Cover

Sales Pitch:
Dark World merges technology and magic in an immersive, player-driven tabletop RPG set in an industrial-era fantasy world, where every choice and challenge shapes the unfolding story.

In a realm where the boundaries between science and sorcery are blurred, technology and magic coexist, rooted in the principles of ingenuity, imagination, and the mysterious force known as dark energy. The discovery of dark energy’s capabilities was serendipitous—merely a stroke of luck or perhaps cosmic alignment. For eons, the allure of precious gems and stones had captivated the imagination of intelligent beings. But it was their peculiar, intermittent fluorescence that eventually intrigued the most curious among them. In this world, whether by the whims of destiny or the intricacies of quantum mechanics, dark energy had a unique affinity for crystalline structures. When it interacted with a crystal—be it a mundane quartz or a rare ruby—it didn’t merely scatter or dissipate; instead, it increased in potential energy, as if the crystal were a reservoir for this cosmic force.

Initially, the phenomenon served as little more than a mesmerizing display. However, it was only a matter of time before humans, restless and inquisitive, began to unravel the deeper implications of this interaction between dark energy and crystals. Researchers and wizards alike discovered two vital aspects: first, crystals had the ability to store dark energy for extended periods, acting as natural capacitors; second, accessing this stored energy could yield outcomes that ranged from spectacular to cataclysmic.

The impact of these discoveries on society was transformative. Engineers and alchemists collaborated to design technology that could harness dark energy, using it for everything from powering cities to transportation. Conversely, mages and scientists studied how the rules of thermodynamics and spellcasting could be rewritten, offering unparalleled control over the physical and metaphysical worlds.

However, as with all powerful tools, the newfound capabilities came with equally potent dangers. Some warned that tapping into dark energy too recklessly could destabilize the fabric of reality itself. Ethical debates emerged, questioning the morality of exploiting a force that was still not entirely understood. Yet despite the risks and the moral quandaries, the allure of dark energy remained irresistible.

And so, in a world balanced precariously between wonder and chaos, the quest to harness the enigmatic force of dark energy continued—a journey that promised to reshape the very essence of existence, for better or for worse.

Dark Energy Crystals or DECs

In this multifaceted world where technology and magic intertwine, crystals imbued with dark energy are commonly known as DECs (pronounced “deks”). These crystals serve two primary purposes:

  1. Technological Utilization: Through human innovation, it was discovered that the Carbon-8 radioisotope’s beta decay could be triggered by shards of DECs, resulting in an explosive release of dark energy. The type of crystal used determines the magnitude of the explosion, with crystals closer to carbon producing less volatile reactions. Diamonds, in this context, are decidedly not a miner’s best friend.

  2. Magical Channeling: Some humans and other creatures possess the capability to channel dark energy from DECs into magical effects. The skill varies among individuals—some are more adept and can channel more energy with better control. Domesticated animals like horses and dogs can also be trained to harness DECs to temporarily enhance their speed and endurance.

The DEC-charging process relies heavily on human labor, particularly that of indentured citizens and convicts. The task is physically and spiritually draining; some workers inadvertently mix their life force with the dark energy while charging the crystals, leading to rapid physical and mental degradation.

Individuals who are completely burned out from channeling become mindless husks known as the Scorched. Meanwhile, people who overuse DEC-based technology find their vitality sapped over time, becoming increasingly debilitated and eventually experiencing excruciating pain. This group is referred to as the Lost.

Ruby Dark Energy Crystal (DEC)
Ruby Dark Energy Crystal (DEC)

Despite the immense benefits of DECs, their usage comes with undeniable ethical and existential costs. Some argue that the exploitation of indentured labor and the toll on human life make DEC utilization a necessary evil at best. This sentiment has fueled a growing resistance movement called the AntiDECs. Committed to stopping both the DEC-charging process and the usage of DECs altogether, AntiDEC activists focus on disrupting shipments and liberating indentured workers from mines.

The struggle between the defenders and detractors of DEC technology and magic rages on, each side grappling with profound questions about the moral implications and the very fabric of reality. It’s a complex tapestry of innovation, ethics, and cosmic mystery, in a world forever altered by the fortuitous discovery of dark energy’s interaction with crystalline structures.

DEC Technology

In this world where science and magic coalesce, the technology of Dark Energy Crystals (DECs) has been ingeniously adapted for a range of applications. While the principles of crystal and Carbon-8 (C8) combustion underlie much of this technology, it has particularly revolutionized steam-based machinery. These steam-powered innovations are commonly referred to as DEC items, acknowledging both the crucial role of the crystals and the variable potency they bring based on their type.

For example, a steam engine powered by a quartz DEC would provide moderate and sustained energy, given quartz’s close elemental similarity to C8. On the other hand, a ruby DEC would generate tremendous heat almost instantaneously, bringing water to a boil in mere moments but also depleting its energy quickly. When DEC items are weaponized, a potency modifier applies based on the crystal type—resulting in a greater destructive impact from a ruby DEC as compared to a quartz DEC.

Popular examples of DEC technology include:

  • DEC-Powered Airships: Designed for efficient, long-distance travel
  • DEC-Powered Cranes: Used in construction and material-handling operations
  • DEC-Powered Diggers: Deployed for excavation and mining activities
  • DEC-Powered Rifles and Pistols: These firearms use DECs directly to propel bullets, bypassing the need for conventional gunpowder.

In terms of what gets expended during the operation of these DEC-powered technologies, the DECs generally lose their stored energy fractionally, over multiple uses. In contrast, the C8 component tends to be depleted entirely once the intended action is completed. For example, the energy from a DEC bullet would diminish only slightly upon firing, whereas the associated C8 would be exhausted completely.

In gameplay, using DEC-powered technology involves standard dice rolls, adjusted for skill level and task difficulty. The “Technology Skill” reflects a character’s proficiency with various DEC technologies. If a character is using a DEC-powered weapon, for instance, a specific skill in that weapon would likely apply. Similarly, if a character is using DEC-powered medical technology, their skill in medical treatment would be relevant, assuming they possess such expertise.

Thus, DEC technology continues to permeate multiple facets of society, transforming the way people live, work, and even wage war. However, the complexities and ethical implications of DEC usage remain topics of vigorous debate and investigation.

DEC Technological
Items of Note

  • C8 Pistols & Rifles
  • Larger C8 Munitions
  • Steam-Powered Engines
  • Independent Light Sources
  • Community Power Source
  • Small Independent Engines
  • Sewing Machines
  • Engine-Driven Hammers for Forging Steel
  • Telephones
  • Pocket Watches

Assistance / Freelance


If you are interested in helping us finish this game please contact us at thrym@markshirestudios.com. The roles we are looking for help in are listed at the right.

Roles Available

  • Artist
  • Mapmaker
  • Editor