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  • Writer's pictureBastien Lecouffe

CURSE: Historical Context

Updated: Jan 19, 2020

Curse is set in an alternative Europe.

A darker version, devastated by two centuries of plague.

The game takes place on an island, somewhere on the Fading Sea, distant from the rest of the world.

This alternative context is a deliberate choice, made to allow Masters and players to imagine and tell stories freely with no fear of creating historical or geographic inaccuracy.

In 1347, the world flickered and everything changed.

In 1617, the world is very different from what we know of ours at that time.

The grim reality of the 17th century in Curse is fictional and unstable. And because of that, you decide what you make of it!

This intentional inaccuracy allows you, the Master, to “tune” the world as you want it to be for your game. I say “the world”, but the world doesn’t matter much in Curse, as the game takes place mainly within the walls of The City, on a distant island, cut from the rest of the world.

Curse is a sandbox game, contextualized just enough to trigger your imagination and generate stories within a world that you don’t have to learn, because you know it already. And what you don’t know about it is simply up to you to create.

This creative freedom allows you to set the tone.

How historically accurate do you want your world to be?

Mine is at a crossroad between realism and eldritch fiction. Myths and dark legends have infiltrated reality to a point where architecture took a sinister turn. Superstitions are true most of the time, and nightmares feel like a safe place compared to some of the City streets.

Judgmental ravens perched on smoky chimneys, mysterious hooded individuals walking the streets at night, witches looking for a prey, lustful priests and self-righteous inquisitors, lone warriors and mad sorcerers, they are as real as the noble families who control the money in the City. As real as the worst rumors that the people whisper about the Night and its infamous members.

So yes, in the background of my game there is a thing that used to be Europe.

European kingdoms and nations have collapsed under the waves of pestilent rats, and the names “France, Spain, Italy, Europe, etc, are barely ever mentioned on the island, or at the gaming table.

I use the pseudo-historical context to inject a heavy dose of realism at the table. But the reality is a darker, grimmer, haunted fantasy. Where ghosts walk the foggy streets, and the winds carry the voices of the dead. A place where a cursed city rises, grows, expanding its streets like blackened veins, feeding on the souls of its inhabitants.

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