Blades in the Dark and Agon designer John Harper has unveiled the Paragon system, along with the first tabletop RPG built within it, Chamber - a Cold War era science-fiction game of paranatural intrigue and covert governments.
“Two years ago, on January 7, 1966, an alien energy, now known as THE SIGNAL, reached the Earth,” Chamber’s Itch.io page reads. “It spread through telecommunications systems, affecting people and technology around the globe. Its existence is not publicly known, though its strange effects have been widely reported.”
Players suit up and wear the badges of Chamber employees, tasked with securing or destroying weird artifacts known as Signal Resonant Materials (SRMs) and intercepting those entities - terrestrial or otherwise - who would use them for their own gain. Oh, and protecting civilians caught in the collateral when possible.
Those familiar with X-Files, the recent video game Control or the collaborative storytelling forum SCP will understand the world of Chamber. Every urban legend about Black Suits disappearing the unexplainable in the dead of night is true and part of a massive cover-up for the ostensible safety of the public.
Each session of Chamber takes the form of a mission wherein your agents will be sent into the field to investigate and ultimately uncover the SRM before anyone else. Harper claims preparation takes minutes, primarily thanks to the “fast and flexible” Paragon system, derived from the mechanical foundation of his last game, Agon. Chamber requires a copy of Agon in order to play.
The designer unveiled the Paragon system on November 30th, alongside Chamber, which was meant as an example playset that showed how other designers might hack it for their purposes. Several systems from Agon have been generalised and adapted: the Fate bar, favours from different deities (in Chamber, these are occult or paranatural entities) and your character’s name accruing potency through exploits remain core to the experience.
“The goal for Chamber was to attempt the most minimal hack footprint I could, as an example for others to follow to make stuff without lots of effort,” Harper said on Twitter.
Chamber can be purchased on Itch.io at a name-your-own-price point. More information on adapting and crediting the Paragon system can be found on the Blades in the Dark community page.