fun, and the
second rule is that the Game Master’s entire purpose is to enforce rule one.
The rulebook encourages the GM to create stories around the characters and
their backgrounds, and to give everyone a chance to shine.
Players are able to make any type of character they can
imagine that fits in the game world, and can do anything that the Game Master
deems possible. Most characters will start the game not even knowing about the
ESPER organization, and many will not have ever even experienced the
supernatural. The first mission the GM runs will normally be to bring new
characters “into the fold.”
The character creation process of ESPER is very easy, and
yet is very detailed, and in playtesting many players would enjoy spending a
long time just focusing on putting together a character. There are no “classes”
like in many other role playing games, but this is made up for by the level of
detail that goes into the process. Skills, Positive Characteristics, Negative
Characteristics, Magick, and Psionics are extensive but understandable and
allow for precise fine-tuning of your character. If you can imagine someone who
would fit in the ESPER world, you can create it. Examples of characters created
during playtesting include:
hunter who brings rich clients on monster-hunting expeditions, and who by night
is a monster himself.
who stars in one of those “Talking to the Dead” shows to hide his true psychic
skeptical videographer for a ghost hunting show.
teenage boy who had to run away from home because his latent psionic powers
accidentally killed a group of bullies, and his Native American mentor who is
exiled from his tribe and wanted by the law for kidnapping his grandfather to
fulfill his final wish of dying in his ancestral home.
Norwegian warrior, possessed by the spirit of his Viking ancestors, unable to
-A female Japanese
exorcist forced to present herself to the world as a man.
cast out of his practice for accidentally killing a man on the operating table
because the voices in his head convinced him he was a monster, found homeless
and forsaken by ESPER and asked to join in exchange for the possibility of
silencing those voices.
Magick and Psionics
Magick and Psionics is based entirely on whatever effect the
player can dream up, and there are (currently) eight different types of magick
by which characters can weave their spells: Ritual Magick, Incantation, Focus
Magick (the use of wands and other Focus items), Blood Magick, Sympathetic
Magick (“as above, so below,” think of movie portrayals of Voodoo), Ecstatic
Magick (think of tribal rituals), Sigilism, and Practical Magick (such as
Alchemy). With over 50 different primary spell effects, magick-wielding characters
can create almost any spell they can think of using a number of different
Also present are Psionic powers, which can be used to create
world-altering effects. The player can choose from Telekinesis, Psychokinesis,
Cryokinesis, Pyrokinesis, Reiki, Psychometabolism, Clairvoyance, Telepathy, and
a number of other different powers.
Most of the players who tested the game in beta expressed
the desire to move to the ESPER system permanently, and two new game universes,
one fantasy and one sci-fi, are already in the works and will begin production
as soon as ESPER and its two major expansions are released as a result of this
ESPER went through rigorous playtesting over the course of a
year, with some sessions lasting up to 12 hours at a time (at the request of
the players). Four different groups, one of all RPG newcomers, one of long-time
D&D players, and two of varying levels of gaming experience, played through
unique campaigns throughout the year. During this time, ESPER was fine-tuned
and perfected until every play session became a smooth and perfectly enjoyable
experience. Characters were developed that became part of ESPER canon. Players
were shocked and terrified. Some laughed, and some even cried, but all of them
had an amazing time.
There are two major expansions planned for the ESPER game
universe, not to mention the monthly adventure packages that will be being
released. FOUNDATIONS OF DARKNESS, the first major expansion, will include a
host of different creatures and villains for the players to go up against,
physical, spiritual, and psychic. It will also contain a complete listing of gods,
demons, and Horrors, along with a whole list of new powers and characteristics
for them. You’ll also find different types of creatures that already exist,
unique named creatures, and rules for creating your own new nemeses to pit
against your players. It increases the number of monsters present in the
original manual from 22 to 250. Most of this expansion has already been written
and needs art and some formatting before it’s ready for release.
The next expansion, which is not yet in production, is THE
ESPER GRIMOIRE, which will be a complete spellbook with new spell effects, new
methods of spellcasting, and a list of hundreds of spells the characters can
Beyond that, we still have THE DAYS OF OLD fantasy
roleplaying setting and STAR CAPTAIN science fiction settings, along with
expansion packs and all the adventure modules and campaigns for each.
ESPER was in full swing in terms of production until about a
year ago, when our ability to fund it ran out. Back then, a small game company
was planning on distributing it, but that offer fell through as the company
started experiencing some financial difficulties themselves. Any support
received through Kickstarter will go to finishing the artwork for the game (several examples of which are included with the text above) and
then marketing and distributing it ourselves. Any extra support obtained above
and beyond the current projection will go toward enhancing the production value
of the campaign modules. We’re hoping that the finished products will be able
to include “feelies,” which are tangible extensions of the game world designed
to enhance the play experience. This will include (hopefully) artwork,
photographs, video, animations, and sound clips which can be used to give a
much better play experience and enhance the enjoyment of the game for everyone.
We will also use some of the extra to create commercials like the one above to
help market the game.