The year is 1897 and every group has received an invitation to send its most prominent and important members to a diplomatic summit where new and revised agreements can be created to bring the groups together in solidarity against outside threats. There will be discussions, but there will also be a banquet and a ball, to hopefully celebrate the newly formed alliance. The hosts of this gathering are the newest magical society in existence – the Esoteric Institute of Louisiana. They are currently unaligned with any other particular group, and many of the other organizations have been courting their technology-focused magicians in attempts to increase the power of their own factions.
Each player will receive a character from one of the following 8 factions, which they will receive well ahead of the game.
- The Esoteric Institute of Louisiana
- The Theosophical Society of New England
- The White Horse Adventurers Club
- Uncle Theo’s Cirque du Freak
- The Order of Cernunnos
- The Beacon Hill Players
- The Sentinels
- The Eclipsed
The arcane scientists of the Esoteric Institute are relative newcomers to the magical scene, only recently forming in 1893. They are however, part of a much older tradition of innovative minds stretching back to the court alchemists of the Middle Ages. They represent those intrepid souls who ask the daring questions and seek the answers that never occur to most people; those who blur the lines between science and the arcane, and, some say, between right and wrong.
When it comes to magic, the Theosophical Society knows the truth: arcane power is a means to an end. Anyone can build a city, even a nation, but to make a truly great society requires exceptional individuals to lead it and to wield the power required to forge it. Wealth, influence, knowledge, and raw magical skill are all tools to this end. From their high society drawing rooms, parlors, and salons these sorcerers shape the very future of the human race.
White Horse Adventurer’s Club
By its very nature, the arcane is hidden from the ken of normal folk, but there is ancient knowledge and power out there waiting to be discovered by those bold enough to seek it out. The explorers and sages of the White Horse Adventurer’s Club are sorcerer-pioneers; intrepid trailblazers cutting swathes through the wilderness to uncover long forgotten ruins, brilliant scholars plumbing the dusty halls of ancient libraries, and wealthy noble patrons devoted to the traditional hermetic sorcerous arts of western civilization.
Uncle Theo’s Cirque du Freak
One of the oldest magical societies in the New World, Uncle Theo’s Cirque du Freak is home to the outcast, the grotesque, and the mysterious, perhaps none more so than the eponymous Uncle Theo himself, a reclusive figure shrouded in myth and secrecy. The show itself travels at will across much of America on the growing railroad network, bringing the disturbing and the wondrous to the mundane masses while bringing arcane information and occult services to the other magical societies.
Order of Cernunnos
In this era of near constant change and innovation, there remain those devoted to preserving the Old Ways. The druidic acolytes of the Order of Cernunnos are insular and reclusive pagans, eschewing modernity and the comforts of life in large urban centers in favor of a more basic existence in the rural countryside. While such ascetic spiritualism naturally leads to a certain disconnection from society outside their enclaves, their rigorous devotion makes them some of the most powerful sorcerers in the western world, and they are long rumored to have dabbled in magics forbidden by other societies.
Beacon Hill Players
Few magical societies so readily evoke the fantastical and light the fire of imagination in both the mundane and the Enlightened as the Beacon Hill Players. Practicing their rare and eclectic brand of sorcery, this motley troupe of thespians, writers, musicians and other creatives pull the threads of inspiration and imagination to draw mystical power from the collective minds of their audiences, and some rumors say, exert influence over those same spectators.
There are strange and terrible things lurking just out of sight; the things that go bump in the night. The Sentinels are humanity’s last and best line of defense against those that would prey upon the innocent and ignorant, devoting their lives to battling the darkness. Rather than a single, large organization, they are a conglomerate of different cells cooperating with one another to bring the fight to the hidden monsters, witches, and rogue sorcerers who threaten humanity. They are the Hunters of Darkness; the boogeymen that the supernatural beings of the world warn their children about.
Not everyone touched by magic comes away the better for it. Some are scarred by the experience, forever changed in irreparable ways. Terrible curses, warping magic forces, and conditions such as vampirism or lycanthropy can twist normal people into terrifying monsters. Forever turned from the light and cursed to remain hidden from hunters, these Eclipsed are damned souls consigned to the darkness. Many such victims succumb to the horror of these afflictions, but a rare few manage to fight the corruption, escape the hunters, and survive. Some fewer still have come together under a single banner, their goals, beyond mutual survival, unfathomable. They are an unknown quantity, a random element in the already volatile mixture of America’s magical societies.
Themes of the Game
The Armistice Arcane is a game of intrigue, high politics, gothic horror, and magic. We explore themes that are both light and dark in nature – friendship, alliance, working with our enemies, diplomacy, paranoia, fear, and anger. Many of these characters are outcasts from society, and some of them have lost everything they love. We also look at the nature of good and evil and ask questions about what truly makes a person a monster. This is not a game for children or for those who are easily disturbed by exploration of any of the above. The Armistice Arcane aims to see what happens when we push the limits of “acceptability” set forth by society, and what happens when our actions come back to haunt us.