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De Profundis, The Letter Writing RPG


Don’t feel pressured. I assume this game will move with a more glacial pace anyway. :slight_smile:


Definitely, I know I’ll be taking an age to write each response :smile:


Thank you, you are right, it’s not a game for short attention spans. Rest assured, I am taking my sweet ass time over this.

To give you a brief window into my OOC life. I have a full time job working in medical research, I am currently running two Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, and I am currently training for my black belt in karate. So, as you might imagine, spare time is not in great supply for me.

But, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am not the sort of person that is content being idle.


So, in other words, you are almost as busy as a parent of a 3 year-old with no hobbies or social life?

(I’m kidding, of course, I do find time for one hobby after all)

(although life after (if) our gestating twins are born is hard to imagine…)


I already had written a handful of letters to people who’ve exchanged addresses with me (I love getting mail and having pen-pals, I’ve written and received paper letters from a few people here, it blows my mind and is super-cool).

I didn’t keep copies or scans of any of my sent letters, it seemed appropriate not to. That was a hard decision, but one I want to stick to, personally, and a decision I hope no one else makes. I will keep and scan anything I receive, though, and will send the scan to the person who sent it to me, if they don’t have a copy already. I just thought it would be appropriate if occasionally one of my letters was lost forever.

It was a personal aesthetic decision, but I would hope no one else feels that way. I don’t mind losing anything I write to the void of oddball multinational games like this, much like I don’t mind losing what I place in a geocache, or my occasional (I haven’t done this in a while) writing a message in a bottle and tossing it into the sea ( Help! I am stranded on an island! My GPS coordinates are…just kidding, if you find this, please send me a letter… etc.)

They are all hand written, so far. Many of them are on notebook graph paper (I checked, they did have that back then, but there’s no way I could have gotten the kind they had back then), and a lot of them show Prof. Moore is a bit bonkers. Don’t worry, he has long periods of lucidity, and I, in real life, in a fit of retail therapy, bought a manual typewriter, so no one has to suffer my awful handwriting quite as often (one person out there gets to experience the fact that my handwriting is just as bad with both my right and left hands!)


I knocked up some tables today, and categorised them by modes of insanity escalation. They are not compulsory, of course. Just use them if you get stumped for ideas.

Tables (d10)

Escalation Level One

1 – Nightmares
2 – Freemasonry
3 – A Lost Love
4 – Memories of Cornelius
5 – Memories of The Heteroclites
6 – Memories of The Great War
7 – Distrust of Foreigners
8 – Insomnia
9 – Nyctophobia/Fear of The Night
10 – An Impossible Theory

Escalation Level Two

1 – Sleep Paralysis
2 – Somnambulism/Sleep walking
3 – A Paranoid Conspiracy
4 – The Feeling That You Are Being Followed
5 – A Peculiar Smell
6 – Unexpected Correspondence
7 – A Newspaper Article
8 – Narcolepsy
9 – A Terrible Book, Holding Unknowable Secrets
10 – Becoming Lost Somewhere in A Dark Corner of Your Own City

Escalation Level Three

1 – A Doppelgänger
2 – An Animal or An Object with An All-Too-Human Face
3 – A Manifestation from A Nightmare in The Waking World
4 – Being Unable to Distinguish Between Being Awake and Being Asleep
5 – A Mysterious Death
6 – An Undiagnosable Illness
7 – Untrustworthy Memories
8 – A Book Holding a Blasphemous Spell
9 – Uncovering a Bizarre Artefact
10 – A Visit to Celephaïs/The Dreamlands


For the hell of it, I rolled a d10 (I have lots of dice within arm’s reach). The result made sense.


Wait so you guys play this by sending letters in real life?


That’s the plan! This electronic format just isn’t old school enough for us hipsters you see. (I’m also young enough that I don’t remember a time before computers, in case you don’t get the joke.)


That sounds really neat!


I got a manual typewriter, just for this! Still trying to figure out how it works.

It’s “portable,” but it’s heavier than my bicycle.


You mean it’s portable in the same way a table is? Nether of them are bolted down.


I’m just dragging it around on the end of its leash. Up to the store, the gas station, hooked onto the aforementioned bicycle when I go for a ride…I can’t type at home because the thing’s so noisy it wakes everyone up.


I’ve only just found this thread! I’ve been involved in the game already - so - for your character cast list:

William Jones, 38
Born and brought up around the burgeoning film industry by his actor parents, he dreams of writing and producing a great classic. Childhood friends with Justin, he knows nothing of the Heteroclite either, but has started to become interested in the idea that his films could be more than entertainment. Recently, he sold up and moved to England, of all places, having set up a tiny film studio called Society Films.


Daniel Timmins - 22

Working on his PhD in Psychopathy. Nearly twenty years have passed since the height of the “The Inquiring Heteroclite”. The society remained an enigma on Cambridge’s history and countless retellings of the story have twisted it into some dark and menacing tale to frighten the undergrads. This is the world American exchange student Daniel Timmins has entered. He learned of the society from his roommate and now spends all his time delving for more information or artifacts he can find. He feels Cambridge is host to something fantastic, if he can only manage to uncover it.

(Will be beginning play with William for reasons once my dip pen comes in)


Awesome! I recently got a letter from another fountain/dip-pen writer playing this!

I just sent out a few letters overseas, and man they look awful, but in the very best way. The ribbon I have is perfectly just dry enough to make the text look old, I’m going to feel sad when I have to change it and every character that I type comes out perfectly black.


( @SleepyWill, et al., I retconned my above description a little to fit with William’s character. )


Cool - I’ve left it intentionally vague enough that while I knew you well enough that I will respond to your letters quite reliably, the actual details haven’t been fleshed out at all - maybe I was the annoying kid who used to follow you around because our parents knew each other, or maybe we were super close - we’ll figure it out!!


Absolutely, I think I read something like “broad strokes, that slowly and eventually come into an uncomfortable high resolution.”

Which is a half-lie, because I did read that, but only after I wrote it.


This news makes it’s way in some form or another to each player, no matter where you are in the world: