Edge of Midnight:The Wicked Gaze
A Rough Guide to Central City
The game takes place in Central City, an equivalent to Chicago; it is deep winter and the lake to the north has frozen over again. Given here is a short introduction to the game...
Shaving a Monkey
- A list of proposed changes to The Egde of Midnight RPG system, intended to make it a little more fun to play.
- Attributes stay, but skills are out: players choose Traits instead.
- The 2d10 roll stays, but now you are simply looking to get under your chosen Attribute/Trait combination, not reach an arbitary target by adding your rolls to your scores.
- The Trait you choose adds 'spin' to your action in the form of subsidiary goals or outcomes, e.g. you use the Brawn attribute to knock down a door, but add spin with a trait to do it quickly, quietly, menacingly, destructively, carefully, etc.
- Success on both dice equals total success; failure on both equals total failure; success on one die opens a negotiation of the outcomes & consequences.
- Characters start with vigor equal to Build (instead of x5); every success on an unblocked combat action causes a loss of vigor; the loss of all vigor causes the character to fatigue one of their Traits.
- A fatigued trait uses a different coloured dice than normal, so you cannot choose which die corresponds to which score after your roll. If a fatigued trait is fatigued again, it becomes exhausted and can no longer be used, until the character takes some time to recover. If all traits are exhausted, the character is retired.
- Individual character aspects, namely Backgrounds and Professions, will be modified to these revisions on a case by case basis.
Quick Start Guide
If you have a spare 5 minutes to think about the basic outlines of your character but don't have access to the core rules, here are the basics for creating a character:
- There are six attributes; each character has 30 points to spend on these, but may not start with any attribute score at higher than 8. A score of 0 in any attribute indicates some severe disability that will prevent the character from ever taking the type of action governed by the attribute. The six attributes are:
- Brains: Book learning and knowledge.
- Brawn: Physical strength.
- Build: Health and endurance.
- Gut: Intuition and observation.
- Moxie: Social interaction and self-control.
- Smoothness: Speed and mobility.
- Each character has 35 points to spend on Traits (this step replaces Skills in the core rulebook); Traits are as standard in games such as Cold City, SotC, DitV and numerous others.
- Each character may have up to three Backgrounds, which are little snippets of character story that also provide a mechanical advantage. Some are combat related, some provide extra skill points (which in this case will translate to extra Trait points for slightly narrower, more focusses traits) and some raise your attributes whilsy also giving you other secondary benefits.
- Each character may have a Profession, if you so wish; the main purpose of professions is to determine the everyday routine of the characters and provide them with a steady income; they may also provide mechanical benefits but also place obligations or expectations on the character.
Warlocks & Gaunts
The world of the game is much like any large American city in the mid to late 1940s, but with the addition of the supernatural; this comes in the forms of Warlocks, who have found the 'loopholes' in the laws of physics and can bend the physical universe to their will, and Gaunts, ghoulish/troll-like figures, the victims of an unidentified condition that strikes without warning and turns an ordinary human being into a gaunt over the course of a few weeks.
- Warlocks are tightly controlled; the use of magic is strictly prohibited and the authorities only employ a handful of overworked, under-appreciated warlocks at any time. The use of magic during a crime is on a parallel to the use of firearms; the simple act of practicing unlicensed magic is akin to being a drug dealer in terms of social acceptability. All magic works by altering the physical properties of objects in a gross way, by means of manipulating fundamental forces, e.g. thermal energy, kinetic energy, gravity, magnetism, etc.
- Gaunts are generally much stronger & tougher than any normal human could dream of; other features of gauntism have included improved night vision and natural armaments, but these are not universal. What is common to all gaunts is that they cannot practice magic and they drain the arcane energies of any warlock in their vicinity; they also drain the vitality of all normal human beings, but this is a slower process that takes days of prolonged exposure before it produces a measurable effect. This has provided a legitimised excuse for segregating gaunts into their own ghettoes within the cities, but their is also a lot of prejudice against them on top of this.
Here are some of the movers & shakers, or bystanders & victims, from The Wicked Gaze.
- Paul Calendar aka Paolo Calendri. A powerful businessman with shady friends, he owns The Savage Indian bar and grew up on the wrong side of the tracks alongside Charles Lokni. Played by Scott Dorward
- Ross McDonald. A succesful PI who left his work in the Crystal Ball division of the Central City PD over an internal scandal; he kept his Warlock's license in the deal that ousted him. Played by Neil Smith
- Alan Steeleye, MD. A therapist who spent many years in the field as a doctor, before being abducted by a terrorist group and held hostage for 18 months. He is well connected to the Family. Played by Jef Lay
- Anastasia Price. A cat-burglar and dangerous femme fatale from back east, where she grafted herself onto unsuccessful PI Nathaniel Dusk; with her help, he is rather more succesful at recovering money for clients who have been ripped off. Played by James Hollywood
- Charles Lokni. Ex-boxer, now bar tender at The Savage Indian, he is playing all sides of the game; working for Calendar, paying protection to the mob and snitching to the police. Played by David Arthur
- Tad Hudson. An ex-special operative for the government of the United Commonwealth, before he contracted gauntism and left his past behind him with his identity. Employed by Natalie Calendar as a bodyguard.
- The Victim: Nicholas Barrow. A rival to Paul Calendar, murdered in back room No.2 of The Savage Indian, he had interests in the stag movie industry, but his twist was getting normal women to 'act' alongside gaunts! It seems that Henry Dawson had partnered him in this business recently. He had also hired Ross to dig into Paul's life and business for him, looking for anything he could exploit to drive Calendar out of his Gaunttown interests.
- Det. Insp. Flaherty and Det. Saunders. The cops working the case, they have spoken to Paul, Allan and Charles so far.
- Dr. Garden. The coroner who who performed an autopsy on Barrow.
- Henry Dawson. An ex-business partner of Paul's who somehow managed to get out from the crippling deal he had to become a successful businessman in his own right. He operates The Pussycat Club and had entered into a partnership with Barrow.
- Leo Gale. Dawson's capable lieutenant, who also has a connection to Natalie Calendar.
- Don Calvini and Luigi. The Godfather and one of his go-betweens, Charles has had dealings with both of them.
- Natalie Calendar. Paul's younger sister, seen by McDonald making a stag movie in Gaunttown and talking to Gale.
- Sylvia Grogan. Charles' girlfriend and a reporter for the Central City Chronicle.
- Jean Stiger and Max Bryce. Political activists, anarchists, bank robbers, both now dead, but Max was one of the men who held Allan hostage for 18 months, so Allan killed him medically.
- Douglas Filmore. Provided film stock and other cinematic services for Barrow, Charles crippled him on Paul's orders.
- Iain Dempsey. A warlock who duped many gaunts into following his cult 5 years ago, promising them dominance over the world. He was actually killing gaunts as part of his bizarre beliefs; Ross left the police department after his investigation into the Dempsey case went sour.
- Jennie & Josephine McCullen. Tad's wife and daughter from before he contracted gauntism.
- Dorothy. Leo Gale's neighbour, who witnessed his hedonistic parties.
- Joe Zylek. Another terrorist/kidnapper from the Brotherhood of Enoch.
- The Brotherhood of Enoch. A 'vigilante' organisation with links to the Masons; it appears that Max, Joe and Tad are all connected to this.
- Antonyn Rogers. Mafia connected father of Lucy, has a history with Ross.
- Louis Barr. Respected figure in the Children of Nu; spoke to Ross but was killed later by Anastasia.
- Joseph. Protected by the Brotherhood, he is the Murderer.
- Patricia Calvini. The Don's daughter and a warlock, she has a history with Tad.
- Lucy Rogers. A girl subjected to an experimental procedure by Allan to remove her magical tendencies, it gave her a complete personality change, after which she vanished...
- Police Chief Desmond Burnside. Bent copper/demonic entity.
- Judas Iscariot. AKA 'the Iceman', betrayer of Jesus Christ and arch-sinner.
Here are some of the events, clues and revelations turned up in the wake of Barrow's murder.
- Barrow was missing his right eye when he was found in the back room of The Savage Indian but later, in the mortuary, both eyes were missing. Also, the wound across his throat seemed a little neater, but this may have been due to the coroner's examination.
- Calendar confronted Dawson as the first step of a frame job, but was taken aback to discover that Dawson and Barrow were business partners.
- Lokni was given a knife by his Family connections and told to tell the police that he found it at the scene of the crime; he contrived to let Nathaniel Dusk discover this, while he found a message written on the wall under the blood: This is not murder.
- Steeleye took time out to secure his casenotes in a locker at the bus station, ahead of the dunb flatfoot who was trailing him. What is in these notes that he was so quick to hide from prying eyes?
- The closing paragraph of this chapters sees McDonald spying on the Gaunttown address where stag films are being made; it is here that he overhears Gale telling Natalie Calendar, "You're free now!"
- The knife given to Charles by the Family implicates Ross in the murder of Barrow, but also connects this case to the Dempsey case. It also turns out that Barrow and Dempsey have the same finger prints...
- Allan's murder of Max Bryce sets a chain of events in motion that leads to Anastasia witnessing Jean Stiger removing Max's eye; then Jean dies in flames outside The Savage Indian, which leads to Charles, Allan and Paul being taken to police HQ for further questioning.
- Tad gets an address to go to for getting involved with the Children of Nu, a pro-gaunt movement; the rumour of a $5,000 payoff is mentioned in relation to the Dempsey case.
- Leo Gale becomes the next victim of the killer and is murdered in Natalie's apartment; Ross finds Leo's right eye just before the building literally bursts into flames, suggesting the presence of a powerful warlock...
- Joe Zylek is discovered in a secret room in leo's apartment; he tells Allan, Paul and Charles about the Brotherhood of Enoch' and it's list of names, which includes Barrow, Flaherty, Leo Gale and once had Allan on it.
- In a flashback, Charles receives instructions from a senior Mason to turn a blind eye to Barrow's murder.
- Paul kills Joe Zylek as men in black try to take him away; they take Paul instead and make a deal for his release. They will get his sister Natalie out of the line of work she is in, if he will recover a file from Flaherty's office. Later, Paul sees a picture of Max Bryce, the dead bank robber, in the paper and recognises him as the man he made the deal with...
- Tad goes to see Patricia to ask for her help in finding out something about the warlock who blew up Natalie's apartment building; she takes a copy of the words that were written on the apartment wall.
- As Charles arrives at CCPDHQ for questioning in relation to the Leo Gale murder, the building is evacuated as it begins to combust thanks to more warlockery; unluckily, Paul is inside, where he has just overheard the news that Dawson has been killed in custody and something waas written on the wall where his body was found. Interestingly, the senior Mason who spoke to Charles some days ago is one of those who runs out of the building and he is identified as Dr. Garden, the coroner...
- Ross discovers, from Antonyn, that Nathaniel was the last person to see Dempsey alive.
- The Mob arranges to use The Savage Indian for a meeting the next night.
- Ross spoils a meeting between Paul and Max; Paul abducts Max and finds out about Joseph, but then kills him to stop the men in gasmasks from taking him away.
- Jean takes Allan to meet Jospeh.
- Paul and Anastasia discover the body of Leslie Gallagher in Leo Gale's apartment, where Natalie has just been, but she has been taken by the Brotherhood to 'see the Iceman.
- They head to the lakeshore warehouses to confront Douglas Filmore, but his building is housing a meeting of the Children of Nu! Paul turns this to his advantage.
- Also at the lakeshore, Charles stumbles into Natalie and her abductors, preparing to drive across the ice; he joins them and ends up seeing a man buried under the ice...
- Joseph makes Allan an offer, but will he refuse?
- Judas is released from the ice and taken to CCPDHQ by the cast of characters, where a siege takes place, ending in a grenade barrage.
- Lots of other stuff happened too, but it all pales into insginificance compared to the cast discovering that this is Hell and nor are they out of it.