[Recommend] RPG for Dark Fantasy?


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CoC/BRP is a pretty heavy ruleset right? I don't need a lot of physical combat rules. I imagine combat to be extremely deadly, like even in a duel if two people manage to injure one another, they are both likely to die.
BRP core rule is "roll under your skill on d100" for everything, including combat. Roll under your 80% Rapier, and you hit (unless they roll defense and foul your blow with their cape, rolling under their 75% Cloak&Dagger); roll under your 60% "Heiroglyphics" to be able to translate the words on the tomb door: etc...

Look to the Hit Location or Major/Minor Wound options to make combat more deadly. 1d8+1 is often incapacitating to a 4-point abdomen, for example!


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LexOccultum seems to be what you're looking for.

Europe, the 18th century. The church is losing its grip on men struggling with old beliefs and dogmas. Alchemists, occultists, and secret societies dig deep into old mysteries and ancient obscurities. The Enlightenment is not only about breaking free from old institutions and structures, but also about discovering what has been hidden for hundreds of years, even millennia. The Illuminati, the Freemasons, the old Templars, and other secret societies hide in dark chambers, plotting for a new world order, or seeking to uncover the mysteries of dark arts and ancient wisdoms.

The nobles and aristocrats are a dying breed, living in decadence and excess, while the common people suffer in poverty. This is an era of enlightenment, but also of ignorance. Few know anything about the growing darkness; the vampires and other offspring of the devil. While conspiracies grow below the surface, kings and priests preach about submission and obedience. But who is to save men from this twilight of the gods, from falling into the darkness and being consumed by evil? Is it true that the apocalypse is coming?

LexOccultum takes place in a fictive historical 18th century, where the occult and supernatural are real, but not yet in full bloom.



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Admittedly both Savage Worlds settings, but Savage Worlds doesn't have the depth of social mechanics for me, too pulpy.
Do you enjoy Savage Worlds?

If so I wonder if you couldn’t expand on the social aspects by adding more social skills. The effect of this would be that characters’ will find their skill points being stretched thinner.
With a greater importance on social skills you might end up with less points in shooting and fighting.

Then add a new defense based on half Spirit +2 and a new Wound track called Cool or Composure or something. Now you can have Social combat with maybe opposing rolls.
For example your Quip vs my Retort, damage equals the rank of your skill plus 1d6 as usual for a raise on the attack.

Depending on the types of new social skills I’m sure you could find that even a winner in certain social combats could find themselves victims of fallout based on their lack of tact due to witnesses of the argument. Reputation and such being hit as they were found to be quite crude or whatever.

Now that I’m thinking this through I wonder if the three existing skills are just enough. Maybe a Retort generic that’s only good for defending. Then maybe create a rock, paper, scissors mini game. You choose your approach for the round and both you and the target reveal at the same time and then say your thing and make your roll.
Persuasion gets +2 versus Taunt, Taunt gets +2 versus Intimidation, and Intimidation gets +2 vs Persuasion.

On your fourth ‘Wound’ in the Social track you are forced to exit the scene.

To make physical combat less attractive just make it so that Physical Damage from weapons cannot be soaked while Social Damage can. That may take away a bit of the pulpiness.

Just spitballing.


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You could use Maelstrom Gothic as a starting point and mix in stuff from Maelstrom Domesday and Maelstrom Fantasy Add-ons.

But I think the Maelstrom Gothic should gives you most things you are looking for


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LexOccutum, as noted up-thread, sounds ideal setting-wise. If, however, you find the BRP rules a little too crunchy for your tastes, I'd look to use another system. Hoo boy, does LO have some heft to it ruleset wise.


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I would look to Triple Ace Games line of Ubiquity system materials which would let you pick and choose the supplements you wanted to flesh out your setting.

Bruce Redux

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Shivering Circle may be worth a look. The author, Howard David Ingram, has written a great book about folk horror movies, and covers related subjects on his blog in an ongoing way. I like the game for horror purposes because it focuses on what qualities in your character's self are getting pushed and risked when they try to get things done, and it seems like this'd work nicely for your purposes.



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Ghastly Affair might be worth a look, too. It's built to emulate early gothic horror novels and assumes by default a late 18th/early 19th century setting. The rules are basically a very stripped-down Basic D&D hack, but there's a lot of neat stuff in there. And it's free. https://engineoforacles.wordpress.com/downloads/
Ghastly Affair is some really great material. I've got both the printed books (GM and Player), and it's a useful set of resources. The author's blog has a good amount of inspirational articles as well.
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