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The setting of Colonial Gothic

June 6, 2007

Colonial Gothic, though it is set during the dawn of the American Revolution is not a pure historical game.

As much as I love history and the period, it is next to impossible to write, play and have fun with a game set in any historical time period simply because we are in the business of writing and selling roleplaying games.

When you read about the period and the attitudes the colonist had, you discover that despite the Age of Reason, there was a strong supernatural belief. What I wanted to do, is create a world that the things that go bump in the night, do exist. Witches, devils, demons, and all the superstitions, are possible. These ides have not been new, and this idea has influenced all the games I have run that were based on the eventual finished product of Colonial Gothic.

Let’s face it, it is easy to go crazy with the period and turn Benjamin Franklin into an Alchemist or Henry Knox into a vampire hunter, but that cheapens their historical contributions. It is also seemed a bit too easy. So, I initially created a world where there are two wars going on.

Through the design process with people like Monica Valentinelli and Matt McElroy, the second war has evolved.

One is the war that everyone sees–the American Revolution.

The other is the war against the Darkness.

There is something not right about the world of Colonial Gothic. There is something darker, malicious, and purposeful lurking in the shadows.

Let me quote from the Colonial Gothic Rulebook for a second. This comes straight out of the Primer:

No one knows what is causing this world to go awry, not even the Natives who have lived in the New World for many, many years. The Natives, because they have a relationship with the land most Colonists can only dream about, do understand one thing more clearly than anyone else, though. Whatever evil has infected their lands, it is spreading like a plague. There is more villainy now than there ever have been, and it is up to your Hero to stand against it.

The horror that lurks, is an ancient horror. It is a horror that has existed, and still exists.

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