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Miserable Secrets

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Live gothic action and noir investigation in the world of Miserable Secrets!


...the Noblesse stormed out of the east, carrying the banner of the Savior and destroying the Machines that held humanity in brutal thrall.


...the Noblesse demand their own tithes, and must be paid in blood. They rule from great castles and grand cathedrals, drinking their holy communion from mortal veins.

Famine is rare, and villages thrive, yet all is not well in Christendom.


...are a bastard or a second child or a heretic or worse. You are righteous, monstrous, forever wandering.

Everywhere, you are driven to find the truth. You dig bodies from the ground, you face beasts called by sin. You know warm embraces, and the price of a soul.

You fight fear.

You are driven by hope.

You find...


The Setting

Miserable Secrets takes place in a gothic, ruined future ruled openly by the vampire elite. Equal parts Philip Marlowe and Simon Belmont, you'll root out corrupt truths... and then decide what to do about them. In the process, you'll face down monsters both demonic and human.

The System

Miserable Secrets uses a unique, card-based system that integrates investigation with combat, and makes both tactical. 

Each of your character's abilities has a special function in both investigation in combat... and so do those of your foes.

When you investigate, you'll rely on your memory and abilities to uncover secrets from the clue grid, building your hand for use in battle.

When you do battle, you'll use cards to power up and take action in platformer-inspired hit-and-run combat.

Your Purchase Includes

  • A 200-page, full-color book.
  • A unique gothic noir setting covering Christendom, the vampire Church and State, those whose blood they rely on... and those who don't fit in, like gasoline-fueled witches and radioactive shades.
  • 10 unique character backgrounds, from the machine-blooded Alchemist to the disinherited Half-Noble to the righteous (if not holy) Witchfinder.
  • Tools for generating towns full of colorful characters and secret grudges.
  • An expansive bestiary, providing unique twists on classic monsters, each with powers for investigation and combat. Plus complete tools to construct your own!

Sample Pages

Dash Attack description

Medusa sample page

Also Available

While you can play Miserable Secrets with two standard poker decks, we also offer a customized Omen Deck with twists of fate on each card! The 48-card Omen Deck also features unique Queens based on major characters in the setting, who can be patrons, rivals, or truest friends.

The Omen Deck comes in full print, print-and-play, and virtual tabletop formats!

About the Creators

Rose Bailey knows a thing or two about vampires, holding the record for longest-serving White Wolf Vampire developer... and for this project, she's forgotten all of it and started fresh! She's also the creator of the swashbuckling Cavaliers of Mars and the time-traveling/trust-building Beautiful Anomalies!

Benjamin Baugh is the much-lauded creator of Monsters & Other Childish Things and its spooky-as-all-get-out followup, The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor. As Rose's longtime collaborator, he's also written for Cavaliers of Mars and Vampire.

Meghan Fitzgerald is an all-time great of the very weird, developing Changeling: The Lost for Onyx Path and writing for just about every Darkness game there is! She's also written wonders and horrors for Cavaliers of MarsExalted and CHILL.

All of the authors receive royalties from this game.

Made Possible By

The generous backers of Rose's Fantasy Heartbreaker Patreon!

OBS_mere.pngStaff Pick

Miserable Secrets is quite the hidden gem. Rose Bailey continues to be one of my favorite writers in the gaming industry not only for her very different and unique mechanics, but for her rich storytelling and gorgeous way of setting up the world. Miserable Secrets includes the town generator which makes a GM's job so much more easy so they can focus on other aspects of the game. Also, as someone who isn't big into long combats, the combat system provides a nice, smooth transition from each movement to the next that is enjoyable and extremely intuitive. If you're on the fence about buying it, definitely grab it if you can. Also, you can do it with poker decks but the Omen Deck is really cool and adds a bit more flair to your session. 

—Meredith Gerber, Maven of Mythology (DriveThruRPG Publisher Service)

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (2)
Discussions (8)
Customer avatar
Alice S November 04, 2022 2:52 am UTC
A lot of extremely cool stuff here, both in the setting and mechanics

That said, I think I've found a couple errors in the current (v2-3) version.

1. In collected tables section of the Town Creation chapter, the Landmark Table is repeated where the Theme Table should be. (Note to anyone considering picking up this game: the Theme Table *is* still present in the full town creation rules so the system is 100% usable.)

2. It looks like the Witchfinder's Believer ability assumes a version of the rules where players can be mechanically Accused and don't have open tableaus.

3. There's another reference to accusing players in the Investigation rules on page 63.
Customer avatar
Brett G May 13, 2020 6:08 pm UTC
Are there any plans to expand on this game/setting, like adding in more information about the different regions of the world or revealing more on the people of the setting?
Customer avatar
TM R April 05, 2019 1:10 pm UTC
How easy is this game to play theatre-of-the-mind style?
Customer avatar
Xavid P April 05, 2019 3:55 pm UTC
You need to have physical playing cards for the Memory-game-style investigation mechanic. For combat, there's an alternative rule for zone-based rather than grid-based movement that might be possible todo theatre-of-the-mind style, but it seems like it'd be a challenge since exact numerical distances are a key part of the combat system.
Customer avatar
TM R April 06, 2019 3:48 pm UTC
Cheers. Much appreciated.
Customer avatar
Shannon T August 07, 2018 9:24 pm UTC
While there are both brilliant and puzzling things about the system the setting, atmosphere, and writing in the book are phenomenal. The Town generation system is awesome with a lot of depth (but there is a misprint in that the Landmark chart is printed a second time rather than giving the appropriate Theme chart). Well worth it for those elements alone.
Customer avatar
Jack S August 03, 2018 1:05 am UTC
For the life of me, I can't find the rules for setting up a "clue spread" for the mysteries in this game! Can anybody give me a page number reference for that? All I'm finding is that the grid is made of an "array of cards." How many? From which deck? And how many cards to players start with in their tableau?

This is essential stuff and I'm just not seeing it in the rules. Hopefully I'm missing it and it wasn't left out.
Customer avatar
Aaron A August 03, 2018 2:42 am UTC
You’re not crazy. I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to deal out the entire player deck as the initial spread but I haven’t been able to find anywhere that this is explicitly stated.
Customer avatar
Jack S August 04, 2018 12:19 pm UTC
Thanks Aaron, that was very helpful. Unfortunately it looks like some important explanations of how the game works got left behind on the Patreon. This one needed more work before it was released.
Customer avatar
Xavid P March 11, 2019 7:03 pm UTC
This is addressed in the FAQ on the patreon (which is readable by non-patrons):
Customer avatar
cocquerez A July 29, 2018 11:10 am UTC
The book is excellent and full of content, but there are some points I don't understand, if someone could enlighten me...

- Are the discovered secrets created by the players, or does the GM have to prepare them in advance?

- P63, we mention that we can use "accuse" on another PJ, rules pages XX, probably a typing error.

- The "accuse" rules seem strange to me, "If they're holding a card of the same number and color as yours" so I guess you have to select a card to do this action, what happens to it after? Wouldn't establishing narrative facts as easily disrupt the expected scenario by distorting the links between the NPCs?

Would it be possible to see an initiation scenario coming soon in order to better understand the mechanics of the game?
Customer avatar
Xavid P March 11, 2019 7:05 pm UTC
Normally, secrets are given by the GM in response to investigative actions (see p. 5).

Accusing requires playing a card from your tableau. Accuse does give the players some ability to establish what is true, which pushes this a little bit towards a collaborative storytelling game rather than purely a GM-as-authority game.
Customer avatar
Aaron A July 27, 2018 3:36 am UTC
I’ve been considering picking up a physical copy of this game but would like to know if the “see p. XX” notes that appear in the PDF has/will be fixed before I do so. Is there any update on that front?
Customer avatar
July 16, 2018 4:28 pm UTC
Will Miserable Secrets be made available in print?
Customer avatar
Rose B July 21, 2018 4:58 pm UTC
Yes, it will be. I'm awaiting the proofs right now. :)
Customer avatar
Rose B July 23, 2018 11:36 am UTC
It's available in print now!
Customer avatar
July 23, 2018 9:14 pm UTC
Thanks. I've put my order in. But now I've got the PDF I see some "see p. XX" references (e.g. pages 5, 6 and 63).
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This title was added to our catalog on July 12, 2018.