Incunabuli - About


Incunabuli is an RPG gameworld told through prose. It's intended for use as a sort of weird campaign setting book. Treat it as a source of ideas or as a reference for a campaign in the Incunabuli setting: The fairytale land of the Coast.

Twitter was and remains Incunabuli's original home. Follow @Incunabuli for updates and microfiction from the Coast.

Incunabuli content is written by Benton, a freelance writer from the US. It's playtested and influenced by friends and fellow creators, who have graciously suffered many a wanton whim of design.

Incunabuli is made possible by the generous readers who support it on Patreon. Such support is supremely meaningful.

What RPG System is Incunabuli For?

Incunabuli possesses its own system, one inspired by OSR gameplay philosophy and purpose-made to suit the setting's themes. It is in active development.

Otherwise, the author has found Incunabuli best fits RuneQuest 6th Edition, AD&D, and the grittier variety of OD&D retroclone, albeit with some hacking required. 

What sort of fantasy setting is the Coast?

The Coast is a tiny, dark world, damaged and frayed by ancient hubris.

What happened during this event is troublesome to explain. * Imagine taking a paper map of Europe and placing it over several other maps. These maps are parallel to the original, extant in separate realities. Adjacent, yet inaccessible. Now, imagine lighting the edges of the top map on fire.

It begins to shrink and curl, eventually reduced to only a single coastline (say, Norway to Spain) before extinguishing. The maps underneath catch fire in different spots, opening holes into the slightly different maps beneath them. Now, if we extinguish this mess and view it from above, we still see Europe. However, it's a patched-together, holey Europe made of different realities.

This is what happened to the Coast. A long time ago, something happened which burned the world down to just a single coastline. Now, it floats between worlds, awash with the influence of adjacent others.

Of course, few Coastal people know this. They just know the forest is full of älves and spriggans, and their cobbler is small and covered in hair.

The Coast is an anthropocentric setting filled with horror overtones. It's defined by humanity's survival against the encroaching unnatural.

Technology and Magic

The Coast's technology is on par with the Victorian Era, with a few alterations and advances. Due to metallurgical peculiarities, gunpowder is rare. As are fossil fuels. Instead, the people of the Coast rely on a combination of advanced clockwork and whale oil. The streets of cities are lit by immense networks of oil-fueled streetlamps. War is made with a combination of melee arms and powerful torsion-based gunsprings.

On the Coast, a magician might well be called a scientist, as the power of so-called "magic" is largely a biomechanical product. Ancient tomes of lore teach magicians to swap the bones of their hands for magic knucklebones, and to command great energies using the potency of mechanism and chemistry.

You know the art of Dishonored? It's a good reference point.

Posting Schedule

Incunabuli updates as its author creates new content, generally biweekly. The Twitter page @Incunabuli updates with microfiction on a daily basis. Dungeons and sandbox modules are released as created for Patrons. For expedient updates and more delicious content, support Incunabuli on Patreon.

Other FAQ

Why don't you update more?

Incunabuli articles take a long time to write, and fitting inspiration is uncommon.

Where's crunch/mechanics/numbers?

The crunch is here. Other crunch is entrusted to the reader's own RPG baking skills.

What's with the format?

Ever open a wargaming book (think Warhammer or Warmachine) and find it begins with a short story? This is an especially effective means of establishing a setting. In any case, it is better (and oft more impressive) to show than tell.

What's with the narrative voice?

In a continual state of displeasure with internal monologue and omniscient narration, the author has developed a descriptive narrative voice. A kind reader once called it "cinematic writing." 

What's the deal with all these footnotes?

Footnotes are great.

What's with the horror/grimness? I thought this was a fairytale affair.

Ever hear an original rendition of Snow White? It's like a Game of Thrones episode.

What's with the name of the blog?

Read this.


* What this event was is unclear. Most people don't even know about it, and it'd be a pretty big spoiler to put a definite version here, anyway. It's encouraged you make it up.