Vault of Adepts
Penny Dreadful meets Arkham Horror in this pen and paper RPG of secret societies in 1900 London. Occult schemes in the age of absinthe.
VAULT OF ADEPTS is a pen and paper Role Playing Game of secret societies set in 1900 London. These occult Lodges attracted the elite of London society – poets and politicians, actors and heiresses, alchemists and aristocrats scheming against a backdrop of cut glass, in the age of absinthe.
You play one of these eccentric characters, choose a faction and an agenda – do you want to proceed through the mystic Grades to achieve enlightenment? To take over? To destroy from within? – and speed from location to location to secure ancient knowledge, spread rumours, and foil your opponent’s efforts.
A séance gone horribly wrong. A gentleman approached after a Mason’s meeting with an inquiry if he’d be interested in something more…unconventional. A book dealer looking over an incoming tome, and knowing more than he lets on. Somewhere in London, between Scotland Yard and the Blind Beggar, is the key to someone’s lifelong obsession. Seek it out. But will you use it, sell it, or destroy it?
Throw the best parties, summon demons, and keep it out of the papers!
The game is built around a simple d6 system new players can master in minutes. The GM is a “show-runner” who narrates each session’s 3 act structure by introducing new plot points along the way. As a stretch-goal, we will create an integrated Pathfinder Compatible version of the game (thanks to Steven Saunders of Black Goat Games).
The game is illustrated in part by Aly Fell, and for colour we’re including flash-fiction from Jordan Stratford (Wollstonecraft), Brendan Myers (Fellwater), Blake Northcott (vs Reality), Astra Crompton (Otherworlds), Scott Jones, Steven Saunders, Kiri Calaghan, Carl Grindley and others.
In the game, your character will meet up others to complete certain assignments given to you by your Lodge superiors. You'll track down ancient manuscripts, occult artifacts, conduct elaborate rituals – and foil your rivals from doing the same. Your party will venture from one authentic turn-of-the-century London location to another, and at each stop you'll be interacting with the environments, character and events potential to each locale. The role of a dice is always a factor – or is it unseen influence?
The Story So Far
The mechanic, game description, character archetypes, locations, items, rival factions and plot-events are already written. Pledgers will receive a beautiful library of digital assets which will make gameplay more real and immersive. We’re looking for your help, so we can include the fantastic artwork, flash fiction, and more game scenarios in the first edition of the game as we release it. This will make the game as gorgeous and deep as we know it can be.
Thank you for your support!
As a complement to the character class system used by other mechanics, VAULT OF ADEPTS introduces over 20 distinct character archetypes for you to use as a starting-off point for your own character: The imposter, the impresario; the diplomat and the debutante, the clergyman and the curator. Each approach brings with it its own biases and skills, vulnerabilities and assets.
For the first release, we have descriptions of over 20 locations in 1900 London, and a dozen plot-events that can occur in each one. An accusation of theft in the British Museum, or a fire at Whitechapel Station. Mysterious hooded figures in Hyde Park, or an attempted seduction in Watkins Bookshop. The locations are illustrated with period photographs and maps.
The game is magic-agnostic: while the characters are casting spells and gathering tomes and artifacts, the results can be explained away by coincidence and suggestion. No fireballs (aside from Molotov cocktails), but rather a wearing away of resistance, and subtle persuasions. And of course, the chance of the dice-roll.
The streets of London are dangerous: We’ll walk you through combat with sword-canes, umbrellas and hat pins, and the Victorian discipline of Bartitsu – the mixed martial art of Sherlock Holmes. And you never know when a Derringer in the garter might come in handy.
Reaching our goal will allow us to pay our contributors and license the artwork. The game uses a simple mechanic as an example, but can be used with any system with a modicum of adaptation. Exceeding that goal and reaching $12,000 allows us to seamlessly integrate Pathfinder Compatibility. Why Pathfinder? It's the best-selling RPG system in the world, and has millions of established players familiar with the mechanic. This opens up the adventures of VAULT OF ADEPTS to more players, worldwide.
$17,000 STRETCH GOAL: Rival groups are spouting across the Continent, and more secrets are emerging from the vaults of the Bibliotheque Nationale. Lodges and Cemetieres, bookstalls and brothels all have their part to play. What undocumented treasures arrived from Napoleon’s expeditions into Egypt? With your help, we can unlock the City of Lights.
$22,000 STRETCH GOAL: Across the Atlantic, lines of loyalty and lineage are being drawn. Whole new cults emerge and quickly recede into the marshes of Massachusetts. What fortunes have washed ashore and taken root here, and what secrets squirrelled away between the Athenaeum and Beacon Hill?
$27,000 STRETCH GOAL: Flash fiction (around 500 words) is fun and gives the game some flavour, but an anthology of short fiction (2000-5000 words) set in the world of VAULT OF ADEPTS would be marvellous. Reaching this goal will pay for an editor, and a cover artist, as well as compensating our authors. DRM-free in eBook, .mobi for Kindle, and PDF formats.
Risks and challenges
ALL FULFILLMENT IS DIGITAL so the usual problems with backer rewards such as printing and shipping are completely circumvented.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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