Welcome to the first official post in the new blog for Nepenthe Games. It was about a year and a half ago, May of 2020, that I wrote down my first notes on Nevermore: A Game of American Gothic Horror, or as I called it then, “The World of Poe”. A lot has changed – my original notes were for a hybrid card and dice system. And a lot has stayed the same – the concept of the aethyr and aethyros were in those original notes. In that time, the game has come a long way. Character creation is mostly in place, the core rules are functional, and a lot of the ancillary rules for monsters, interacting with the aethyros, and relationships with NPCs are coming together.

It’s been an interesting journey so far, and I’m excited about how things are coming together. I’ve been running playtests almost every week and learning something new every time. Today, I just sent out the first playtest packets to several groups who are going to tell their own stories. I can’t wait ot hear what they have to say about the game. One of the most difficult parts of game design can be expressing your ideas on the written page so that others can understand them, and playtesting is vital to getting a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. That brings me to the purpose of this post and what this new blog will be all about.

What to Expect

I plan to use this space to help people get to know Nevermore and the thoughts and ideas behind it. I’ll be delving into both the setting and the rules, as well as the places they intersect. I’ll talk about how and why I decided to make this game. And, of course, there will be plenty of anecdotes about the design process – some humorous and some embarrassing. Some of the posts might be about quirks of the late 19th century that I find to be interesting or amusing or about American gothic horror. Ultimately, I hope that this will be a way for me to communicate my design goals and intentions with people interested in the game before it’s even published. I also hope this becomes a two-way conversation. I love hearing from people interested in the game and sharing thoughts and ideas about both system and setting design.

When We’ll Publish

The Kickstarter is currently planned to happen in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2022. Part of this depends upon how things look for conventions this year. Before the Kickstarter, I’d like to get out to a few conventions, including GenCon, as well as local game shops and let more people get a chance to see and play the game. But that is largely going to depend upon the Pandemic and whether that seems like a safe option. As much as I’d love to meet with people face-to-face and sit down and play some games with folks in person, there are other matters to consider. Either way, you can expect the Kickstarter sometime before the end of the year. In the meantime, I hope you’ll follow along. If you’ve ever been curious about the behind the scenes of game design, this will be an excellent opportunity to part the curtain and even get involved by offering opinions or asking questions.

Until next time,

Ian Lemke


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