Jump to content
qbauer

Raiders of R’lyeh

Recommended Posts

qbauer

With all of the exciting Kickstarters launching recently, I thought I could introduce one more very ambitious project to keep your eyes on. We are still in the middle of production, but would love to share news and progress of the project’s development as it happens.

 

RAIDERS OF R’LYEH is a stand-alone roleplaying game set in 1910, in the last gilded days of the era of empires. It is a time of lost worlds and adventure, and a menacing prelude to war.

 

Derived partly from the Runequest rules that have been released under the Open Game License, the game is crafted to emulate not only adventure in the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft and his circle of influences, but especially the savage and evocative feel of Robert E. Howard’s Mythos and Weird menace stories. The book will have two uses, as either a rich sourcebook for playing adventures in the Edwardian — or Edweirdian — period, or as its own game using a familiar percentile framework with some innovative twists. The project is designed to be of use in both modes: supplementary sourcebook and standalone.

 

The project, as its own IP, frees us to be completely open and malleable with design choices and experimental directions, and we plan on involving the feedback of the yog-sothoth community as much as feasibly possible. As the book is put together by professional artists (we just wrapped up a book with Tim Powers, James Blaylock, and K.W. Jeter), the final layout will have a unified design direction, and a beautiful consistent quality of art. The overriding design goal of the book is for it to double as an art book.

 

The rough draft, written by me, has been completed. We brought a design consultant onto the project (the RPGPundit — Arrows of Indra, Lords of Olympus, and consultant on DnD Next) in the development of the mechanics. We started by looking at Openquest, Open License Runequest, and Mongoose’s Legend, and ended up creating our own thing, a simple, fun, fast, and compatible system perfect for the era and feel of weird menace. The Pundit has contributed a tremendous amount of innovation and expertise to the project, and we are very lucky to have him on board. There may be news about other designers involved in the project (some of whom may raise some eyebrows) as we move forward.

 

Here are some of the early bullet points of the game; barring unforeseen issues, I plan to post some page layouts and art samples later in the week:

 

  • A complete sourcebook for Expeditions, Intrigues and Adventures in the pre-Great War Edwardian period (can be used as a rules-independent sourcebook)
  • A wealth of resources about technology, inventions, architecture, weapons, gear, currencies, class structure, etiquette, vehicles, mounts, ports of call, and travel for the period (including rules for wilderness, pack animals, horses, trains, merchant vessels, and steamships)
  • New Weird monsters and twists on old favorites from the Mythos, drawn from the works of Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, M.R. James, William Hope Hodgson, Clark Ashton Smith, Algernon Blackwood, Lafcadio Hearn and many others
  • Campaign frameworks involving powerful and dangerous patrons hiring players to recover ancient relics
  • A global network of back-alley criminals, controlling gentry, and avaricious smugglers drawn from the pre-War era and the tradition of Weird adventure
  • Maps and scenario ideas from the dangerous and mysterious corners of the pre-War world
  • New Adventurer roles for players that emulate the period and feel of Weird menace and adventure
  • New skills and fast, simple rules for playing Adventures in the Mythos
  • Sorcerers and Sorcery in the turn of the century
  • Secrets of Arkham as it existed before the Great War
  • Adventurers and Investigators from multiple cultures and corners of the globe
  • A realistic look at the occult world circa 1910, written by an academic scholar, with tons of material on the real European occult scene of that time
  • A new approach to Sanity mechanics, based on an emulation of the Edwardian worldview
  • Toolkits for exploratory sandbox play and open-ended adventures in the Mythos, as well as Monster and Adventure construction kits
  • Lavish art design and illustration that emulates the classic look and feel of illustrated books of the turn of the century
  • Lastly, RoR will embrace failed skill rolls as an important part of adventure design, and include toolsets for enriching play and expanding story through fumbled rolls (look for my essay “Indy Failed His Skill Rolls†in the weeks to come)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TMS

It's sounding interesting, particularly the new monsters from Lovecraft's admired writers. Will you be using something similar to Call of Cthulhu's method of writing them up? Another thing that could be cool is the treatment of fumbled rolls (my players would definitely thank you).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
qbauer
It's sounding interesting, particularly the new monsters from Lovecraft's admired writers. Will you be using something similar to Call of Cthulhu's method of writing them up?

 

Stats will look familiar, with a few twists, and will be compatible for use in your own campaign (if you want to use the bestiary that way). There will also be variations (and scenario seeds) for many of the monsters, giving total flexibility to the keeper. Also, our goal is to illustrate every monster included (and some will have multiple illustrations).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liebkraft

well, this sounds great ... any plans for a Kickstartert or will it be a 'normal' release ... any I'll be on board :)

 

by the way, any help needed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HomoLupusDomesticus

Show us some examples of work by the involved illustrators, qbauer! It's really cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tristan

Interesting. I'm really curious too see how this project will develop. If my expertise of French history at the turn of the 20 th century could be of use, feel free to ask.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DavetheLost

You had me at Robert E Howard's weird fiction. I prefer his non-Conan stories. Tell me when I can give you lots of money. This project sounds right up my alley.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HomoLupusDomesticus

Will there be a hardcover version?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
qbauer

well, this sounds great ... any plans for a Kickstartert or will it be a 'normal' release ... any I'll be on board :)

 

by the way, any help needed?

We believe this is the type of project most benefited by crowdfunding, especially by its ability to involve patrons with the production process. But we are also considering some options for those people wanting to support through alternative methods (such as Paypal).

 

As for helping, anyone asking to help with this project will be answered with a grateful and humbled “Yes!†Three areas where we will need help: getting the word out to other forums, playtesting (we are some ways out from this stage), and sharing the game at conventions. If you do any of the following, send me a private message so we can thank you and make note of your involvement. And if you have something specific in mind, you can private message me with an inquiry and I will be happy to respond.

 

If my expertise of French history at the turn of the 20 th century could be of use, feel free to ask.

Thank you Tristan, and I will make a note of this!

 

Show us some examples of work by the involved illustrators, qbauer! It's really cool.

I plan on posting some example artwork near the end of the week, and am very excited to show you what we have planned.

 

Will there be a hardcover version?

Very good question. This early in the game, we have plotted out a plan for three modes of rules delivery: a playable pdf designed for ease of use and printing; a softcover version; and yes, a hardcover. The success of our campaign will determine which configurations we are able to deliver in a first edition printing.

 

 

@DavetheLost: thank you for the support!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Starglyte

Will there be an "Appendix N" for this game? I am not really familiar with Howard's non-Conan stories. Looking forward to reading more about this, especially if the empires covered go beyond Europe and include the Japanese and American colonies of the time period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TMS

If Hearn's work is being used for inspiration, I'm sure there will be some info on Japan in there somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
qbauer

An ”Appendix N“ sounds like a wonderful idea.

 

As far as Japan goes: yes, it plays an important part in the setting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HomoLupusDomesticus

Well, count me in for a hardcover!

 

I think Keepers and especially players will benefit from artwork to help visualize the era when it comes to clothes, architecture, vehicles and equipment. I found CoC 6E lacking in this regard, but the iconic look of the 1920s is probably more familiar to historical laymen, such as my players, than the 1910s are. Hence an even greater need for lots of appropriate and informative artwork in this game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GBSteve

La Belle Epoque has much to recommend it so I hope Tristan is able to give a sizeable contribution. Maléfices, another French horror game set in this period, was great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nickedwardscru

All I have to add is: I would be in for the hardcover

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ratcatcher

All I have to add is: I would be in for the hardcover

So you're in for the hardcover BUT you don't know who's involved in the project, you don't know who's publishing the book, you haven't seen any artwork, and you don't know the cost?

 

I do think it's good to be supportive of new ventures. So more power to you. And hope the project does well. Great to see all these new Kickstarters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DavetheLost
All I have to add is: I would be in for the hardcover

 

I have ordered game books in the past on less information than the first post in this thread. Knowing what the general price for HC game books is and what I pay for art books, as well as recognizing some of those names (not that they are involved in this project but have worked with these producers) I think I can comfortably say that I expect I would be in for the. Hardcover as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
qbauer

I was going to post this on Thursday, but I couldn’t wait to share it...

 

I am very excited to show a few examples of the art from RAIDERS of R’LYEH. The full color paintings are by the illustrious Cliff Cramp, who has over twenty years experience as an illustrator and entertainment designer, working with such clients as United Artists, Fox, Universal, Lucasfilm (he was one of the last artists to work with Lucas before the company went to Disney), Nickelodeon, Disney, to name just a few...

 

The other art is by the author of the game, and represents just a peek at the level of design, look and feel of the BW and gray value pages.

 

I’ve also been working with the RPGPundit, hammering out final directions for occupations (in RoR, we are using ”archetypes,“ designed around the multitude of play variations for an Edwardian era campaign), and a new and interesting Sanity mechanic designed with the Edwardian worldview in mind. I’ll hold off sharing details, for now, but will be posting news about these aspects of the game soon.

 

*Lastly, regarding architecture (and the Belle Époque)...not only is architecture a thematic focus for Lovecraft, but also a major area of concentration for Raiders of R’lyeh. I may be bold in saying that in no other time in history (late 19th century to the Great War) did the world experience such an eclectic confluence of aesthetics and engineering as it related to architecture and graphic design. Add to this the period’s phenomenon of marrying architectural and design agendas to radical sociopolitical (and occult) theories, and the Edwardian becomes a setting bursting with playability. But more on this in a later post!

 

Some examples of full color by Cliff Cramp:

 

raidersrlyeh-masons-ccramp.jpg

 

raidersrlyeh-exploration-ccramp.jpg

 

raidersrlyeh-crimson-ccramp.jpg

 

*Full color painted illustrations will be included in the final book if we reach our funding

 

 

Some examples of BW or gray value interior by the writer, also showing how other Weird writers will get their due in our bestiary (the text in these test layouts are dummy script, and are obviously place-setters for what will end up in the final product):

 

raidersrlyeh-monsterstats-qbauer.png

 

raidersrlyeh-scenario-qbauer.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HomoLupusDomesticus

Now that's what I call appropriate and tasteful artwork! They should get you guys in on CoC 7E as well. ;)

 

On a sidenote, have you thought of adding "conversion" notes in the game to other Cthulhu Mythos games rules sets?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GBSteve

On a sidenote, have you thought of adding "conversion" notes in the game to other Cthulhu Mythos games rules sets?

Yes, I'm much more interested in the backgound than the rules. I already have BRP and it does nothing for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
christian

That is extremely evocative artwork. If I compare it to a certain Mi-go..... no, I shall not go further. That way madness lies

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thomas Phinney

What HLP and GB Steve said. I am MUCH more interested in a background / setting / campaign than in another rules system.

 

Make it multi-statted for BRP or CoC, and I am there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DavetheLost

Liking the art. The B&W remind me a bit of Clive Barker's artwork. This project just looks better and better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HomoLupusDomesticus

Though I would personally be very interested in trying this with the default rules set, which I understand is some kind of OpenQuest/BRP-variant, I think the book could attract a larger audience if it facilitated stat conversion to games such as CoC (both BRP and 7E), RoC (Savage Worlds) and ToC (GUMSHOE), perhaps even a pulp game like Two-Fisted Tales.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
qbauer
On a sidenote, have you thought of adding "conversion" notes in the game to other Cthulhu Mythos games rules sets?

 

...I think the book could attract a larger audience if it facilitated stat conversion to games such as CoC (both BRP and 7E), RoC (Savage Worlds) and ToC (GUMSHOE), perhaps even a pulp game like Two-Fisted Tales.

 

This is definitely something we will investigate as we move forward.

 

And everyone, thank you for the encouraging words and feedback.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.