What is Bloodlines & Black Magic?
Hamlet had the right of it when he said, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Welcome to Bloodlines & Black Magic, an occult-themed horror roleplaying game set in a modern world that mirrors ours.
Originally designed to be compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, this edition of the game departs from the complexities of the older 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder Roleplaying Game system and uses a unique engine that is d20 intuitive by design.
What does that mean?
It means if you’ve previously played the any of the d20-compatible games (including the newest edition of the world’s most popular roleplaying game), you’re going to find this game incredibly easy to learn and play. In fact, this edition of Bloodlines & Black Magic streamlines many of our core concepts and themes while removing some of the cumbersome mechanical elements that naturally arose in older editions.
This has also given us the freedom to develop those concepts and ideas in ways that match our vision for the full scope of the game, not just its mechanics. So, while experienced gamers will recognize a lot of terms, concepts, and ideas, some will be different; we encourage gamers to read and learn this game with the same dedication and attention they would any other.
Unlike previous editions of the game, Bloodlines & Black Magic uses seven attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Luck. Each of these attributes influences the game in familiar ways (it is d20 intuitive, after all), often doing so in simple, streamlined ways. Bloodlines & Black Magic also incorporates Feats, skills, and classes – mechanical concepts that have been part of the game for nearly twenty years. Much like the previous edition of the game, player characters in Bloodlines & Black Magic are naturally human, with a small percentage of those humans possessing special, innate magical abilities drawn exclusively from seven powerful bloodlines: the dragon-blooded, the fey-blooded, the jinn-blooded, the infernal-blooded, the seraphic-blooded, the shadow-blooded, and the spirit-blooded.
While most PCs will begin play as one of these special humans, most of humanity falls outside of these special lines; in Bloodlines & Black Magic, these special humans make up less than 1% of the rapidly expanding global population.
Want to learn more about this dark, modern world?
Seven Secrets of
Bloodlines & Black Magic.
1. Magic is real. For most of the world, magic is one of two things: a series of well-crafted illusions designed to entertain, or the unsubstantiated believe in loosely connected, human-driven events. While most people give magic little more than lip (or card) service, the truth is quite simple; magic exists.
2. There are global elites. Both the occult and conspiracy communities have long pointed to a nameless, global, ruling elite whom they believe is holding them back. While most rational humans wave off such conjecture, the truth is stranger still – there are global elites and they have a vested interest in keeping the masses dumb, fat, and divided. These individuals serve themselves and rule the Mundane World from their secret havens in the Secret and Invisible Worlds.
3. Monsters walk the night. Parents, the world over, tuck their children in with the same reassurances over and over. They open closet doors, look under beds, and click on night-lights to hold back the darkness, all of them repeating the same refrain; there are no monsters, go back to sleep. Those parents, like so much of the world, are wrong.
4. There is power is in the Blood. Beyond the glass towers and exotic retreats of the global elite, a stranger group of people – many of who occupy thrones in the Invisible World – play an even more delicate game with the world; these blooded humans, collected into bloodlines families, are the secret lineages of those who truly rule. Although some have waned in influence, many of these bloodline families still exercise considerable power in the mundane – making kings from fools, changing national borders, and even reorganizing societies to suit their own, personal agendas.
5. We are Legion. Made famous in the New Testament, the Goëtic Spirits have long been at odds with the Archons, taking on forms from a wide array of cultures and myths. Some of the spirits could easily be traditionally considered demons or devils, although they are clearly in the minority. The Goëtic Spirits comprise a much larger, more diverse group than those commonly identified by the various monotheistic faiths.
6. The Veil is real. Occultists, conspirators, refugees, activists, veterans, protestors, magicians, gamers, and weirdos – all of them have their own ideas of what is really going on in the world. Some of them actually have a clue, too. But the truth is, while some of those wild ideas might actually hold a little water, most of them are little more than hyped-up conjecture riding shotgun with a bunch of speculation. Which is exactly what the Archons want. The truth should make you sound crazy.
Why? Because that’s how the Veil works...
7. The Archons have a mission. Most people have no idea who or what the Archons are, much less what sort of mission they might have. The truth is, whatever the Archons are trying to do, it’s a slow march toward completion and keeping humanity in the dark is a big part of that mission. The few magicians who have discovered them know little about them, although a single word does keep reoccurring in plenty of conversations – stability. What that word means to them, however, is still a mystery for most.
What is Occult-7?
Just like our previous edition of the game, Bloodlines & Black Magic focuses on roleplaying in the low-to-mid-level ranges of play, with the highest-level characters operating between levels 6 and 7; when a character reaches 7th level, they begin to develop their legendary abilities. In Bloodlines & Black Magic, there are four tiers of play, described below:
Neophytes – Affectionately described as “newbs” or “newbies,” characters in this tier of play are just getting started. These characters make up much of the world, with many of them discovering the Invisible World in small, notable ways. At this level of play, characters are still discovering (and learning) their abilities, as well as the larger, Invisible World that dominates so much of their lives. Player characters remain in this tier of play until they reach 3rd level.
Experts – Characters at this tier of play have learned enough to survive minor encounters with beings from the Invisible World, as well as their agents in the Mundane and Secret Worlds. In mechanical terms, this tier of play starts at 3rd level and ends when a character hits 5th level.
Veterans – This tier of play is reserved for characters ranging between 5th and 6th level. Player characters who reach these levels commonly display a level of magical skill or martial prowess reserved for the very best. These individuals fill a variety of roles in the Invisible, Mundane, and Secret worlds. When a character reaches 7th level, they become legends.
Legends – When a character reaches 7th level in Bloodlines & Black Magic, they become a legend. This tier of play is the most dangerous, as it represents a complete and total immersion into the Invisible World and its agents. Legends often face enemies who outstrip them in terms of power and ability. When a character becomes a legend, they stop leveling, instead gaining special prestige and powers.
Our first edition of Bloodlines & Black Magic was designed exclusively for compatibility with the 1st edition of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. You can find it on great online locations, like Amazon, Paizo, and DriveThruRPG.
Arguably one of the more important concepts in most roleplaying games, the idea of ‘mystery’ remains a central theme in Bloodlines & Black Magic. This concept is expressed in the form of clues, which we divide into three categories in Bloodlines & Black Magic. These are:
Physical Clues. Physical clues represent most of the evidence used to discover the truth of a situation. Physical clues include the physical evidence collected from a location or individual; these are often the evidence used to prosecute crimes or to determine the truth in the Mundane World. When a character searches a physical area by making a Perception check, they are looking to collect physical evidence.
Psychic Clues. Psychic clues represent evidence discovered in the Invisible World through psychic or magical means. This evidence is frequently collected when characters Pierce the Veil, although some spells and class abilities also help characters discover secrets hidden from most. When a character activates Pierce the Veil and makes a Perception check, they’re looking for psychic clues.
Social Clues. Social clues represent evidence collected via hearsay or gossip, as well as evidence collected from social media, human behavior, and from casual conversations. When a character makes a skill check to gather information or gain insight from a current or recent conversation, they are looking for social clues.
Different GMs will employ different techniques to tell their stories but should always remember a simple mantra – Seek the Mysteries.