KULT: Divinity Lost - Horror Guide & Scenario Collection – An Interview With Mitchell Wallace (Helmgast)
KULT: Divinity Lost is the fourth edition of the KULT tabletop RPG. Winner of two Silver ENnie Awards (Best Art, Cover and Best Writing) in 2019, this game brings a darker type of horror to tabletop. As their latest Kickstarter, KULT: Divinity Lost - Horror Guide & Scenario Collection, nears the end of its campaign, Helmgast’s Mitchell Wallace talks to me about the fourth edition Powered by the Apocalypse ruleset, what these books will add, and how they achieve such evocative art.
EGG EMBRY (EGG): Thanks for talking with me about KULT. Before we get into the Kickstarter, what is KULT: Divinity Lost?
MITCHELL WALLACE (MITCHELL): KULT: Divinity Lost is a game about horror without and within. It is a dark world you, as the player, dive into where every semblance of divinity is stripped from you and there is more to fear than just the mundanity of life. It explores mature themes that other TTRPGs shy away from such as body horror and sexuality. One just has to look at one of the free scenarios, Oakwood Heights, to see how the player characters struggle with their inner demons and with the crumbling illusion around them. All in all, KULT: Divinity Lost is a horror game that will leave you shivering and holding onto your pillow at night.
EGG: What about the fourth edition of this game connected with long time KULT fans as well as new players?
MITCHELL: The TTRPG industry has changed so much since KULT’s first inception. We have learned more about safety, sensitivity, and how to give the player the tools needed in order to tell the story they want to. KULT has always been a dark game and I’m really proud of our GM guide on Kickstarter right now, that goes over how to address these mature themes at the table. In terms of system, Powered by the Apocalypse is certainly one of the biggest triumphs of the hobby. The simplicity of the system while allowing the players to easily interact with the world around them always leaves me with a fulfilled experience at the table. For fans of the old KULT, I assure you that the setting will be familiar and we have some of the writers from the older editions exploring this new edition with us.
EGG: Since there are four items being kickstarted, let’s discuss them individually. Since you hinted at it, let’s start with Beyond Darkness and Madness?
MITCHELL: Beyond Darkness and Madness will be the GM playbook. It is no secret that the horror genre in media and especially in our hobby is difficult to achieve with any excellency. Our new book helps GMs tackle this hard genre with tools to run effective framing sessions and how to present horrific scenes for your players. It also helps the GM showcase the type of horror they want. We have grown so much since the B movies of earlier times and horror has along with it. There is so much out there to explore and the book helps GMs explore those options. My personal favorite part of the upcoming book is the section where is discusses how to bring in elements of Asian horror. A genre I’ve fallen in love with ever since I watched The Ring.
EGG: What scenarios will Screams and Whispers contain?
MITCHELL: We are actually in the middle of interviewing every writer for the Screams and Whispers book. We got an all-star cast to write for this including Matthew Dawkins, Anders Fager, M. Martial, Matthew Sanderson, Gunilla Jonsson, Michael Petersén, and Topher Burke. Each bringing in their own take on KULT. A total of six scenarios will be within the collection and from what I have heard and read they are going to freak your players out!
EGG: What will Labyrinths and Secret Chambers offer gaming tables?
MITCHELL: If you are like me then you have also stayed up late at night going through Google Images to find the perfect map to bring to the table. Labyrinths and Secret Chambers takes the late night escapades on the internet and provides a plethora of maps you may need at the table. I am excited to finally not have to look up ‘creepy lighthouse’ anymore. It will consist of several building maps with descriptions you can pull right off the page to use. Even if I’m not running KULT, I know I will want to use it.
EGG: Since the contents of a Weapon Deck are obvious, let’s talk about how many weapons it includes, and what some of the cooler options are?
MITCHELL: Oh, I was hoping we would chat about it. The Weapon Deck is one of my favorite add-ons. I always sigh when I have to look up a weapon in the book and slow down an otherwise amazing and tense scene. So having the ability to just throw one of these cards at the players and let them gaze at their metaphorical comfort blanket always fills me with joy. I am a fan of the traditional baseball bat. It isn’t flashy, but so far it seems to have a 45% success rate in horror movies. I’m guessing of course, but I like them odds.
EGG: <Laughs> What kind of stretch goals does this Kickstarter offer to augment your KULT game?
MITCHELL: [At the time of this writing,] we have unlocked 14 out of the 15 stretch goals. The one I am most excited about is the Forbidden Book which will not be available to retailers due to the nature of its contents. Filled with controversial art and text it is sure to be a great read. Any scenario that makes a certain Cheeto out to be the monster he truly is is awesome in my book. I am referring to “The Rockets Red Glare” of course, which is one of the scenarios that will be in the book.
EGG: This version of KULT is known for its art. Who are you working with for this Kickstarter and how is Helmgast able to achieve this level of artwork?
MITCHELL: Gen Con last year, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Bastien Deharme in person. He was, at the time, promoting his new ttrpg Gods. His ability to capture dark images and transform them into a canvas full of texture, beauty, and color is amazing. It captures you and takes you into the world of KULT. I have always been a fan of TTRPG book art and am proud we have achieved such wonder in our books. From the layout to select artists we employ, we believe we have a good eye for art and I think the book speaks for itself.
EGG: You’re working with Modiphius Entertainment on this, what part of the project will Modiphius handle?
MITCHELL: Our friends at Modiphius helped us distribute, sell, and promote on their online platform since the first book. We are excited to continue to work with them and you may even see us at one of the bigger conventions in the USA whenever people can gather again.
EGG: Beyond this Kickstarter, can you share any upcoming projects for Helmgast?
MITCHELL: We are currently working on something that I am very excited about. It is set to change the way we view a certain genre and the art holds up to the same standards we had with KULT. I can’t say more than that, but let’s just say that we plan to drop little hints and easter eggs concerning it as the end of the year approaches.
EGG: Very cool. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Where can fans learn more about this Kickstarter and follow Helmgast?
MITCHELL: Of course, always a pleasure. You can find us on Kickstarter and on Facebook and Twitter @Helmgast.
KULT: Divinity Lost - Horror Guide & Scenario Collection from Helmgast
End Date: Thu, July 2 2020 3:00 PM EDT.
“Two new books and two new game aids to KULT: Divinity Lost - the ENnie award-winning and critically acclaimed tabletop horror RPG.”
Egg Embry is a freelance tabletop roleplaying game journalist writing for EN World, Knights of the Dinner Table, RPG News, d20 Radio, the Tessera Guild, the Open Gaming Network, the AetherCon Convention Magazine, GAMA’s Around the Table, and more. His areas of focus are RPG crowdfunding projects and RPG reviews as well as interviews with a range of gaming professionals from freelancers to CEOs. Beyond journalism, he dabbles in freelance writing and producing gaming zines for the roleplaying zine-aissance.
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