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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)
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