A novel and RPG setting about the difference between life and death and making it matter.
Sleepwalkers is a setting. I wrote it to be an RPG game, but I intend to write a straight novel about it, since the setting is all done but the RPG mechanics are not.
For as long as there has been death and dreaming, there have been shaman and their spirit worlds. All such worlds are glimpses of one place; the Fringe. Just as sleep takes us close to death, the Fringe is both dream world and purgatory- and it’s far from empty. Not everyone who dies goes away. In this RPG the players can choose from five types of Sleepwalkers; modern day shaman who venture into this strange world and encounter the dead (and worse) within.
Sometimes people end up trapped in this border world, this fringe space as they await either the enlightenment to move on, or the oblivion of an obsession with a life now lost. What happens when a company employs the brightest minds the modern world has to discovering these things? What happens when cults of visionaries kill to protect the secrets of death? What happens when talented minds seek to create their own way into this world, to exploit it or to explore it?
They soon realise that not just anyone can shed our reality and tread the places unknown to the rest of us. These… Sleepwalkers… are not made easily. Special, scarred, secretive, select individuals are needed not just to enter the Fringe, but to survive it. Forget what you know. Purgatory is a busy place and it is just as possible to die there as in the waking world. If you’re willing to take a step beyond life, to the sharp edge of the mind, then there is power and adventure waiting for you.
All you have to do is sleep.
Sleepwalkers is a setting about special people who have the ability to enter a dimension called the Fringe. This place is a spirit world of sorts, where these powerful few explore a purgatory realm where the dead cling to our world, afraid to pass on.
There are paths to power in the Fringe, where the rules of reality are as mutable as a metaphor, but there is danger too. Aside from other Sleepwalkers out to cause havoc, there are Spirits of the dead and monstrous animals; creatures raised in the between-space that will have no problem with killing a careless voyager.
The Fringe looks a lot like our world, an echo of the frantic and loud mind of humanity. The buildings and shapes are the same, but with enough willpower, they can be ignored. Sometimes ancient structures long destroyed in the real world are still present in the Fringe, their presence lingering far beyond mere bricks and mortar. The Sleepwalkers and Spirits who inhabit the Fringe can affect the real world too, with enough power, but doing so is dangerous. Look around yourself; there could be a fight to the death happening right there, invisible to the naked eye but only a step away.
In the game, you take the role of a Sleepwalker, Spirit, or even a regular person and set about exploring this strange world. There are different ways to enter the Fringe and thus different types of Sleepwalker, each with their own way of dealing with the dangers of adventure. You must make alliances on both sides of the veil, for you will make enemies without a doubt. You may be a part of a group looking to exploit or protect the Fringe, seek out a particular Spirit, capture a Sleepwalker or just rob banks by walking through the walls…
A pity then, that all of this fun is being spoiled. A corporation is capturing and killing Sleepwalkers. People are going to sleep and waking up… different. The real world is changing and only the Sleepwalkers are seeing it. You can stride beyond life and walk in purgatory, but what are you going to do about the things that are doing the same, but from the other side?
They Who Eat are coming, and nobody even knows.
Apart from you.
Well, I can’t give away much more right now, but that’s the gist of the setting. The book will be based on the exploits of one particular fledgling Sleepwalker, a young girl living in London. The first few chapters are complete, but on hold until I can get Splinters of Truth on it’s feet.
This is not to be confused with a previously posted text called ‘The Devil and the Deep’. That’s a chapter for a separate prospective book in the Sleepwalkers setting. It might find it’s way back onto the site eventually; long story short, it’s about criminals working on an oil rig. They’re really lab rats, being exposed to a dangerous situation in order to find out how Sleepwalkers are made.