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The Laundry RPG’s second edition imagines nightmares just slightly more horrific than office work

Mondays, am I right?

The Laundry RPG 2E promotional art from Kickstarter
Image credit: Cubicle 7

Cosmic horror meets office drudgery in the second edition of The Laundry RPG, which is currently crowdfunding a new suite of core books and adventures on Kickstarter. Adapted from British author Charles Stross’ series of pulp novels, the upcoming tabletop RPG will be spread across a tome each for players and the supervisor, plus two books dedicated to prewritten jobs.

The Laundry RPG is a decidedly less American version of Delta Green, but the core idea of government workers learning more about the world’s occult, deadly roots and subsequently pressed into secret service is still intact. What sets this game apart is a dedication to the absurdity that pencil pushers and spreadsheet wizards should be trained and armed against Lovecraftian threats, interdimensional demons or math-wizard hackers breaking into the UK’s supercomputer mainframe.

Irish publisher Cubicle 7 has built this second edition around the studio’s own C7d6 system, which uses a character’s attributes and situational Training Skills to build a pool of six-sided dice, which they then roll in a contest and hope for at least one number that exceeds the tasks difficulty rating. There’s a lot more to it, especially once things take a turn for the weird, but Cubicle 7 touts its system as accessible and swift on the table.

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All characters are coffee-filled and overworked government employees who glimpsed a truth through the cracks of bureaucracy and were summarily pulled into The Laundry’s service. Some player-characters might have been here for a while and picked up some very strange professions, while others could be clocking in for their first day, wide-eyed and terrified of everything.

Play will consist of both ostensibly boring day jobs back in reality and Active Duty, where a team of Laundry operatives are deployed against whatever is threatening the fabric of existence that day. Could it have been an email? In this game, almost certainly not. Most missions take place in the UK and its neighbors - venture too far abroad and you risk angering other rival government factions still locked in a hidden Cold War where the nukes are more akin to the prison keys for ageless cosmic gods beyond mortal comprehension.

The Laundry RPG 2E promotional art from Kickstarter
Image credit: Cubicle 7

The Laundry RPG kicked up a bit of dust online when it was announced that the digital PDFs of its new books would be sold at a considerably higher price than backers normally see on Kickstarter. Digital versions of the two core rulebooks are currently available for about €56 (about $60), while the full suite will cost €85 (roughly $91). It’s no secret that the cost of books, regardless of format, has been undervalued for a while, but sticker shock sent some players and designers into deep discussion over the weekend.

The Laundry RPG’s Kickstarter campaign runs through May 1st and has already hit its initial goal to produce digital and hardcover versions of the second edition book quartets. PDFs will go out to backers around August of this year, and fulfilment of physical books is expected to begin in February 2025.

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