Reality is breaking apart. Fracture lines exist in the fabric of reality and are spreading. People can be sucked out of the universe. Their lives are just erased as if they had never existed. From the darkness beyond the fault lines, other things from a time that never happened are waiting to break through into our world.
The players are cabals of wizards who operate secretly in the modern, urban environment. They alone can maintain and repair the cracks in reality. However, the various cabals are at loggerheads because the cabal that mends the final fracture will remake the world on their terms.
Any use of everyday magic widens the cracks, making damage to the local environment and the incursion of nightmare creatures more likely. Some districts of the city appear whole and normal. Other neighborhoods, where the cabals are weak, are magical Chernobyls where no one can walk in safety. Hence cabals have to organize and self-police to limit such damage. They also have to band together to compete with other cabals on a citywide scale.
* * *
Every so often you come up with a piece of an idea. You wait around for something else to join it to, and if you’re lucky that grows into a novel or a game design. Other times, those fragments just sit around as orphans.
Fractures is one of those.
Jamie and I would love to work it up into something. It’s got a modern Lovecraftian urban thing going on, and as a big fan of B.P.R.D. I find that has a strong appeal. Not that it’d look anything like B.P.R.D. when it grew up. I think of it as more Tarot teams up with Doc Strange to investigate The Killing.
We even tinkered with a script, whether for a game cutscene or a comic book we couldn’t say. But still the concept stubbornly refused to come out of its chrysalis. And there it remains, perhaps forever – or, alternatively, sudden inspiration next week might kindle a spark of existence for it. These things are rarely in the authors’ hands.
INT. HYLEM BUILDING – DAY
The doors open and Grace gets out. She’s in a long anonymous hall which, in contrast to the lower floors, is still decorated in a sober ‘forties style.
She makes her way along the hall. The doors are dark wood with heavy round handles and frosted glass panels. Set under the glass pane on each door is a copper nameplate. They’re all blank.
Grace looks back along the hall. The elevator doors close.
She tries one of the doors. It swings open.
INT. OFFICE IN HYLEM BUILDING – DAY (CONTINUOUS)
Grace steps into the office. It’s uncarpeted and bare except for a single desk with an old-style dial telephone.
The telephone is off the cradle. It’s emitting soft buzzing sounds that seem like speech, but distorted so as to be sibilant and hard to make out.
She approaches the phone and picks it up. For just an instant that we catch a voice talking quietly, half hidden by the heavy clunk as she picks the receiver off the desk.
Grace listens to silence on the other end of the line, punctuated by just a few random clicks.
She jabs at the cradle contacts.
Who’s there? Hello. Hello.
Suddenly she hears a soft exhalation of breath on the other end of the line. Grace stiffens.
A whispering voice - icy, rasping, desolate:
VOICE (over PHONE)
We’re waiting for you.