Reliquary Game Studios

The Mystical Clockwork World

While we took a very “hard science” approach to technology within the Clockwork World, we obviously didn’t have that option with respect to the supernatural. Rather, we took a “hard mythology” perspective. Keeping with the “a single step from reported history” methodology that runs through the whole setting, we exhaustively researched the supernatural beliefs of the time. The result is a mixture of obscure biblical references, apocryphal texts, ancient lore, unearthed fairy tales, occult writings, and reports from less reputable newspapers.

Natural Magic, Ceremonial Magic, and Alchemy are based largely on the writings of contemporary mystics such as A.E. Waite and Francis Barrett, medieval mystics such as Heinrich Agrippa, ancient mystics such as Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus, and people involved in the Spiritualism movement such as Thomas Edison and Cora L. V. Scott. The Faith Miracles system is based on the writings of the Christian Bible and other holy texts, while the Glamour system is based on legends and period folk and fairy tales. The source material allows us to ground the flavor of the magic systems into the beliefs and suppressions held in the historical 1896. Again, this moves toward our goal of creating a believable “unbelievable world.”

This source material solidifies into two different types of transcendent powers. The Faith and Glamour systems offer straightforward abilities with narrow applications. This interpretation holds true to the source material and offers a way for characters to have access to a single supernatural ability or a collection of them. Natural/Ceremonial Magic and Alchemy each offer a systematic method for creating very specific results from very broad building blocks. Also, while Faith and Glamour offer more immediate results, the Magic and Alchemy systems tend to emulate the lengthy ritualized processes from Victorian fiction and mysticism.

In the end, these transcendent powers offer a mystical flavor to the world without overwhelming it. These rules help your players explore  the mystical aspects of the Clockwork World without swallowing up the mundane aspects of Victorian society that make it so full of drama.