The year 2020 has been full of both strife and success. Stresses aside, I’ve had two excellent reasons for spending less time with my blog site. In addition to launching my first Kult: Divinity Lost campaign, I’ve also been writing and editing my first official paid and published writing gig for friend and fellow game designer, Michael Addison of Nerdy Pup Games.
Thanks to a successful Kickstarter for the new tabletop RPG, The Curse of the House of Rookwood is already available to backers as a pdf and scheduled for print late spring. In addition to the core rule book, Nerdy Pup Games is also publishing Rookwood Roots, a collection of scenarios written by a number of contributors (myself included) that explore alternate takes on Rookwood’s otherwise British Gothic setting.
I’m excited for the release of Rookwood—and to contribute to the game’s publication, brought to life by Addison and his friend Brian Binh! I remember when Addison first came up with the concept many years ago, and our group of friends created a dysfunctional family, struggling to overcome their worst impulses and bad blood to face a common enemy. In true Addison fashion (given his love for Lovecraftian horror), I remember feeling both terror and dread as an unfamiliar supernatural creature, disguised as a human, revealed itself upon a Victorian ballroom full of unsuspecting guests, during a waltz no less.
A rules-light RPG, with unique story-driving mechanics, Rookwood offers a loose framework for players to tell whatever sort of horror story they fancy. The setting offers new spins on old favorites, while leaving plenty of room for interpretation. What sets Rookwood apart in the horror genre is its focus on family. Rather play a campaign with the same characters in a single time period, each story arc in a campaign explores a different generation of a shared family with an evolving history, so that stories build upon and explore decades if not centuries of history. Theoretically, players could play the same character for a couple generations (in the character’s youth, then as an elder member of the family), but Rookwood effectively reimagines the RPG campaign as an epic tale of a family, encouraging players to focus on story rather than character building.
The scenario I wrote for Rookwood Roots, “Inherit the Wind,” takes the Rookwood family to North America, not only to explore the history of the United States, but more specifically concepts of greed, ambition, migration, and instability. I also created a couple new curses, well-suited to the American frontier setting.
I’m excited for Addison and Nerdy Pup Games. The three crowd-funded games you can find on his website are but the tip of an iceberg. Addison has been a prolific game designer for as long as I’ve known him, and I’m glad to see his games reaching a greater audience. He’s talented and dedicated, and I encourage people to check out and support his work!