Campaign Concept - the Dumas Club

By Patrick O'Duffy (



Recently I read a wonder novel - "The Dumas Club", by Spanish author Arturo Perez-Reverte. I heartily recommend it - well written, intelligent, literary... reminded me of a somewhat more accessible Umberto Eco.

The novel's plot deals with the search for a number of books on demonology, with interference from what seem to be characters from _The_Three_Musketeers_. I won't divulge any more, because hopefully a few readers will chose to chase it down.

So how does this connect to IN? Well, I''m a big fan of the Marches, and I like the fact that fictional characters can exist there, born from the powers of dreaming imagination. After reading the novel, I thought there'd be a lot of keenness in playing fictional characters in the real world. Hence, "The Dumas Club".


It's tough to be a fictional character nowadays. The Angelic Police want to stamp you out for the crime of existing. The Demons Downstairs want to recruit you and use for their own ends. And the other gods floating around the Marches see you as just another source of Essence.

To survive, you need to band together...

The concept of this campaign would be that the PCs are various fictional characters that have come to life in the Marches. Out of neccessity or loneliness, they've banded together as "The Dumas Club" (for simplicity's sake) - a network/group/society dedicated to ensuring their continued survival.

In this club, old enemies must sometimes bury the hatchet - Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty, formerly mortal adversaries, know that survival depends on them using their great intellects together. Of course, some have sold out - Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's even smarter brother, now works in service to Asmodeus (anything for a quiet life).

In this cold new world, even once decent characters must occasionally sell out to the man (rumours say that John Shaft, black private dick, does contract jobs for Kronos when he's down on Essence). You never know who you can trust, or who your enemies are. Some even help the Angels, like reformed miser Scrooge - even though the forces of Heaven are the first to call for pogroms against the Imaginaries.

What's a character to do?

PCs would probably be made on a basis of 7 Forces - 8 or 9 for the _really_ well established or popular characters, like Santa Claus or Batman. Let players purchase Vessels, since there's fun to be had in the real world, but point out that getting killed will land them in Limbo for a very long time.

To get completely away from canon, I'd also advise giving all PCs some sort of resonance and attunement style ability. Make it something unique and appropriate for the character, that has a similar (or slightly lower) level of effect than a Celestial resonance. Let the PCs make up a couple of 'rites' each, so they have a way of gaining Essence more reliably. Then let 'em rip.

Now you've got interesting characters, who (due to their altered lifestyles and knowledge of their own fictional nature) will have personalities that have drifted away from their original inception. You've got a huge playing field (Earth & the Marches). You've got antagonists - Angels, Demons, humans and other denizens of the Marches. And you've got other imaginaries as allies, enemies or simply 'family'.

It's not at all standard IN. And I'm not sure I'd ever run it using the IN rules (7 or 8 Forces means that it's hard to have an effective _and_ well-balanced character) - maybe Feng Shui or FUDGE would be better.

But it would be a bucket of fun, wouldn't it?

-- Patrick O'Duffy, Brisbane, Australia

When masturbation's lost its fun You're fucking breaking

GREEN DAY, "Longview"


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