Nevermore rips its themes stories straight from the pages of American Gothic writers such as Washington Irving, Herman Melville, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Henry James, Ambrose Bierce, Edith Wharton, and of course, Edgar Allen Poe. Family curses, haunted forests, doomed romances, soothsaying ghosts, abandoned villages, strange science, terrifying beasts, and the risen dead are all a part of the world in which the protagonists of our tales live and breathe.

Edgar Allen Poe Gothic Horror

Edgar Allen Poe

The Gilded Age of America

There is currently an abundance of excellent roleplaying games featuring the American West and Victorian era of Great Britain and Europe. Yet, few, if any, delve into the unique experience that is the east coast of America during the Gilded Age. The American Gothic period is generally considered to be a little later than its European counterpart. Much in the way of other fashions, it took a little longer to establish itself here. Whereas the European Gothic period is considered to be the mid-seventeenth century to the early eighteenth, American Gothic is closer to 1830 to 1901, placing it neatly into the Gilded Age. However, one can argue that American Gothic literature can trace its roots further, and indeed, there are many writers of Gothic literature in the modern era.

Whatever the case may be (and there is much argument over the timeframes of Gothic Literature), our roleplaying game is set in the year 1888, well into the American Industrial Age and nearing the zenith of the Victorian, and smack dab in the Gilded. The focus of Nevermore is deeply embedded in Gothic horror, but it draws from the romance and mystery aspects of romantic Gothic literature as well.

The Mid-Atlantic Region

Gothic Baltimore of the 1800s

Baltimore City in the late 1800s

The game is designed for stories anywhere on the eastern seaboard of the United States—mostly focused in the mid-Atlantic region—from fast-growing cities like Baltimore to the mysterious wilds of Appalachia. This region is an oft used setting for the literature of the time, and it is rich in folklore of unusual creatures, ancient curses, and lonesome ghosts. The city of Baltimore, where Edgar Allen Poe spent his last days, was a burgeoning metropolis and the fastest growing city on the east coast. The rapidly expanding city often experienced conflict as it expanded into the wilderness—the new encroaching on the old sometimes with unfortunate consequences. The nearby Appalachian Mountains are among the most venerable in the world, so who knows what horrors lurk in its primordial forests or beneath its timeworn stone.

There are so many themes and aspects to American Gothic Literature that the stories that can be told are nearly limitless. With any luck, Nevermore will prove to be an exciting and entertaining roleplaying game that allows you to explore some of these stories with your friends.

Click here to learn more about Nevermore: A Game of American Gothic Horror.

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