The last couple days I have been working on “The Flames Will Die” which I am hoping will be my first big book game to have written and designed all by myself. But I have other game thoughts too, specifically, a spinoff game that uses the same rule system but a bit lighter in weight and complexity. Most the weight being shaved off is the rules for organization creation and complex management, so this short version would be all about testing the basic rules.
That game would be called “Black Candles” and is about members of the Black Candles Society. An organization that collects, catalogs and protects the otherworldly Black Candles that have been scattered across the world.
What is a Black Candle?
A Black Candle is exactly what it sounds like, a candle of completely black wax and wick which when burned emits a sour scent and an invisible smoke (made only visible on a moonless night).
The inhalation of the smoke of a burning black candle will transport an individual to another world where a duplicate candle is burning at the exact same time and rate. These two candles are linked, no other candle can bring you to this world or take you from this world.
But just inhaling the smoke of the linked candle will not bring a person back home, the only method of return is by putting out the flame on either of the two candles. At which point the transported parties will be brought home immediately regardless of distance from the candle or state of being (if you are now a grotesque monster, then you will be coming home as a monster).
Worlds traveled to…
The places that the candles transport people to places within time, outside of space, and can be parallel or alternate realities and timelines. But, as Perry and Finn wrote in the members handbook, the majority of worlds traveled to are in a place where there is not even darkness or a space that could be called a void. It is without existence, but by being without anything it is something. This area is called “the third Apothecary”, the name meaning that there is the possibility that there are multiple spaces like this that house worlds that cannot be viewed or touched except by transport via a black candle, but also that this could be the last area like this (these are all just half formed conjectures on Perry and Finn’s part, but it is the best the group has so it is believed).
As far as the group knows there is 273 Black Candle worlds. That number being the number of candles discovered in the ruins of Erloppeth. Erloppeth was a city that allowed dark magic and practices to be legal and was known across the land as a foul and dreadfully sinful place. So it was no surprise to anyone at the time (a thousand years ago) that the mountain above would erupt into a volcano turning the city into stone. Commonfolk saw it as a cleansing by god.
How Black Candles work
To travel to a world you just have to light the candle and inhale the scent and you will be transported. To return someone must put out one of the two candles (the world at home and the world travelled to).
By travelling to a world through a Black Candle the candle will become shorter and shorter with each trip. However, the amount of wax spent for a specific amount of time is different from candle to candle but can be measured after a single trip through the candle in question. This is explained as time is a form of energy that is flexible but also distinctly different from place to place (thus why time slows in some spaces and speeds in another).
But since time is so fickle and strange, the time that passes between each burning is not measurable. So if you travel for a day through a candle and return to find less than half an inch is gone and immediately travel back. You may be travelling to a world that is hundreds of years older than the last time you visited; the consequences and fruits of your interference being sometimes visibly apparent.
Finally, one thing that is definitely certain is that when a candle is burned out, the connected world dies. Our world seems to be exempt as the candle for our own world does not exist or has not yet been discovered (this candle, in theory, would just transport an individual from this world back to this world in a different time).
What is the Black Candles Society?
The Black Candles Society is an organization that collects, catalogues and guards information about as well as the physical Black Candles. Using a variety of spaces within the pinnacle city of Diro as a base of operations, they have a general headquarters on 68th of Powell Street (a group of small apartments on the second floor that has had walls knocked down and connected together).
There are a number of agents in the city and beyond, but most do not know each other but may know of a handful each (controlling information!). In total, there are probably around 40 agents in the city at any one time, and 20 out beyond its walls searching for the rest of the candles.
(I’ll talk more about the society itself in a separate post)
This is the rewrite of my notes that I made on my phone. It should be a little better I hope…
In the future (and what is on my plate to rewrite then post for Black Candles):
- The Dark Room (the equivalent of the stargate room)
- Terms of Membership and Leadership Guidelines
- Expedition Equipment and Procedures
- The “Black” House
- Friends and Safehouses
- Member Tools and Equipment
- 11 Candles from the Captains lockbox
Anyways, I’ll put more up on the Black Candles stuff after I finish up my back catalog of posts and Actual Play reports (and work).