It’s the forties. You live in a bayside city that’s secretly under the control of an insect cult, and tonight you’re going to prove it.
So, EXUVIAE has been up for two weeks on Kickstarter, happily having hit 156% of its initial target. We’ve passed one stretch goal already, so have almost half a dozen cocktails inspired by the game going into the final book, and we’re edging towards a point where we’ll be able to share the short film that Tom Thornton and I are working on with all of the backers.
If you’ve yet to back EXUVIAE and love playing investigative RPGs but lack the time to develop sufficiently interesting stories, then EXUVIAE is the game for you.
You’ve even a couple of weeks to try out the game by backing a single pound before deciding how much you want to invest.
Have you played EXUVIAE yet? I’d love to hear how your games went in the comments!
There’s a secret scratching beneath the surface of this town. A secret that Annie Bishop and “Big Al” Halifax are going to split open for the whole world to see. A secret powered by my completed EXUVIAE rules, within two and a half hours and with no preparation whatsoever.
Annie Bishop works the taxidermy store at the top of town. It’s a stuffy job, but she’s got the stomach for the work and the intermittent deliveries of Big Al. So, Big Al pulls up outside her house one morning, having “hit something” on the freeway again, but there’s something up with this moose. Intricate patterns have been carved into its skin — though clearly not by any knife or claw that Al’s familiar with. He hauls the carcass into her house — the symbols are weirdly familiar both to south American ancient cultures, but also European and Asian paganism too — though what’s less than familiar is the fact the moose’s liver has calcified into a lump of granite.
The two are both hot up on their conspiracies — Annie reads a ton of occult books and their authors tend to take too much seriously, and Al is a regular listener of those radio stations where you’re allowed to speak out against the vampire lizards. This stoneliver is clearly a sign: and probably tied to the fact that the florist opposite Annie’s taxidermy shop was broken into a few days back, but still no cops have turned up to turn the place over.
So the two hit up the florist: Al taking his usual subtlety with a heavy kick to the door. Inside is dark, and the place stinks of rotting lilies and bloating flesh. There’s a body on the floor and someone rooting through the pockets, but this guy stands up and holds his hands into the air.
But then, see, the body on the floor, it sits bolt upright. Al spooks, throws his wrench at the guy with his hands up — guy whose head snaps back with a flailing proboscis. Annie flees the scene, but is barged to the floor by some heavy who steps into the doorway.
The clearly-not-a-corpse has gotten to its feet by this point and grabbed Al, who stares transfixed at the empty eye sockets of the thing. By the time he breaks free, a steady stream of mosquitoes pour from the sockets, and Annie’s looking through Al’s truck for something to lever open the nearby hydrant.
Except that she sees someone over the road and is promptly interrupted by her mother, who’s not only clearly friends with the brute who knocked Annie to the floor, but also friends with Al’s ex-wife who also crosses the road. The brute grabs Annie, Big Al runs into the brute’s mate out the back of the shop, and the pair wake up tied to chairs in a dockside warehouse.
This first act of the game led to the players uncovering almost half as many truths as they needed to win: and after escaping the warehouse and resting up at Al’s contact, they researched an abandoned truck-stop at the edge of town. Eventually leaving that in flames and with the corpse of a hybrid human insect in the back of a truck, the pair fled along the coast road to Annie’s father, where they eventually learned the truth of her mother’s involvement…
EXUVIAE is currently in the run-up to a Kickstarter later this year. I’m organising artwork, layout, printing, &c. However, if you want to get access to the beta reader rules then send me an email at SEANatBOOKSEANSMITHdotCOdotUK.
Please take my hand, ascend the stage,
(The lights are warm, the platform bright)
You’ll help to shape our show tonight:
Allow your sight to wander cross the page.
A word will fix firm in your mind –
Just lock it there and hold it tight,
Against your limbs don’t try to fight
But let them seize as sockets start to grind.
Put yourself in my control and
Make a PRISON of your soul;
Sit still, I’ll fill your face with ants.
The Hive will take you in its fold
And nurture you, and make you old,
The Queen will hatch her children in your brain.
This post will be of particular interest if you are well/partially versed in the game that is Magic: The Gathering. Give it a try even if you’re unaware.
Mid-November, I read an article of Inkwell Looter’s on Gathering Magic about a new MTG format called Filth Casserole. Essentially, it’s a Constructed variant of 50 card Modern singleton; which means that you can use any card from Eight Edition onwards, although only once (with the exception of basic lands).
I’ve been a fan of restrictions for a long while, especially when connected to a game as open ended as Magic, and the restriction of deck-size and construction rules make it really interesting. What’s perhaps most appealing to me as a “Casual investor”, is that it allows me to build decks around one or two cards – especially choice rares that I happen to open. (The vampire deck below came into being because I opened a Stromkirk Noble.) The smaller deck size makes for further restriction of what can be included, but allows for an interesting amount of consistency.
How have I dealt with the restriction? Mostly, I’ve tended towards creating themed decks. I really like the concept of the format, and really enjoy building decks for it – at least have done so far. My favourite theme decks I share with you below – an aggressive RB vampire deck that allows you to repeatedly pummel opponents while calling out “I am a wampyr!”, and a slower, more controlling GU deck based around insects and themed heavily on a recurring character from my horror short stories called Gustav May.
These two decks are currently sleeved up and paired together – even if they haven’t been built as duel decks, they provide interesting foils to each other, and hopefully a good real-world introduction to the format to any MTG players I chance across.
What I like about the way I’ve been creating these decks is that I create a basic theme and allow a couple of subthemes to creep in – such as a vampire’s captivating and compelling nature. I’ve been designing these decks somewhat open ended in the hopes that they’d suit multiplayer games. Inkwell Looter has mostly focused the format on duels at the moment, as has Marcus Bastian in his post on the format, but I think that the format would lend itself brilliantly to multiplayer in all its glorious variety.
Either way, I tend to include a few what-ifs to help with whatever comes my way.
The paired decks I’ve created are as follows – and mostly based on what I can get my hands on. My favourite thing about singleton formats, though, is that if I can’t find one thing, there are several alternate versions that can take the deck in a different direction. Watch out for interesting synergies, such as Delver of Secrets plus Reclaim, or Traitorous Blood plus Altar’s Reap.
// Deck: Gustav May (50) // Lands 10 Forest 1 Inkmoth Nexus 9 Island // Creatures 1 Blightwidow 1 Delver of Secrets 1 Necropede 1 Phyrexian Swarmlord 1 Somberwald Spider 1 Tangle Mantis // Spells 1 Asceticism 1 Carrion Call 1 Contagion Engine 1 Dissipate 1 Fog 1 Frightful Delusion 1 Gitaxian Probe 1 Grasp of Phantoms 1 Hysterical Blindness 1 Leeching Bite 1 Lost in the Mist 1 Memory’s Journey 1 Overrun 1 Pistus Strike 1 Psychic Barrier 1 Rampant Growth 1 Reclaim 1 Shrine of Piercing Vision 1 Silent Departure 1 Spidery Grasp 1 Steady Progress 1 Tel-Jilad Defiance 1 Trigon of Infestation 1 Twisted Image
If you want to make your own Filth Casserole deck, here are the rules:
How to Make a Casserole
1. Your deck has a minimum of fifty cards.
2. You can only have a single copy of any card other than basic lands.
3. Legal card sets and banned cards are the same as for the Modern format.
4. No sideboards (so Glittering Wish is bad; sorry).
5. All the other usual stuff applies. 20 life, mulligans, blah, blah, blah.
If you want a game, either find me out in North London, or on Magic: Online as seanfsmith.