Strange Roads is your favorite classic role-playing game system meets the rural horror of Deliverance and the industrialized wildland aesthetic of True Detective: Season 1—if the latter’s supernatural undertone was cranked all the way up to an overtone.
This game is firmly entrenched in two worlds. The first is the horror-noirscape of the city, where death, sex, and vice reign supreme and in excess. The second and more focal is a weird-ified pastiche of Southern gothic, countryside Americana, and nightmarish decay, where rot has set in, and isolated small towns fade like demented memories. The country is not just wildlife and grungy farmhouses; it is wildlands and bone-chilling hodunk terror. You are far from home, you are out of gas, and you are most certainly not welcome here.
While many other old-school games take place in medieval fantasy realms, Strange Roads is set in a bleak fantasy version of modern America—in particular the South, the so-called Old Country, and the Midwest, colloquially known as the Flatlands. In this game, the darker side of the U.S. of A. is revealed: isolation, fundamentalism, and atrophy in the country; excess, cynicism, and corruption in the city. Here, fear is motivated just as much by drug addiction, sectarianism, and everyday violence as it is by magical forces, the undead, and otherworldly horrors.
Using a familiar old-school-style gaming system, player characters in this game will hit the open road, discovering and exploring modern-day locations of horror and adventure such as dangerous cult compounds, rundown amusement parks, and derelict apartment complexes deep in the heart of gang territory. There’s just as much danger, excitement, and terror to be found in these places as there is in any dusty old tomb (though there are plenty of those around here, too), and there’s just as much risk and reward involved in exploring them.
Strange Roads is being designed with OSR compatibility in mind, allowing you to run your favorite adventures with ease of portability. Just change the aesthetic and cosmetics, and in no time your players will be inadvertently rousing a sleeping god beneath an underground Confederate death-cult lair deep in the Appalachians.
Strange Roads is currently in development. Release date is pending, but I’d like to have it out by the end of 2017. I’ll be posting more about it in the days to come, so stay tuned. (Details about character classes next week!)