Once Upon a Crime
Once Upon a Crime is a roleplaying game (RPG) using the Fate Core System¸ published by Evil Hat Productions. Players and Games Masters (GMs) will need a copy of that book to fully use this product¸ although the setting can be used with any system.
Once Upon a Crime blends fairytale stories with the best of hardboiled crime fiction and film noir. In it¸ players will take on the role of Arcadians forced to flee their home in the first six months of 1940s¸ as a great calamity seemed certain to destroy everything. To a human¸ many Arcadians are recognisable as characters from stories we read as children - Snow White and the Seven Dwarves¸ The Frog Prince¸ Beauty and the Beast¸ etc. - but they aren't exactly the same and their time on Earth has changed them even more. Not everyone survived the journey from Arcadia¸ and those left behind were lost when the calamity - referred to as The Darkening by the survivors - severed the portals linking the two realms together. Now¸ the Arcadians on Earth must work together to survive their strange new home while coming to terms with their grief.
However¸ this is not to say that Once Upon a Crime is a game just about loss. For some¸ arriving on Earth is an escape from the rigid feudal structure of Arcadia. While there is still poverty and inequality¸ for the first time¸ many are sensing that they are finally free. Peasants are no longer bound to a lord while the lords themselves have no lands to govern. New communities are being formed around the world - admittedly not truly egalitarian but certainly more open than ever before.
This book is divided into four chapters:
At the front of the book is Once Upon a Time¸ a brief history of The Darkening and the events that led to the Arcadians arriving on Earth.
Chapter One - Introduction¸ includes a summary of Once Upon a Crime with a list of suggested material to inspire players and GMs.
Chapter Two - Characters¸ contains all of the additional rules and character options players need to create one of these strange folk. It includes two new Skills and a list of Stunts players may wish to consider.
Chapter Three - Who Killed Mr Wolfe? is a ready-to-play adventure where the Los Angeles Arcadian community is rocked by the murder of the Big Bad Wolf himself. The players take on the roles of investigators¸ tasked with bringing the killer to justice. As they probe deeper¸ the characters find themselves questioning what justice means when it takes place in the shadows. The adventure contains a multitude of options to aid GMs in tailoring the adventure for their players.
Chapter Four - The Truth?¸ is a chapter aimed solely at the GM. It discusses the Arcadians as a concept¸ explores Arcadia and reveals a closely guarded secret.
Who Killed Mr Wolfe?
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky¸ justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be."
Raymond Chandler¸ The Long Goodbye
Who Killed Mr Wolfe is a murder mystery where the victim - the Big Bad Wolfe himself - is reviled by the community in which he lived. Forrest - the man who has confessed to Wolfe's murder - is someone filled with unrequited love for Red Hood¸ Wolfe's on-off girlfriend. Such is the community's hatred for the victim¸ many regard Forrest as a hero. If this wasn't murky enough¸ Wolfe may have uncovered evidence of a criminal conspiracy involving a Magistrate that will shake the community to its core.
Who Killed Mr Wolfe is a standalone story for Once Upon a Crime and only those rules and a copy of Fate Core are needed to play. While it can be played with any number of people¸ it works best with smaller groups - or even a single player.