Invisible Sun is a roleplaying game of surreal fantasy. The player characters are vislae—wielders of magical power—recently returned to their true home: the Actuality, a world that seems like a surreal dream to those of us toiling aimlessly in the boring, grey realm you and I falsely believe is the real world. These characters face incredible challenges, visit breathtaking places, and discover secrets so astonishing that the only ones who can cope with them are those who understand the truth that powers the universe: Magic.
Magic: A power that can be pursued, studied, and even mastered, but never completely understood or controlled. It is fluid, unpredictable, and ever nuanced in effect. Its secrets are boundless. But that does not mean it is without rules and methods. There are four orders, major schools of magical thought and training. Vances study their spells carefully, believing they are, in their own way, intelligent in and of themselves. Makers, as the name suggests, use magic to create powerful items. Weavers cast spells with a fluid and improvisational sort of sorcery. Goetics use their magical skills to summon demons, angels, and other creatures to do their bidding. Outside of the four orders, Apostates are vislae who find their own paths and methods for wielding the power of magic, rejecting the hierarchies of the orders.
It is a rare vislae who does not have a house. Your house is as integral to your being as your spells or character stats. The houses of vislae are often haunted, filled with mysterious unknown rooms, bigger on the inside, or possessed of their own intelligence. And in Satyrine, a house is defined as much by what goes on around it as by the contents of its walls (assuming, of course, that a vislae’s house even has walls). Local personalities, sites of interest (or danger), organizations or factions, and ongoing conflicts all affect a vislae’s house and life. And all of this is determined as part of the character creation process.
When exiled to Shadow, you probably believed there was just one sun—but there are in fact eight. Nine, actually—but even many learned people don’t know that, for the ninth is a secret. Invisible. As a vislae, that is one of many secrets you know.
The Path of Suns is a representation of the way magic works, the known levels of existence, the stages of a life, and the makeup of the mortal soul, all in one. It is a symbol. A metaphor. A diagram. A map. Each sun represents a different concept, a different “place” and a different fundamental aspect of the universe. These different concepts are signified by the color of each sun, so that color ends up representing the sun and its attendant ideals.
The Path of Suns connects all eight suns, Silver to Green, to Blue, to Indigo, then Grey, next Pale, and Red, and finally Gold. The Invisible Sun is not a part of the path, but rather outside, above, and around it. There are some, however, who follow the Nightside Path, which is the Path of Suns in reverse. In the Nightside Path, each sun has an altered, often darker, aspect. It would be far too simple—and erroneous—to call the Path of Suns “good” and the Nightside path “evil,” but some do.
As a vislae, you might travel the path of suns, visiting these realms, parlaying with their wardens, encountering the glories and horrors within, and unlocking their secrets. Or your adventures might never take you beyond the borders of Satyrine, a surreal city rife with intrigue and conflict following the terrors of the recently concluded war.
Conventional RPG game play, with everyone gathering for a few hours every week or two, is what makes RPGs a great experience. It’s also one of the greatest obstacles to a successful campaign, for our modern life rarely makes it convenient. Conventional play is the centerpiece of Invisible Sun, but the game also accommodates the realities of our lifestyles, rewards engagement with the game away from the table, and is deliberately made for differing player styles.
Play doesn’t have to stop when the session is over. Players can keep the game going—individually or in groups—by creating side-scenes that describe high level actions that their character want to take. They can also create flashback side-scenes that reveal actions their characters have already taken. This also means that even if they can’t make it to the regular session, they can still move their character’s story forward. A side-scene might cover what Shanna’s character does while she’s absent from the regular session.
Players can even play if the GM isn’t available. A side-scene could involve the entire group taking an action that they discuss in person and then communicate later to the GM. The GM resolves the action(s) by giving them a turn of a Sooth Card and then responding to the players’ actions and intentions. The free Invisible Sun app, for iOS, Android, and web, facilitates these modes of play.
While Invisible Sun is aimed primarily at those of us who love deep, complex characters, there are options for when your cousin shows up from out of town and wants to join in for a session. And whether you’re an out-loud extrovert who’s happy to tell the world about your character, or a quieter player who keeps your character development mostly to yourself, the game is deliberately designed to let you get the most out of it.
Invisible Sun is a game about discovery and secrets. There may be other content awaiting your discovery in the black cube.