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A book of plot hooks and encyclopedic entries for Esoterica or other modern occult roleplaying games, and you can add your own content!
375 backers pledged £4,807 to help bring this project to life.
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£4,807

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Welcome to Secretum Mundi. This project is to create and publish a encyclopedic-style supplement for the Esoterica Roleplaying game, or for any other roleplaying game that focuses on the occult and magic in the modern world. The book will contain a range of alphabetized entries on occult individuals, places, events and items, the majority of which will have plot hooks that can be used to create adventures. Also, many of the entries will interlink (i.e. reference each other), so that several entries can be used to create a mini campaign. The book doesn't contain any rules and is therefore system neutral, so it can be used with any occult-themed roleplaying game.

Here's an example of an entry (this is a work in progress and doesn't reflect the final layout):

Alabaster Venus

A statue of Venus carved from Alabaster from the mid-Republican Roman period, the Alabaster Venus is enigmatic and otherworldly. What on the surface appears to be a simple statue of a naked female, thought to be Venus, becomes increasingly complex the more it is studied. The limbs of the woman seem unnaturally long, and some of the contours of the body seem strangely out of place. Bizarrely rather than resulting in a statue that looks amateur or crude, these strange physical changes give the overall composition a disturbing appearance. This is reinforced by studies by art historians who comment that the quality of carving and naturalness of the composition make it appear that the statue was carved by a master, and that the figure represents the true appearance of the artist’s muse. 

Whatever the truth of the matter, the Venus is no longer displayed by the Smithsonian – the composition is unsettling and depressing, and tends to cast a pall over those that view it. The Blackened Brotherhood have stated that the statue is really a depiction of the goddess Cormorgan, a Celtic goddess of love and death.

Hook: Occultists have commented that although in some ways the Alabaster Venus ‘feels’ like it may be a Soul Jar, no one has been able to use it as such, and the statue has been relegated to an oddity in the Secret World. However, a contact of the player characters reveals that writing he has studied in the British Library indicate that the true Soul Jar may be inside the Alabaster statue. If the characters want the Soul Jar, they will have to secure the Venus from the Smithsonian and break open the ancient statue…

In this case, The Blackened Brotherhood is covered by another entry in the book, and a Soul Jar is a magical item in Esoterica. Although designed for the Esoterica Roleplaying game, the entries and the hooks could be used in any roleplaying game that contains occult activities, or even just read for pleasure.

Many of the entries are completely fictitious, but some reference real events, people and places to make for a plausible and compelling story.

The book currently stands at around seventy entries and will clock in at around pages, although it will hopefully end up much larger as content is added by backers (see below). This Kickstarter is to raise funds for art and a cover. For examples of how my games look, check out my other projects.

Kickstarting this project allows me to purchase art and a cover for Secretum Mundi. The aim is for the book to look as lovely as Exilium, Summerland and Esoterica, my previously Kickstarted games, so if you want to know what my games tend to look like, check out the link below:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/2503/Fire-Ruby-Designs

And here's the cover to Esoterica:

There are several components to the rewards for this campaign...

Secretum Mundi is a true community project. When you pledge to Secretum Mundi, you'll get either a PDF or a voucher to produce a print version (more on that below). However, you'll also have the opportunity to add an entry to the book of your own devising, thereby increasing the content of the book and adding your own unique items, places and people to Esoterica! Time to reveal what you know of the Secret World of the occult...

Once you have pledged, you can write up to three of your own occult entry for Secretum Mundi, which I will endeavor to include in the book. It can be a place, event, object such as a Soul Jar (magical items in Esoterica), person or an occult group, and it can be from any period in history. I'll then take your entry and work it into the book. Length wise, anything from a couple of paragraphs to maybe 1000 words maximum is best. The following rules apply for content you supply:

I reserve the right to not include it if I don't feel it is suitable - this is unlikely to happen I hope! 

To be included in the book, I will check that the entry:

  • Doesn't reference real people or organizations around today (ancient or historical versions are fine).
  • Isn't offensive and doesn't demean or attack any particular group.

I also reserve the right to edit any entry to make it fit with the tone of the book. Most likely if one of the above rules aren't followed, I'll just edit the entry.

If you want to, you can just supply a title, and if I can I'll create the content for you. In any event I will probably edit your entry so that it links to another in the book - for example if your occult group is led by a shadowy occultist, I may change their name to Paul Thoroughgood, another occultist with their own entry, so that the two entries link as part of shadowy, greater truth...

The first update will have some examples of entries, and will show the general format.

Please be prepared to submit your entry within a couple of weeks of the end of the campaign - more on this in an update where I will publish a cut off date for entries.

You'll also get a mention in the book as one of the shadowy sources that has revealed part of the Secret World, either as yourself, or perhaps using an occult pseudonym...

Currently, the book is around seventy pages in a 6"x9" format. If we fund and everyone contributes an entry, we should end up over one hundred pages.  The more content, the more value you get as the pledge levels stay the same. There will be a minor increase in print cost as the book gets bigger, but it will be pretty small. As the book grows the backing the Kickstarter will become the most cost effective way of getting Secretum Mundi - the book when finally on sale is likely to me more expensive.

One final note: if the project is a massive success (fingers crossed) and I have many entries to process, delivery might be slightly delayed. But if that's the case I'll let you know well in advance and hopefully you'll agree all that great content is worth a little extra wait.

There are two main tiers - one for a PDF of Secretum Mundi and one for PDF + print voucher. The books will be formatted to 6"x9" dimensions and are  expected to clock in at least 50 pages, depending on the content contributed by backers. We will  be using DriveThruRPG for fulfillment.  

PDF vouchers will be sent out when the project completes for the final product.

PDF and print versions of Secretum Mundi will be in colour.

There is a further cost after the pledges have been collected for the print copies, as described below.

Finally you can also add Esoterica to your pledge if you don't have it - search for that project to see what you'll be getting and what backers thought of the campaign.

Print copies will be softbacks, produced by DriveThruRPG 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 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 or less than 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 $6 or £4, depending on final page count.

You will also need to pay shipping which will depend on your location.

We went for this print voucher option for Secretum Mundi (as well as our other games) as it presents a win for you and a win for us. 

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. 

For You...

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.

This is a small project, so I don't anticipate any stretch goals. However, if the campaign goes well and there are a lot of entries submitted, I may introduce a hardback stretch goal as a new pledge level. This won't require a higher pledge, but will mean that backers can choose the option they want. Note that the production cost of a hardback book will be considerably higher, but the quality will also be improved. But this will only make sense if we get enough content to make a hardback sensible, so more on this as the project progresses.

Risks and challenges

This is my forth Kickstarter - all of my previous projects have been fulfilled, two on time and one a few weeks late. You can find them on Kickstarter if you want to review the comments and see how I did. This is a small, relatively low risk projects - crucially I think, there's no shipping from me and as that is one of the logistical issues that often derail projects, so that makes things a lot easier. From my side the content is written, of course the backers will add more but editing that content shouldn't take too long.

Aside from me accidentally, violently cutting my head off while combing my hair, I think the risks are pretty low.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About US$ 2

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    Pledge £7 or more About US$ 9

    PDF + contribute content

    A PDF copy of Secretum Mundi, plus you also get to contribute an entry to Secretum Mundi, see the main campaign for details.

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    Pledge £13 or more About US$ 17

    PDF/Print + contribute content

    You get a PDF of Secretum Mundi, a voucher for an at-cost print copy from DriveThruRPG, and the opportunity to contribute an entry of your own occult imaginings to Secretum Mundi, see campaign text for details.

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    Pledge £17 or more About US$ 22

    Two books PDF + contribute content

    You get a PDF for the Esoterica core game and for Secretum Mundi, and the opportunity to contribute an entry to Secretum Mundi, see campaign text for details.

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    Pledge £33 or more About US$ 42

    Two books PDF/Print + contribute content

    You get a PDF for the Esoterica core game and Secretum Mundi, and at-cost print vouchers for both from DriveThruRPG, plus the opportunity to contribute an entry to Secretum Mundi, see campaign text for details.

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Funding period

- (30 days)