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$8,346
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325
backers
18days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, December 9 2019 3:59 PM UTC +00:00.

The Curse of the House of Rookwood - RPG

A tabletop RPG about a cursed family with skeletons in their closets and dark magic in their veins.

The Curse of the House of Rookwood - RPG

A tabletop RPG about a cursed family with skeletons in their closets and dark magic in their veins.

$8,346
pledged of $5,000pledged of $5,000 goal
325
backers
18days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, December 9 2019 3:59 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Generations of the cursed Rookwood family.

The Curse of the House of Rookwood is a gothic horror tabletop roleplaying game where you create a cursed family with supernatural powers and troubled relationships, and take them on strange adventures in an alternate history haunted by mythical monsters and dark magic. Will you work together to bury your skeletons, or will family drama bring your house to ruin?  

Blood will out.

Nerdy Pup Games supports Kickstarter United!

In The Curse of the House of Rookwood, you play members of the cursed Rookwood family.  Long ago, your ancestor formed a pact with dark forces, granting power to the Rookwood bloodline at the cost of their humanity.  The more you use the gifts of your Curse, the more inhuman you become.

Your family is haunted by Skeletons -- unresolved matters that strain your relationships and threaten to tear the family apart.  Ultimately you will either put your Skeletons to rest, ensuring the future prosperity of the family, or bury your Skeletons in a shallow grave, hastening the family's demise.

During play, a Chronicler serves as facilitator, historian, and game master, portraying the dark world in which the family must survive. Together, the players and the Chronicler collaborate to tell the story of your family, either as a standalone game focused on a single generation, or as a legacy-style campaign that spans multiple generations of the family.

 Rookwood is... 

A supernatural adventure where your family must survive together against a world of secret societies, terrifying spirits and monsters, and ancient evils lurking in the hidden corners of the earth.

A family drama of troubled relationships and opportunities for your family to grow closer or further apart. Whether funny, poignant, or cathartic, your characters' lives will feel immediately familiar, personal, and relevant. Make the family you want -- there are no prescribed roles or hierarchy, just meaningful relationships.

A gothic alternate history that you create, portraying generations of the same family in different iconic time periods. Stalk aristocratic vampires in the gothic 1880s. Search for secrets in lost jungle ruins in the pulpy 1920s.  Protect London from the Ghost Blitz in the wartorn 1940s. Thwart clairvoyant Russian spies in the spy-fi 1960s.


Rookwood uses an original rules system that is easy to learn for players that are new to the hobby but equally satisfying for experienced roleplayers. The rules are simple and elegant, and empower everyone at the table to live out the story of their character on their own terms. 

Download the Playtest Rules from itch.io right now!

The Basics

Each Family Member has three traits: Brawn, Guile, and Weird. You'll assign a pool of 5 six-sided dice among your traits. Each trait is a different color die.

When your character does something where the outcome is unclear, you set the stakes for the scene with the Chronicler -- Risks and Rewards.

Then you roll dice from your pool based on the amount of effort you want to put into your action.  More effort means more dice, but a chance of a greater cost!

Dice that roll 4 or higher count as a success. You spend your successes to cancel out Risks or claim Rewards. If the trait of the dice you roll matches what you are doing thematically, you gain two successes from any of those dice that roll a 6!

If you use the power granted by your Curse, you must use supernatural effort. If any dice come up doubles (two or more of the same number), you gain a Mark of your Curse, becoming more inhuman and closer to being lost to your Curse.

Curses

Your Curse grants you a gift -- power over a gothic element or dark force that manifests when you attempt supernatural effort. Curses can be used creatively -- you describe what your powers look like and how it can be used. 

Each Curse in the book comes with suggested ways to use it, as well as potential Marks you may gain when things go wrong!

A sample Curse.

Skeletons

The Skeletons that haunt your relationships give you ample fodder for roleplaying, but also give you a way to restore lost dice. 

Each Skeleton has a Spine and Bones. The Spine is the family member that is the focus of your Skeleton. Bones are possible scenes or events that bring your Skeleton into the foreground of the story, and allow you and another player to restore a lost die to your pool when they occur. 

Bones break up the traditional action scenes with moments of character development and encourage you to bring your secrets into play instead of leaving them hidden, unspoken, and unaddressed as hindrances to be avoided. 

A sample Skeleton.
Artistic rendering of final book cover.

Physical Book - Hardcover, casebound, 136 5x8" pages, fully indexed for ease of use. Beautiful cover art by Morrighan Corbel. Interior illustrations adapted from historical 19th century texts to add gothic ambiance and "old book" feel. Layout by Megan Bennett-Burks.

Layout sample.

Book Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Legacy & Resources
  • The Family
  • Playing the Game
  • A New Generation
  • Chronicle Concepts
  • Character Sheet
  • Skeletons
  • Curses
  • Competitors & Antagonists
  • Locations
  • Eras of Play

$5 shipping in the US.  $13 shipping outside of the US.

Digital Version - PDF format, same content as the physical book, optimized for screen reading.

Add a Curse - You will work with the designers to write a new Curse that will be included in the game. Choose a distinct theme, expand on different potential uses of its power, and help us brainstorm sinister Marks by which the Curse reveals itself.

Add a Monster - You will get a chance to design a unique monster that will appear in the game.  Help us research an obscure creature from myth and legend, then bring it to life with a description of its goals and behaviors, and a stat block that reflects its role within the Rookwood's world.

Online Session - Play a one-shot online session of Rookwood, chronicled by the designers, for you and up to 4 of your friends.

Bonus Expansion: Rookwood Roots - If we exceed our funding goal, additional funds will go towards a bonus expansion for the game: a collection of scenarios that transport the Rookwood family to new times, places, genres, and cultures. 

Scenarios are organized in packs, and as we hit each stretch goal, new packs will be added to the expansion. We've lined up some fantastic guest designers from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, who will offer new perspectives on the family and its curse. The expansion will be released in PDF format to everyone that backs at Digital Version level or higher! Check out our stretch goals below.

"Rookwood was one of the most unique character creation experiences that I have had.  I loved how the family curse and my characters abilities evolved throughout the session."    Chris Fox, playtester

"Rookwood is a throwback to the horror RPGs of old, like Call of Cthulhu and Ars Magica. Yet, it manages to break new ground with its innovative character creation and ruleset."    Michael Grote, playtester

Interview with Isaac Villa at Gaming With Sidekicks

Interview with A State of Nerdvana

Interview with Full Metal RPG

5 Questions with Brie Beau Sheldon

Join us for a #randomworlds Q&A -- November 12th and 7:30 PM!  

We are partnering with Fulfillrite for shipping and final delivery of physical rewards.

Fulfillrite is a highly rated and dependable fulfillment service that ships throughout the US and internationally.  We expect to ship physical rewards in May 2020.

 Brian Bình - Writer, Game Designer 

Brian is a writer and game designer who has been passionate about RPGs since he was a kid who found a monster manual in a mall bookstore. He loves martial arts, playing stringed instruments, goth, metal, films with a black and blue color palette, and beautiful songs that tell us terrible things. During the d20 boom, he was one of six "Iron Gods" behind the original development of the Iron Kingdoms 3E D&D setting and he later produced several supplements for small press indie games such as Warrior, Rogue, & Mage. He now lives in Hawaii and The Curse of the House of Rookwood may be his attempt to compensate for the never-ending nightmare of sun, sand, and surf in which he finds himself.


Michael Addison - Game Designer

Michael is a board game and rpg designer, and owner/operator of Nerdy Pup Games. He has played roleplaying games for over 30 years, and hacked, modified, and designed rules for about as long.  He is passionate about horror movies and all things goth, and will gladly talk about his collection of weird black clothing if you ask nicely. His first self-published game, Space Princess, funded successfully in 2018. Rookwood is his first rpg design, but probably not his last. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.


Morrighan Corbel - Artist

From her early days in digital art, Morrighan found herself drawn to traditional once again after a book illustration project revived her love of the feeling of pencil and brush on paper. She graduated with a degree in Illustration for Commercial Application from Cleveland College of Art and Design in 2018, and after a short stint with a software company, now freelances full time. She has worked heavily in tabletop roleplaying games, working for Nerdy Pup Games and Black Armada, and has also been commissioned for album artwork and comic covers. Find more of her work here: https://www.morrighancorbel.co.uk/


 Megan Bennett-Burks - Layout Design 

Megan is a web designer, and programmer, as well as an artist and musician. She is an avid gamer (tabletop and video) and has worked on indie table-top RPGs as writer, artist, and book designer. Her work includes Leaves of Chiaroscuro (author, artist, layout), RPG Supersetting 2 (contributed as a writer), and A Far off Land.

Special thanks to our videographer, Jerry Beck!

Risks and challenges

Writing, artwork, and layout for the pdf version and the book version are 99% done as we launch the campaign. We are very nearly ready to print, and just need your help to complete the project. Our printing service for the hardcover book is Print Ninja, a highly rated and reliable service.

There are unforeseeable issues that may arise in printing or shipping a product from overseas. We have left some wiggle room in delivery dates in case anything needs to be pushed back, but we will do our best to keep you informed and up-to-date in case anything unexpected occurs.

Though this is our first published roleplaying game, we have put a lot of thought and care into the final product. If there is anything you think we could be doing better, please know that your feedback and suggests are welcome.

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