Alamathi is the captain of the Turn of the Page, a magical ship made entirely out of books about the sea. She knows the vast ocean called The Alone better than anyone alive. In her ship’s hold, she currently carries talking fruit from Durrentam, rope made of stone from the Floating Isles, and bricks made of smoke from the Ju-nui-Pron. She has buyers for all of these in Satyrine, the City of Notions.
Monday isn’t a man, but neither is he a god. He is, just as his name would imply, a day of the week. He is rather nondescript, with a receding hairline and glasses. He doesn’t explain himself or his nature unless really pressed, but he does welcome a bit of chitchat while waiting in line or on the train. Most people think “Monday” is just his name, rather than his very being. And if someone’s looking for a larger context, he can’t give it to them. “I think I saw Thursday on a train, once,” he’ll admit, but that’s about it.
Thanks to a few glamours Anestra discovered, the word “Apostate” now floats above her head in glowing letters. It follows wherever she goes. Exactly as she wanted it. She wears a sinsuit made of wrath and a bit of envy. A candle of numina burns upon her shoulder. Long brown dreadlocks cascade around her face and down her back, but a minor charm keeps them from the dangers of the candle flame. One day, after a keyfall, where keys of all shapes and sizes rain down from the heavens, she found a key. Not just a key, but a so-called wicked key that can open anything. Using this key, she unlocked the door of a library far more ancient than that of Rhol, the Left-Handed God. So ancient, in fact, that it no longer existed. And within this long-gone storehouse of knowledge, Anestra found what she was looking for: the secret name of a demon so obscure and so lost that no one living or dead remembered it.
Invisible Sun is an amazing and visionary new tabletop roleplaying game from Monte Cook that introduces new modes of RPG play, a truly unique and original setting, and an unprecedented physical production weighing in at over 30lb (14kg). It released in the summer of 2018 to its Kickstarter backers, through retail game stores, and on the Monte Cook Games website, and it sold out immediately. Now, due to overwhelming demand, we are planning a reprint of this groundbreaking, but very hard-to-find, piece of RPG history.
Do you think you live in the real world?
You don’t. This world you see around you is Shadow—a world illuminated only by the Grey Sun. You think it is your home, but that’s because you have forgotten your true self. Awaken, and return to the Actuality and to Satyrine, the city under the Indigo Sun. You are a vislae, a wielder of magic; a shaper of reality; a student of secrets and the real truths that lay hidden within the Actuality. You sought shelter in Shadow to escape the war, but the war is now over and your home has called you back.
A roleplaying game of surreal fantasy
Invisible Sun player characters are vislae—wielders of magical power—recently returned to their true home: the Actuality, a world that seems like a surreal dream to those of us toiling aimlessly in the boring, grey realm you and I falsely believe is the real world. These characters face incredible challenges, visit breathtaking places, and discover secrets so astonishing that the only ones who can cope with them are those who understand the truth that powers the universe: Magic.
Magic: A power that can be pursued, studied, and even mastered, but never completely understood or controlled. It is fluid, unpredictable, and ever nuanced in effect. Its secrets are boundless. But that does not mean it is without rules and methods. There are four orders, major schools of magical thought and training. Vances study their spells carefully, believing they are, in their own way, intelligent in and of themselves. Makers, as the name suggests, use magic to create powerful items. Weavers cast spells with a fluid and improvisational sort of sorcery. Goetics use their magical skills to summon demons, angels, and other creatures to do their bidding. Outside of the four orders, Apostates are vislae who find their own paths and methods for wielding the power of magic, rejecting the hierarchies of the orders.
It is a rare vislae who does not have a house. Your house is as integral to your being as your spells or character stats. The houses of vislae are often haunted, filled with mysterious unknown rooms, bigger on the inside, or possessed of their own intelligence. And in Satyrine, a house is defined as much by what goes on around it as by the contents of its walls (assuming, of course, that a vislae’s house even has walls). Local personalities, sites of interest (or danger), organizations or factions, and ongoing conflicts all affect a vislae’s house and life. And all of this is determined as part of the character creation process.
Bonds, character arcs, echoes of your life in Shadow, a secret Soul, your role within your order, and your relationship to other player characters are all addressed during character creation through a fun, interactive process that engages the entire gaming group. It also leads to PCs with incredibly rich backstories, inner lives, motivations, and relationships—and a vast array of adventuring hooks.
Finally, for Invisible Sun characters, even death is not the end. For in the Actuality, death is simply the realm under the Pale Sun, another world along the Path of Suns.
Walk the Path of Suns
When exiled to Shadow, you probably believed there was just one sun—but there are in fact eight. Nine, actually—but even many learned people don’t know that, for the ninth is a secret. Invisible. As a vislae, that is one of many secrets you know.
The Path of Suns is a representation of the way magic works, the known levels of existence, the stages of a life, and the makeup of the mortal soul, all in one. It is a symbol. A metaphor. A diagram. A map. Each sun represents a different concept, a different “place” and a different fundamental aspect of the universe. These different concepts are signified by the color of each sun, so that color ends up representing the sun and its attendant ideals.
The suns are also planes of existence—literal places that vislae can visit. Each realm reflects the nature of the sun that illuminates it, and is guarded by wardens and peopled by creatures great and terrible, mysterious and, very often, dangerous. Magical power flows like a rushing river from the Invisible Sun through the other suns. (While the main current follows the Path of Suns, not all do.) Powerful vislae travel the Path of Suns to master these different currents and better hone their spells, but to do so they must parlay with the wardens of the Suns and face the perils within their realms.
The Path of Suns connects all eight suns, Silver to Green, to Blue, to Indigo, then Grey, next Pale, and Red, and finally Gold. The Invisible Sun is not a part of the path, but rather outside, above, and around it. There are some, however, who follow the Nightside Path, which is the Path of Suns in reverse. In the Nightside Path, each sun has an altered, often darker, aspect. It would be far too simple—and erroneous—to call the Path of Suns “good” and the Nightside path “evil,” but some do.
As a vislae, you might travel the path of suns, visiting these realms, parlaying with their wardens, encountering the glories and horrors within, and unlocking their secrets. Or your adventures might never take you beyond the borders of Satyrine, a surreal city rife with intrigue and conflict following the terrors of the recently concluded war.
A New Way to Play RPGs
Conventional RPG game play, with everyone gathering for a few hours every week or two, is what makes RPGs a great experience. It’s also one of the greatest obstacles to a successful campaign, for our modern life rarely makes it convenient. Conventional play is the centerpiece of Invisible Sun, but the game also accommodates the realities of our lifestyles, rewards engagement with the game away from the table, and is deliberately made for differing player styles.
Play doesn’t have to stop when the session is over. Players can keep the game going—individually or in groups—by creating side-scenes that describe high level actions that their character want to take. They can also create flashback side-scenes that reveal actions their characters have already taken. This also means that even if they can’t make it to the regular session, they can still move their character’s story forward. A side-scene might cover what Shanna’s character does while she’s absent from the regular session.
Players can even play if the GM isn’t available. A side-scene could involve the entire group taking an action that they discuss in person and then communicate later to the GM. The GM resolves the action(s) by giving them a turn of a Sooth Card and then responding to the players’ actions and intentions. The free Invisible Sun app, for iOS, Android, and web, facilitates these modes of play.
While Invisible Sun is aimed primarily at those of us who love deep, complex characters, there are options for when your cousin shows up from out of town and wants to join in for a session. And whether you’re an out-loud extrovert who’s happy to tell the world about your character, or a quieter player who keeps your character development mostly to yourself, the game is deliberately designed to let you get the most out of it.
You can learn more about the Actuality and Invisible Sun gameplay at these links:
- Here's a detailed "How to Play" video that introduces the games mechanics.
- Want to see Invisible Sun in action? The Raven Wants What You Have is a live-play video series with the MCG design team.
- Here's a great unboxing video by Matt Steele (a backer of the original Kickstarter).
- Visit invisiblesunrpg.com for more info on Invisible Sun in general.
- Here's an article about Weavers, one of the orders of magic, from the original Kickstarter campaign's updates. Flip through those updates for articles on Vances, Makers, Goetics, and Apostates, as well as other topics relating to Invisible Sun rules.
- Tour the Path of Suns, and visit the Silver Sun, here. Then click through other updates from the original Kickstarter to visit all of the suns—as well as their nightside versions.
And download the free PDF preview of Invisible Sun for a peek inside the gamebooks, the cards, and other aspects of the Black Cube, here.
A literal black cube nearly one foot on a side, Invisible Sun is an unprecedented physical production, filled with massive amounts of content for a unique roleplaying experience. The Black Cube and its contents were upgraded through multiple stretch goals in the original Kickstarter campaign, and all of those upgrades will already be part of your Black Cube. It contains (and this is not an exhaustive list):
Invisible Sun is a game about discovery and secrets. There may be other content awaiting your discovery in the Black Cube.
Items Outside the Black Cube
In addition to the physical game itself, every backer getting the Black Cube also gets:
- The Key in PDF. The Key is one of the four game books in the Black Cube, containing character generation rules and other information frequently referenced not just by the GM, but by all the players (particularly when conceptualizing and generating characters). A second copy, in easily-referenced PDF form, is handy. The Key in PDF will be delivered to you in early 2019.
- We Begin at the End, a standalone adventure for Invisible Sun optimized for new players and GMs, in digital format. (Backers of the original Invisible Sun Kickstarter: If this campaign funds, you will also get a copy!)
- The Rules Primer. A short introduction to the rules of Invisible Sun, to prepare you for the game with some of the general concepts. While it's not enough to play, it is enough to start thinking about your character or your campaign. The Rules Primer will be delivered to you before the end of 2018.
- The Invisible Sun app. A web app that supports your group and Invisible Sun's unique away-from-the-table play.
- The Digital Rules Reference. This is an easily-searchable text file containing commonly-referenced rules and text. It will be delivered concurrently to the Black Cube.
Imagine this: You’ve decided to run an Invisible Sun campaign. You’ve got the rules and setting down, and some great introductory material. But wouldn’t it be cool if Monte himself provided you with a bunch of unique ideas? And those ideas came with new artwork, maps, and handouts for your players, and even a few new clues to mysteries in the game besides? And what if, month after month, he kept sending them to you, tailoring the content to your narrative and the decisions your players make—and even occasionally sending you physical packages with even more deluxe props and cool stuff for your game?
Or, imagine this: You’re a player in an Invisible Sun campaign. One day, you go to your mailbox and there’s a letter addressed to your character. Inside is an in-world missive about some new opportunity for your character—an invite to an exclusive party, a welcome letter to a hidden society, or a love letter from a secret admirer who would like to meet your character. You show up at the next game session with this, and suddenly it becomes a part of the game, and a part of your character’s story arc.
This is the Directed Campaign, and it’s an option for Invisible Sun.
As an Invisible Sun GM, you tell us when your narrative starts, and you tell us a bit about your group. Then you’ll get access to a website with valuable content updates and discussion forums. For the next twelve months, you’ll receive a new set of PDFs and digital content with plot elements, artwork, and ideas for what could happen in the continuing story of your game. Expect enough content to keep your gaming group busy through a month of play (at a typical RPG pace).
But there’s more. Sometimes, this download will be accompanied by a physical package we’ll mail to you with actual game props (items the characters might discover) like a ring, a booklet, or a matchbook with a scribbled clue. You’ll get about four of these shipments in the course of the year.
And there’s even more to it than that! With your permission, we’ll also send the players (up to five) a physical message as well. Say you’ve identified your friend John whose character likes joining groups. We’ll send John’s character (at John’s address) a beautiful but mysterious invitation to come to a meeting of a secret society in the game. John will become even more immersed in the game and you’ll have a plot hook to run with!
And here’s the best part: At several points throughout the narrative, you’ll update us with information about your players’ choices and the direction of your story. Your future content will be tailored to those choices and events. And along the way you’ll have access to the Directed Campaign forums, where we share early (and sometimes exclusive) information, and you can interact with directly with Monte, the design team, and other creative Invisible Sun GMs.
The Directed Campaign runs for twelve months, with enough new content each month (very roughly speaking) to give your group plenty of material for weekly game sessions. You choose when it starts, in any month up to June 2020. (And even if you don’t start your narrative, once you’ve subscribed you can access the forums for exclusive interaction with the design team and other Invisible Sun GMs.) The content will be tailored to information you provide us about your players, their characters, and various choices or directions your campaign takes over the course of the Directed Campaign. Your Directed Campaign will not be specifically customized to you, but the content you receive will be specific to the information you report to us, and it’s entirely possible that no two Directed Campaigns will be exactly the same.
The Invisible Sun app supports the unique gameplay aspects of Invisible Sun, facilitating side scenes, away-from-table gameplay, and the play style of players who like an alternative way to share character and story details. Meeting a player for half an hour at the coffee shop or the park? The app gives you a portable version of the Sooth Deck. Or maybe a player wants to conduct a side scene with the GM—or with just the other players. The app gives them a chat platform to discuss, or completely carry out, the scene. You can even use it at the game table, as a quick reference regarding the meanings of Sooth Deck cards.
The Invisible Sun app is free with your Black Cube. It’s web based, and runs on any modern web browser, making it usable on your phone, tablet, or your PC.
Invisible Sun is being supported by a line of supplements. Book M, the first supplementary book, comes with a slipcase, which will hold Book M itself, plus Secrets of Silent Streets, Teratology, and The Threshold. If you pledge for (or add on) the supplements, you’ll receive the five books already planned, plus any additional supplements funded by this campaign.
Book M: Even its name is a secret. Some say it comes from the Sodality of Vryn, which identifies thirteen currents of magic and gives each a letter designation—M is the 13th and most powerful. Others say the title refers to the original writer of the book, while still others believe it stands for mystery, or—perhaps most simply and obviously—magic. This 120-page hardcover comes with 200 spell, ephemera, and object of power cards, plus a beautiful and handy slipcase with room for the next three supplements.
Secrets of Silent Streets: Like any metropolis in any realm, Satyrine isn’t one city but many. Even a vislae can’t know the entirety of it, no matter how many lives they live there. Fartown, the Marquis Quarter, the Strangeglass District, the Hollows, and the vast abandoned stretches—all offer different experiences and moods as well as unique landmarks, resources, denizens, and dangers. Satyrine is something different to every citizen and visitor who explores her streets. travel the seventeen districts of Satyrine, each detailed through dozens of points of interest and illuminated through its own unique atmosphere, social expectations, and traditions. Along the way you’ll find scores of plot hooks, NPCs, creatures, and of course plenty of magic.
Teratology: There are many creatures cataloged within the Black Cube, but the Actuality is a big place. Every day, new entities and surreal beasts are discovered by explorers, conjurers, and other (often unfortunate) individuals. Numerous vislae have given their time, effort, lives, and so much more to compile this ever-growing collection of creatures, which most in the Actuality consider to be the greatest resource on the topic.
The Threshold: A hardcover campaign sourcebook with story arcs and in-depth material about the Actuality and the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth is a mystical, metaphorical, ever-changing, always-shifting crucible for testing the cleverest, most powerful, and most adept among the vislae. Crossing its threshold might be akin to suicide, but it also might just be the path to true revelation. And carefully hidden within the pages of this book, in fact, might just be the greatest secret of the Actuality . . . What lies beyond the Labyrinth if you pass through it entirely?
The Nightside: A book that isn't like the others. A book unafraid to touch the untouchable and speak the unspeakable. A book for those willing to deal with devils, truck with demons, and learn the ways of unclean spirits. A book containing secrets, spells, pacts, secret names, words of power, and more for those who aren't necessarily servants of the darkness, but are not afraid to look it in the eye (and have a drink with it at Zeros). The Nightside won’t fit into your slipcase (and you wouldn’t want it there, contaminating the other books). Instead, it comes in a special warded satin bag—and wise vislae keep it there.
The Vislae Kit
The core Invisible Sun game (the black cube) contains everything a full gaming group needs to play a complete narrative, including all the materials for the players as well as the GM. But sometimes the players want their own stuff. And some of the game elements, like character tomes and grimoires, are consumable, so GMs and players alike may want additional copies.
The Vislae Kit is a player companion to the Invisible Sun game, containing all the materials a single player may want. The custom Invisible Sun dice, a Sooth Deck, a grimoire pad, character tomes, tokens, and more come in a very cool box that is practically a collector’s item in its own right. Like the Black Cube, the Vislae Kit is out of print, but this Kickstarter funds a reprint concurrent to the Invisible Sun reprint.
Add-ons are rewards that you add to your existing reward level. Simply increase your pledge by the appropriate amount. After the campaign ends, we’ll get in touch with you about the extra money you pledged and what it was for. Some of these add-ons items are only available through this Kickstarter campaign—if you want them, be sure to add them to your pledge now!
Why a Kickstarter campaign, if Invisible Sun has already been made? Invisible Sun is an unprecedented production; a very difficult and expensive game to make. A Kickstarter campaign not only funds an costly print run, it also helps us judge demand to ensure we make the right quantity. Too many is wasteful—not only of our resources, but at 33lb per game, of the world's as well. Too few leaves us in exactly the situation we're in now, with gamers clamoring for a Black Cube that we can't give them. A Kickstarter campaign helps us get the number just right.
Even more importantly, it gives us another opportunity to offer items that haven't been made yet to new backers, and to potentially expand the range of the Invisible Sun line with new titles. And, of course, to broaden the Invisible Sun community as we reach hundreds or thousands of new players.
IMPORTANT NOTE: "SHIPS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD" does not mean free shipping. It's Kickstarter's way of saying that backers anywhere can support this project. If you are outside the US and getting physical rewards, see below.
REWARD FULFILLMENT Soon after this campaign ends, we will invite you to review your pledge on BackerKit. This allows you to confirm your pledge and add anything that you might have missed.
While we use BackerKit to organize backers, pledges, and add-ons, we don’t fulfill rewards through them. Instead, your rewards from this Kickstarter campaign will be fulfilled through the MCG Shop, which puts you, the backer, in charge of redeeming them at your convenience.
Here’s how it works: when a reward is ready, we’ll send you an email letting you know it is time to log on to your account on the MCG Shop and redeem your rewards, which you will do for free with coupons. You decide when to use the coupon, and give us your correct shipping address at that time. (So if you’ve moved, or want to send the reward to a friend as a gift, you’re providing a totally up-to-date address.) If you have multiple rewards coming, you may delay redemption of some and bundle them together if that’s more convenient for you (or you'd like to save on international shipping costs). We guarantee a product will be in stock for you as one of your rewards for at least one year after the product's release date.
DOMESTIC SHIPPING We offer basic shipping within the United States for free. If you’re super-eager to get your rewards, you can upgrade to a higher shipping class, but you’ll be charged accordingly at the time of fulfillment.
SHIPPING WITHIN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND EUROPE* Your reward will be filled by our shipping center in the UK. The cost of shipping is not included in your pledge. You will be charged shipping at the time of reward redemption. However, it will be much less expensive than paying for shipping from the US to you, since you will not be charged importing/customs fees.
*The UK shipping center ships to the following countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
OTHER INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING International shipping is not included in your pledge. (Backers in the UK or Europe: please refer to the previous section, above.)
The Black Cube is a large, heavy item, and international shipping is expensive. We don’t have any control over that, and we can’t accurately predict what shipping rates will be at the time of fulfillment. If you’re an international backer and have questions about shipping rates, we recommend you visit the USPS website to get an estimate. Please also be aware that you are responsible for import duties, taxes, and brokerage fees, and that we must comply with international law and cannot mark your reward as a gift or as a zero-value item.
If you have multiple items coming as rewards, you can mitigate shipping costs by waiting to have several of them shipped together. We guarantee that each reward will be available for a minimum period of one year from its official release date.
To ease the burden of international shipping costs, we subsidize all non-UK/Europe international customer orders and backer reward fulfillment orders with a $10 discount. You’ll pay the shipping costs at the time of fulfillment, minus the $10 discount, which is automagically (and invisibly) applied through the inner workings of the MCG Shop (you won’t see the discount reflected on your order, but it is applied to all international orders outside of the UK/Europe). In other words, if the cost to ship the parcel to you is $52, you’ll pay $42. The $10 shipping discount is applied once per parcel, not per item.
Risks and challenges
This is the thirteenth game-related Kickstarter campaign for by Monte Cook Games. All of our previous campaigns have been successful and jam-packed with rewards. Most of those campaigns are completely fulfilled, and we’ve delivered several hundred thousand rewards to backers, generally on schedule and always meeting or exceeding expectations. We’re experienced creators, and while challenges always arise, we know how to overcome them.
Invisible Sun is not a new product. The original Kickstarter is one of the few of ours that ran into delays, but the production, shipping, and fulfillment challenges that caused those delays have been met and resolved already. A product as complex as this can—in fact, almost certainly will—run into issues, even in a simple reprint. But we’ve built time into our schedule to allow for those, and we know how to deal with them when they arise.
We are extremely proud of our track record. Of course, there’s always the danger of meteor strikes, T-rex attacks, or catastrophic solar flares. But our staff is spread out across the country, so we’re unlikely to all be wiped out at once. Unless the planetovores breach into the universe of normal matter to consume the Earth without Carter Strange around to save us, we are confident that the project will meet all its promises.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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