In two weeks’ time we’re going to release the playtest document for Heart, our next big game – and if you’d like to help shape it from the ground up, we’d love for you to be part of our alpha playtest community. (If you don’t want to read any more and just want to sign up for the playtest straight away, click here.)
WHAT IS HEART?
Set in the Heart – the nightmare, unreal labyrinth that pulses and writhes beneath the city of Spire – Heart is a game about damnation, redemption, survival and obsession. It’s also a game about body horror, walls made of breathing meat, and exploring a possibly-malevolent parasite dimension. It’s also a game about dungeon-crawling, at the base of it; we wanted to take the classic story of descending into a dangerous underworld and see what twist we could put on it.
We’ve got amazing illustrations from Felix Miall (we’ve posted some of them here, you can’t miss ‘em) and layout from Jay Iles.
We’re going to Kickstart Heart towards the end of 2019, but before then, we want to see if we can make it really, really good.
CAN YOU JUST GIVE ME A LIST OF COOL THINGS THAT ARE IN HEART WITH NO CONTEXT?
Of course! In the playtest document alone, you can expect to find:
- Flightless owl hives
- Predatory libraries
- Heretic priests of the Moon Beneath
- Platemail made out of repurposed train parts
- A mimetic virus that makes you build labyrinths
- Full rules for accidentally becoming a messiah
- The Ravening Beast, a hunting dog that hides in your thoughts
WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM ME?
We need you to play it. Get your friends together, make some characters, and play out a few games using the rules in the PDF. We’ll have some questionnaires for you to fill out, talk about how the game felt, ask you what you liked and disliked, and so on. We’ll need you to actually play it – we want to see how it performs in practice.
We’ve tried to make Heart as easy as possible to run, and made it so that a GM and players can sit down with very little planning and improvise a session on the fly. (However, if you want to draw out your own mad undercity and expose your players to it, you’re welcome to spend as much time as you want to prepare for a session.)
WHAT’S IN THE PLAYTEST PACK?
The document will feature full rules for running games of Heart – the core systems at play, but also mechanics for exploring and mapping the undercity, making and reinforcing connections between landmarks, and developing relationships with the people you meet down there. We also have five of the (planned) nine classes, and five callings – reasons that you’ve chosen to explore the shifting, dangerous world of the Heart.
Finally, there are some details on the world of Heart – landmarks, havens, incidental details, non-player characters, and adversaries – and a scenario to run through, if you wish. It’s not representative of the final product, but it’s enough to be going on with for our purposes.
There will also be links to an exclusive Discord community for early discussion of the game, as well as at least one feedback form we’ll ask you to complete to help us improve the game.
WHAT RULES DOES IT USE?
Heart uses a modified version of the Resistance system that we created for Spire. Some of the skills and resistances you’ll recognise – we still have a Blood resistance to measure how hurt you are, and a Sneak skill to go unnoticed. Others are new and designed to tell stories unique to exploring a body-warping magical city – Echo resistance shows how much the Heart has changed you, for example, and Supplies resistance shows how much spireblack your lantern has to burn before it sputters out and leaves you in pitch darkness.
We’ve streamlined down some of the systems from Spire, making them (hopefully) easier to use on the fly.
We’ve focused on making fallout smoother to use in play and, with the addition of Critical fallout, used it to give your character a descending arc as misfortune and pain are poured upon them. We’ve added a little more complexity to the combat system, because there’s more of it in Heart, but not a great deal (and we aren’t using tactical maps or anything like that).
The systems will be instantly recognisable to anyone who’s played Spire, and we hope you enjoy the tweaks we’ve made.
IS THIS A SPIRE PRODUCT?
It’s not – it’s completely standalone. However, we will continue to support the Spire line – we’re in the process of writing our next supplement right now and will continue, if demand stays high, to release a new major sourcebook on a yearly basis.
WHERE DO I SIGN UP?
Fill out the form below and, once it’s all ready to go, we’ll send you a download link to the PDF documentation.