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:

December - January Update
11 days ago – Tue, Jan 12, 2021 at 09:00:20 PM

The Guide chapter draft is complete!

This update is a little later than I would have liked, but I wanted to wait until we had a big milestone to report. You can hear some of the new content in action on The Magpies podcast. I got to run a session in the Blades in the Dark setting, and explore the husk of a dead(?) demon leviathan isopod. It was a ton of fun.

Now, one chapter may not sound like much, but here's the list of what's in it:

  • Overview of what the Guide does.
  • Agendas (big picture vision of what the Guide is trying to accomplish).
  • Principles (more focused goals for how to build the big picture).
  • Guide Moves (the specific actions the Guide uses in response to failed rolls, perfect opportunities, or stalled conversation).
  • The Snowball (how PbtA Moves build on each other to tell the story).
  • Combat (a bit of advice for how it works in DiM).
  • Using the Sanctuary (guidance for how to use it outside of session beginnings and endings).
  • Managing the Scale of the Adventure (how to keep from jumping into a universe-spanning adventure in the first session).
  • Making and Using Non-Player Characters.
  • Making a Predator.
  • Leading the Table in Safety and Consent.
  • Preparing for Sessions.

As you can see, it's A LOT. That also includes several text / example formatting decisions that meant revisiting other portions of the text, plus writing play samples for several of the sections. After trying out a sample text format that included more than the Guide, it became pretty obvious that using examples with multiple voices / players really helped convey the tone we're going for. That necessitated re-writing the existing sample text in other places.

We even found a minor rules update or two that came out of writing the sample play examples, so it was time well spent.

What's Left?

  • Updating the existing quick start rules into a quick start / single session guide.
  • Detailed guide for first session and subsequent sessions of a longer game.
  • Polish existing section on building Custom Moves.
  • List of story seeds and interesting marine life to look up.
  • Safety and Accessibility chapter (plus a review of existing text to look for places to reinforce calls for table safety and accessibility).
  • Bibliography / source of inspiration section.
  • Backer image attributions and captions.
  • Staff bios and special thanks.
  • Indices.

At the present rate, realistically, we will likely be done with the first draft in a few months. 2020 kicked our collective butts, but we're continuing work on this and won't be stopping until it's finished and in everyone's hands. Again, we super appreciate everyone's patience.

How We're Doing

In short? Not great. Doing creative work in the United States during the last week has been even more difficult than "usual" where the "usual" has been working on the game after our full time jobs (one of us in the nursing field) during a global pandemic. We're disgusted, afraid, and angry. While psionic sea creatures don't have much to do with current events, fighting to keep back a tide of Corruption, anger, lies, and hatred feels extremely relevant as fascism continues to rise here. We hope that each of you can find a way to fight for the vulnerable and build up those around you, whether it's through political activism, donating to food banks, or just calling someone you love to tell them you love them and that we're going to get through all this together.


Love and strength to you all,

Richard KL and the DiM team

November Update
about 2 months ago – Tue, Dec 08, 2020 at 01:15:12 AM

November Progress

We've finished the Campaign Play chapter which gives advice for games that run multiple sessions. Generally games won't go more than 10 sessions on the long end, but it's still a different beast to run a single session game versus a longer story.

We also got the majority of the Guide chapter done. The Agendas and Principles were relatively straightforward, since they're more like guidelines for what tone you're trying to achieve and some big picture ideas to keep in mind. When we got to the Guide Moves, things got a bit trickier.

We had a good first draft list of Moves ready, but we found that it leaned a bit too heavily into the abstract. We got the design team together and hammered out a new list that we'll be fleshing out this month.

We're also progressing on the layout front, reviewing sample pages and starting on the Chapter 1 layout to see what real content looks like when it's laid out.

What's Next?

We're filling out the Guide Moves, then moving onto the general Guide advice for how to create and use NPCs and antagonists, help make each Playbook shine, lead the group in table safety, and prepare between sessions without planning too much.

After that, we'll clean up the chapter on running the first session. The plan is to have a step-by-step guide to help you run the first session. Running Powered by the Apocalypse games can be intimidating if you're new to role playing games or are used to games where the player running the game can do lots of planning ahead of time. This section should help make the introduction to the game for the group a little easier.

A Final Word

I've done my best to be as transparent as possible with how we're doing both personally and in terms of the project. It's been a tough year. Our initial estimate when we launched the Kickstarter was that we'd have everything written within a few months and printed and shipped by the end of the year. Obviously that wasn't how things went. That said, the extra time, like with any project, has allowed us to refine the game. It's going to be better because we've had more time to work on it.

There are three chapters left after the current Guide chapter, plus a few miscellaneous sections like an index and the listing of backer submitted art captions. I'm going to guess that at the current rate, we'll be finished with the first complete draft of the text at the end of February. We'll still have copy editing, layout, accessibility review, etc to do, but we should have a head start on most of those things. It's been a longer road than we'd anticipated but we're moving forward.

We're incredibly grateful for everyone's patience, and we can't wait to get this out to everyone once it's ready. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy. Love from all of us,

- Richard and the DiM Team

October Update
3 months ago – Tue, Nov 03, 2020 at 10:10:23 AM

October Progress

The Playbooks chapter is finished! We did another pass through the playbooks for balance, formatting, and renamed some mechanics to better convey their meaning. Additionally, we added sections that briefly tell you what each playbook is, some reasons why you might want to play them, and offer up some sample characters.

What's next?

We'll be diving into the advice for multi-session games, and advice for the Guide. We have quite a bit written, but we need to whittle it all down into something that flows well and distills down what we've learned from a few years of running the game into practical advice. We're hoping this section will move a bit more quickly because we don't have to worry as much about the interconnected moving parts of the mechanics.


After that, there's only a few more large sections: a chapter on how to run the first session and a chapter on how to customize the game (with custom Moves, adjustments to the rules, etc). We also want to create a section that goes into a bit more depth about how to maintain table safety and how to make the game accessible. Part of that will also be doing a pass through the existing content to make sure that table safety and accessibility aren't just siloed into their own chapter as an afterthought.


We still have a good deal of writing to do, but things are progressing. Again, we really appreciate everyone's patience, as this year has slowed things down much more than we'd anticipated.


A Final Word

For all of us in the United States, please make a plan to vote safely if you haven't already. This month promises to be an incredibly stressful time, regardless of how things turn out. Please stay safe and remember to look out for each other. Check in with friends when you have the energy, and be kind to yourself.


Love from all of us,

Richard and the DiM team

September Update - Delays and Writing Progress
4 months 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
5 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