Revolution in a Gothic 18th century that never was...

by Sean Tait Bircher with Robin English-Bircher


Coming July 2016 from Four-in-Hand Games, The King is Dead plunges players into a Savage Worlds setting of intrigue and horror. In an 18th century much like our own, a coalition of secret societies wages a guerilla war to overthrow an aristocracy of vampires. With the law against them, the heroes become outlaws, striking from the shadows as they work to rally the people against their oppressors.

The King is Dead combines the 18th century intrigue of programs such as AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies and Starz’ Outlander with the supernatural elements of motion pictures like Brotherhood of the Wolf and Hammer Films’ Karnstein Trilogy. An ancient vampire sits on the throne of the land of Malleus, his sons and his sons’ progeny dominating the ruling houses, propped up by a corrupt church that teaches obedience to the blood-sucking fiends. Since the vampires control the government and the military, those who oppose them must work in secret. Spywork and suppressed magic become the tools of heroes when open conflict will only result in the deaths of innocents.

The King is Dead offers a setting open to action heroes and stealthy tricksters alike, using all the core Savage Worlds Arcane Backgrounds and Combat Edges. Masked highwaymen ferry secret messages between occult philosophers. Mad scientists outfit driven vampire hunters with devices powered by galvanism and steam. Native martial artists fight side-by-side with doughty highlanders and meteor-irradiated superhumans. Powerful psychics infiltrate the halls of power while a brewing slave rebellion watches and waits. The secret societies of Malleus offer many advantages to those who join their ranks.

Playing a member of a secret society offers more than just a background for a player’s character. Every society offers aid to its members, giving players additional resources to draw on for difficult research and additional manpower for dangerous vampire hunts. Players also have the ability to advance their secret society’s goals as their heroes rise in Rank, giving them control over global events as the revolution spreads. By the time the heroes are ready to take on the king, a revolutionary war will be burning across Malleus.

The heroes will need this aid, as the vampires and their allies are more powerful and more insidious than ever seen in a Savage Worlds setting. From preternaturally strong human thralls to half-blood sorcerers to protean vampire lords, Game Masters will find over a dozen new vampiric threats with which to assail their players. However, the shadows of Malleus are even deeper than the secret societies realize, as dark fey, eldritch horrors, and lycanthropic terrors lurk in the darkness, offering Faustian bargains to the heroes and terrifying allies for the vampires. The King is Dead melds revolutionary intrigue with Gothic terror into a challenging new setting that could only be played with Savage Worlds!  

The King is Dead will include:

  • Nine secret societies with their own unique Edges and abilities
  • Over a dozen new vampires and vampire-related foes
  • New Edges and new Hindrances – including the controversial Dark Secret Hindrance
  • New Arcane Background trappings – including steam power and vehicles
  • A Plot Point framework that gives players agency to set their own agenda and GMs the tools to improvise – including over two dozen stock NPCs to fit any occasion
  • Two fleshed-out settings: Thornmark, a troubled province in the north of Malleus, and Hammerstadt, the vampire’s decadent capital

Be on the lookout for news here and at Wine and Savages! The revolution begins in July 2016!