A Gothic Horror game about the search for humanity and salvation through a world of monsters and madness.
Story – What Is NightMirror the Roleplaying Game?
A DEATH! It begins with the scent of murder. A broken life, connected by sharp fractured edges to you, dear Seeker through pain and loss. The taste of blood, soot, and sweat heavy in the damp cold night as you push past what others might call fear, or dread. You step down into the dingy dark crypt under the cathedral, snapping a twig, alerting the dark thing gnawing on a bone in the corner of your presence. You steel your nerves and withdraw the small worn vellum book from an inner pocket. Opening it to the marked page and positioning it in the crack of moonlight, you read hastily. The words roll from tongue and soul and it, the slavering Agent of the Night moves closer and chatters staccato grunts with short sharp bloodied teeth. The chattering transforms into a whisper with each syllable read aloud. The secrets of its Master—the knowledge needed to complete the quest manifest through the maw of our mentor’s cursed child and murderer. And now we know its bane. The Master will come for us, and when it does, we will be ready.
NightMirror is a Gothic horror tabletop roleplaying game. It’s inspired by mid-1700 to mid-1900 fiction, which combines horror with romanticism and deals with both the unexplainable as well as new discoveries with science, religion, and industry. It is also directly inspired by the television show, Penny Dreadful.
NightMirror’s mechanics are inspired by Meguey Baker’s amazing Psi*Run game (from Night Sky Games, http://www.nightskygames.com) about amnesiacs with powers, Runners, who are pursued by mysterious Chasers. You play to find out who they are, who you are, and what happens next. However, instead of dice, a tarot deck is used to help shape the stories for the Seekers.
Every one-shot short story session or two or more sessions campaign novel of NightMirror begins with the death of someone meaningful. This is a death that draws the characters, whom you play called Seekers, together for a common purpose. All Seekers are extraordinary people who are discontent with their place in life and have burning questions that often exceed accepted social conventions, including into the private affairs of each other, esoteric topics, traumatic experiences, and the occult. Seekers are torn between the Night and the Light. In each case, this existence has created connections with the supernatural through abilities and desires. Inevitably, these desires draw the attention of others–agents of the Night or Light—Chasers, who pursue the Seekers to whatever ends that may be.
Gameplay includes shared storytelling over one or more sessions with riskier decisions determined through drawing tarot cards, placing the cards one by one into categories called Fortunes, and interpreting their results in ways evocative of the gothic horror genre and the shared tonal game space with the group.
It’s your job, as Seekers to find the Night or Light you are searching for and decide what to do with it once you’ve got it.
Along the way, the Seekers leave a Trail of information as they travel from location to location, and the Chasers pursue this trail relentlessly.
Will the Seekers learn the truth? Will the Night or Light destroy them?
Play to find out as you search for humanity and salvation through a world of monsters and madness!
Gothic Horror refers to a style of writing that is characterized by elements of fear, horror, death, and gloom, as well as romantic elements, such as nature, individuality, and very high emotion. These emotions can include fear and suspense. This style of fiction began in the mid 1700s with a story titled, The Castle of Otranto (in 1764), by Horace Walpole. This story was about a doomed family and is filled with death, desire, and intrigue. This story is considered to be the first of the Gothic fiction tales, since it encompassed many of the characteristics of the genre. The term Gothic actually originated as a term belittling the architecture and art of the period, which was dark, decaying, and dismal.
NightMirror is a tabletop roleplaying game for 3-5 players that takes about 3-4 hours to play. The game uses light rules, narration, and a standard deck of tarot cards. As you play and follow the fiction of the story, you look for when your character is risking something which could change their fortune during the game. When this happens the Host will ask the player to draw 3-5 cards, one at a time, and collaborate on the results. At times this may reveal something about the seeker or bring them closer to a direct conflict with the darkness within.
In NightMirror, players are seekers, people who are driven to look beyond normal conventions for answers to life and more. This leads them to experience the supernatural and supertechnology like that found in the stories of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Jekyll Hyde, H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Jewel of Seven Stars, or more recently from the Showtime television series, Penny Dreadful.
NightMirror is set in a pre-20th century world where science and nature, industry and faith are mixed and in conflict between the old and the new world thinking. The supernatural maintains a strong presence while the microscope and telecommunications are being invented. This is a world of shadowy imaginings on top of the anxiety of an uncertain future threated by the industrial revolution, nationalistic military powers, and social upheaval like never before. In NightMirror, ghosts and artificial persons are explored by willful persons willing to defy the limits of society for their answers.
The Power of the Night & Light
The Higher Powers that manipulate events and people are known as the Night & Light. They have agendas and servants who work to execute the plans which are usually in opposition with each side, and they both prefer to have the seekers among their ranks as agents of Night or Light in the world.
NightMirror can be played as a one-shot, but is strongest when played through several sessions, as players reveal more about their seekers, the way of the Night and Light, and the beautiful eerie world that they inhabit.
Corruption & Redemption
Sometimes when seekers go too far or risk too much they become corrupted by the Night which hungers for seekers to join in union. When this happens it’s never certain that a seeker can or will be saved, but if it happens it’s usually through the work of redemption by one or more seekers.