Asylum is an adventure tabletop roleplaying game set in a hard-boiled urban fantasy world that parallels our own. Players take the roles of covert magical contractors involved in clandestine adventures. The name of the game is both a major theme, single-word description, and main in-game organization. Player characters are members or affiliates of Asylum, which is dedicated to a world where supernatural creatures (Outsiders) and regular humans (Insiders) can live together in harmony.
Asylum is a political movement.
Beginning early in the last century, beings both Inside and Outside began to see changes in the world. In those changes they saw an opportunity: they envisioned a place where the differences between Inside and Outside could be erased. The Earth could be something unique in all the universe. It could be a world where all beings could peacefully coexist, cooperate and learn from one another.
Asylum is a secret society.
It had been a long grey autumn of discontent. The air had become cool and thin enough to let the winter chill come spilling around the edges of the buildings and trees. Strong breezes splashed cascades of red and brown leaves down on the ancient village. From the patchwork quilt of yards and farmsteads, the smell of dug up earth mingled with apples, pumpkins and wallflowers. Late blooms rang uncomfortably beside the dirt roads like lingering memories.
In our last installment we discussed the ideas and goals that are guiding Asylum. We’re going to take a closer look now at how it works in practice. Using everything we discussed, we sat down and asked what exactly makes an RPG an RPG. What happens? What are the working parts?
As the other designer and co-creator of Asylum, I normally focus on the fictional bits and let Ben and his incredible mind handle the mathemagic and elegant balance we try to put into our system. That’s kind of a false distinction, though. Ben’s ideas have created vast swathes of the game’s setting and my input has resolved some very tricky system issues.
Well we haven't done this in a while, so we decided to start in our comfort zone. . .
Asylum kicks off another year of public appearances, play tests and general tomfoolery with a visit to Boston and PAX Prime! Look for us in the RPG area on Saturday afternoon.
If you're in the New England area and would like to visit, grab beta playtest packets or just want to bust a cold chill with us. Let us know here or on Twitter!
We've been busy putting together material for the public release of the Asylum playtest packet. It probably won't be ready for a little while, but if you're itching to try Asylum out we're going to be running it at two gaming events in the next couple of weeks. The first event is Escapist Expo in Durham, North Carolina. We'll be running Asylum in the table-top area on Friday, October 4th from 6pm to 10 pm, and then again on Saturday, October 5th, from 2 to 6 pm.
No Design Diary this week, as I'm getting over a nasty case of Bronchitis. I do want to tell you about some more public playtests that are on the way! Our next big event is the Escapist Expo in Durham, North Carolina. We'll be playtesting Asylum in the table-top area on Friday, October 4th from 6pm to 10 pm, and then again on Saturday, October 5th, from 2 to 6. We have a couple of very polished playtest modules to run for you, so you can get a sense of how the game's shaping up and maybe give us more feedback.
The road was an oily black ribbon unraveling quickly ahead of them. The car blew through the bends, crooks and hollows with the low, loud scream of a man falling from the sky. Inside, Huck turned and craned looking for their pursuers. The forest canopy's dark, flickering static blotted everything out. Somewhere behind it, giant black shapes scattered and swung. The only way Huck still knew they were there were shifting pinpricks of light and sudden rushes of wind. It was as though the night sky itself reached down with huge silky hands to sift through the trees.