A First Glimpse of Revengers

“An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.”
— Charles Dickens (allegedly)

The last few days, here and on Twitter, I’ve been going on about the adventure I’m running for Halloween this year. (We’re playing it tonight.) It’s a playtest for a new game I’m designing with Fred Hicks for Evil Hat Productions. It’s a game about the fates of ghosts and the ghosts of crime—it’s called Revengers.

So, this little sketch image may not bear any resemblance to what this game ends up being or looking like, but it’s what I have right now. I like to do these little logo sketches early on in a project to make them feel real to me. It’s like figure drawing for the general tone or theme of the thing. Plus it gives me a sense of where I started from and, thus, the direction and distance I’ve traveled since I first set out with an idea.

When I set out, I wanted a funereal look—something that was classy, something recalling the classic Edward Gorey opening for Mystery! but a little less light. I was after texture, above all. Here, then, is the sketch I did for Revengers:

Click for a closer look

What’s it about? You play ghosts who solve or avenge crimes, especially murders, for the sake of bringing some souls a measure of peace—or perhaps yourself a measure of power.

What is it? It’s a pretty substantial hack of the Gumshoe rules, reconfigured to do different things with narrative resources, drama, and the relationship between the player, her character, and the game world.

When’s it due out? Too soon to say. We’ve started design but we’re still in the early days, yet. We both have other projects in the pipeline alongside Revengers, but I’m about to play it for the first time, so you know I’m thinking seriously about it.

Fred and I will share more as inspiration strikes, as we seek some feedback on what would make the game stronger, and as we get a chance to refine and manifest more of our ideas. In the meantime, feel free to weigh in with your thoughts or favorite ghosts.

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comments ( 15 )

  • ReplyFred Hicks 31 Oct 2011


  • ReplyWill 31 Oct 2011

    Me, too!

    Tonight’s game of Revengers uses a lot of established Gumshoe tech (it’s more of a setting exploration than a rules test), but I’m planning on deploying some mechanical twists during play to try out things like the ethereal/psychic/astral (sic) and physical ramifications of ghostly actions. Other aspects will be tested based on what players do—I don’t want to push too hard on the mechanics tonight—’cause part of what I’m doing is checking to see what grabs people about the setting. How do they go about doing what revengers do? Can’t wait to see!

  • ReplyGuilherme Moraes 31 Oct 2011

    looks pretty interesting.

  • ReplyDarrell Hardy 31 Oct 2011

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about it. Keep us posted!

  • ReplyJeremy Morgan 31 Oct 2011

    Color me intrigued. Seems like a nice twist on the supernatural detective front.

  • ReplyJohn Harper 31 Oct 2011

    Cool! This is really interesting stuff. Maybe it will finally win me over to Gumshoe. :)

  • ReplyWill 1 Nov 2011

    Thanks, y’all. I’ve come out the other side of the first playtest, now, and lots of new ideas are percolating. Let’s see where they lead!

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  • ReplyJohn Taber 2 Nov 2011

    Looks very cool. :)

  • ReplyRickard 3 Nov 2011

    The thing that first sprung into mind when I read this was The Crow. Will be interesting to see how the game will turn out.

  • ReplySimon Rogers 23 Nov 2011

    I’m looking forward to this. Shouldn’t it be Rvngrs, anyway?

  • ReplyWill 23 Nov 2011

    Revengers is too old-school for that new fangled vowel-dropping stuff (but not so old-fashioned that it enjoys the Egyptian-era vowel-dropping stuff).