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Adventure! RPG: Dark Tidings - Setting Information & Details

jameson (ST)

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Adventure!: Dark Tidings

I’m well aware of what you’ve heard kid. Dr. Hammersmith was experimenting with extracting energy from the universe directly, or that he had tapped into a new form of electromagnetic energy, or that he had discovered a massively efficient power generation device…

Truth is that’s all bull, Hammersmith was a madman and those people he had gathered to his mansion that day had no idea what they were going to witness. Most of them are dead now, by design or accident nobody knows for sure. Nobody saw Hammermsith die, and frankly that worries me. I wasn’t there but I know what did happen. See sometime after that day I started hearing things…

I got the chance to meet Maxwell Mercer a while back, shortly after the accident. With the right questions I was able to steer the conversation back to Hammersmith. Seems that the nature of his experiment was less “Science” and more “occult”. Mercer does believe that the doctor was intending to tap into a new power source. “Ley lines” he called them, invisible rivers of energy crisscrossing the planet. Spiritual energy, the stuff that psychics and magicians allegedly tap into. The stuff of daemons and nightmares.

Do I believe that Hammersmith tapped into the psychic or mystical energy of the planet? Well I would be lying if I said no, after the day of his accident I started hearing things, I told you that. What I didn’t tell you was that I was hearing thoughts from other people. Mercer didn’t speak his thoughts to me, I was able to read his mind.

I’m scared now. There are people out there that have become empowered by the energies released by the “Incident”. Some are people like you or I, determined to use their powers for the good of mankind, others have touched something dark, daemonic and turned to amassing power or satiating their own dark desires, while out in the darkness beings long dormant have been awakened…The Hammersmith Incident may have ushered in a new tomorrow, or it may have been Dark Tidings of the days ahead, only time will tell.

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While the game mechanics for Inspiration will stay the same the in game appearance of those abilities is looked at differenly.

Psychics and psychic knacks are just that, powers of the mind acting on the world around it. These are the result of magical energies opening and expanding on human latent psychic power.

Heroic Knacks and Daredevils are the result of psychic energies being focus inward and onto the psychic rather than outward to the world. This results in increased levels of aptitude and skill as well as minor levels of supernatural feats.

Dynamic Knacks and Stalwarts have been bestowed their tremendous powers by forces Divine or Infernal/Deamonic. The player chooses what force has betsowed his/her abilities upon them. Thier faith in that force granting them their tremendous power. For instance an Indian might be granted destructive powers by Kali, a Catholic might be given great strength by God, etc. Similarly an evil person might be given powers by deamonic bargains and witchcraft. When you meet a Stalwart if you are in sensing range and choose to do so you will be able to tell that they are Divine, Infernal, or, very rarely, other. Generally speaking Divine = Good, Infernal = evil. That said some Divine Inspired may be forced to do things that seem questionable but the end result is good, or the rare bad person with Divine powers will prove his actions good in the end - Trash Can Man from the Stand for instance. Similarly Infernally bestowed power does not always corrupt. Infernal is more messy - the dark powers try to lure people away from the light, sometimes it doesn't work out so well - Spawn for example, or Hellboy. Also one may be cursed (i.e. lycanthopy) with Infernal power that your power fights against and occasionally uses to do good. There are a few reports of Stalwarts who are neither Divine nor Infernal, where these people get their power from is a mystery to most and they generally do not discuss their boons with others.

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In addition to the factions presented in the Adventure! book the following play a major role in the supernaturally awakened world.

The Arkham Historical Society

Founded by New England writer H.P. Lovecraft, the Arkham Historical Society studies the new magical energies released by the Hammersmith Incident. Lovecraft insists that though published as fiction much of his works are based on real dark magic and daemons.

As a result Arkham's members are dedicated to tracking down and destroying any sources of dark magic and Daemonic influence. Members of the society have access to many experts in the occult. Rumor has it that the societ maintains a secret library of dark grimoires known as the Miskatonic Library. If it exists the library would be a boon to researches of the occult. Further if it exists it's location is one of the best kept secrets in Boston; it is rumored that only high ranking members of the society are ever given access.

Players may not start with backing higher than 2 dots in the Arkham Historical Society. They may take high dots mentor, allies, or contacts to represent high ranking members.

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Portland Paranormal Investigations

Started in Portland, ME this group was initially a small part time hobby of a group of well to do in the Portland area. Although well intentioned and possessing a great deal of money and influence this group never had any real encounters with the paranormal until the Hammersmith Incident.

Stories tell that the group’s members had met for an attempt to contact a spirit using an Ouija board at the very same time of the Incident. Their concentration along with the wave of supernatural energy released by Hammersmith allowed them to contact a daemon. By the time the group was able to banish the nightmare half their membership was dead or insane. The remaining member quickly found that they possessed new powers, some psychic in nature, and others apparently daemonic.

Since that time the group has expanded slowly, allowing only members with true powers to join (read: Psychics and Stalwarts only). They use their gifts to banish evil spirits and help ghosts to find their eternal rest, though some say that those member tainted by the daemon that first night have other agendas for the group.

Membership in the group is graded on supernatural power as well as social standing. Only Stalwarts and Mesmerists may take backing in PPI. Starting players may have no more than Resources-1 dots in Backing in this group (minimum resources to join is 2 dots).

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Knights of the Cross

If you were to call the Knights of the Cross the militant arm of the Church you wouldn’t be too far off. Throughout history the Vatican has sponsored groups of monks and priests within the Church as investigators of everything from daemonic possession to true miracles. The Boston chapter calls itself the Knights of the Cross and is made up of Christians whose devout faith leads them on a crusade against the forces of darkness as much as to spread the word of God. Many of the order have received divine gifts and others have psychic abilities which they claim are unlocked through prayer and their faith.

All members of the Knights of the Cross are Christians and are either monks or preists, as a result a high level of resources is not available to members of the Knights (No higher than Resources 2). Infernal Stalwarts may not join the Knights, though members may have been Infernal in the past having redeemed themselves to God and recieving Divine powers.

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  • 1 year later...


The game will take place initially in New England and be primarily set in/based out of Boston. Globetrotting escapades being a staple of the genre, expect that you will likely do the same.

Although the Hammersmith Event reinvigorated the magical engery of the world it was hardly the first spark. Indeed the Hammersmith event was simply fresh fuel on a dying fire. As such the optoin for players to create old characters via the Stalwart Dynamic Knack of Optimized Metabolism and/or the superscience longevity drugs is perfectly reasonable. You won't have access to more dots than your peers but it may provide you interesting background options.

Time line is going to start in Autumn 1928.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Arkham Estate

The private residence of H.P. Lovecraft and the "home" of the Arkham Historical Society, the Arkham Estate is located in Concord, MA. The massive mansion and sprawling secondary buildings hardly dent the massive twenty acre grounds.

The mansion itself, known to the members as simply "Arkham", contains many rooms set aside for use by the Society as well as living quarters for Lovecraft, his family, and guests.

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