Here at Black Candle we have always loved video games. The idea of splicing our passion for them with our fervor for tabletop RPGs comes intrinsically. We’re all PC gamers and technology professionals so it’s hard to not become inspired by the games we play on the devices we sit in front of for more hours than any doctor would ever recommend. For a while we poked at the idea of a DOOM “Demons & Shotguns in Space” style setting for SDL, and mulled over the potential of a graying and lethal Soulslike world to run our games in. These ideas are still coalescing, but after playing in Defy Danger’s Fifth Edition Team Deathmatch near the end of 2018, a fire was lit inside us and we decided we knew what we wanted to do next.
We want to create a tabletop skirmish game that captures the spirit of turn of the century arena FPS games combined with the zealous, high-energy style game play found in the competitive gaming scene. To do this, it only seemed natural to use one of our favorite RPG rules systems to do so, and that’s how we got Crucible.
Knee Deep In the Demon Lord
Crucible is an objective-based skirmish game built upon the rules of Schwalb Entertainment’s Shadow Engine. The heart of Crucible focuses on frenetic tabletop battles between 2 to 3 teams of players, each controlling a band of fanatical cultists vying for the Demon Lord’s attention amid over-the-top blood soaked arenas.
Crucible’s battles take place across many evocative maps, each with their own themes, objectives, challenges, and modes of play. The game’s aesthetic influences draws heavily from heavy metal and 90’s era first person shooters such as Quake, Hexen, and Doom. Of course, mixed with the already brutal fantasy world we’ve come to know and love from the Shadow of the Demon Lord setting.
We won’t dig too deep into the mechanics just yet as we’re only now conducting our first phase of play testing this coming weekend at a local convention. For now though, let’s touch on some bullet points:
- Each player will control a band of cultists, each of them with unique strengths and weaknesses.
- Characters are controlled one at a time and swapped in and out of the play field as they are fragged and respawn, being careful to manage their sanity. Reincarnation comes at a mental cost cost, and if a character goes mad they may not return to the arena.
- Simplified gear selection and weapon ‘slot’ system.
- GM-less play, but someone acting as the Overlord is an option that can add variety and fun, especially if the game is played in front of an audience.
- Matches are played in real time, so get off your fucking phone!
- Consumables are allowed, but limited so choose wisely.
- Some key mechanics to note, yet we won’t extrapolate on here are: Obliteration, Bloodlust, Killstreaks, Taunts, and Telefrags.
- Yes, there will be bounce pads, weapon spawns, rail guns and plenty of arena-based obstacles, traps, and toys to play with.
- Planned game modes: Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Last Person Standing, Void Ball, PvPvE, and something we’re tentatively calling ‘Soul Harvest’.
Stay Plugged In
If you want to keep up with the development of Crucible, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Twitch, Instagram, and Facebook for news and updates as we go along. We will run a public play test sometime later this year, so you might want to get in on that when the time comes!