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Rosemont Bay - A Gothic Horror Soap Opera Roleplaying Game's video poster

Like classic gothic horror? Like sexy primetime soap operas? Rosemont Bay is a tabletop RPG of supernatural relationship drama! Read more

Chicago, IL Games
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This project was successfully funded on August 26, 2013.

Like classic gothic horror? Like sexy primetime soap operas? Rosemont Bay is a tabletop RPG of supernatural relationship drama!

Chicago, IL Games
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About this project

The wind shrieks around the two figures standing at the top of the cliff as the storm clouds rush in from over the sea. For a moment the smaller figure huddles against the larger, perhaps searching for warmth or shelter. Perhaps they are lovers. But with the first flash of lightning, she backs away, face illuminated in the strobe of the storm. As the thunder crashes, the other figure starts to creep toward her, forcing her closer and closer to the edge – the tiny shelf of stone balanced precariously over the raging ocean and jagged rocks, a hundred feet below. Another bright bolt, and for a moment she seems suspended in midair. Was she pushed? Did she jump? The man's crimson eyes are briefly visible as the storm begins in earnest and the woman strikes the surf-pounded rocks at the base of the cliff. Soon the sea will take her, and his secret will be safe again...

This is Rosemont Bay, a roleplaying game that combines the classic ideas of gothic horror and romance – virtuous heroes, dastardly villains, creepy locations, and supernatural menace – with the sleek and stylish interpersonal conflicts of modern prime-time TV dramas. In a seemingly sleepy small city, hidden passions and horrors writhe just beneath the surface. Perhaps you will play an innocent young man, seduced by the wiles of an ancient, beautiful vampire but convinced that she can be redeemed. Or maybe you'll be a teenage witch, secretly practicing with a book of spells you discovered locked away in your attic, and ever so tempted to make your crush notice you. Perhaps you'll be a sheriff's deputy, struggling to keep order in a town where nothing seems to make sense. Or you could be a werewolf, desperately searching for a cure to your curse while trying to keep up the facade of a perfect wife and mother, always afraid you'll wake up to find your child missing...  

With this game you'll be striking a balance between character-focused, soap opera style melodrama and the iconic tropes and creatures of classic horror stories. This isn't a game of hyper-competent adventurers going on monster-slaying expeditions, but of normal people – and very abnormal people – and their relationships and personal agendas. There may be fight scenes and action sequences, and they'll be fun and exciting, but ultimately they'll be there to serve the characters and their relationships. An attempt to kill a deadly vampire is cool, but an attempt to kill Anton the vampire because you're jealous of the attention he's been paying to your boyfriend Sam? That's drama.

With the help of the rules and advice in this book, you and your friends will collaboratively create a modern gothic drama series of your own, populate it with entertaining characters, locations, and props, and create episodes and story arcs to tell a romantic, scary, supernatural tale worthy of prime-time. All you need to provide are some dice, pencils and paper, and a willingness to bring the drama!

We are licensing the Cortex Plus Dramatic Roleplaying system from Margaret Weis Productions. Rosemont Bay has a variety of additions, tweaks, and modifications to really focus in on the supernatural soap opera genre that we're emulating.

Dark Shadows (the original 1966-1971 TV series and the 1991 remake series, and to a lesser extent the three theatrical movies) is a huge inspiration for Rosemont Bay. Other daytime soap operas that have included supernatural elements and storylines, like Port Charles, are minor influences. If you get less gothic and more campy and over the top, you could even model your game after Passions.

Primetime supernatural soaps like The Gates, American Gothic, or Twin Peaks are also major influences, mixing in liberal doses of horror and surreality with the more standard soap opera storylines. Internet original Hemlock Grove is another example of the sort of series we're emulating.

Although the focus of default Rosemont Bay is not on teen drama, shows like The Secret CircleTeen Wolf, and The Vampire Diaries are all great examples of series that have the vibe we're going after.

Topher Gerkey of Monkey Princess Games is a long-time gamer. You may have read his Fate Accelerated-powered minigame, Princess Drive (which will be appearing in print soon as part of Machine Age Productions' game line Apotheosis Drive X), or Skins for the Skinless, his collection of free Skins for Monsterhearts. Topher has a special love for supernatural relationship dramas, and he hopes to share that love with you in Rosemont Bay.

Filamena Young of Machine Age Productions is a prolific and talented freelance RPG writer who's done work for a variety of companies, including Onyx Path, Margaret Weis Productions, and Evil Hat. She's the author of the Fate Core supplement White Picket Witches, and she's about as big a fan of the supernatural soap genre as Topher is, so she'll feel right at home writing in Rosemont Bay.

Other writing team members are To Be Announced, especially as regards the Rosemont Bay Companion.

We're still in the process of contacting artists for the project (as noted in  "Risks and Challenges" below, we have a very long development period scheduled for this book) so continue to watch this space for news and sample artwork. One artist you're very likely to see doing character portraits for us is Sandy Jacobs-Tolle - here's an example of her art!

Now that we're getting closer to funding, let's talk about stretch goals! All the stretch goals (for the moment) are pointed toward producing the Rosemont Bay Companion, a book that expands, extends, adds to, and refocuses the material in the core book. For now the Companion will be PDF-only, but if we make it big enough, we'll do a print version! So what are we looking at adding to this book?

Written by Topher Gerkey, this chapter will expand on the core book's mechanics and setting material about witchcraft and magic! New supernatural abilities, different spellcasting traditions, and plenty of advice on how to make sure your magical shenanigans fit into the gothic soap opera genre. 

Dain Lybarger is the brains behind this chapter, which goes into detail on playing Rosemont Bay in different historical time periods. We all love period costume drama, right? Generational play, extended flashbacks, and magical time travel all feature here (and additional chapters that deal with playing in the town's history will tie in with this chapter)!

In this chapter, Filamena Young brings Rosemont Bay into the Internet Age by giving you tools and advice for using modern urban legends and "creepypasta" in your series! Are you a Slender Man fan? Do you know that the Rake is more than just a garden utensil? Wondering how to incorporate Black-Eyed Kids, haunted video games, or found footage YouTube channels? Filamena will put some personal horror in your soap bubbles!

David Hill is writing this chapter, the title of which is still in development. Is default Rosemont Bay a little too placid for you? Add some action! Fight scenes, chase scenes, stunts and setpieces put some pizzazz in your series, but don't forget to keep the romance spotlighted! David cites the Anita Blake series as one of his inspirations here.

Paul Stefko reflects on characters that share your looks but are up to no good. From evil twins to demonic doppels, clones, copies, and mirror images, these antagonists spread confusion and distrust for their own ends, And when they kiss your boyfriend, the idiot can't even tell!

Chris Newton offers a glimpse into the cosmic horror and corruption that could lurk in the forgotten corners (or possibly very familiar corners) of Rosemont Bay, with both a treatment of the Cult of Hydra and suggestions for using the careless malevolence of Ancient Things and their cults in your series.

They laughed at you at the Academy, but you'll show them - you'll show them all! Joshua Ramsey brings us a chapter all about Mad Scientists and the monsters they create. What motivates a madman? Why would someone experiment on herself? How does it feel to be someone's unholy creation? Mad science leads to mad drama!

Summer 2014, probably in August. See "Risks and Challenges" below for why the development time is so long.

The Book - Full details to come, but we're thinking the book will be in a digest size, about 175 pages, in black and white. 

Here are some nice simple bullet points to sell you on Rosemont Bay:

  • Emulates the style and feel of a prime-time TV drama
  • Interpersonal conflict and romance against a background of supernatural horror
  • Role mechanics encourage playing classic soap and gothic archetypes like the Ingenue, the Cad, the Femme Fatale, the Evil Twin, and the Bad Seed
  • Optionally play as iconic supernatural beings like a reluctant vampire, a werewolf trying to escape his curse, a vengeful ghost, a mysterious psychic, a manipulative witch, or many more
  • Cooperative storytelling that can include character-vs-character play  
  • Cooperative setting customization and NPC building
  • Cooperative PC creation ensures dramatic entanglements
  • Example "iconic" setting and example PCs
  • Advice for players on how to help create a gothic soap opera feel
  • Advice for Directors on creating episodes, story arcs, and antagonists
  • Troupe play for storylines involving large casts or playing in multiple eras
  • Advice on Hangout/online play

Risks and challenges

Inexperience: This is Monkey Princess Games' first Kickstarter campaign, and the first project of this size and scope. That's certainly a challenge! Luckily, the fine folks at Machine Age Productions are contributing their considerable (and successful) Kickstarter and publishing experience to help out. The book is outlined, significant amounts of rules development is already done, and some sections have already been drafted.

Timelines: The last thing I want is for my very first Kickstarter to be late in delivery. Given that surprises and setbacks always happen, I decided to commit really firmly to a one-year process. If everything goes super smoothly and there are no unexpected delays, the book might ship early, because we shouldn't actually need twelve months. But we have a strong commitment to August 2014 as an absolute deadline for getting the books to backers.

Overcommitment: Lots of Kickstarter campaigns seem to stumble because they've promised too much via reward tiers and stretch goals. We've decided to keep our backer rewards very simple and straightforward. The only reward that will require any "extra" time and effort is the Hangout game session, and that will take place after the book is actually complete. As for stretch goals, the writing on the Rosemont Bay Companion, if it gets funded, will mostly be done by freelancers, allowing the main writing team to focus on the core book.

Communication: It's vital for folks running a Kickstarter to stay in touch with their backers. Our goal is to make sure to post some sort of update every few days during the actual campaign, and to post at least once every couple weeks during the production process. We want to make sure the backers know that the work is progressing, and give them access to the latest preview and playtest documents and drafts. We also don't want to inundate backers with updates - no more than one update per day during the campaign, and no more than one per week while the game is being developed.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


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Funding period

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