What is Bloodlines & Black Magic?
Developed and designed by Matt Banach, Clinton Boomer, Stephen M. DiPesa, Erik Frankhouse, Ben McFarland, Jaye Sonia, and Brian Suskind, Bloodlines & Black Magic is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible supernatural campaign setting that takes place in our modern world. Bloodlines & Black Magic pits rich political elites, desperate cultists, supernatural horrors, celestial powers, secret magical orders, Göetic spirits, and ancient bloodlines in a deadly war against one another over a reality that nearly all of humanity can neither see nor comprehend.
Hidden from the mundane world, only a rare few individuals ever gain a glimpse of this dimension of supernatural horrors, this realm of human tragedy and desperation, learning secrets that - if spoken in public - would mark them as broken. Aligned with secret organizations or working as individual agents, Bloodlines & Black Magic gives these modern heroes a dark universe to explore, a canvas that is even dimmer, painted in a darker, decayed grey than the colors already coating it.
Enter a world where seven distinct magical bloodlines - each with its own ties to the supernatural world, positioning themselves in places of power, working from behind the scenes to shape the world in their image. These bloodlines dominate certain hereditary lines, but might otherwise manifest in secret within any area, or any unaware individual. Although these bloodlines only make up a very small part of the global population, they dominate nearly 72% of the globe, secretly running everything from global trade routes to entire countries.
These bloodlines maneuver the shadows of the secret parts of the world:
- Fey blooded Delicate and lively, individuals who carry the blood of the fey display strange insights; some even claim to suffer from otherworldly visions of both the future and past. Prominent throughout the Old World, fey blooded individuals often display interests in nature, environmentalism, and history - especially history related to Ireland, Scotland, Gaul, and even some of the Nordic lands.
- Infernal Blooded Cunning and strong, individuals with ties to this bloodline rarely discover the power of their blood until late into their teens, although some don’t manifest their abilities until their mid-twenties. Naturally intelligent, these individuals combine their wit with their strength, outwitting or strong-arming others into following their directions, regardless of their will.
- Dragon Blooded Born cold, calculating, and prone to dreams of conquest others can barely comprehend, the dragon blooded are a supremely confident line. Some whisper their heritage is as old as the serpent that encircles the cosmic egg, and although many chuckle at the idea of sleeping dragons, these individuals know all too well their blood is as cold as it is ancient.
Jinn Blooded As passionate and dedicated as any modern dervish, jinn blooded humans have ties that predate the modern Middle East. Their heritage rises from the Assyrian, Sumerian, and Babylonian conquerors who, under a bright, burning sun, worked ancient magic in the earliest dawn of man. Wise and tenacious, these individuals display a resilience rarely found in the modern world.
- Seraphic Blooded Nearly as famous as their infernal siblings, seraphic blooded humans are wise and comely. Many of these seraphic blooded descendants display a natural charisma that reveals their angelic roots, attracting others who simply want to bask in the presence. Attractive to a fault, these individuals display their bloodline in a number of physical ways: bright eyes, angular features, and silky hair that range from the dark of a raven’s feathers to the golden hues of the Valkyries themselves.
- Shadow Blooded Of all the bloodlines, those who carry shadow-touched blood are perhaps the strangest. These rare individuals openly display a love of the dark, and many take great pains to avoid the daylight; some of these shadow-blooded suffer from minor medical conditions that discourage daytime activities.
- Spirit Blooded Attuned to a world visited almost exclusively by dreamers, spirit blooded humans have a heritage older than that of any other bloodline. Many claim that their very bodies are the world’s ancient spirits made flesh, while others believe they are the children of the dreaming realms, readily pointing to the Astral Plane as their original home.
Bloodlines & Black Magic draws liberally from the lore of our day-to-day world, weaving historical facts, modern myths, urban legends, and popular conspiracies into a supernatural world that could be our own – but only if we had the eyes and patience to pierce the neon-stained billboards which so carefully hides it from our view. Steeped in esoteric lore, popular culture, current events, and empowered by a connected, global community, Bloodlines & Black Magic pushes the boundaries of what we think we know, crashing through the mirror and diving into the deeper parts of the human abyss...
A modification of the unofficial Pathfinder E6 system championed by the eccentric and odd minds of Clinton Boomer and Jaye Sonia (with a lot of help from their friends), Occult 7 (or O7 for short) is a new adaptation of that system that combines elements from Occult Adventures, the Advanced Class Guide, Pathfinder Unchained, and dD20 Modern (with a proper nod to White Wolf's original World of Darkness and the games it inspired), combining everything into a simple, streamlined system that eases play and focuses on that gritty, dark modern feel.
Using O7 as its base, Bloodlines & Black Magic introduces Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (and 3.5) fans to a darker world heavily influenced by some of the genre's best fiction and media. Mechanically, it gives players a whole new set of tools to play with, including new and updated skills for the modern world, unique character abilities, seven updated character classes (based on classes from Occult Adventures and The Advanced Class Guide), new feats and traits, an expanded library of modern magical items, and a host of new NPCs and locations for GMs to adapt to the world they already know.
Bloodlines & Black Magic is not for the faint of heart: encounters in Bloodlines & Black Magic are designed to be challenging, making situations that do turn violent that much more deadly - but also making each victory so much sweeter. Your enemies may look familiar, but they’ve been drastically altered, shaped to fit the myths of this new world… a world that is eerily similar to the one you know right now!
Whispers & Rumors will be a new, unique way in which participants in the world can influence it (and later on, even shape it)! Designed as a cooperative online/offline play experience, each issue will include the designers’ notes and insights, and will include new monsters, NPCs, locations, gear, haunts, spells, and more! Every other month, one of the designers will dispatch a new O7 Episode (a mini-adventure with 7-11 pages of content), tailored to suit the current Season. Every other month, designers will send out clues, stories, codes, cyphers, and other material intended to help players unlock the first year's major villain. Players can champion one of the seven bloodlines, or if it suits them, align to a particular organization or even specific kingdoms!
Bloodlines & Black Magic is nearing completion. Although we're not completely finished with the manuscript for Bloodlines & Black Magic, we've written nearly 70% of the main book and expect to be going into layout by the end of this summer. We're running this Kickstarter to help add more art to the book, as well as to potentially add more content to it. If we hit some of our stretch goals, we'd like to move it from a B&W project to a full color, comic-style hardcover - with more great art from some of the industry's best names. If you've followed our other projects, you already know Storm Bunny Studios prides itself on its production quality - this project will be no different.
Matt Banach has been a freelance writer and game designer ever since he entered the fray by making the Top 16 in Paizo's RPG Superstar 2009, realizing the possibilities of contributing to the gaming hobbies he'd enjoyed all his life. Working extensively with Rite Publishing for most of the last eight years, Matt has authored several serial RPG projects which have become big beautiful compilations, including the high-octane Faces of the Tarnished Souk: An NPC Collection for Rite Publishing's Coliseum Morpheuon, and the Gossamer Worlds Compendium – a series of alternate realities for use in the mind-bending multiverse of Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless). Matt especially loves writing prose and fiction; he authored his first full-length novel, Lost in Dream, for Rite Publishing, and is hoping he can do something similar for Bloodlines & Black Magic. Over the years Matt has also contributed to Darkness Without Form: Secrets of the Mimic, Kobold Ecologies, Adventure Quarterly, multiple short works of fiction, and some soon-to-be-released stuff for Rogue Genius Games. Matt's wide-ranging roleplaying experience and inspirations include D&D's Planescape, White Wolf's World of Darkness and Mind's Eye Theater, Unknown Armies, d20 Modern, and Pathfinder. Matt is extremely interested in the O7 system and the Bloodlines & Black Magic setting because they will combine deliciously dark noir, gritty street-level action, and both post-modern and traditional supernatural horror. This is Matt's chance to join old friends and new to help design the game he has always wanted to play.
Clinton J. Boomer is a playwright, screenwriter, short-story author, novelist and ENnie-award-winning game-designer who began writing professionally after placing in the Top 4 of Paizo Publishing’s inaugural RPG Superstar competition in 2008. He has worked on a great number of books in the last near-decade, beginning with the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting and including his novel, The Hole Behind Midnight: a darkly comic, postmodern urban-fantasy crime / mystery-noir / pulp-action tale-of-suspense-and-cursing. More recently, Boomer served as an author for the Horror Adventures & Ultimate Intrigue books from Paizo Publishing; he is the creator of Splintered Godhood from Legendary Games and the Coliseum Morpheuon setting from Rite Publishing. He has also written essays for Kobold Press and created material for both the Rhune: Dawn of Twilight setting from Storm Bunny Studios and the NeoExodus setting from Louis Porter Jr. Design. Boomer spent two-&-a-half years Storytelling & Narrating a 30-50 person Vampire: the Masquerade LARP (part of the 50-chronicle One World by Night organization); his other urban fantasy work includes Hellcrashers and his work at ThatBoomerKid.Tumblr. Boomer could not be more excited to be part of the Bloodline & Black Magic team, bringing some of his own strange flavor to a unique new urban-fantasy setting.
Stephen M. DiPesa has been working on RPGs and game-related fiction for close to 20 years, now, having written (and periodically developed and play tested) for such lines as Mage: The Ascension, Mage: The Awakening, Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Changeling: The Lost, Hunter: The Vigil, Mummy: The Curse, Dark Ages, Aberrant, Curse the Darkness, as well as several others that he’s not allowed to talk about, just yet. He’s excited to be working on Bloodlines and Black Magic – in no small part because it lets him finally get back to doing something with that collection of books on the occult, world religions, mythology, history, and conspiracy theories that’s otherwise been gathering dust on his shelves for a while – and looking forward to exploring a new vision of a world touched by ancient secrets and eldritch forces.
Erik Frankhouse has been a freelance game designer since 2003. He started in the video game industry with THQ and later became lead designer and art director at Forever Interactive. He went on to start his own video game company, Sunder Studios. In 2011 his heart brought him back to tabletop as a designer and cartographer. You can find his work within the pages of TPK games, five time ENnie nominated and silver awarded Razor Coast, and now here with Bloodlines & Black Magic. His most recent cartography work can be found in the pages of Lou Agresta's upcoming novel, Club Anyone.
Erik is known for his eight consecutive years of placing in the top three, including two back to back wins, at the world storytelling tournament Iron GM, held each year at Gen Con. You can find him running gritty dark horror at conventions and on his Patreon creating “Plotted Adventures” with a beer in hand.
Ben McFarland is a multi ENnie award winning designer. Ben cut his teeth on Open Design and has since gone on to design material for Paizo Publishing, Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, Rite Publishing, Atlas Games, Storm Bunny Studios, and many others. Ben has worked on three Kickstarter projects for Kobold Press -- Deep Magic (2014 Judge's Choice Ennie), Midgard Tales, and Southlands (2016 Silver Ennie for Best Setting). He's worked with backers and led patron-style projects for Kobold Press and Rite Publishing since 2008; his pre-KS crowdfunded project for Kobold Press, Streets of Zobeck, won the 2012 Gold Ennie for Best Adventure. His patron project for Rite Publishing, Breaking of Forstor Nagar, can be found in print, PDF, and on multiple VTT platforms.
Jaye Sonia is the owner of Storm Bunny Studios, the creator of Rhune: Dawn of Twilight, and the creator of Bloodlines & Black Magic (with lots of help from his friends). While Jaye focuses primarily on his own campaign settings, he has worked on numerous other products since he started designing RPG material well over a decade ago. He's written for Kobold Press (on several Open Design projects, as well as Kobold Quarterly), Open Gaming Monthly Magazine, Total Party Kill Games, The Shadowlands Campaign Setting, Bazaar Magazine, and Wayfinder Magazine.
Brian Suskind A professional screenwriter in his day job, Brian Suskind is the ENnie award winning designer of numerous RPG projects. His work has appeared under the banners of Kobold Press, Zombie Sky Press, Storm Bunny Studios and Legendary Games. After studying medieval life and heroic epics in college, Brian went on to work in Hollywood before turning to screenwriting where he studied the art of story under such masters as James V Hart, Christopher Vogler and Hal Ackerman. He emerged out of Wolfgang Baur’s Open Design world to pen multiple adventures and setting material including Dark Roads and Golden Hells, Journeys to the West, Midgard Legends, Advanced Races Compendium, Midgard Tales, The Ælven Agenda, and the ENnie-award winning Southlands. Brian is also a frequent contributor to the Kobold Press blog where he currently authors the on-going series Midgard Expanded that explores the eastern lands of that setting. In addition to his screenwriting and game design work, Brian is the co-lead partner of Truly Indie Studios; the production company responsible for the film The Lackey, the popular web-series Heroes with Issues, and Six Feet Down Under.
Risks and challenges
While Storm Bunny Studios has an excellent reputation for delivering high quality projects, and our risks and challenges have decreased considerably, many of the normal challenges (things outside of our control) still linger, including things like designers getting sick, or artists delivering late, or even longer editing runs. Anything could happen, but we've learned to plan for these events, and with that in mind, plan to actually deliver early on this project. Still, we acknowledge these threats exist and plan accordingly.
The fact is, RPG design takes time and effort - but that's not something we're prone to shy away from. As previous Kickstarters will prove, we're always transparent, always communicate with out backers, and never stop working toward achieving our goals - which is to put awesome and innovative books/PDFs into your hands.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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