In the twilight years of the 19th century, barely a generation after the death and destruction wrought by the American Civil War, Victorian America plays host to a variety of secret occult societies. Beyond the sight and understanding of the uninitiated, sorcerers, alchemists, psychics, mad scientists, and even stranger things have worked arcane wonders for centuries, secure in their power and influence. In their hubris and complacency, they have fallen to warring with each other in the shadows, but with a new millennium on the horizon and natural arcane forces on the rise, new threats will make allies of old enemies. Or destroy them all.
The Armistice Arcane, inspired by the Penny Dreadful novels of the Victorian era, is a game set in New Orleans during the late Victorian era. It is the story of eight magical societies that have formed in the United States since its founding as a country. At various times in their histories, these groups have befriended one another, warred against each other, and lived in uneasy peace. Whatever the situation at any given time though, they have always been insular, private, and loyal only to their own. They are always on high alert when around each other, and trust is hard to come by.
In the past few years, it has become clear that outside threats are marshalling against the American arcanists as a whole. Players will be given important characters from within numerous factions gathering to celebrate the one year anniversary of the reformation of the American Arcanum and, hopefully, its ratification. There will be discussions, dancing, dining, drinking, and, undoubtedly, debauchery. Every person attending the anniversary of the Armistice has her own goals, desires, and agendas, and when that many powerful people are in the same place at the same time, it’s anyone’s guess what will actually occur. Will their world be saved, or will it fall apart at the seams?
The Armistice Arcane is a game of intrigue, high politics, gothic horror, and magic. We explore themes that are both light and dark in nature – friendship, alliance, working with our enemies, diplomacy, paranoia, fear, and anger. Many of the characters in Armistice Arcane are outcasts from society, and some have lost everything they love. We also look at the nature of good and evil to ask questions about what truly makes a person a monster. This is not a game for children or those who are easily disturbed by exploration of any of the above. The game aims to see what happens when we push the limits of “acceptability” set forth by society, and what happens when our actions come back to haunt us.
The magical societies that exist are not hidden from the mundane world, although their magic is. Each character in the game represents a powerful force within one of the influential American magical factions or of those strong enough to make their voices heard in magical circles. Some will be leaders of their groups, others will be diplomats or information gatherers. No character in this game will be unimportant to the overall scope of the game, and each of them will have a valuable role within their faction. Many of them will also have valuable connections to other groups, and all will have motivations and desires that drive their actions during the event. Every player will be given a pre-written character with webs of character connections, information on other characters, richly detailed backgrounds and motivations, and secret information that only they know.