Saturday 18 November 2017

So, here's what's up with Esoteric Enterprises

So, Here's what I'm working on:
It starts out with the idea that magic works but is innately prone to going horribly wrong. So, every sensible government has banned the practice of actual magic, and the art's gone underground (figuratively and literally). Magicians and mystics exist in a criminal black market where grimoires and magical components are smuggled in similar ways to narcotics and illegal firearms.
And the government are absolutely aware of this, and have their own departments of Men In Black who extend the long arm of the law to deal with illegal magicians.
Add onto this the idea of a literal undercity made of sewers and crypts and burrows where weird-magical creautures live and the black markets meet. Which are, of course, dangerous in their own right, forming a network of dungeon-like complexes and safe meeting-places. And then cults, criminal cartels, broods of monsters, covens of occultists and so on form their own social networks overlaid onto this - with the PC group as part of this network - meaning that PCs are going to be getting involved in the underworld's politics and going on various missions to advance their position.
It's a big psychadelic blend of Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Orpheus and and Hunter and Call of Cthulhu and Kult. Black metal and trip hop and stoner-doom aesthetics overlaid with occult tomes and blasphemous sacrifices, overlaid with cash drugs n guns gangster culture. PCs are poor-ass weirdo scumbags scrabbling for position, dabbling with nasty magic and nasty people in the hope of making it big.
It is, incidentally, built on the same core as b/x D&D, with the rules adapted to fit a modern setting and work better with the black-metal-gangsters tone I'm going for. Magic's less reliable, and prone to causing weird or dangerous phenomena. Normal occultists do your standard vancian 'memorizing spells' thing, but can experiment with magic a little, with the risk of it going wrong. Mystics, meanwhile, have to pray to their deity and hope it's listening every time they want to cast.
Character level also directly reflects position in the criminal underworld; the higher level you are, the richer and better respected you are. And being high level won't protect you perfectly; a knife in the back or poison in your drink will kill you stone dead regardless of level.
However, the rules are pretty much compatible with most other OSR systems. So you can run things like Death Frost Doom or A Red And Pleasant Land in it without too much adaptation.
Also, the rules are gonna be totally compatible with wolfpacks, for bonus crossover.
It's gonna be a fucking blast when it's done.


  1. Looking forward to seeing this one!

  2. "big psychadelic blend of Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Orpheus and and Hunter and Call of Cthulhu and Kult"
    Sounds right up my alley!

  3. This sounds awesome! Will magic be vancian or something else?

  4. Okay, found it. Wolf-Packs and Winter Snow. Looks really good.