Style Guide

Setting and Inspirations

The basic setting for Maleficarum is 'current-day UK, but with magic.' Up until a month before game start, the world would have seemed very much as it does today to non-magical people (or 'Norms') within the Maleficarum world. Now, however, the secret is out that magic exists, and things are changing.

As a result, the history of the Maleficarum world looks very similar to ours, although there are some changes due to the fact that magic did exist and was useful in the past. As a result, while a good knowledge of the real history of the UK may give you a deeper appreciation for some of the puns the GMs will inflict on you, it will not give you an advantage over other players in knowing how certain types of magic 'should' work, where to look for any rumoured magical items, or anything else of that sort.

Maleficarum is inspired by numerous sources including Good Omens, Discworld, Harry Potter, The Black Magician Trilogy, Avatar, His Dark Materials and a sprinkle of Monty Python. The magic system has been developed with large helpings of Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls and many more, but should be self-explanatory without knowledge of any of these.

Magic and the Real World

Until a month before game start, magic has been well-hidden in UK society. However, all magical people (or 'Wytches') are aware of the real world, and usually have to interact with it in some fashion. Wytches are quite likely to drive cars, work in part-time office jobs, and tweet about their breakfast foods. However, magic has been kept out of the public sphere quite effectively by The Hammer - there are no Wytch communities discussing magic on the internet, nor any overt use of magic in places where Norms could see (or at least, such instances were few and far between, and the stories were quickly hushed up). The Norm world, therefore, is finding it rather a shock to suddenly realise that the Wytches are present amongst them and have been for centuries (see Norm Society > The Norms).

It should also be noted that magic and science are firmly separate within the world of Maleficarum, and will remain that way throughout the game. Magic cannot be used to advance science - only to do things in a magical way instead of a scientific one. (Of course, a Wytch who has spent their life training their magical skills will have no more than a high school understanding of science anyway.) Science and technology are valuable because they allow the Norm world to run without the input of magical energies, but if you are a Wytch it will almost always be easier to do similar tasks with magic. Using Norm products is often commonplace with Wytches - phones, cars and computers are, after all, useful - but the development is generally left to the Norms.


Maleficarum is a game based very strongly within the UK. There are IC reasons for this, notably the fact that magic use has historically been particularly prevalent here, and the current restrictions on cross-border travel. (Note: there is no reason your character cannot be foreign and have moved here, but once here they would be registered with The Hammer and unable to leave again.) Within this setting, it is not absolutely impossible for a character to leave the country if they are good enough at eluding detection, but there should be no in-game reason to travel abroad and it will be very difficult to achieve much once you are there - plot points and major events will be built around UK locations and institutions. On the other hand, travel and exploration within UK borders is strongly encouraged, as the Wytch societies are geographically quite diverse. Plus, who knows what long-lost magic sword may actually just have been hiding in a cave for centuries?

Character Death

The setting of Maleficarum is not without its dangers, whether from rogue Hammer agents or equally rogue magic users. Character death is therefore possible, though if characters are careful their risks should theoretically be the same as those of any Norm walking down the street. On the other hand, if you throw your character into life-threatening situations without adequate planning or defence, the GMs will give you one “warning shot” (killing NPCs or seriously wounding PCs). If you then do so again, it is possible that your character will die.

Maleficarum is set up for PvE (Player vs Environment) action at game start, with the changing attitudes towards Wytch society. The GMs also expect a certain degree of PvP (Player vs Player) action to develop as players' agendas conflict with each other during the game. It should be noted, however, that the game is still set in a (mostly) law-abiding society, and murder will not necessarily be any easier to get away with than in the real world. It is therefore suggested that PvP actions take the form of thwarting each other's plans, challenging ideas in public, and other such legal means, rather than jumping straight to assassination. The Hammer itself is, after all, a body tasked with ensuring that Wytches remain subject to the laws of the land.

style_guide.txt · Last modified: Tue 8 Apr 2014, 16:15:04 UTC by gm_jamesc
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