The new RPG from Monte Cook. A game of surrealistic fantasy, secrets, and magic played both at the table–and away from it.
About this project
Do you dream of escape, but you don’t know from what, or to where? Looking for a chance to escape the insanity of the world, and immerse yourself into something rich, deep, and fantastical? Something that challenges the limits of your creativity and your intellect?
- Lorcan made a gun out of demon which fires bullets that only harm possessed people. On his quest to discover the long-forgotten (and perhaps forbidden) number between 12 and 13, the weapon is proving useful as the Enemies of Sleep appear determined to stop him.
- Duri’s face is normally a blur of swirling spiritforms, but occasionally she can make one of them manifest, and she gains its appearance and memories. If she risks keeping the new face too long, however, she can lose her identity.
- Thom is dead, but he doesn’t let that deter him. While he knows how to restore his life, he chooses not to, because the advantages of being a wraith are many. Of course, he occasionally has issues with not existing.
- Rodir has connections all over the city, and she holds a collection of wicked keys that allow her to solve (unlock) any problem (lock) by just creating a keyhole to insert a key, turn it, and see what happens. People don’t appreciate it when she does this to them, but that’s what they get for being in her way.
These are all player characters in the Invisible Sun tabletop RPG. They are no longer trapped in Shadow—where you are right now—but inhabit the Actuality, a world that seems like a surreal dream to those of us toiling aimlessly in the boring, grey realm that we falsely believe is the real world. These characters face incredible challenges, visit breathtaking places, and discover secrets so astonishing that the only ones who can cope with them are those that understand the truth of the real power in the universe:
But nothing like what you’ve seen before. Invisible Sun makes magic magical again. Magic’s not just a series of mechanics. It’s weird, wonderful, unpredictable, and dangerous. With spells and incantations like The Flock Scatters at the Sound of Teeth, Sharp Edges in the First Frost, and The Punishment of Change Comes to the Wary, magic is what the game is all about.
We at Monte Cook Games have done a number of Kickstarter campaigns in the past, and we are proud of our track record of delivering high-quality, on-time products. This Kickstarter campaign is a bit different. Befitting the nature of this game, each of the backer levels is a spell that summons an extradimensional box of secrets called (in the setting) the Black Cube. In this case, the Black Cube you’ll be summoning is filled with wonders. You can get the game, which itself is a deluxe product and a thing of beauty (Call the Black Cube) or you can get the game with the Directed Campaign and all the stretch goals (Control the Black Cube). There’s also a special level for our awesome retailers (Entreat With the Black Cube) and two for a few of you to get the really deluxe treatment (Master the Black Cube and Merge with the Black Cube). Like all spells in Invisible Sun, the backer levels are written in first person. Throughout the campaign, we’ll refer to the act of backing at one of these levels as casting that particular spell.
Invisible Sun is a very special product, with a lot of high-quality components but quality like this comes at a premium. Some people will want to consider buying the Black Cube as a group. And you’ll want to know about our shipping policies.
Last, note that when you back helps determine the nature of your rewards. Every backer will receive a sealed envelope with the game that holds a secret about the game or setting. The envelope that you get is based on the sun that is active on the day you back (see the top of the page for today’s active sun). No one secret is better than any of the others, but only those who cast Master the Black Cube or Merge the Black Cube will see them all. You can read this for more information about the Active Sun and how it affects your rewards.
Invisible Sun is a tabletop roleplaying game of surreal fantasy. It’s dark. It’s moody. It’s adult. It’s also perhaps the most deluxe and amazing roleplaying game product ever produced. Inside the specially designed cube you will find four books, a folding game board, a resin monolith, a metal medallion, four special dice, player handouts, tokens, and hundreds of cards to enhance your gameplay.
Invisible Sun is a game of secrets. And that is true of both the physical product and the in-world game as it is played. Hidden within the pages of the books, within the components of the game, and perhaps even within the box itself, lie clues to discover—clues that can unlock new secrets. Invisible Sun is as much about interacting with the physical game itself as it is about interacting with the other players. This is a game of deep immersion. Of escape.
Players create in-depth and intricate characters where the house in which they live is as important as their stats and skills. Character choices drive everything, with game rewards based on personalized story arcs, and emergent mechanics arising from not just from character creation, but from ongoing character development. However, in the end, it’s not game mechanics that dominate gameplay, but roleplaying.
Player characters in Invisible Sun discover and utilize secrets. These secrets often involve the very nature of the universe, and those who master such secrets can change that nature. In common parlance, this is magic, and thus player characters are magicians and sorcerers called vislae. How they utilize their magic—casting spells, creating objects of great power, entreating with otherworldly spirits, or improvising effects by weaving together threads of power—is up to them. Character creation and customization are paramount, and no character concept is refused. In a game where everything is possible, it’s never a matter of “You can’t do that,” but “How do you go about discovering the secret to do that?”
Let’s be upfront, though. Invisible Sun is not a game for everyone. Not because it’s difficult, but because it’s involved. It’s not really designed for casual, fire-and-forget sorts of play. It is character-focused the way a good novel or television series is character-focused, with individual story arcs, deep development, complex motivations, nonlinear narratives, and asymmetrical play. If you’re the kind of player who enjoys musing over your character between sessions, thinking deeply about the setting and events in the game, and making interesting choices, then Invisible Sun is the game you’ve been waiting for all this time.
We live in the modern world. We know what it’s like to try to get a group together on a regular basis—work, family, schedules, and other aspects of that nasty thing we call real life always get in the way. Invisible Sun, at its very core, is designed around overcoming that with gameplay options that deal with missing players, solo play integrated with group play, playing online, and more.
Invisible Sun is a game that encourages players to think about the game away from the table—and rewards them for doing so. Not just on game night. This is a game for people who enjoy real investment in character and story. It’s not just a hack-and-slash, bash the bad guy sort of thing. Those kinds of games are fun, but this is something different.
Players (individually or in groups) can devise and stage side scenes or even flashback scenes to accomplish their goals. The rules of the game address these in a way that is separate from but compatible with the main narrative. In addition to the flexibility this gives in group storytelling, it means that there are many opportunities to play the game and advance the characters and the narrative even when the whole group can’t meet.
The game even recognizes the difference between player types. It accommodates people who want simpler characters, non-magical characters, or even multiple characters. It even has different ways for introverts and extroverts to interact with the game and the group if they desire.
The place where you sit, reading this right now, is a place called Shadow. Despite what you may think, this is not the real world, but a shadow of it.
The real world is a place called the Actuality. This is a strange, surreal setting where magic is real and the impossible is entirely possible. It’s a dark place of demons, ghosts, and far stranger things, but it’s also a place of wonder and light—angels of the Legacy and continually shapeshifting elderbrin—where magic can do astonishing things.
In the Actuality, the player characters are important people who, should they discover the right secrets and find the right spells, can make a difference in the world.
And what a world. This is a place where tight-lipped veterans of the War won’t speak of their experiences, but it’s well known that the central city of Satyrine still bears wounds where undetonated weapons of pure hatred keep it from healing. Soulless devils scheme in darkness, bartering for bits of soul, because without one, magic is impossible. Spiders crawl into bedrooms to sip at the fluids in a sleeper’s eyes, carrying a magical virus that can cause anyone or anything to sprout spidery legs and scuttle about. Vislae visit changeries to alter their appearance to suit their mood—sometimes into striking, inhuman, and not even entirely Euclidean forms. They attend intrigue-filled parties held within the consciousness of the hosts, or search through the ruins of ancient libraries to find the ghosts of books they need to read.
The Actuality and the magical systems in Invisible Sun were designed from scratch. Don’t know anything about historical or modern magical traditions or occult beliefs? That’s okay. In fact it’s great. Because the magic and the occult in Invisible Sun has no ties to any real world beliefs. Monte took literally decades of study in such things—tarot, Kabbalah, Vodun, astrology, numerology, mythology, religion, the Tree of Life, and so on—and built an entirely original occult system for the setting. With Invisible Sun, we avoid any baggage from our world and our lives so we can dive into this purely escapist fantasy. (If you do have some knowledge of this sort of thing, well, you’ll likely really appreciate what he’s done.)
One of the most important parts of the magical systems in the world of Invisible Sun is a divinatory set of cards called the Sooth Deck. These 60 lavishly illustrated, uniquely round cards and the Path of Suns board serve the game in many ways. Turning a new Sooth card from the deck and playing it on one of the suns of the path affects gameplay in simple but significant mechanical ways that are sometimes beneficial, sometimes not, helping to represent the volatility of magic. The interpretive meanings of each card also serve as creative prompts for the GM to use (or ignore) as they see fit. A GM who has the deck at hand throughout a game session is never caught without an idea of what can or should happen next. It is the Invisible Sun GM’s best friend.
Sometimes, a card’s effects are short lived, but sometimes they remain in play for a while. Those that remain are held by an eerie monolith on the table called the Testament of Suns so that the card is dramatically presented to everyone and no one will forget its effect.
In addition to these components, you get four books that describe the game and the setting, hundreds of spell cards and item cards, hundreds of gameplay tokens, dice, a cloth map, a poster map, handouts, character booklets, grimoires, and more. For a complete list of the box’s contents, look here.
Those backing at the Control the Black Cube, Master the Black Cube, and Merge with the Black Cube levels gain access to the Invisible Sun Directed Campaign. For twelve months (starting when you tell us you are beginning your campaign, within one year of delivery of the game), Monte sends you new material, sometimes in electronic form and sometimes as a physical package. This includes adventure material, campaign advice, handouts, props, and special physical items. It’s like Monte himself is your GM coach, providing step-by-step advice and aids for your campaign as you run it. We’ll even send your players intriguing mystery packages tied to the campaign that are keyed to their character. And there’s more.
Helping to guide the unique gameplay aspects, the Invisible Sun app allows GMs to have a (virtual) Sooth Deck wherever they go. Meeting with a player for a half hour in the coffee shop or the park? You can play through a side scene using just the app. Use the app at the table for a quick reference regarding the possible meanings of each Sooth card. Players and GMs can even interact through the app when not sitting at the table together, allowing for many levels of play.
The app will be web based, and will run on any modern web browser, making it usable on your phone, tablet, or your PC.
Click on any of these links for more information:
Add-ons are rewards that you add to your existing reward level. Simply increase your pledge by the appropriate amount. Check out our pledge calculator; it’ll help you figure out exactly how much to pledge based on the backer level and add-ons you desire. Many of the prices are not even numbers–do the numbers have significance? Secrets?
Risks and challenges
Invisible Sun is the 7th game-related Kickstarter that Monte Cook Games has launched. All our previous campaigns have been successful and jam-packed with rewards, and 4 of those 6 campaigns are completely fulfilled, while the other two continue to deliver their rewards on schedule. That means we’ve delivered nearly 200,000 rewards. These include such varied items as corebooks for Numenera and The Strange, leather-bound deluxe corebooks, boxed sets, more than a dozen hardcover supplements, signed bookplates, playtest access, special-access seminars, meetings and dinners with the creative team, online and in-person games, and so much more.
Thus, while there are always challenges that can arise, we’ve probably already faced them. The Invisible Sun game is intricate and involved, but this campaign is not, compared to those we’ve already fulfilled. We’ve intentionally reduced the number of reward levels and add-ons that we’ve offered in previous campaigns.
We are extremely proud of our track record. Unless Monte himself is drawn permanently back into Shadow, we are confident that the project will meet all its promises.