The First Week of October
Whenever thou would’st call forth Those from Outside, thou must mark well the seasons and times in which the spheres do intersect and the influences flow from the Void.Al Azif also known as Necronomicon
Thou must observe the cycle of the Moon, the movements of the planets, the Sun’s course through the Zodiac and the rising of the constellations.
This is a game about the Game or rather about Games. We break the wall between board and computer games, between games, literature, and cinema. Sooner or later, the game’s magical rituals may even enter the real world. They even may be effective.
The plot and rules of the game (and the Game as well) are largely inspired by Roger Zelazny’s book “A Night in the Lonesome October”. However, many characters are borrowed from other sources. In addition to Zelazny and Lovecraft, we plan to pay tribute to Abraham Grace Merritt, Gustav Meyrink, and many others. Sooner or later, the monsters by Edgar Allan Poe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Nikolai Gogol will also join our setting.
When the full moon falls on Halloween, the boundaries between the worlds become thinner and the gates protecting our World from the Ancient Ones may be unlocked. A complex and dangerous magic ritual called the Great Game will decide, whether the Gates will be opened wide (and then the Ancient Ones will be able to walk the earth again), or sealed until the next special full moon. The strongest occultists, witches, magicians, mediums, and even mythical creatures (such as vampires and werewolves) flock to the place of the ritual to play their part in it. The ritual involves the coordinated participation of two warring parties, and each Player has different motivations to choose the side.
Is that true that the Ancient Ones so evil, cruel and inhuman, or is it a lie by those who overthrew them and expelled them from our world? Players who want to change this world at all costs are ready to take risks and appeal to the Ancient Ones for the sake of knowledge and freedom, even if there is a risk of plunging the whole world into bloody madness. For others, hecatombs, mass slaughter, blood, death, and the collapse of humanity are the true goals. There are Players, who are ready to sacrifice everything to preserve this world and prevent it from slipping into the abyss of chaos and cruelty. Some believe that the world is already mired in cruelty and sins, but they find it to their benefit and pleasure. Both supporters and opponents of changes can be cruel and noble, vile and selfless.
However, it’s unlikely that anyone can do without cruelty. Magic at this level needs sacrifice, both figuratively and literally, and it is very difficult to keep your hands clean. Unless you have gloves.
Players traditionally have Familiars, animal companions, whose unique abilities help to prepare for Great Game. The preparation itself takes thirty October nights, as players acquire the ingredients for a great ritual and perform small rituals that allow them to gain power. In search of ingredients, they will have to dig up graves at the cemetery, look for rare plants in the forests and swamps, and walk along the streets of a small provincial town, looking for man-made things that could be useful in magical affairs.
Monsters will be waiting for you in every location, be it ghouls devouring dead flesh, vengeful forest spirits or drunk townspeople, who do not like suspicious strangers. However, any such encounter can turn out to be good for you. A person or a monster can be subdued to the Player’s will and turned into a useful servant. Or just be killed and used in a ritual, the decision is up to you.
It is also very important to get to know other Players, to identify who of them is the enemy, and who is the ally. You will have to rely on logic, intuition and a little bit on magic. But remember: any information you receive can be misleading, right up to the climax you won’t know for sure who is your friend and who is your enemy.
Battles between Players are possible, but even after killing the enemies, you are unlikely to get rid of them. Any death before the night of October 31 does not end the game, it only changes the rules a little bit. A dead Player may return as a vengeful ghost.
In addition to your health, you should be aware of your sanity. Dark magic can push you onto the path of madness, and if you go too far along this path, the consequences can be unpredictable. It is also worth taking care of your reputation because you do not want a crowd of locals with pitchforks to burn your house down, destroying everything that you gathered.
Next week we will talk about the Hexagram, which is the heart of the game’s magical and combat systems.