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In this revised edition, Wretched Époque has transformed from a standalone game into an immersive setting. As such, to fully delve into this world, you will require the Wretched Role-Playing Game core book, an alternative set of OSR rules, or even another type of role-playing game system.
Within these pages, you will find not only a seamless integration of Époque with the new Wretched mechanics, but also an abundance of enriched content. Explore the Belle Époque era across the globe, unravel the intricate web of nefarious adversaries and factions, and discover an array of plot hooks and game mastering hints.
Wretched Époque takes place in the period known as the Belle Époque, which is dated between 1871 and 1914, ending when World War I started.
This is the time and the fictional place where Umberto Eco’s Simone Simonini - the most cynical and disagreeable character in the History of literature, as the author meant him to be - crosses paths with Jacques Tardi’s Adèle Blanc-Sec, Edgar Allan Poe’s Chevalier Auguste Dupin and Maurice Leblanc’s Arsène Lupin, amidst anarchist bombings, the echoes of the Dreyfus affair, the catastrophic side effects of secret societies conspiring in the shadows and the mysterious results of experiences conducted by mad geniuses. Not yet pulp, not quite historical, it is neither the right time nor the right mood for Steampunk or Dieselpunk, this is the time of Nouveaupunk.
In this scenario, the PCs take the roles of agents of the Criminal Brigade tasked with investigating a sensitive case: The abduction of a wealthy family's only child. It should take place in late 19th century or early 20th century Paris, as in most Wretched Époque scenarios.
The pinnacle of anguish, where existence for many is a barren, winding path of dust. The Borderline is a realm teeming with an elusive energy that can contort and deceive its inhabitants without their knowledge. The corruption you sense is deeply internal, manifesting in subtle physical transformations that often go unnoticed. As you traverse this domain, you’ll encounter bizarre sights, but the true horror lies within the tumultuous inner beasts residing in those who dwell along the Borderline. A torrential dance of energies emanates from two intertwined souls: Verkin and its enigmatic counterpart, Ershey. These entities embody a tempest of wrongs, a maelstrom of darkness.
This energy holds no meaning for some, and they remain oblivious to its extraordinary power. Yet the Borderline, once ventured into, has the potential to irrevocably alter you, granting rewards or exacting terrible costs. Your fate hinges on how you navigate the trials concealed within this boundless desert, replete with shadowy enclaves, caverns, and mysteries. This guide offers insight into this desolate expanse. You will discover its settlements and denizens, most of whom regard outsiders with distrust and hostility.
Drawing inspiration from various literary works, The Den takes you on a journey through the world of opium, delving into the complexities of drug use and abuse. Among the key influences are Thomas de Quincey’s mesmerizing Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1822, revised 1851/52) and William Burroughs’ compelling Junkie and The Yage Diaries, a fascinating correspondence between Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. To enrich your understanding, we also recommend R.D. Laing’s The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness, Graham Hancock’s Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind, Rick Strassman’s DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences, Robert Tindall’s The Jaguar that Roams the Mind: An Amazonian Plant Spirit Odyssey, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s timeless classic the Sherlock Holmes series.