[GUM] Casting the Runes


The Guvnor
Staff member
Occult Investigation in the World of M.R. James

The Design Mechanism & Quills Media Team Up. Casting the Runes brings classic supernatural stories to roleplaying games: RPG recreates the ghostly Edwardian world of M.R. James

Toronto and London, July 26th, 2019.

The Design Mechanism Inc, publishers of acclaimed roleplaying game Mythras, and Quills Media Ltd. are delighted to announce that The Design Mechanism will be acting as publisher for Casting the Runes: Occult Investigation in the World of M.R. James, a roleplaying game written and developed by Quills Media, based on the classic tales of the supernatural by British scholar and author, M.R James.

Using the GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system developed by Robin D. Laws and Kenneth Hite, and published by Pelgrane Press, players in Casting the Runes take on the roles of investigators at the turn of the 20th century, researching antiquarian mysteries and occult practices, and unearthing (as M.R James himself describes it): “malevolence and terror, the glare of evil faces, ‘the stony grin of unearthly malice,’ pursuing forms in darkness, and ‘long-drawn, distant screams’.”

Paul StJohn Mackintosh, the game’s author, said: “M.R. James wrote some of the most powerful, enduring, horror stories in the English language. These tales have been crying out for a game to embody them and recreate the kind of horror that M.R. James excelled at; the chill, atmospheric, measured, often quiet escalation towards something genuinely horrifying.”

“As huge fans of M.R. James’s work, the opportunity to publish a game based on these outstanding tales was one we couldn’t resist,” said Lawrence Whitaker, Director of The Design Mechanism. “Paul and the Quills Media team have done a wonderful job of representing James’s stories, both in terms of interpretation and presentation. We are thrilled to be able to help bring Casting the Runes to publication.”

A Kickstarter campaign to launch Casting the Runes will be forthcoming, and will focus on funding artwork and print options for the rulebook. “All the work, including the layout, is complete,” Whitaker said. “But we want to run a crowdfunding campaign to source the kind of art that truly conveys the unique atmosphere of M.R. James's stories, and produce a print version that will look quite at home on the bookshelves of antiquarians, James aficionados, and discerning gamers alike.”

Updates on the progress of Casting the Runes: Occult Investigation in the World of M.R. James will be made via The Design Mechanism’s website, forums, newsletter, and facebook page.


Staff member
Having played extended campaigns of The Esoterrorists and also a mini-campaign of Night’s Black Agents, Gumshoe is definitely not an issue. It fades nicely into the background and the pool attrition is at least as good a tension builder as SAN and HP loss.