The Whispering Vault is a tabletop RPG designed by Mike Nystul and published by Pariah Press and Ronin Publishing.
Player characters were once human, but no longer. They have become Stalkers, god-like beings serving the entities that rule our plane of existence. For these entities, referred to as Aesthetics, sometimes become so engrossed with the reality they have dreamed into existence, that they abandon their position and manifest into our world, causing mayhem and disaster as they do so. It is therefore the player characters' duty to neutralize such rogue demiurges (referred to as the Unbidden), and to lock them up in a transdimensional prison, from where their corrupting whispers can be heard across the planes—hence its name of Whispering Vault.
This tabletop RPG provides examples of:
- A God Am I: Stalkers are quasi-divine beings. The problem is, their prey's even more powerful.
- A God Is You: Natural corollary in this case, at least until you run up against the aforementioned "prey."
- The Alcatraz: The titular Whispering Vault. While very hard to escape, it's possible with the help of foolish mortals; Unbidden who managed to escape are possibly the most dangerous foes in the game.
- Alien Space Bats: The Aesthetics. Especially when they turn into Unbidden, since, if left unchecked, they may cause serious alterations to our reality's space-time continuum, resulting in the creation of a pocket dimension known as a Shadowland.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Subverted. Human allies of the Stalkers are those from whom new ones are recruited, but since Stalkers are Eldritch Abominations whose mission is to protect the fabric of reality, this is actually a good thing.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: This is the first step of character creation.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Everyone, including Player Characters. Your goal is to keep reality from unraveling, everything else is a (very) distant second. And you're the ones with the most recognisable motivations.
- Body Horror: A side-effect of the Unbidden's manifestation, but also a deliberate choice of the Stalkers to acquire a monstrous body.
- Capital Letters Are Magic: Boy, that's some serious case of True Nineties Capitalization. Just consider the premise of the game: The Circle of Stalkers employ a wide array of Disciplines and Servitors to Hunt Creatures of Essence - such as Awakaned Shadows and Unbidden - which meddle with The Realm Of Flesh, creating an Enigma capable of destroying the Dream given enough time.
- Cool, but Inefficient: The use of almost every firearm in the game - probably aimed at enforcing the Cosmic Horror genre conventions. While the amount of potential destruction they provide is astonishing - up to fourteen dices rolled if you're wielding a futuristic zap gun - their actual amount of damage is conditioned by the two Axioms governing the interactions between creatures of Essence: The Law Of Proximity (which states that ranged attacks are not as effective against the Unseen as hand-to-hand attacks) and the fact that human tools provide less damage against said creatures.In addition, most Stalkers will have forgotten how to fight with the tools of the Flesh and will be at a disadvatage when using them. And of course, since the Hunt can take place in any time of human history, you're not garanteed to find any such futuristic weapons. A Stalker could still try to Conjure them out of thin air, but the difficulty required by this feat makes the trick hardly reliable.
- The Corruption: The Unbidden gradually distort reality around them, and warp the minds of humans who follow them.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Stalkers themselves, as well as certain types of Shadows. One tends to become an extremely protective Not-So-Imaginary Friend to children (kinda like an Eldritch Abomination Big Friendly Dog), another is fascinated by Stalkers and will cross over to reality to help should a Stalker be killed in combat. Lots of neutral-ish Shadows can be bargained with.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Unbidden. Stalkers and Shadows as well (in other words, anything not vanilla mortal).
- Humanoid Abomination: Often a veteran Stalker will become one, as he cares less and less about retaining an outwardly humanoid appearance.
- Mooks: Shadows often serve this role for the Unbidden. They range in power from cannon fodder to Boss in Mook Clothing.
- One-Winged Angel: Unbidden are initially nearly-mindless but cunning predators called Beasts when they first invade reality, after sating their hunger and remembering why they're there they become Strangers, and when they begin to plot in the long term and learn to manipulate Enigmas they become humanoid Architects.
- Place Beyond Time: Where Stalkers dwell until called upon to intervene in mundane reality.
- Powers That Be: The Aesthetics.
- Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: Shadows, half-real things from the shadowy borderlands between the Realm of Aesthetics and the Dream (aka our reality). They usually want in the real world badly, to experience what it feels like to truly exist.