The game world described within is similar to our own world from the 1910s and 1940s with a few differences, aside from the species of the inhabitants, mostly in the names of the people and places.
Players might be hard-boiled private eyes, intrepid reporters, or even gangsters. It's all up to you.
The core book came out in September 2016, the first supplement, "Occult Horror" was published in May 2018.
- Con Man: There's a "Con Artist" career.
- Femme Fatale: The "Sultry" type can be this, though the stats work equally well for a male lady-killer.
- Film Noir: The main aesthetic, though it could also take place in The Roaring '20s or The Great Depression.
- The Great Depression: For when you want a more depressing campaign, the 30s might be your time period of choice.
- Hard Boiled Detective: Type: Hard-Boiled, Career: Detective. Right there in the book.
- Intrepid Reporter: A career that's sure to get characters into a lot of trouble.
- Multiple Identity IDs: Con Artists have "three out-of-state Driver's Licenses" as gear.
- Pocket Protector: The "Lucky" type comes standard with a pocket Bible, bullet already lodged in it.
- The Roaring '20s: Prohibition can be a popular time period to set this game in.
- Skill Scores and Perks: Skill marks are retained as a variant rule, but the primary form of character advancement is through gifts and skill dice primarily come from the three unique traits.
- Splat: Like the earlier Cardinal games we have Species and Career as unique Traits, plus a third known as "Type" that represent different noir archetypes.
- Vigilante Man: The Masked Vigilante was just becoming a figure of pop culture at the time this game is set.
- World of Funny Animals: Most everyone in the setting is some sort of anthropomorphized animal. Hence the subtitle.
Exclusive to Occult Horror
- Functional Magic: Both Personal Power (innate gift) and Petitioned Power (theurgy), the former comes with no strings attached but is capped at d6 and is difficult to obtain after character creation, while the latter has no power limit but is dependent on your supernatural patrons opinion of you. Once you have either source of power you can perform Ritual Magic or develop Psychic Powers by taking additional gifts.
- Lovecraft Lite: The default setting of the Shadow Empire. The various monsters, malevolent spirits, and Eldritch Abominations are the remnants of an ancient subterranean empire that attempted to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence 20,000 years ago, and failed horribly.
- Number of the Beast: Rolling three sixes when casting a spell with the Wicked descriptor, such as a hastily performed ritual, is a very bad idea.
- Our Monsters Are Different: In the Shadow Empire setting most supernatural entities are related to the arthropod, amphibian, reptile, or fish-descended inhabitants of the ancient Shining Empire, and the failed ascension ritual that brought it down.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Silent Ones, former sorcerer-scientists of the imperial court whose souls were torn asunder by the ascension portal's collapse but found their warped and twisted bodies again. So called because their minds have become so alien that they can only communicate with surface worlders through divinatory rituals.
- Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: After the ascension ritual removed the souls from the bodies of the Empire's population most commoners' bodies became feral creatures called Broken Ones. An expy of the Jersey Devil is specifically mentioned.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: While dead surface dwellers can become ghosts, most malevolent spirits are Lost Ones, the disembodied souls of Shining Empire commoners who couldn't re-enter their bodies after the ritual failed.
- Our Goblins Are Different: A generic term for some of the smaller and more intelligent Broken Ones.
- Our Ogres Are Hungrier: The bigger Broken Ones.