A Game of Victorian Darkness
The Between is a tabletop roleplaying game about a group of mysterious monster hunters in Victorian-era London. They are residents of a place called Hargrave House, and their job is to investigate and neutralize monstrous threats terrorizing the city—threats that Scotland Yard won’t or can’t handle themselves. As the story progresses, they become aware of the plans of a Moriarty-style criminal mastermind they will eventually have to face in order to save Queen and country.
The Between is directly inspired by the gothic horror TV show Penny Dreadful, but also takes a lot of inspiration from British horror classics, graphic novels like From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and pulp-era stories. Mechanically, it’s Powered by the Apocalypse but also uses the mystery system from Brindlewood Bay.
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The Vessel is a magic user; they allow dark, supernatural entities to enter their body in order to fuel powerful rituals. Throughout the game, you learn about their history with these dark entities as well as their time with a coven of witches that tried to use their talents for evil ends. The Vessel can perform dark rites, use divination tools, conduct investigations by drawing supernatural entities to them, and more. Play the Vessel if you want to explore dark rituals and what it feels like to be in control of dangerous things.
The Explorer is a member of the upper class. They made their name and fortune mapping the unexplored parts of the world for the Crown. They are also the rival of the criminal mastermind Hargrave House will eventually have to face. Throughout the game, you’ll be exploring the story of a young man whose village was terrorized by the Explorer when the Explorer was camped there during an expedition. Play the Explorer if you want to move in elite social circles, use money and other resources to solve problems, and be a rival to the game’s main antagonist.
The American is a gun-slinger from America’s Wild West. They grew up with great privilege but abandoned it for frontier life. Along the way, they picked up a curse that sometimes changes them into a feral beast. Throughout the game you’ll be exploring how they came to leave their privileged life and why they eventually fled to London. The American is an excellent shot, a terrific storyteller, a master of disguise, and more. Play the American if you want to solve problems with violence or if you’re interested in being an outsider.
The Mother is a highly-talented doctor and scientist. They lost someone they love and are using that heartbreak to fuel their creation: a person crafted from the body parts of other people, given life by experimental, alchemical processes. Throughout the game, you will be exploring their past with the person they lost, and why they were driven to create a new form of life. Play the Mother if you want to use science and medicine to solve problems, or if you want to delight in blood and guts.
The Undeniable is an immortal being of incomparable physical beauty. They have been worshipped as a god for much of their lives and a cult dedicated to them is active in London. Throughout the game, you’ll be learning about the artistic masterwork that bears the scars of the Undeniable’s wickedness, as well as their history with the artist who created it. Play the Undeniable if you want to be extremely powerful, occasionally villainous, and focused on sensory experiences.
The Factotum is a servant of one of the other hunters. They are a highly skilled operator—resourceful and practical. When the other hunters are mired in darkness, the Factotum is busy getting the job done. Throughout the game, you’ll explore their professional past and how they came to be a servant. Play the Factotum if you want to be highly effective or if you want to explore what it’s like to have your personal goals and dignity subsumed by another’s.
The Orphan (Playbook) is a special playbook that isn’t immediately available to us; it is unlocked after certain conditions on The Mother playbook are met.
The St. James's Street Ghost: The Beales of 18 St. James’s Street are in a terrible predicament: their townhouse is being terrorized by a malignant spirit. The ghost has already taken the life of their maid, and it seems no one in the house is safe so long as the haunting continues. Hargrave House investigates in order to learn how to quiet the ghost so it can pass into the next world. They may also learn how to make contact with ghosts, a feat that may prove helpful in future investigations.
The Limehouse Lurker: Bodies are turning up in Limehouse, completely drained of blood. Hargrave House knows it’s a vampire, but something about the initial report indicates the undead monster has the physical body of a child. An old vampire must be dealt with in a very different way from a young vampire, and so Hargrave House must initially determine if the vampire is truly adolescent or if it’s actually an ancient being in a small body.
Sally No-Face: A killer is stalking the streets of London. Their calling card? The victim’s faces have been removed with surgical precision. Panic sets in across the city, with some believing the killer is Sally No-Face, an urban legend reborn. Scotland Yard has had no luck capturing the perpetrator, and so Hargrave House steps in. But which approach to take? Finding the killer’s lair? Drawing the killer to them? Learning what makes the killer tick in order to bring them in peacefully?
The Whateley Camera: A young actress went missing after being photographed by the Society Obscura, a secretive club for photography enthusiasts. Hargrave House cares less about missing actresses than something in the Society’s possession: the Whateley Camera, a known object of power said to contain the consciousness of a powerful extra dimensional being. Recovering the Whateley Camera and discovering how it acts as a portal to another world is a matter of the utmost urgency.
The Creature of Cremorne Gardens: A number of people report being terrorized by a “fish-like man” in and around the Cremorne pleasure gardens. Rumors suggest the creature can even lure people to a watery doom with the use of a hypnotic song. Hargrave House investigates to determine if the fish man is actually real, or simply a hoax perpetrated by someone with a financial incentive to see Cremorne Gardens fail.
Figg's Piggs: Pie maker Titus Figg is arrested after it’s revealed his famous Figg’s Pigg pie contains human meat. Titus’s three family members—wife La Hortencia, eldest son Obert the Blade, and youngest son Patrick—managed to escape capture, and Scotland Yard has asked Hargrave House to help track them down. The loose Figgs are extremely dangerous, and pursuing them will force Hargrave House to face a level of darkness and depravity they have only imagined before, to say nothing of the pagan swine god, Moc’h.
There are also four special Threats associated with particular playbooks: The Coven, The Cursed, The Pinkerton, and The Orphan (Threat).