EPOCH identifies the main challenges to running a genuinely tense and suspenseful horror game and sets out strategies and techniques to overcome them. This is supported by a simple, card-based system:
In EPOCH players generate their own characters at the table, using a range of randomly dealt elements which establish relationships, traits and strengths and weaknesses. They gradually turn a character outline into a sketch, and a sketch into a portrait during play through a structured opening scene, flashbacks, secrets and complications.
An EPOCH scenario is divided into a number of Tension Phases. At the end of each Tension Phase there is a potentially deadly or sanity-shattering challenge -either mental or physical- which is survived by playing an outcome card during the Challenge Round and narrating the effect on their character. If a player has no cards remaining, their character is eliminated.
Each Challenge Round there is a secret vote for the most ‘interesting’ character with the winner recovering an outcome card, enhancing their chances of survival.
Surviving characters have a chance at securing a happy ending by scoring points on the horror track, which is laid out face down by the GM at the beginning of the game.
There are two volumes which contain rules and advice for running suspenseful cinematic
horror games; EPOCH has all the core rules, outlines a new approach to survival horror gaming and contains all the cards you need to play, laid out and ready to print. The Experiment Continues is a companion volume which has more advice on running and playing suspenseful horror games, optional rules and more scenarios.
Two volumes of scenarios have been produced for EPOCH, Frontier of Fear contains four science-fiction survival horror scenarios. War Stories contains five scenarios set during wartime in conflicts ranging from World War I to modern peace operations.
Six individual scenarios are also available, some contain free quick-start rules, others are Christmas Specials which are set up as donate-what-you-can-afford with all proceeds going to help children in need.
You can also get a range of printed card decks which are full colour, double sided and feature eye-catching original art.
EPOCH products have been nominated for 5 ENnie Awards in categories including Best Rules, Best Electronic Book, Best Adventure, Best Free Product and Product of the Year.
Detailed reviews are available via Age of Ravens, RPG.net, RPGGeek, The Roleplayers Chronicle and the product review page on DriveThruRPG.
War Stories was the first runner-up in the category of Indie Supplement of the year.
Game Summary: This is a one-page summary of the rules and techniques to employ when running an EPOCH scenario. It includes page references for both the PDF and print-on-demand versions of the game. Download via Dropbox here. (0.2MB)
Pre-Flight Checklist: When you run a game for the first time there can be quite a bit to explain, this guide is a step-by-step guide for explaining EPOCH to new players. Download via Dropbox here. (0.2MB)
Blank Run Sheet: This is a one-page reference sheet, tracking character information, audience ballots, tension phase and challenge & horror track summary which you can populate for your own EPOCH scenarios. Download via Dropbox here. (0.3MB)
PRINTER FRIENDLY CARDS
Need to run an EPOCH scenario at short notice? You can download a printer friendly copy of the card set for each product below. Download the PDF via Dropbox:
EPOCH Core Rules (3.7MB)
The Experiment Continues (2.1MB)
War Stories (2.3MB)
Frontier of Fear (2.0 MB)
Polaris Six (1.3MB)
White Wedding (1.3MB)
Silent Night (1.7 MB)
Shadows of Yesterday (1.3 MB)
The Cold Shore (2.3 MB)
Road Trip (2.3 MB)
Fever Pitch (2.3 MB)