InSpectres~ The Daedalus Club
"InSpectres" is a fabulous RPG (with heavy story game elements) written by the talented Jared A. Sorenson. In the game all the characters are employees of a contemporary "paranormal investigation and elimination service" in a world where supernatural menaces are more nuisances than bloodcurdling horrors.
For more information (including a free Startup Edition) go to:
What Victorian Adventure Enthusiast is proud to present here is a "mini sup" for InSpectres set in a Victorian Era gentleman's club..
Welcome to The Daedalus Club!
Created by: Jared A. Sorenson
The Daedalus Club is a British gentleman's club* located (of course) in London's West End. It was founded in 1861 as private social club for "gentlemen of standing and clean habits interested in discourse on natural philosophy, exploration, and God's Great World at large". Since then it has attracted its fair share of scientists, world travelers, inventors and more than its fair share of eccentrics. Unlike some clubs The Daedalus does not restrict its fellows from maintaining simultaneous memberships in other clubs. Just as long a they're not late with their dues...
It is assumed that most of the Players will take roles as Gentlemen of the Club, this will allow them access to the benefits of the Institution. It will also allow a myriad of story complications should any Unearthly Investigations go awry.
Despite its change in setting there are no rules changes between what we humbly present in this article and the original "InSpectres" game. Though we may jostle the terminology a bit.
Creating A Gent (and other Characters)
Building a Character in this version of Inspectres is the same as ever, just follow the instructions in your copy of the Employee Handbook & Franchise Guide. The only real difference is that instead of creating Agents most of you will be creating Gentlemen (Members) of the Daedalus Club. Unlike the original version of the game there is room for Players to take on roles of a Gentlemen's friends and associates...
- Gentlemen -
Members of the Club should be of Strong Moral Fiber and of Independent Means. The latter will allow them time to run off on strange adventures at a moment's notice, the former should keep them from succumbing to the Dark Temptations of the supernatural. The Mentally Infirm and Morally Suspect need not apply (and are unlikely to find sponsors among the Membership anyway). Keep in mind that a small case of Eccentricity doesn't qualify as Mental Infirmity.
Possible Talents: University Education, Social Connections, To the Manor Born, World Traveller, Stiff Upper Lip, Business Acumen, Gambler, Scientist...
- Chums -
Chums are close acquaintances (friends or business contacts like barristers or physicians) of Club Members who are of similar Social Standing but for one reason or another are not fellows of the Daedalus Club. A lack of Means is the most common reason they may be excluded, though Membership to a more restrictive club is also a likely explanation. If the Chum in question has been blackballed because of some personal or familial scandal, well, this is too public a forum to discuss such matters.
Possible Talents: Same as Gentlemen (above), Physician, Barrister, Military Training, Clergyman...
- Associates -
Even a Gentleman meets a wide variety of people the cosmopolitan Capital of the Empire. An Associate may be anyone a Gentleman has a long term relationship with regardless of Social Standing provided that the person in question is not a Relation or Servant. Physicians, police detectives, trusted merchants, a favored tailor, "entertainers"... there's room for mostanyone in this category. Hopefully they're not the kind to cause the Gentleman any embarrassment or scandal. At least, not until the game has started.
Possible Talents: Policeman, Physician, Journalist, Criminal History, Engineer, or any Professional Training...
- Relations and Servants -
Victorian literature is littered with indispensable Servants and cumbersome Relations. The first frequently responsible for the timely saving-of-one's-bacon, the second bound to cause unforeseen Social Complications. A Trusted Servant may be able to make contacts a Gentleman never could, while a Relative may go where a Gentleman shouldn't be caught going.
Possible Talents: Household Manager, Feminine Wiles, Psychology, Veterinarian...
- The Guest Star, an intriguing Character option -
Unlike other RPGs in the world of InSpectres it is the Franchise, not the Characters, that goes through A Character's Skills and Talents aren't ever likely to change. For a Player who finds this lack of Character stultifying we present the Guest Star option. If a Player is up to the challenge he may play a different Character investigation. These Guest Stars should be germane to the story at hand: perhaps he is another Member approaches the regular cast for assistance in a Pressing Matter or he may be the Knowledgeable Local information that rest of the Characters need to overcome the horrors they're currently facing. As always should be entertaining and not just be there to annoy the other Players.
If Weird Agents are allowed in your game making one a Guest Star may, perhaps, be a good way to keep Entertaining Guest Stars should be encouraged to return in future Investigations.
For most intents and purposes the four Skills that all InSpectres Characters possess remain unchanged. Academics is still the basis for issues involving knowledge, Athletics is called upon to resolve issues of physicality.
Contact and Technology do deserve some additional thought and discussion..
Contact is still the Skill called upon to see who a Character might know or to see how they handle any interpersonal affairs. But one must keep in mind that the Victorian society is much more stratified then our own. It may be almost impossible, or very scandalous, for a Gentleman to know people of certain backgrounds or (lack) of social standing. A Player should keep in mind the long term effect on his Gentleman if he keeps narrating "old friends" who would cause him to tarnish his social position. Conversely a Servant will need some interesting (and entertaining) stories to explain how he made the acquaintance of the Rajah of Sarawak or once did a favour for the esteemed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Please keep in mind that if a Character is reaching beyond their Station (either up or down) when dealing with an NPC that flubbed roll may allow the GM to come up with some wonderfully evil scenarios involving Poor Manners and Offended Sensibilities.
The Technology and Academics Skills are also affected by social status.
Good Education is restricted to the well off, so anyone who is from the Lower Classes should have a great (read: fun and plausible) explanation if they have a high Academics rating. Alternately the Players and GM may decide, collectively, that no person of a Middle or Low Social Class my have Academics as their highest Skill. Though two things should be kept in mind:
First~ Academics covers more than just education, it represents inherent "smarts" as well.
Second~ Fiction is filled with Servants who are better educated than their Employers (frequently because the Employers never bothered to study at University) and with members of the "lower" classes who are craftier or wiser than their social "betters"..
Technology poses a similar problem as Academics.
The best way to understand the Technology Skill in the Victorian setting is to think of it as the "Hands On" Skill.
A well-educated Gentlemen will know some science and may be Athletic enough to be a Fine Shot with a rifle... but it would be unseemly for him to know how pick a lock or even how to repair his broken firearm. There are, after all, professionals one could hire for such things.
The best way to handle this is, as always, is in the story. An interesting background for the Character or inevitable negative reactions from his Equals are better ways to deal with a Gentleman who knows his way around a steam engine than some Arbitrary Rule. If you like arbitrary rules reverse the Academics application and say that no personage of higher than Middle Class may have Technology as their highest ranked Skill.
The Nature of the Club
In this version of InSpectres the Club replaces your Franchise.
The Club is built just as a Franchise is built, but we ~will~ be adjusting some terminology.
As with a typical game of InSpectres everyone involved should discuss the nature of their Club. Is it well regarded in society? Is it filled with a multitude of affluent snobs or has it dwindled to just a few eccentrics? Are the Members actually well off or are they putting on a show and the Club is in fact rotting from lack of funding? Was its library assembled by Learned Scholars or put together from whatever was sitting about? Does it have a large Gymnasium complete with a fencing salon and access to horse stables?
Once you've had a good chat it will be easy to spend your Franchise dice building your Club.
**REMEMBER: When spending your Franchise dice on your Club that the amount spent will represent the resources of the Club MEMBERS as well as the Club itself.**
You may decide that the Club's Library is only lacking because several of its Members have truly remarkable Collections of Books. These collections will be available to any Member... who's in good standing.
Where-in we shall jostle Terminology, primarily for the fun of it.
... and because Victorians don't have "Library Cards"
Library Card becomes Library
Gym Card becomes Gymnasium
Credit Card becomes Line of Credit
The most notable change is that as the game is set in a gentleman's club and not in a financed Franchise the Bank will become Club Standing. It represents the Good Will and Cheerful Assistance of the Club and its other Members.
Your Club dice work just like Franchise dice.... your Line of Credit dice are added to Technology rolls, your Gymnasium dice to Athletics rolls.
And yes, your Club Standing dice work just like Bank dice.
"Bankruptcy" and "Debt"
Once again the game mechanics of exhausting any of your Franchise/Club dice remains the same.
But the story effects are different. Draining any of the dice repositories will put a strain on the Characters' relationships with the Club and the other Members. The Characters may have a hard time accessing the Library in the future if they are constantly losing books from it or one of the Club Members with Deep Pockets and Dark Secrets may start seeing the troublesome Characters as being indebted to him and chose to use them as his own personal lackeys for Unpleasant Errands (which could be great for the story).
If you end up "Bankrupt" the Characters have utterly ruined their reputation with the Club, they may have even damaged the reputation of the Club itself. As such the are out on their.... own. No other club of quality would ever admit them and intimates and business acquaintances will soon be finding other fellows to associate with. They will be struck form social calendars and are bound to come to No Good End. More's the pity.
Don't forget to discuss the level of Technology available to the Characters. Will it be Typical Victorian? or Outlandish Steampunk? Perhaps some inventions just on the horizon will appear a few decades early. And Heaven help the gentlemen stuck facing the Ungodly Unknown with nothing but Primitive Resources.
The Play's the Thing
We'll belabor this point one last time: there's no technical difference between the Daedalus setting and the Play Structure found in the EH&FG.
Here are a few notes on "color", if you will.
The most likely Starting Interview is being grilled by established Club Members prior to them voting on your Character's Application. In this fashion the GM and the other Players may take on the roles of influential (or at least out spoken) Gentlemen and question you about where you come from and your thoughts on Important Issues until they've gotten a good squirm out of you... or until it becomes un-entertaining.
These personal (and often prescient) asides remain as important as ever but Players may wish to envision them as the Character writing a revealing letter to a trusted relation or compatriot, reciting a diary entry or blathering on in front of inconsequential household help.
"Getting the Call"
There are two primary ways for the Characters to get involved in an investigation: Covert and Overt.
Covert is the classic set up: another Club Member approaches the Characters, discreetly I'll point out as it is still the Victorian era, about a Pressing Matter he wishes to keep recondite. It may not always be another Member but the set-up is the same: here's my problem, please help! How could a Gentleman say no?
Overt is best represented by that well respected Club Tradition: The Wager!
Instead of some clandestine meeting filled with Veiled References a discussion in the Club's Main Salon becomes heated leading one of the Characters to make an unlikely Claim and another Member challenging him to back his bragging with banknotes.
"Have you heard that VerMeers is moving into Edington House?"
"I say! The poor, poor soul. That edifice is known to be cursed with bloodthirsty Vam-"
"Nonsense and piffle Newkom! If you were a knowledgeable man you would know that the ruin is merely infested with a handful of ghouls!"
"-pires... Shock and d*mn Whiteside! I told you never to speak to me such again. If you're so positive that there is only a ghoul or two in Edington House I'm sure you won't hesitate to investigate it yourself and support your assertion with, shall we say, 100 pounds?"
"100? Let's say 300 pounds!... Now who's with me? Mr Smith? Mr Murtaugh?"
Of course Mr Whiteside's theory regarding ghouls isn't fact yet... he's going to have to roll for it during the Investigation phase...
And Finally, Dear Readers~
Thank you for your time and thanks to the Kindly Mr Sorenson for allowing me the opportunity to present this Vintage Option for your future InSpectres gaming!
View the full game, Inspectres HERE:
*If you are unfamiliar with the British tradition of the gentleman's club, please take a moment and consult the wikipedia for elucidation: