Review: Rogue Games – Secrets

Product Name: Secrets
Publisher: Rogue Games
Author: Richard Iorio II, James Maliszewski
System: 12°
Setting: Colonial Gothic
Theme: Alternate History, Colonial America, Horror, Fantasy
Type: Supplement

Secrets is a valuable sourcebook for GMs and players alike. It takes historical references that influenced and directly affected the Colonial period of America and adds a supernatural twist. Even though much of the material has been absorbed into the Revised Edition of the core rulebook, there is still a ton a material for expanding characters, adventures, and campaigns and a veritable landslide of plot-hooks and storylines just waiting to be utilized.

Contained within these pages are deep secrets and a twisted history of events that can be either directly used or indirectly borrowed to not only expand an adventure or campaign but to give characters more purpose and direction. I was informed that Secrets will be going out-of-print soon and only hope the material is replicated in full elsewhere.


Part of what is found in this chapter (primarily the beginning sections) can now be found in the Revised Edition of the core rulebook.

Moving on quickly, the rest of this chapter is dedicated to books. While this may seem trivial, one thing to remember is that in many horror-themed settings, knowledge is very important as knowledge is power. Whether this be knowledge of the occult, history, or magic, its purpose could range from performing some mundane task faster than before (ending with much improved results) to performing some heroic deed. Whatever this may be, knowledge is key and that knowledge is gained by reading and/or utilizing certain books. Without counting them, there are dozens and dozens of books presented here allowing the reader/user to improve a huge list of tasks (rolling against the appropriate skill). Mixed within this list of books is material for performing new rituals and obtaining appropriate Lore.

Knowledge is power…


Independence deals with a group of events surrounding the Revolutionary War, with a Colonial Gothic influence. While it mainly reads like a history book, you have to pay close attention to see the “facts” and how they are being presented. This isn’t history, it’s history retold, from a supernatural perspective. Basically, trouble lurks within the shadows and that’s part of the reason for the revolution. But mixed throughout the content is a lot of new plot-points and potentially entire campaigns.


Shot Heard ’round the World deals with the areas surrounding the colonies and their European ties and influences. This includes the constant struggle over Florida, Louisiana, the Caribbean, and Canada. Each one is, again, presented as its historical references with the same Colonial Gothic twist. Embedded throughout is another huge listing of plot-points and noted adventure ideas (not just ones that are extracted from the content). Included in this section are the major players within the areas (people, groups, and countries) and how their influence (or actions) affected the particular area. Lots of potential adventures and campaigns here, and you start to truly see the storyline that is developing throughout.


Most, if not all, of what is found in this chapter can now be found in the Revised Edition of the core rulebook.


Definitely my favorite chapter. Secret Societies introduces those groups found throughout the Colonial period, in America and Europe, that affect the colonies in one way or another. This includes The Knights Templar, Inquisition, Rosicrucian, The Sons of Liberty, The Royal Society, and Freemasons. The new ideas presented throughout are great opportunities for GMs and players to make their characters more dynamic and interesting. Along with this is a full description and history of each society along with the activities they have been partaking in.

While you might think this would be another history lesson, it reads more like a handbook of deep secrets revealing the truth behind these secret societies rather than historical facts. While Independence and Shot Heard ’round the World are more geared toward GMs, Secret Societies has a lot of information for players. Without worrying about the amount of historical accuracy, it’s the secrets and “truth” you learn about these societies that can make your game-play more interesting and take your player character in a whole new direction. Players that pick-up this publication could focus mainly within this chapter and what society their character is going to pledge allegiance to.

The previously mentioned storyline comes into its own throughout this chapter.  Just another possibility for a long and wonderful campaign.


Most, if not all, of what is found in this chapter can now be found in the Revised Edition of the core rulebook.


As with the core rulebook, Secrets contains a wonderful bibliography of publications to enhance and expand the content contained herein. This includes expanding on the secret societies to colonial reference material. Add to this two beautiful Colonial-era maps of the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico and Florida, and you have another Appendix with great reference material.


This book is a must-have for those playing Colonial Gothic. Not only the plot-hooks for GMs but the secret societies and background information for players to use in making their characters more interesting and have a larger effect within the setting the GM has created. The one thing I like the most is the use of historical references and altering them to fit within the Colonial Gothic system.


Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
The layout of Secrets is very smooth. There is an easy-to-follow flow from beginning to end with all sections being properly noted for quick reference. The only thing that made me slip from time-to-time is the number of grammatical errors. While this is very trivial, at times I got a little confused until I read through the paragraph again. Otherwise, everything fits very well and all the content is a value-add.

Mechanics: Not Rated
Due to the incorporation of the mechanics introduced within Secrets into the Revised Edition of the core rulebook, a Mechanics rating is not necessary.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
Lots of valuable material being presented here. From campaigns and adventures to PCs and NPCs. This is the book to get to make your games that much more interesting.

Overall: 10 out of 10
I highly recommend Secrets, not only for those running or playing Colonial Gothic but even for those playing another Alternate History system within the same period. The content is superb, the illustrations are awesome, and, even through the grammatical errors, it’s hard to not get excited about using this new material.

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One Comment

  1. Aaron says:

    NOTE: Starting December 2010, Rogue Games is releasing a series of sourcebooks titled “Organizations” that further detail the secret societies present within Colonial Gothic. As such, the “Secret Societies” chapter of “Secrets” will become primarily obsolete.

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