Imp of the Perverse
Imp of the Perverse
Imp of the Perverse is set in a Gothic America of the 1830s-40s where monsters are real. One player takes on the role of the Editor, who creates monsters and sets the stage for the rest of the players, who take on period-appropriate Dramatis Personae, to fight against the horrors that stalk the night. These protagonists are people who have an Imp of the Perverse on their own shoulders, impelling them to commit terrible deeds. Only by fighting those who have given in to their own Imps, and literally transformed into creatures of the night, can they gain redemption and reject their Imp - but the struggle itself continually tempts them to embrace their perversity and become damned.
The core mechanic of the game is a simple d6-based system that represents the tension between perversity and humanity. While the odds are in the Imps favor, it is certainly possible to fight to regain humanity, and end your story free of perversion. However, if and when a protagonist finally falls to the Imp, they become a monster - and their player is invited to become the Editor for the next Chapter, finishing the story of the unfortunate soul as it is hunted down by its former companions.
The game plays out in a series of linked Chapters. Each Chapter concerns the hunt for a single monster, and is generally playable in 1-3 sessions of face-to-face play. This accommodates rotating attendance, with players dropping in and out of individual Chapters, but it also rewards long-term play with the same protagonists, as you explore their long-term journey and construct your own unique Gothic world of horror around your Dramatis Personae that reflects your interests and their successes…and their failures.
Imp of the Perverse is set during the decades of the Jacksonian Era of American history, which happens to coincide with the majority of the creative life of Edgar Allan Poe: the 1830s and 1840s. This is both thematically resonant and incredibly tumultuous - cities were growing, new technologies that enabled unprecedented communication and trade were invented and new lands were being explored (and exploited). Social relationships were constantly renegotiated along familial, ethnic, geographic and professional lines, creating a dense web of networks that all influenced each other.
Protagonists in this game are embedded in this society, linked to those around them by bonds of career, family, marriage and personal interest. The presence of a monster frays these bonds, and the slow dissolution of normality around the protagonists is creates tension and motivates them in their hunt just as much as their internal struggle.
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