Everything here is subject to change according to foppery and whim.
PremisePlayers are members of Lighthouse, a civilian volunteer organization that serves as an intermediary between the public and the paranormal, be that investigative, protective, interpretive, diplomatic, or scholarly.
- The first notes for this idea are dating to the summer of 2012. Let it never be said that I am not terribly patient with my ideas.
- Surprising no one, I am straight mainlining a whole lot of SCP influence on this one. More on that down the page.
Pithy Elevator Words
- A game about the paranormal, poverty, and holding on to hope in a fucked up world.
What is the paranormal?
- There is the 'normal'- the world defined by the laws of coherent cause and effect. The paranormal is everything that violates and bypasses this - paracausality. It shouldn't work, but here it is.
- The world is anticanonical - fluff will be provided as starting points and leading questions, the reader will draw the connections between points.
- No real-world folklore or esoteric tradition carries over into the setting. There are no fairies, vampires, werewolves, etc. If it ever looks like something like that, you ought to be suspicious, because it is definitely not the truth.
- The paranormal is absurd, as well as terrifying and often beautiful.
What about the poverty?
- You are neither rich nor powerful. You aren't playing as an organization with bottomless military black budget and cool toys. You have to make do with what you have.
- Rich and powerful people do not have your interests in mind and they will do everything they can to fuck you over.
- Humza Kazmi's community rules have a high priority of getting adapted in some way.
What's up with the fucked up world?
- Police brutality, the surveillance state, voter suppression, catastrophic climate change, insulin rationing, ultranationalists in the streets, pick an expression of systematized oppression and it will fit here.
- Because it is anticanonical, whether or not it is our own fucked up world is preferential. I prefer it as our own through a mirror darkly.
- Players have to navigate, survive, and resist the course of the fucked-up world.
Really Though, What Do You Do?
- Weird shit is going down, go investigate it and try to keep everyone relatively safe.
Corewise, this is a whole lot of GLOG and Black Hack, but for Esoteric Enterprises
- I love me some EE for it's compatibility with basically everything else I own, but I want to experiment with making a rule set more directed to the theme I have in mind.
- Straight from Black Hack. No need to change what works. It's nice and clean and I like it more than modifiers.
- Pulled directly from GLOG. I like the range this gives, as even at the absolute minimum you still have a 20% chance of success, and at highest you end up with 80%.
- The only competition to advantage in my books is boons / banes from Shadow of the Demon Lord and since this is roll-under there's no simpler option than
- The Tough / Fast / Booksmart / Emotional Intelligence quartet is solid as hell and sells itself. It works in Shadow of the Demon Lord, it works in Disco Elysium, it just works.
- Combat and magic get their own stats because they are separate disciplines. Just because someone is strong doesn't mean they are necessarily good at committing violence against other people, and just because someone is smart doesn't mean they can figure out the ontological knot of paracausality.
- Thaumics is absolutely getting a different name, probably an acronym because "applied paracausality" is a mouthful.
- Option 1: Skills work kinda like how they do in Troika!
- Skills are added to the appropriate stat when you try to roll under.
- Minimum of 1, maximum of 4. Freeform, no set list.
- Any skill can be used for any stat, if you can swing the reason why halfway well.
- Skills that raise a stat above 16 just give you advantage vs 16.
- Option 2: Skills give you advantage on that thing.
- Can still be used for any stat if you can swing the reason,
- Lateral Advancement -You will be able to spend Insight gained while out to unlock new abilities, learn new spells, purchase items, upgrade your hideout, or unlock changes to the world around you. Think of it has your carryover currency in a roguelike.
- Armor negates damage - Straight from Black Hack. Since weapons will not do traditional damage in points, having typical damage reduction isn't needed.
- Spells for everyone - Magic is fun, everyone gets to use the fun things.This is what the Thaumics stat is for - spells have a cost, and if you fail your roll, you get a fun backfire table!
- Violence will fuck you up - Explanatory on its own.
- HP - If the hit is successful, there shouldn't be 'not getting hit points" to make it a technical miss. That's boring and I don't like it.
- Levels and Traditional XP - Busywork. Toss it all.
- Money - The only time money has ever been fun for me was a Unicorn Meat playtest where the players had to budget out their rations and decide how much they could afford to spend on supplies, if they could risk hunting for more meat, and how much was to be kept to eat and restore HP. I want that. Any currency (Demon Liquor, likely) will only be in single digits.
- Worrying about food or light - Modern day game, these are irrelevant outside of special circumstances.
- A traditional bestiary - No stats, just descriptions of how they interact with their environment.
- Stress is player-directed. No interruptions from the referee calling for rolls breaking up the flow. When a player sees something that they would expect to freak out about, they make a Spirit check. On failure, they are forced into a fight/flight/freeze scenario, which might have an additional die roll (weighted according to the likeliness of outcomes)
- As of now it seems to be a choice of three "cards", essentially - archetype, background, and occupation. Each of these will have a trait and 3-4 points of skills (if that is indeed how skills will go.)
- It is very Troika! at the moment but I won't lie Trophy Gold is a fine piece of chargen too.
- This part is the most up in the air at the moment. I might even choose to forgoe it entirely and just lead with a bunch of premades.
- Players will have input on creating the City, their hideout, and Delvers' the underworld hub-bar.
- The scope is tightened to the City, the surrounding environs, and the Underworld.