A downloadable TTRPG
UPDATE: Thanks to your interest and support, Apocalypse Keys will be published through Evil Hat Productions!
Apocalypse Keys has seen some huge updates, many moves have been revamped and there are tons of examples of play, an expanded Keeper section, and four Mysteries in total. Apocalypse Keys is currently more than 200 pages!
The game is now in open playtest. If you're interested in providing feedback to help Apocalypse Keys reach its delightfully monstrous final form, please check out the official game page on Evil Hat.
For those those who purchased Apocalypse Keys here on itch prior to March 9, 2020, you will receive the final, professionally-finished PDF as soon as it is available at no extra cost. I will regularly update this itchio page, and you should receive the updates through email automatically. You can also follow me on Twitter @temporalhiccup to keep up to date!
To everyone who supported the game early, you were absolutely essential in making sure this game got this far. I am so grateful for each and every one of you.
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The following is an older description of the game:
This game deals with mature themes such as apocalypse and the end of the world, supernatural forces and the occult. Some concepts lean into experiences that may find parallel with racism and marginalization.
You are encouraged to change aspects of the game to improve your enjoyment the game. But it’s also okay to not play this game.
Welcome to the Apocalypse
APOCALYPSE KEYS is a tabletop roleplaying game about monsters holding back the apocalypse. They are agents who work for the DIVISION, a mysterious organization dedicated to understanding the occult, taming the supernatural, and protecting the world. A world that is built for the mundane and for humans. A world that tries to pretend that monsters are not real.
APOCALYPSE KEYS is mainly inspired by Hellboy, the films and comics, as well as the spin off comic series B.P.R.D. that focuses on the other monstrous agents. But this game also leans into the other stories and genres that focus on investigating the strange and weird.
Solving Mysteries: At the heart of the game is the idea that the harbingers of the Apocalypse are working behind the scenes. They are manipulating monsters and humans to serve their goals and open the doors of the Apocalypse. As agents of DIVISION you must use your unique powers of darkness, contacts, tools, and skill to make sense of what is happening in each specific location. You gather clues and omens, which are called Keys of the Apocalypse. When you are ready to confront the truth, declare that you will attempt to open the door and see what awaits.
Power Balance: You are a monster, with great power at your disposal. But that power is tied to something humans and the world can never understand. In this game, when you go too far, you or others will pay the price. The toll of this weighs heavily on your heart.
Emotional Entanglements: You are monsters fighting monsters, and there are very few like you. Fewer still who work with the DIVISION. Your relationships mean everything. You create bonds with each other as a means of controlling your powers, making sure you don’t go too far. Fight, fall in love, succumb to your emotions, be vulnerable.
Doom Awaits: You each have something the darkness demands of you, and it is tied to the terrible doom that awaits you. It may be prophecy, destiny, enemies more powerful than you, or simply the truth of your nature.
This game is in BETA
APOCALYPSE KEYS is a Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) game. Mechanically it is inspired by lots of great games, including Brindlewood Bay, Urban Shadows, Pasión de las Pasiones, Hearts of Wulin, and Libreté. It focuses on mystery, the rule of cool, fighting back personal doom, and found family.
This game has been playtested for the last few months. Here are some of the recordings of my playtest sessions so far! After 30 hours of playtime I'm confident that it runs well. I've made some adjustments but this beta version is ready for play! I need more folks to run and play the game to help me finish the game. I'm at the stage where I need to keep refining and tweaking the moves. Once that's completely locked down, I can start working on examples of play, and more detailed guidance for running the game.
This version of the game does not have general guidance on how to run TTRPGs or PbtA games. It is best if you've had at least some experience in both in order to run this get the most out of this beta version.
By buying this game now, you are directly supporting my continued work on this project. I'll also be able to commission professional services like editing, art, sensitivity readings, etc.
This version of the game still has a lot, we are at 100+ pages for this game! We have:
- Six playbooks, six different monsters with strong themes
- Basic moves, situational moves, DIVISION moves
- A basic Keeper (GM) guide with a rundown of Agenda, Principles, and Moves
- Two mysteries for Keepers to run: The Manananggal Murders and The Oldest House
- Printable sheets to play in person
- An online character keeper to play online
THE SUMMONED - A violent monster who has been summoned from another world. Their power is blunt, aggressive, and demanding.
THE SURGE- A powerful monster who can barely stay in control. Their power is explosive, uncontrollable, and alienating.
THE FOUND - A psychic monster who can read the heart and mind. Their power is inquisitive, emotional, and strange.
THE SHADE - An cerebral monster who defied death and oblivion. Their power is enlightening, intellectual, and ephemeral.
THE LAST - A lonely monster from another world who is the last of their kind. Their power is reflective, sorrowful, and hopeful.
THE FALLEN - A charming monster who was once a divine being. Their power is faded, cracked, and deceitful.
The Actual Plays
THE RED ASWANG MYSTERY
In this playtest we have a would be Queen of the Nightmare realm, a wild elemental monster of lightning and storm, and a psychic dreamwalker. It is the year 1996, and the DIVISION has sent our monsters to investigate a university in the middle of Los Baños...
Episode 2 Part One
Episode 2 Part Two
- - NEW TEAM - -
THE BLACK NAZARENE MYSTERY
A new set of monsters from the DIVISION have been sent to the red light district of Makati City, Philippines. The Black Nazarene, two ancient holy figures/images of the Church of Quiapo, are missing.
Episode 1 Part One
Episode 1 Part Two
- SEASON BREAK, START OF SEASON 2 -
THE HUNGRY GHOST FESTIVAL
Our season hits a fever pitch and we build up towards a stunning finale. With the Black Nazarene mystery solved, the monsters are sent to Singapore to investigate something strange in the ArtScience Museum...
- - NEW TEAM - -
THE MANANANGGAL MYSTERIES (The mystery is part of the beta!)
The DIVISION sends their agents to investigate mysterious deaths. What stalks the manananggal, and what twisted ritual has been set in motion?
- - NEW TEAM - -
THE MISSING LINK (This mystery will soon be part of the beta!)
The DIVISION is sent to Island Zero, where teens psychically pilot colossal monsters to hold back creatures from the Rift. How does a pilot and their Halimaw go missing?
More actual plays will be added here as they happen!
Leah Sargeant talks about the first version of Apocalypse Keys on the Gauntlet Podcast!
Jammi talks about the move Holy Symbol Arsenal and introduces listeners of The Hard Move to the BETA version 1.0 of Apocalypse Keys.