Welcome to the Secret World...
Esoterica is a game about conflicts between mystics, magicians and occultists in the modern day world. Called Adepts, these people have come to understand that the mundane world is just a facet of the true, greater reality, hidden by a barrier called the Veil. They seek to Ascend through the Veil to a better life beyond, and to this end have learnt to master some of the energies that permeate through the barrier. But power comes at a great cost - a corruption of the mortal form. Only Soul Jars, mystical objects imbued with power, can keep this corruption at bay. But the secret of their construction is lost, so they must either be recovered from the past or stolen from those that hoard them.
Do have what it takes to Ascend?
Esoterica is about action, conflict and greed in a morally bankrupt world of modern occultism.
Esoterica is a tabletop roleplaying game of mystery, intrigue and action. In the game Players take of the roles of Adepts seeking to increase their power. This thrusts them into conflict with other Adepts also seeking to ascend and therefore hunting Soul Jars to contain their corruption, government agents who seek to either crush or control true occultists, and Hungers, beings from beyond the Veil who feed on corruption. Adepts spend their time trying to acquire Sold Jars by stealing them from those that hold them, or searching out lost Soul Jars from ancient ruins across the globe.
Adepts have access to occult powers that they may use to further their aims. Arts encompass the ability to manipulate others, push their bodies beyond normal limits and gain mystical insight. Mysteries are supernatural powers such as manipulating objects with the mind, setting objects on fire and astral projection, and Rituals are magical formulae that allow magical powers to be harnessed.
Esoterica, like all our games, features a unique drive chain of play to push the game forward and create dramatic tension. This outlined below:
- Adepts wish to ascend.
- To do this they must use their abilities to gain Power...
- ...this generates Corruption.
- The Adept requires Soul Jars to remove this Corruption...
- ...putting them in conflict with other Adepts.
- So they need to use their abilities to overcome their rivals, generating more Power...
- ...but also generating more corruption...
- ...requiring more Soul Jars, etc.
This drive chain pushes the game forward and gives Players a clear picture of what they are trying to achieve during play, making the Narrator's job all the easier.
Esoterica will be produced as a full colour PDF and soft or hardback physical books, 6"x9" in dimensions. Total page count is expected to be around 200 pages, plus whatever stretch goals are released as these will be incorporated into the main book.
Work on the layout is underway, the examples below show the current design (these are work in progress shots):
You can download a preview of the first chapter of Esoterica for free from DriveThruRPG:
The Open D6 game system is extremely versatile, and can be implemented in various degrees of detail for games that are light to heavy in style. Esoterica is relatively rules light, but that doesn't mean you couldn't bolt on things you like from the free to download Open D6 rule books. It's a great, simple versatile system, so that's why we use it in our games.
The mechanics of Esoterica are rooted in the same drive chain concept as our previous games, Exilium and Summerland, but have been adapted to fit the unique needs of Esoterica. Rules for the special abilities of Adepts - Arts, Mysteries and Rituals - are all included, as is extensive background on the Secret World of Adepts.
There are three main tiers - one for a PDF of Esoterica, one for PDF + softcover and one for PDF + hard cover (other tiers include our previous games). The books will be formatted to 6"x9" dimensions and are expected to clock in at 200 pages, depending on stretch goals. We will be using DriveThruRPG for fulfillment.
PDF vouchers will be sent out when the project completes for the final product.
Both print versions of Esoterica are in colour, but the hardback has higher quality paper and is made by standard offset printing, resulting in a high quality book than the softback with excellent depth of colour.
There is a further cost after the pledges have been collected for the print copies, as described below.
Print copies will be produced by DriveThruRPG as well, slightly after the final PDF is produced to allow for proofs to be ordered. Backers who back for print copies will receive a voucher to receive a print copy of their choice (softback or hardback depending on pledge level) at production price, but you will need to pay the production price and the shipping cost.
To reiterate: If your pledge includes a print copy, after the project completes when you go to order your print copy you will need to pay an additional fee for the production of the book.
In total, the combined pledge + print production cost you pay will be the same as the book will cost when it goes on sale, so you can think of the print pledge as paying for some of the book when you pledge, and the remainder later.
The production price for the softcover book is expected to be approximately $8 or £6, depending on final page count.
The production price for the hardcover deluxe book is expected to be approximately $30 or £20, depending on final page count - this is much higher than the softback due to the higher quality of the printing process.
You will also need to pay shipping which will depend on your location.
Estimates for common destinations are given below:
We went for this print voucher option for Esoterica as it presents a win for you and a win for us.
We have a passion for creating roleplaying games and for producing as beautiful and inspirational books as possible. That means writing the contents and teaming up with artists and graphic designers, experts one and all, to deliver the best possible product to you. What we don't have a passion for is boxing up, shipping and all the related logistics of sending books around the globe. With DriveThruRPG as a fulfillment partner, we don't have to do that, instead like with other aspects of the project we can't do ourselves, such as the art, experts will do it for us.
But much more importantly, it's a win for you. You're hopefully backing this project because you like what you've seen. We can tell you about the project, show you the art, explain the design. What we can't do is show you anything that will indicate how good we would be at shipping printed books around the globe. So, if we were handling logistics ourselves, you'd have to take our word for it. With DriveThruRPG, you don't have to. You know that the logistics are being handled by experts, so you can forget about that aspect of the project. It also means shipping is local to the US or EU, so shipping costs are much more reasonable than is often the case.
Finally, just to re-iterate - you aren't paying for the project twice. Instead you are deferring around half the cost of your pledge to the production of the book after the campaign ends.
We do plan stretch goals for the project, which will be revealed as the project progresses. These stretch goals are planned as extra content for the core book, although some may be delivered as standalone PDFs, which will be made available for sale after the project ends. Stretch goal targets will be announced as the campaign progresses.
- First stretch goal £4,250 – core book upgrade to include suggestions for adapting Esoterica to the Cthulhu Mythos as an example of an alternative setting for the game. The core concepts of Esoterica – hidden knowledge, a desire for power and a world outside that understood by mortal man – are very well suited to the themes of the major writings of the Cthulhu Mythos. The idea of a secret occult world, of beings from some kind of greater, hidden reality, and of mystical objects imbued with power is part and parcel of pretty much every Mythos tale. As such, adapting Esoterica to work within the framework of the Mythos is relatively straightforward. In this stretch goal core book expansion are detailed ways in which Esoterica can be adapted to fit within the framework of the Mythos, allowing Players and the Narrator to establish exciting games of Esoterica within Lovecraft’s world. Included are new themes and aspects to consider, Mythos-related Mysteries, Soul Jars and Hungers, Madness as a new form of Corruption, and a Mythos inspired way to consider Ascension. k
- £ undisclosed - Ten new mysteries and rituals for play as extra content for the core book
More to follow!
Risks and challenges
This is my third roleplaying game to be funded through Kickstarter. My previous two, Exilium and Summerland, were funded, and both delivered early. Check out the pages for these projects to get a feel of how I try to run campaigns, and there are reviews of the games on DriveThruRPG where they are available to purchase (as well as through this campaign).
The writing of Esoterica is almost complete and the layout design is well underway. Delivery of physical products is via DriveThruRPG, who have a great track record of the logistics of producing quality books. In short the risks on the project are minimal bar me getting hit by a bus tomorrow.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)