Shadowlands Games presents Raven 

A Gothic Horror and Cursed Magic role-playing game inspired by the works of

Edgar Allan Poe and created by Daniel P. Espinosa

Raven is A New Roleplaying Game of Gothic Horror and Cursed Magic inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe

COMING SOON

It has been ever since Lord Poe founded the city and the Order, ever since he was corrupted by the cursed magic and they killed him.

You are the current members of the Corvus family, and descendents of the founder of the Order of the Mist and the very city of Raven. This is a cursed city, located in a lost continent during the 19th century of a different world. An utterly isolated place, Raven lies on the other side of an uncrossable ocean, and was reached by its founder after suffering innumerable losses. Here, your ancestor… our ancestor Poe’s tales and poems infuse the atmosphere, the myths and the curses that plague the city’s inhabitants and all of you.

As you know only too well, each night a mist descends upon the city, stealing the souls of anyone foolish enough to choose to venture into it, rather than remain in the warmth of their homes. Meanwhile, day and night, hour after hour, the ravens keep watch from every rooftop, every tree, every window. These black and silent wardens are said to carry off the souls of anyone lost in the mist to the land of the dead. To the Other Side. To the home of the cursed mist. And there, they are devoured by the ravens.

And as for the mist… Well, little can be said except that it was brought here by that ancestor of ours, after he was corrupted by the forbidden magic of the old Lodge he found here in Raven. As a consequence, we, the Corvus family, have lived for two hundred years as a family of cursed aristocrats and magic practitioners. The Order distrusts us… distrusts you, and schemes behind your backs. And the ghosts of the mist have always tempted us to follow the path of Lord Poe.

I know what your lives are like, as mine was just the same… before I lost my soul. It matters not when you read this letter. I know you are living in the shadows of parents that both love you and fill you with fear, in an immense ancestral mansion, where silent servants walk the corridors and mysteries and shadows lurk around every corner. And, of course, as good Corvuses, you each have your secrets, your magic, your loved ones… and your own curses.

But do not confess to anything. The day will soon come when you fall into the abyss of the Order of the Mist’s conspiracies and the forgotten mysteries of the old city of Raven. Your fate, therefore, is either to save your souls or become like your ancestors, like me, and follow the path of corruption towards the mist and the Other Side. Because this is how it has always been. Because you, we, are Corvuses.

Enter Raven.

Enter the Mist.

Technical specifications of the basic book:

· over 300 full colour pages.

· 21.6 x 27.90 cm.

Author: Daniel P. Espinosa

Illustrators: Abigail Larsson and Andrés Sáez, “Marlock”.

System: Maelstrom.

Raven is a gothic horror and cursed magic role-playing game inspired by the work of Edgar Allan Poe and set in a fictional world that bears a certain resemblance to 19th-century North America. The story unfolds in an old aristocratic city, whose streets are shrouded in an eternal mist and plagued by spectres, against which a sinister magical Order offers protection. The city harbours many secrets that date back to its founding… and before.

The city of Raven is, in itself, a great mystery, the roots of which stretch out in all directions. A city of tenebrous places and the remains of an old Lodge that brought the curse upon the city and your family. Ravens that hail from the Other Side keep watch over you from the windows of your gloomy mansion.

Raven is essentially a game of…

Dark Stories and Ghosts, providing players with the classic horror setting of haunted mansions, fascinations with spectres and curses from beyond the grave, all accompanied by Poe’s poetic and sinister tone.

Hidden Mysteries and Cursed Ruins that harbour the long-forgotten history of Raven: why the Lodge was destroyed, what caused the curse of the mist, what the Order is hiding, what your family has to do with past and present events and what secrets lurk in this mysterious mansion, your birthplace.

Ancient Conspiracies that are very much alive and are threatening to destroy the city, the Order and your family, the Corvus family.

Raven is plagued by murky threats. When you wander through the streets of the city, walk the corridors of the Corvus mansion or enter the perilous land of the dead souls from the Other Side, danger is always looming. It permeates what you see, what you hear, what you touch, what you feel. It is both the reason for and purpose of the shadows that surround you.

The Lodge, the Order of the Mist and a mysterious ancestral power

The supernatural can be manipulated, but it also has the power to corrupt. Now it is the Order that is looking to take charge of the spectres and the mist, to put an end to the curse that has settled over this land. The Order reigns and watches over the city, having destroyed the previous ruler, the evil Lodge, and banning and persecuting what remained of it. And before this, it was the so-called Ancestral Power that is said to have controlled Raven, although nothing is known about that, except its scant, incomprehensible vestiges. The Order keeps a close eye on anything supernatural, on anyone using magic and on the advancing mist. According to rumour, what remains of the Lodge is lying in wait, out of sight, biding its time for its moment of revenge.

The ravens and the cats

The ravens are everywhere and gave the city its name. They keep watch, day and night, from the rooftops, observing, waiting like psychopomps to carry off the souls of the dead… or of people they have been sent to follow. It is said that they may be messengers from the old Lodge, or perhaps something worse. A raven that looks at you or comes near is always a bad omen.

The cats inhabit the cursed home of the founder and betrayer of Raven, the Corvus mansion, which is also where your characters were born and now live. Black and antisocial, the cats are not easily found. Not even your family knows what they are, although they have repeatedly warned you against disturbing any you may happen upon. There is something unnerving in their razor-sharp stare that penetrates into the deepest part of the human soul. Fortunately, they are nearly always sleeping.

The mist

This is Raven’s greatest evil. When night falls, the streets fill with a bright white, thick and glistening mist, swarming with the silhouettes of ghosts. It devours the souls of any who are foolish enough to go outside when it is there, drawn by its perfume and irresistible allure. It seeps in through the cracks of houses, lying in wait in cursed places, and with every sunset it threatens to take back the city and restore the control it had before the protection of the Order.

The spectral beings

These are the monsters of Raven. There are no vampires or werewolves here. All beings are spectral or have been brought back to life. The shadow lurking in your bedroom in the mansion that watches you while you sleep might be the ghost of someone who has unfinished business with you. The cold draught on the back of your neck could be a parasite sucking your life after you invoked something you shouldn’t have. What appears to be a person looking at you from across the street is actually a larva, and if its eyes are locked on you then your fate will be a painful one. The love of your life may no longer be who you think they are, but rather something that replaced them a long time ago.

The Other Side

This is the land of dead souls, the place they go when they die. But it is also a white and shadowy reflection of what exists in the world of the living, the streets of Raven, its buildings, its cursed places… Surrounded by an immense sea of mist, everything there is pale, translucent, beautiful and eerie. It is populated by all kinds of spectres, from dead beings to dangerous larvae. This is where the mist and the ravens come from. In the world of the living there are cracks through which those from the Other Side can slip, cracks that can also be opened by magic practitioners who risk their souls and their sanity.

The Corvus family and your mansion

Unfortunately for you, the members of your family are the most feared and hated of all. You are the ultimate cause of everything that happens in Raven, the origin of the city’s curse, the target of ancient and sinister conspiracies. Raven’s founder was also an ancestor from the Corvus lineage, but he succumbed to evil, and the city, along with all his descendants, was cursed with the mist. Yours is a doomed bloodline and your family’s past harbours secrets that even your own characters know nothing about.

Your mansion is at the centre of the city, where the Corvus family has lived for two centuries. However, it was around before that, and its secrets date back to the origins of Raven itself. This building is truly immense and has countless rooms, nooks and crannies that are either shut up or yet to be discovered. It is a place of cursed spaces, grand family portraits, hidden crypts and spectres that might awaken at any moment.


The first time you set eyes on Raven is both a fascinating and unnerving experience. Built on a peninsula surrounded by a sea covered in a blanket of mist, its old buildings shine with the strange white stone with which they have been built. Emanating from everything is the smell of damp, the sweet and heady scent of an ancient and solemn mausoleum. It is the smell of the mist that floods the streets at night.

It is an aristocratic city, filled with mansions and parks, dominated by the powerful and watchful red marble building of the Vigilant Order of the Mist. At the centre of the city, surrounded by an old and high wall, there is a thick, mist-filled forest scattered with ruins and spectres. Hidden inside it is an enormous mansion with innumerable rooms, its facade, doors and windows all painted a deep black. This is your home. The Corvus mansion. The most cursed place in all of Raven.

But the most disturbing thing about the city are the ravens themselves. They can be found on all the rooftops, in all the windows, perched on all the gas street lamps. Black and silent, they observe and wait. Until the mist rises at night and the souls of careless wanderers are carried away.

Raven is classified as a “storytelling role-playing game”. There are many definitions for this term, but in Raven it means that it is the narrative, the characters and the storytelling around the table that matter most, and that it is not a game that uses tactical, simulationist or numerical elements. A narrative is proposed that is shared around the table, in which the Storyteller (known in Raven as the Tenebrous Voice) is responsible for the game world and the story that unfolds there, while the Players manage the elements surrounding their characters (known as Corvus Characters or CCs). Raven revolves around two central concepts:

1. THE PLOT TWISTS GUIDE THE STORY

During a game session, the Tenebrous Voice provides the conflicts and mysteries, describes the game world and the setting and controls the Non-Corvus Characters (NCCs) and their actions and reactions. The Players control their characters, describe their actions, make proposals for them and throw the dice. Both sides will look for the most mutually enjoyable way to resolve situations. Meanwhile, both the Players and the Tenebrous Voice will come up with Plot Twists that will move the story forwards.

The Players only throw dice when their CCs are facing a Threat. This dice throw will trigger a Plot Twist, in other words, a significant change in the story. This could be:

●            A Favourable Twist in the story if they are successful, thereby overcoming the Threat.

●            A Twist with Complications if they are partly successful, overcoming the threat but also complicating the story.

●            Or a Tenebrous Twist against them if the throw is unsuccessful, meaning either that they do not overcome the Threat or that they do, but at a high cost.

The Tenebrous Voice does not throw dice, but rather defines the Threat the Players must face with their dice roll and the Twist resulting from an unsuccessful roll. They will also set up twists in the story to increase the tension and move the plot forwards, known as a story’s Maelstrom.

A Twist always leads to something interesting, enriching the lives of the CCs, even if it is harmful to them. Players look to solve the mystery, but the story will be far more satisfying if they have enjoyed unexpected twists on the way. In Raven you don’t play to win. You play to enjoy this tenebrous world.

2. THE CORVUS CHARACTERS ARE AT THE CENTRE OF EVERYTHING

All the stories are connected to the Corvus Characters. Invest time in creating them to be able to use your stories in the games.

THE PREMISES OF RAVEN


1. The Ravens drive people to obsession, waiting to carry away their souls.

2. No one can defeat the mist. It can appear anywhere.

3. The Other Side is a bewildering place. No one is ever safe there.

4. The only cats are in the Corvus mansion. They are all black and must not be disturbed.

5. The monsters in Raven are spectres. Even the weakest of these poses a threat.

6. You can come back from death. But there will always be something unnerving.

7. No one knows about everything that lies hidden in the Corvus mansion. Or its perils.

8. There is something creepy about the servants at the mansion. Perhaps they’re the ones in charge.

9. The city is littered with places that are cursed. And which harbour secrets.

10. Magic always demands a sacrifice. Think hard about what you are willing to give up next.

11. The Order is dangerous. And it is watching you.

12. The magic of the Lodge is deeply corrupting. And it tempts you.


COMING SOON

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