independent games & design by Nathan D. Paoletta

Imp of the Perverse

Funded via Kickstarter in April 2018. Thank you backers! Visit the Kickstarter for updates, or sign up for my newsletter to get notified when Imp of the Perverse is released!


A new game of psychological horror and monster-hunting in Jacksonian Gothic America. Inspired by the work of Edgar Allan Poe, this game centers on the struggle to overcome harmful impulses by hunting down those who have fully given into theirs and turned into literal monsters.

Deeply embedded in this exciting, tumultuous time in America's history, this game enables you to first determine what it is about you that sets you apart from humanity, and then grapple with the temptations offered you to approach the Shroud that divides the world of the quick from that of the dead. Can you overcome your own Imp of the Perverse?

About The Game

Imp of the Perverse is set in a Gothic America of the 1830s-40s where monsters are real. One player takes on the role of the Editor, who creates monsters and sets the stage for the rest of the players, who take on period-appropriate Dramatis Personae, to fight against the horrors that stalk the night. All Dramatis Personae are people who have an Imp of the Perverse on their own shoulders, impelling them to commit terrible deeds. Only by fighting those who have given in to their own Imps, and literally transformed into creatures of the night, can these people gain redemption and reject their Imp - but the struggle itself continually tempts them to embrace their perversity and become damned themselves. 

The Struggle

The core mechanic of the game is a simple d6-based system that represents the tension between Perversity and Humanity. While the odds are in Perversity's favor, it is certainly possible for a character to fight for regaining their full Humanity, and end their story free of their Imp. However, if and when a Dramatis Persona finally falls to the Imp, they become the new Editor, and prepare their fallen character as the new target of the hunt.


This game is designed around an episodic structure, wherein each Chapter of play is one-three sessions of face-to-play play. It's easily able to accommodate rotating attendance, with players dropping in and out of individual Chapters, but it also rewards long-term play with the same characters (if they make it that long).


Updated January 2019

Last Updated: January 23 2019 - Playsheets Updated, Updated Playsheets added to All In One Download

The current playtest documents include:

  • Rewritten, reorganized rules with additional explanation and examples

  • More options for Protagonists of the West, including new careers of Survival and Opportunity

  • Revised Master of the Yard Chapter to match rules updates

The Master of the Yard

This Quickstart Play Chapter is an example of a fully-realized Monster and a set of pregenerated Dramatic Personae with connections that will pull them towards it, included in the playtest PDF download.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the first of the modern effort to connect the continent, is busily building new routes. The rail yards of Baltimore are going full swing, and the company has brought an experienced railway foreman from England to oversee the timely connection to Harper’s Ferry, opening the tracks to business with the Winchester and Potomac railroad.

As the yards have become more productive, however, things have begun to happen. Disappearances. Mutilations. Men who formerly spent their wages freely are now seen only in the brief hours between shifts, covered in soot and barely keeping their eyes open.

The Dramatis Personae of this Chapter all have a connection of some kind to the B&O rail yards, people there, or the business of the railroad - and the terrible things that have begun to happen there. 

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