Whispers of Persephone: a tome of the dark arts



It's coming ...  Whispers of Persephone is in the later stages of development and will soon be available.   This is a book for those who want to role play the darkest of magicians, who have looked for a reason beyond "because I'm evil", and who want to put the DARK back in their dark arts!

Coming to KickStarter in late summer, those who support that campaign will be making it possible for full color art to be included in this tome.  Art by Christian Martinez, will make this a book worthy of your game, your shelf, and your collection.

Art by Christian Martinez
Title card for the KickStarter campaign
















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There are necromancers, and then there is the Necromancer.

The difference between the two is most profound. While a necromancer devotes himself to the mastery of the magics of death and the undead, the Necromancer is the mortal master of death, the keeper of profane secrets, and the dreaded lord of powerful minions.

"I will take one hundred brave men and we shall storm that bastion of profane evil!  We shall return the restless dead to the peace of the grave!  Those servants of the evil one shall surrender for trial, or meet death at the end of righteous steel!  We shall strike their master down, destroy those unholy works, burn all this evil has created, and erase the memory from history so that no other shall be inspired to such depths of depravity!  Onward to VICTORY!!!!"
~ Rallying speech of the heroic paladin Oswin of Berean; his last known recorded words.

The Necromancer is the authority on the dark arts. This master of magic unlocked secrets of necromancy that had never before profaned the lips of mortals. Those secrets came at a great cost, which the Necromancer paid for with the blood and lives of innocents sacrificed to dread entities of the lower planes. Powerful rituals, exotic rites, searing spells, and the screams of terrified victims fueled the the Necromancer's rise to arcane power.

The Acolytes of Death, that inner circle of the most powerful and trusted of the Necromancer's minions, lent their power and will to aid in the darkest of rituals. Thirteen in number, the Acolytes of Death are each magicians of certain power, skilled in the dark arts, and proficient in the arts of ritual sacrifice. These men and women studied at the knee of the Necromancer and drank deeply from that well of profane power. Their skill in the arcane arts are as finely honed as their skills in ritual murder.

Among those students of the Necromancer and Acolytes are a number of dedicated, and frightening, disciples. These dark magicians are the favored among those misguided souls who seek knowledge and power from the Necromancer's teachings. Other aspiring necromancers recognize these disciples as people to respected, and feared. These magicians rarely exhibit the warmth and compassion of typical mortals. A thirst for knowledge and arcane power is a common trait among these sociopaths.  The most well known, and feared, among these disciples is the dark prodigy Ild.  Her crimes against the living are too numerous to name, her sins too dark to pen, and her power most frightening to behold.

A wide array of practitioners of the dark arcane arts flock to the Necromancer and acolytes in search of knowledge.  Many flee, or attempt to, as the profane practices of the followers of the Necromancer strike horror in the hearts of all but those steeped in the darkest of evil.  Those who are not successful in their escape are used as ritual sacrifices or as subjects of study in the vivisection labs.  Their screams are heard for days on end, before death is allowed to embrace them.

The Necromancer assembled a dread tome of necromancy for those students of his evil. Describing the practices, rites, rituals, and spells of this tradition of the dark arts of necromancy, Whispers of Persephone describes this most horrible of arcane traditions: Stygian Necromancy.  Woe be unto those who would practice these fell arts, and may mercy be upon the souls who fall victim to them.

Whispers of Persephone collects secrets of the necromantic arts that the Necromancer gleamed from entities of lower planes.  The Necromancer, with aid from his Acolytes of Death, purchased this unholy knowledge with the pain and deaths of their victims.  This knowledge was assembled and provided to those who follow the Necromancer and adhere to his profane practices.

"Whole villages have been abducted,  the people murdered.  The only sign of what horror befell them being their lifeless bodies wandering the land.  What monster has brought this horror upon us?  Who will save us?"
~ Plea of Adam Wrightson to the Duke of Berean.  From a page found in the records room of the ruins of Berean Keep.


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Whispers of Persephone is a role-playing source book written for the 5th edition game mechanic. It is designed and formatted, to give it an authentic look, as if it were a horrific tome of the dark arts.  It contains a new magical tradition, Stygian Necromancy, for use in your game.  Containing new spells, rules for ritual sacrifice, and feats used by those characters who practice Stygian Necromancy.

This hauntingly beautiful book is being illustrated by Christian Martinez.

Look for the our crowdfunding campaign on KickStarter (coming soon) for your chance to pick this book up as a backer reward.  Available backer rewards will include pdf copies, printed copies, signed copies, and mention in the book (as one of the 13 Acolytes of Death).  One backer will be illustrated as the Necromancer and will have the book dedicated to him or her.

Stretch goals are dedicated to providing additional content to the book.

Watch this page for updates, including the addition of art from the book, and launch day information for the KickStarter campaign.  You can also follow me (W.S. Quinton) on KickStarter to be alerted to the launches of my projects.




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UPDATES
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Update eight ~ September 14th, 2018

The final play test version of Whispers of Persephone has gone out to the entire remaining play testers, as well as to those reviewers and podcasters/ live streamers who were willing to look it over and offer their take on the book.  Final play test will continue into the KickStarter campaign, and is expected to be concluded before the campaign's conclusion.  

As of this week, the final play test version (version 3.5) includes more than 100 pages, without all of its planned art.  Changes to formatting and font, inclusion of KickStarter backer information, final write ups on NPCS are projected to make this book come in at or around 124 pages (at this time).  

KickStarter campaign will launch promptly at noon, eastern standard time, on September 22nd, 2018.  Backer reward levels have been revised in the interest of fulfillment processes and resources available.

The bulk of the rewards are digital in nature, consisting of PDF copy and Print on Demand codes.  Signed copies will be available, and those backer levels will include shipping for those in the United States, while those outside the United States will see $15 added to help cover shipping on the book.

Backer rewards to have a backers name, or pseudonym/ character name have been included.  Each of those includes a signed copy of the book as well.

I am awaiting print prep finalization, so I can order proofs.  I hope to have them in hand by launch day if at all possible. Here's hoping!

Testimonials are being added to the KickStarter page, and I'm planning on making the campaign video (a very simple one) this week after proof copies arrive.  This assumes they'll get here in time though, so if I don't have them by Friday, I'll be putting together a different video than I intend to do presently. 

Christian Martinez has continued to provide great art.  This weekend I am expecting him to deliver the art for the Darkling Horror and the Stygian Mummy creatures that are found in the book.

Screen capture of formatted page
Acolyte of Death backers will have their names
mentioned at different points in the book along with
having the Acolyte named for them



Update seven ~ August 20th, 2018 

Art for Whispers of Persephone continues to come in from Christian Martinez as we prepare to launch the KickStarter campaign for this book.


The KickStarter launch date is, however, being moved back a couple weeks due to a combination of scheduling issues as well as ongoing fulfillment for The Steel Road.  I'll be posting an update once the campaign launch date has been finalized.   I hope to launch in early September at this point, with fulfillment occurring in December or earlier.  Keep watching here for more updates!!!

I hope you'll help spread the word about Whispers of Persephone, and join us on the KickStarter campaign launch day to help us bring this dark book to print.




Update six ~ July 17th, 2018

Christian Martinez has sent the first image for Whispers of Persephone to me.  He's going to make some digital changes to the images for the print version.  As you can see from the image above (the original), ritual sacrifice features prominently in this book!

Presently we're looking at launching the KickStarter in mid-August of 2018, following the fulfillment of The Steel Road.  I hope you'll come out and see what all the excitement has been about.

*****

Update five ~ June 19th, 2018

A tagline came into being during a conversation I had with one of my coworkers.   "Little bloody book of Necromancy", has a nice ring to it.  For now, I'm running with that as the tag line until something better comes to mind.

I've added more spells and rituals, another poison, and I've revised one of the alchemicals. Magic items are looking good but having each of them illustrated will require a stretch goal being reached.  It's just a lot of art to add, but will be well worth it.  

The art as currently commissioned is mostly comprised of action scenes depicting the horror of the depredations of the Stygian Necromancers, along with some items of note (Athame, Skull Chalice,etc.)   I've structured the stretch goals to allow for additional illustrations in the book.  

Current content as of today (all original content)

The Stygian Necromancer tradition

Five (5) New feats

Ten (10) New magic items


Eleven (11) New alchemicals, poisons, and potions


Twelve (12) New rites and rituals


Seventeen (17) New spells


(*These numbers have changed since the first round of play completion.  Final play test is ongoing, and these numbers may change again.  Magic that was proving to be mechanically unsound has been changed and some spells/rituals removed as their effects were included in other ways.  Final numbers will be presented on the Kickstarter page ~ change to this post was effectuated on September 13th, 2018)

More narrative segments have been added.  I've left the acolyte information blank for now as I will be working with backers who pledge at the Acolyte of Death level to detail the sins of their namesakes.

*****
Update Four ~ June 8th, 2018: 


Project development continues.  Christian Martinez has begun the art for the book. Specifically, he is currently painting the art that is going to be used on the KickStarter page.  I have also added some additional content to the book, worked on the KickStarter campaign page, and I've begun speaking with people about helping with the social media campaign.  The news letter for this campaign isn't done yet as I'm going to be including art in that release.


During the latest live stream event for The Steel Road I released a spoiler concerning Whispers of Persephone.  Within this book there are several NPC's detailed.  One of those characters, Ild, is the main villain in the coming book Tarot Adventures, Book Three: Death comes to Glenfallow. 


I also made a few comments concerning Whispers of Persephone on a DarkSlinger Mafia podcast interview this week.  Link for that PodCast   Listen in for a few juicy details about Whispers of Persephone, some comments on the art that is being done, and information on other projects too. I want to thank Adam and the rest of the DarkSlinger Mafia crew for having me on the show!


*****

Update Three ~ May 10th, 2018:


Last night I exposed a handful of role playing gamers to the preliminary work on Whispers of Persephone.  They may never be the same again!

I thought you might all appreciate the first reactions anyone had to the actual initial draft of the game content material, so I'm including that below.

Some of the comments that were uttered:

"Wait, you mean this is a playable character tradition?!?"

Me ~ "Yes, if you going to run an evil campaign."

---

"So, that means they have a reason to round up victims for sacrificial rites?!?!?!"

Me ~ "You are quite correct.   The path to power is paved with the blood of their victims, and adorned with the cries of their suffering"  (Note: I may keep that for the interior flavor text... your thoughts on that?"

---

"Hold on, can anyone use that item then?  After it has been made, I mean."

Me ~ "Yes, but let me finish the description, as you'll see it is cursed."

---

"I get that the athame is used for rituals, but how is it in a combat role?"

Me ~ "They're necromancers dude.  Necromantic spells and the dead are their weapons."

"So they use death to bring death."

Me ~ "Elegant, don't you think?"

---

"You made feats in this."

Me ~ "I made feats in this, yes.  I also created rituals, spells, and foul magical items enchanted with the power from the blood of sacrificial victims."

---

Me ~ "What do you think about the 'Ferryman's Coin"

"That's *u**ing awesome!"


As you can imagine, I'm happy with the responses I received.

I hope you enjoyed this latest update!   I'll continue to post updates here and will announce the KickStarter launch date once it is finalized.

(Addendum:  Some of the things reviewed were the game play effects of certain magical items, rituals, feats, and the motivation behind committing certain vile acts of evil.  By way of example, we discussed the ritual sacrifice theme common among several practices.)

*****

Update Two ~ May 4th, 2018:

A lot has gone into Whispers of Persephone.  Magical devices have been designed, rites detailed, and the Stygian Necromancer tradition has been designed. 

Spells, rituals, and feats are being developed.  Each with an eye toward the macabre.  This book really does go beyond characters doing evil things just to do evil, it outlines the temptations of power that lead those characters down dark paths.  Dark stuff indeed!

*****

Update One ~ February 2nd, 2018 :
I've been working on the ritual sacrifice mechanic.  The idea is that it is not only beneficial for the Stygian Necromancer's advancement but is also a terrible necessity for them to grow in power.  I'm making a great effort to maintain game balance while making this dreadfully evil arcane tradition a great deal of fun to play (for those who enjoy their dark arts DARK).

Working on the mathematics of the Kickstarter goal is mostly done.  The art costs are the final piece and are awaiting final calculations of remaining costs after surplus funding from other projects are applied to help lower the goal.    I would like to do an offset print run for this project, but current calculations (with art wholly funded through the Kickstarter campaign) would mean a goal of $8000.  I would like to get that goal number down.  I've ran the numbers on conducting the KickStarter using pdf and POD redemption codes (where the backers get a code that lets them order a print on demand code and only pay the print costs plus shipping).  The PDF and print codes would be a little cheaper for the backers but I wouldn't be able to do the faux leather print version. More updates to come!



*If you have questions please comment below.



Copyright Notice:  Whispers of Persephone is copyright 2018 by W.S. Quinton
This blog entry is made as an introduction to the subject matter of that book, and no rights to the copyright of Whispers of Persephone are conveyed, implied, or otherwise transferred or commuted to any other person or entity.  All rights are reserved.



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