Back in January, Cultist Simulator (opens in new tab) designer Alexis Kennedy mused about a standalone expansion for the narrative card game, one set in a library and a bit more laid back than its apocalyptic predecessor. From that tweet (opens in new tab) it's grown into full game, Book of Hours, the latest in what Weather Factory is calling the Secret Histories setting.
Despite it being grander than Kennedy's original concept, it's still thankfully concerned with the day to day work of an occult librarian. Instead of trying to bring about or stop the end of the world, you'll be cataloguing books and helping visitors find what they need, as well as sliding into their stories and forming new relationships between the bookshelves.
In an interview with IGN (opens in new tab), Kennedy explains that some of Cultist Simulator's system will be jumping over to Book of Hours, so expect to manage a board full of cards, combining them to progress the various narrative threads you're trying to unravel or generate resources. As a librarian, you will of course have books to play with, too, which can also be combined with cards. The cards can be used when you're chatting, as well, unlocking new conversation tricks.
While Cultist Simulator is unnerving and alien and usually ends in your grisly demise, Book of Hours' library is a meant to be a reassuring place where people can come and read spooky books by the fire and not try to become an evil god. And being a librarian you have free rein of the place, poring over your mountains of texts to learn new skills or things you shouldn't. The books can be dangerous, though, and if you open one too many cursed tomes, you might end up in cutting your librarian career short.
Books are tools, then, but also just there to be loved and doted over. I'm a bit enamoured with the thought of spending my time figuring out the right way to organise them all. Alphabetical by topic, maybe, but then but that sounds too tidy for a library full of arcane and eldritch knowledge. Maybe there shouldn't be a system at all and fate should decide.
Book of Hours will be doing the rounds on Kickstarter later this year, and if you've yet to play its predecessor, Cultist Simulator: Anthology Edition is out later today on Steam, GOG and the Humble Store. It collects the base game, DLC, a new UI system and two new story packs.