The Tattered Veil

It is the year 2067, 50 years after two simultaneous worldwide events changed Earth forever. In the first event a seemingly never-ending primeval forest grew up overnight, covering the majority of Earth’s landmasses and destroying infrastructure in all but the largest cities. Less than three days later strange portals, called Rips, appeared on every continent (even Antarctica). Out of the Rips poured multitudes of fantastical creatures and races – refugees from a dying world. Some of these newcomers were peaceful and sought only to survive among the native humans in this new land. Others…not so much.

As the humans of Earth struggled to come to terms with this new reality another fact presented itself: some humans discovered that they could do magic.

What is the Tattered Veil?

The Tattered Veil is a D&D 5th edition setting created for duet roleplaying–that is, roleplaying between one GM/DM and one player– but easily works for any number of players.

In its original concept, the player character, regardless of race or class, is an Agent of the Bureau of Faerie Affairs*, a corporate-run organization tasked with facilitating integration of the non-human newcomers into human society and investigating and troubleshooting disruptive situations involving non-Earth creatures or races.

The GM may run a fully-fleshed NPC adventurer as the PC’s assigned partner, if both agree. If you have 2 players and 1 GM, the players are partners in the BFA. If you have more than two players, run the group as a troubleshooting team. See the Principles of Duet Roleplaying page for more information on duet optimization.

In my instance of the setting, DM and Player roles will switch off between the duet pair, because both me and my spouse enjoy both aspects of RPG gaming. Switching off DM duties allows both of us to create stories, flesh out the world, create interesting NPCs and villains and also play in that world we helped create. YMMV, of course.

The setting can easily be run with more players working as a traditional D&D party, either on their own recognizance or taking direction from their Director in the BFA. If you like, the BFA angle can be ignored completely and the player(s) can assume any role, Incity (inside city walls) or Outside, that works for whatever campaign the DM has in mind.

Inspirational Sources

The setting is an amalgamation of Shadowrun without the matrix and cyberware (though in another 100 years it may come to that), paired with the Summerland rpg by Greg Saunders without the redemption conceit, and a good dose of any given TV show or movie that partners two main characters in an investigative/troubleshooting role (Men In Black, Supernatural, X-Files, any cop show or buddy cop movie).

I am aware of some surface similarities with the Amethyst setting by Dias Ex Machina that were unintentional (great minds and all that). But these are only surface similarities. Amethyst is a richly-detailed setting with a 400+ page book to back up its 500-year history, while the entirety of the Tattered Veil setting can probably be printed within a dozen pages.

Whatever Works For You

The Tattered Veil is designed as a loose homebrew game that allows incorporation of whatever source material the DM sees fit to include. I used only a few paragraphs to describe the changes in transportation, communications, and other aspects of everyday life that occurred on Earth because I want to give the DM and player(s) flexibility to create their own vision. The City can be any city on Earth with a minimum population of around 3 million. Choosing a city you know makes it personal and familiar no matter where in the world you live. Real-world maps become your game’s maps.

If the Tattered Veil sounds like a setting you’d like to try, read on for a little bit more information on how much the world has changed in the mere 50 years since the Rip.


 *The name and mission of the BFA is meant to echo the USA’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, whose mission statement is “to enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.”  The creatures and races that entered earth through the Rips are not from Faerie (at least not all of them), but neither are Native Americans/First Nations from India. Because Earth’s humans don’t know any better, the BFA name is meant to be slightly offensive in this manner so that it might be used for in-game tension in social situations involving non-Earth races. It is not meant to disparage the BIA or the work they do, nor meant to condescend to nor belittle any real-world native tribes or peoples.