Descent into Midnight

Created by Richard Kreutz-Landry

A roleplaying game about community, family, and hope on an aquatic world. Descent into Midnight is a Powered by the Apocalypse game where the players take on the role of psionic alien sea creatures who are defending their home from an otherworldly Corruption.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

September Update - Delays and Writing Progress
24 days ago – Sat, Oct 03, 2020 at 09:22:17 PM

Delays

We're not going to finish the book by the end of 2020.


I'd remained hopeful but it is becoming increasingly obvious that to push hard for that deadline would put the mental health of the team at risk given all the other stresses everyone is facing. We appreciate everyone's understanding and support, and are working steadily to complete the book. If you want to jump in with the playtest version of the game, you can get the Quick Start Guide and play right away.


My best guess is that the first draft text of the book will be done by the end of the year, but we will probably still have some layout and editing to do. As soon as we have a digital copy of the book ready, we'll distribute that.


Physical copies will go the printer as soon as we have the files prepared, which will probably be early 2021.


September Writing Progress

On the up side, the writing progress has been steady, if not as rapid as we'd like. We finished the Moves chapter, have updated some of the typographical choices to make information clearer in the previous chapters, and started on the Playbooks chapter.


We're moving the updates to a monthly schedule, but feel free to reach out to us at any time on Twitter (@DiMRPG) or here. We'd love to hear about your experiences with the Quick Start rules or field any questions you may have for us.


Thank You

Finally, thank you again to everyone. The world is a frightening place at the moment, especially in the United States, and we're incredibly grateful to have so many people believe in us and the game we're creating.


Love and care from all of us,

Richard

August Update - New Art & Writing
about 2 months ago – Thu, Sep 03, 2020 at 03:52:37 PM

August was a good month for progress on the game! Check the bottom of the update for a new art piece.

Just a quick reminder that the game is 100% playable right now. You can find the Quick Start Guide on the website to get started right away. The writing progress we're describing below is for the final text of the book, which will go more in depth and provide more resources for players and guides.

This month we completed the following:

The Basics chapter is now 100% first draft complete. It includes basic information about the game and details on the mechanics.

The Characters chapter is now 100% first draft complete. It includes information about the information contained in Playbooks and how to choose one.

The Moves chapter is about 50% done time-wise for the first draft. The basic information about moves and the section on the Basic Moves is complete.

Finally, we have one more fantastic piece of artwork from Devon George to share...

Octopi riding a many-legged axolotl train through city of bones and tube worm buildings, with massive anglerfish building in the background.

We hope you're all staying safe and doing what you can to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in your communities. 

-Richard

Characters Section & Audio Editing
3 months ago – Fri, Aug 07, 2020 at 09:02:42 PM

Writing

The Basics section got a once-over by the team and is ready to head to the editor.

I'm currently in the middle of writing the Characters section. Trying to encompass what a character can be in Descent into Midnight can be tough because things are so wide open, and having the Echo as part of the setting means you can be a lingering psychic impression, an aspect of the collective consciousness of a city, or just a plankton with a biotech octopus mech and a surly attitude. Still, it's been fun to try and capture all of that and emphasize that what's important to these characters is their internal journey and their relationship within the group and to their community.

New Actual Play Episode

In addition to the writing work, I've been editing the audio for an actual play episode for International Podcast Month 2020. Technically I'm representing Whelmed: The Young Justice Files for IPM, so you might have expected it to be a superhero game, but I couldn't say no to running more Descent into Midnight. I'll have more details about that when it airs in September, but in the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with the voices you'll hear by checking out The Magpies, Stories of a Broken Sun, and Queer Dungeoneers.

Artwork

We've now received the last of the cityscape illustration submissions from backers, and Devon is charging ahead with those illustrations. We got a color study this week for one of the pieces that is in progress and can't wait to show off the finished piece once it's done!

New Art and The Basics Section
3 months ago – Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 09:25:21 PM

Art!

Devon completed another fantastic illustration for the book interior. This one features a pair of crystal spires grown around dark stone, deep below the ice above.

Crystal spires rising from dark stone, with seahorses, and long fish swimming nearby.

Writing Update: The Basics

Writing has been progressing steadily! Having an organized writing group is doing wonders for helping me to focus, and working on the "The Basics" section of the book is forcing me to distill a lot of the mechanics and ideas about the game into their most... well, basic forms.

It's slower going than I'd originally anticipated, but we've got an example of play section I wrote as a first draft that we can use in another section of the book or split apart to illustrate various mechanics now. With the new draft, I've got a concise section that essentially says "what the heck is this game and how does it work" that I'll be able to review with Taylor and Rich to make sure we're all heading the same direction as we move on to filling out the remaining sections.

Next up is the "Characters" section, where we'll dig in deep about what makes a character in Descent into Midnight. There's a LOT to say about characters, and I'm looking forward to spending some time exploring and explaining what makes these psionic sea creatures so special.

A Call to Care

It's pretty obvious why, but many of us need may need an extra bit of encouragement or love at the moment. I just want to take a moment and say that whatever you're doing to take care of yourself and the people you care about is valuable. Drink a glass of water, text a loved one that you're thinking about them, or just set a timer and step away from doomscrolling on social media for an hour. If you can, financially support justice for Black folks, follow people from marginalized communities on social media and just listen to what they've got to say, buy some extra postage stamps, whatever. Just pick one thing and do it.

We're grateful as always for the support and love you've shown to us. We hope that you'll also show that same love and support to yourselves and the most vulnerable people around you.

-Richard

LOTS of Art & Progress Update
3 months ago – Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 12:19:35 AM

If you're just here to check out the new art, feel free to scroll down to the end, where we've got over a dozen new illustrations to share!

This is a long overdue major progress update. It's a big one, so let's get to it.

Writing

As I've said in previous updates, the writing has been tough. It's the biggest piece, and I've been in charge of it and have thus far failed to make the kind of progress I want. After setting up solo structured time failed, I've set up a small writing club that I'm responsible for running, with three writing sprints a week. I'll be doing more writing than that, but being accountable for making an event happen for other people is extremely motivating.

The information below is an estimated progress and first draft completion date for each section of the book. We will be doing rolling editing as we finish sections.

Preface: 100% complete. 

The Basics: 50% complete, first draft complete by July 17. We have the quick start write up, but need to adjust it from a session start guide to more of an introduction. We’re generally aiming the game at an audience where at least one person in the group has played role playing games before, so we aren’t planning on a super-detailed “what is a role playing game” section.

Characters: 40% complete, first draft complete by July 19. This is a short section that goes over some of the basics of what makes up a character in the game, along with some advice about how to create a character.

Moves: 50% complete, first draft complete by July 24. This is a discussion of the various types of moves in the game, giving a bit more context about the moves and how they can be used.

Playbooks: 50% complete, first draft complete by July 31. The first draft of all 10 playbooks are ready for an editing pass, but, similar to the Moves section, we want to expand a bit on what each playbook is and how it functions.

Conditions: 50% complete, first draft complete by August 2. We have a basic description of the conditions, but we want to go into more depth about how they’ll be used in play. Also, we want to make sure we slot this section in a place that makes sense with the flow of the book.

Campaign Play: 5% complete, first draft complete by August 9. With the Corruption Moves and the mechanics that support them, characters have a built-in mechanic to build to a climax and then exit the story. This section will contain advice for how to run longer games and/or tie arcs together.

Guide Advice: 30% complete, first draft complete by August 14. We have information about the agendas, principles, and reactions Guides use during the game already written, but we want to expand that into a more comprehensive tool set. Because so much of what happens at the table is built by the players, it can be difficult to prepare ahead of time, so having easy to use tools that keep the action moving is doubly important.

The First Session: 40% complete, first draft complete by August 16. We have the outline from the quick start guide, but we want to reshape it to fit within the context of the full book, and tailor it for the beginning of a longer campaign. Also, as abstract as the game can be, we’re considering adding a significant amount of play examples throughout the book, and this would have a good chunk of that.

Making the Game Yours: 25% complete, first draft complete by August 21. This includes advice on custom moves, advice for running the game as a one-shot, etc. There’s some overlap between this section and the Guide advice, so we may end up combining or rearranging things.

Conclusion: 0% complete, first draft complete by August 23. This should be a relatively short section that wraps up our thoughts.

Appendices and Index: 0% complete, first draft complete by August 28. This section will include a list of captions for the backer-submitted art requests, as well as an index, plus any other appendices we find necessary.

Safety: 0% complete, first draft complete by August 31. Safety at the table is important. The game by its nature should encourage checking in with other players, but we also want to have a section that highlights how to look out for each other during play. We haven’t decided precisely where in the book it will go yet, but it will be there.

Stretch Goal Rewards

Tokens: We’re about 60% complete with the token designs. We’ve done test 3D prints and laser cuts and are excited about both of them. The paper printable tokens will come a bit later once we’ve finalized the other versions, and shouldn't take more than a few hours to dial in.

Fiction: We’ve received one of the fiction works so far and are thrilled with it. We’ll be reaching out to the other authors to check in, understanding of course that the months since the Kickstarter ended have been… a lot. The current plan is to work with the authors to have the pieces completed by the time we deliver the main book.

Streampunks: I’ve been in contact with Eric Campbell and can’t wait to get the team the finished rules and playbooks once they’re ready. Ideally we’d like to show off the finished rules after it has been edited, and have the Guide advice ready to go for them. The Streampunks are doing some fantastic work, including a new Klingon show Blood of the Void that airs once  a month in the same time slot as their current Clear Skies show.

Coloring Book: The initial run of coloring book images are complete! The Backerkit store has an add-on that allows you to submit an art requirement for an additional page you would like to include in the coloring book. Once we’re closer to release, we’ll collect those art requirements and get them added in.

Artwork

I don't even know what to say here except we have a BUNCH of fantastic art to share. Taylor finished a large batch of backer-submitted art requests for characters, and Devon finished the cityscape inspired by the most memorable gaming experience I've had in two decades of playing RPGs.

Tattooed, multi-finned whale above an underwater like near a singing crystal spire.
Otter-like plant creature with a pocket crab and tiny fish.
Ring-like creature with long feathery tendrils similar to a feather star.
Roiling, oily ball of liquid weaving in and out of itself.

Large craggy shrimp with a parasitic anemone where one of its eyes should be.

Sea anemone with tendrils that can heal or harm.

Energetic seaweed creature that looks a bit like a happy Cairn Terrier.
Encrusted crustacean colony creature with worm-like tendrils erupting from the cracks in its shell.

Ghostly shapeshifting being with long tendrils fading away into nothingness.

Massive sea serpent with rocks embedded in its skin, rearing up to face the viewer.

Joyous manatee-sea dragon hybrid clapping its fins together merrily.

Enormous sea serpent with scales that hide rune-like patterns between them.

Distinctly humanoid sea apple with bushy "hair" and a thoughtful expression on its face.

A group of sea angels flapping their way through the water and perhaps your consciousness.