Welcome to Roseville Beach
Moonlight on Roseville Beach: A Queer Game of Disco & Cosmic Horror is a tabletop roleplaying game about a queer beach town in 1979 and the residents who solve its strange, occult mysteries and protect it from elder gods, weird monsters, and greedy real-estate developers. All you need to play are friends, imagination, and some six-sided dice.
Originally developed as a setting guide, the Kickstarter will fund Moonlight on Roseville Beach as a standalone game. This project is part of SideQuest 2021: a creator-run crowdfunding event during November 2021.
About the Creator
Richard Ruane (he/him) is the creator of Moonlight on Roseville Beach, Enoch's Wake: A Player's Guide to the Infinite Void, and Freebooting Rogues of the Infinite Void. He was nominated for the IGDN Groundbreaker Award for Best Setting for Barrow Keep: Den of Spies in 2021 and Dark Designs in Verdigris in 2020. He's previously contributed to Codex, Eat Trash Be Free, and Sunken, as well as books from the original incarnation of White Wolf. You can find his work on Itch and DriveThruRPG.
Moonlight on Roseville Beach Quickstart
Head west on Rose Island and you get to the pricey summertime communities like Saltwinne, Destiny Bay, or Dunewood. Head east and you’ll find exclusive resort towns like Pinewood Harbor, Charmington, and Sunken Oak. But in the summer of 1979, every queer person in and around Metropolitan City knew there was just one place on Rose Island to go for a summer gaycation: Roseville Beach.
Roseville Beach isn't free of problems, of course. Queer people still ran afoul of the police, religious leaders, and local politicians. On Rose Island, there's the ghosts, necromancers, shifters, ancient intelligences, and elder gods. That's where you and your housemates come in: you're the ones who keep the community safe.
Moonlight on Roseville Beach is a game about the amateur sleuths and monster hunters who keep their bustling beach town safe while holding down jobs, taking care of their friends, escaping their own demons, and maybe even falling in love.
Roseville Beach Map
The Cabana is the newest nightclub in the village. It’s a smaller stage, but there are frequent concerts, shows, live bands, and scandalous parties. They have their own pool, and a small hotel attached. Duke Randall is the reclusive owner, but his friend Ben Morris runs day-to-day operations, while Tiffany Bruncheon books and hosts the shows.
Screw’s Turn is an after-hours piano bar popular with drag queens and theater lovers across the island. It’s owned by the gruff head bartender Doug Miles and his on-again, off-again ex, Peter Quint. Their resident drag queen is Flora Bly.
Cedar Point is a hotel and restaurant run by outdoorsy and athletic Lacey Bonano. She used to be a beloved middle school gym teacher, and no one is sure where she got the money. Her hotel manager is Regina Murphy and her head bartender is Art Garcia.
Ocean Palace is the oldest nightclub in Roseville Beach, originally opened by Gregor Shaw as a seafood restaurant and jazz venue that had a loyal (and straight) following up through the early 60s. His children Glen Shaw and Glenda Savage run the Palace as a gay nightspot now, though their father still comes from Saltwinne every few weeks to tell them what they’re doing wrong.
Fleur Manor is the home of the Fleur sisters, four drag queens people say are actually all closely related: cunning Carrie, coy Cathy, cold Chrissy, and charming Corrine. During the day, they run and sandwich shop and hardware store out of the first floor, while at night their roomy attic loft becomes a drag revue hotspot called The Attic.
The Market holds a small, busy grocery on the ground floor, run by the Cooper family. They also rent VCRs and a few VHS tapes. The top floor is the town’s legendary Paperback Exchange & Newstand run by Sandy Perez.
The Community Center hosts village-wide events, including gallery shows, movie nights, a summer repertory stage, and occasional talent shows. The head gardener is Bill Adams, while Vicki West manages the facilities and programming.
Rosie’s, right by the Mainelin County ferry dock, is mainly a covered deck and a bunch of whirring blenders most nights and is pretty slow by the time the last ferry leaves. Head bartenders Vincent Rivera and Judy Spina don’t own the place but seem to be always there.
Bracknell Lodge, a clothing-optional mini-resort that includes twelve guest rooms and a dining area in the baroque main building, a large central deck with a private pool and hot tub, and the multi-room Harbor Cottage with access to the Lodge’s private boathouse and dock. A few summer employees stay in a dorm-like gatehouse, and there’s a private tower where the Lodge’s reclusive owner Graye “Lady” Bracknell has lived since building The Lodge in 1938, all surrounded by a seven-foot stucco wall. Groundskeeper Jake Flores is usually on-premises, as is the eccentric sculptor Mel Sanders, both actually of whom live off-premises.
Violet Flame Candles & Gifts is a sprawling shop of occult goods and strange books, though most of the worthwhile stuff is on the discount rack. Straight owners Cas Urban and *Mut LaVenge aren't Roseville residents, but if given a chance, they’ll brag of the orgiastic rites they’re planning once they start their cult.
Creating a Character
In addition, all the characters have one or more Troubles: other people who they're indebted to, hiding from, trying to impress, or looking out for. Once you worked through your origin story and job, choose some names as Troubles. You'll also have a chance to choose some Comforts and an Ally or two.
The other players are your housemates, and you begin the game already having had some strange adventures together. When you and the other players are together around the table (whether physical or digital), each player should select a strange event they've experienced with another housemate.
Every character in Roseville Beach has an Origin Story. In the quick start, you can choose from three: the fresh face, the scandalous, or the shifter.
The Fresh Face is an adult now and they're ready to live their own life. Play the Fresh Face if you want to be a character who's just discovering the queer and strange world of Roseville Beach.
The Scandalous was doing fine: They had a life, but then the scandal happened. Play the Scandalous if you want to be a little world-weary, but still discovering the supernatural.
The Shifter is someone with the ability to transform from human to animal and back. Play the Shifter if you want to have supernatural shapeshifting power, though you may still be learning to really be your own human self.
Choosing a Job
Moonlight on Roseville Beach characters are solving creepy mysteries and dealing with strange monsters, but they're also holding down jobs. Once you've chosen an Origin Story, choose one of these or work with your GM on another. Once you've got a job, roll or choose a skill you learned.
Backup Dancer at Fleur Manor
Bartender at Rosie's
Assistant at Roseville Care Center
Gardener at the Community Center
Moonlight on Roseville Beach characters may have shown up on Rose Island unaware of the shadow world of sorcerers, necromancers, ancient terrors, and elder gods, but then something happened. Each of the housemates has had more than one strange experience, and at least twice you've been with your housemates.
Each housemate should choose one of the following strange experiences and agree with the player sitting to your left what the two of you saw.
The two of you saw a strange bronze monolith that was always just right behind you, but you never saw it move. Agree where the two of you last saw it before it disappeared, then each roll a d6. If the result is 4+, choose a skill: Stubborn, Strength, Subterfuge. If the result is 3-, you start the game with Scare: feel like you're being watched.
The Strange Figure
You two were approached by a shadowy figure that hissed your names before fleeing. Say how you might recognize the figure if you saw it again, then each roll a d6. If the result is 4+, choose a skill: Intimidating, Sneaky, Running. If the result is 3-, you start the game with a Trouble: you're looking out for someone who was injured by the fleeing figure.
The Lights in the Harbor
You two were walking along the Toklas trail between Roseville Beach and Pinewood Harbor when you saw strange, colorful lights in the sky over Odd Island in the Harbor. Name a person in town (a resident, trouble, or ally) who was walking near you but says they didn't see them. Then each roll a d6. If the result is 4+, add an ally: an odd but helpful person who says they're from Odd Island but who won't tell you their name but is often there when you need help. If the result is 3-, you start the game with a new Trouble: there's someone clearly watching you. List "The Silent Observer" as someone you're hiding from.
Walking on the beach one night, you both saw shark-like creatures attack a stranger. Name and describe the person you saved by driving the shark-creatures away, then roll a d6. If the result is 4+, start the game with an Ally: the stranger was actually well informed about Rose Island's strange happenings. If the result is 3-, you start the game with a Trouble: you're looking after the person you saved.
The Starry Form in the Dunes
You and your housemate saw a glimmering figure in the dunes west of town one night. Say what you each thought you heard it calling out to you, then roll a d6. If the result is 4+, choose a skill from Running, Sneaky, or Strength. If the result is 3-, you start the game with an Injury: something that makes it hard for you to get around. You don't remember how the injury happened, but you came to in the marshy, forested dunes with it.
Troubles, Allies, Comforts
Moonlight on Roseville Beach characters not only have jobs to hold down and demons to battle, they've also got people to live with: for better or worse.
Your origin story will usually give you a Trouble of some sort: either Someone You're Hiding From, Someone You're Trying to Impress, Someone You Owe, or Someone Relying on You. Troubles always have a chance of showing up: if you don't want to have a trouble show up in game, choose a different trouble.
More Trouble! In addition to the Troubles you discovered in character creation, choose another in one of the categories above.
Allies are folks who have some skill, experience, knowledge, and/or supplies that make them good to know. When you write down an ally's name, add what they're helpful with, a what your relationship with them is: boss, coworker, crush, fling, friend, rival, or something else.
More Allies! In addition to any Allies you discovered in character creation, write one more name of someone you know and are willing to rely on.
With everything you've seen and learned since arriving in Roseville Beach, it'd be hard to keep going without some sources of comfort and solace. Each character should name three, either one in each category or more than one in a category.
The Special Place: A location (outdoors or in) where you go to pull yourself together.
The Special Memento: Something you keep in your room that reminds you of another person, time, or place.
The Special Person: A friend, lover, or mentor who you go to when things are tough. This can be a housemate or someone else on the island.
Equipment & The Bungalow
When Moonlight on Roseville Beach are out investigating mysteries, they're assumed to have anything they would normally have for what they'd normally do (go to work, hang out on the beach, go on a date, etc.). In addition, when they need it, they can have up to three small pieces of simple equipment they know how to use (a flashlight, a screwdriver, a flask, lockpicks, etc.). If they're carrying a bag or backpack, they can add four more small items that would reasonably fit.
When characters are investigating mysteries or otherwise getting into trouble around Roseville Beach, they can return to their bungalow for supplies. The bungalow is assumed to have groceries and beach gear on hand (towels, umbrellas, sunblock). For anything else (a full repair kit, common power tools, specific kitchen supplies, camping gear, etc.), the bungalow has a supply rating.
Supply Check: When player characters need supplies from their bungalow and they take the time to head back there, roll a d6. If the number is equal to or less than the supply rating, they find the item. If it's higher than the supply rating, they find something that should do instead and their supply rating goes down by 1. Once the supply rating reaches 0, they can't return to the bungalow for equipment again. Even if they've had it before, it's been borrowed, misplaced, or
At the start of each session, reset the supply rating to its max value and choose one thing the housemates have a lot of on hand right now: camping gear, costumes, stage props, medical supplies, painting supplies, plumbing tools, occult tomes, etc. When the housemates have a lot of something on hand, they can roll at advantage when they check their supply rating.
|Everyone has their own room. There are two indoor baths and an outdoor shower. It's close to the beach and the center of town. The bungalow has a VCR and a phone.||3|
|Everyone has their own room. There's one shared bath and an outdoor shower. It's a bit of a walk to both the beach and the center of town. The bungalow has a TV with bad reception and a phone.||4|
|Everyone's sharing rooms. There's one shared bath. It's a walk to get almost anywhere else in town. There's no phone and the TV antenna is broken.||5|
Things that Don't Exist Yet: No one has equipment that hasn't been invented in 1979: mobile phones, DVD players, laptops, etc. Personal computers are very rare and personal Internet is even rarer (and requires using a phone line). The Sony Walkman has only been released in Japan.
No Cars on Rose Island: Roseville Beach, like all the towns on Rose Island, is a very compact town with boardwalks or sandy paths instead of roads. The wealthier towns have beach patrols with a Jeep or two, and most of the businesses have golf carts for bringing stuff from the harbor to their location, but there are no cars on most of the island.
Weird Supplies: Of course, Roseville Beach exists in a strange version of our own world. If player characters want to find eldritch grimoires, alien technology, or arcane artifacts they couldn't reasonably have access to, they may need to call on their contacts, skills, and backgrounds, possibly in risky ways.
Guns: While nothing prevents PCs from having or using guns, very few residents have them. The town (and the island) are fairly small and guns are loud. The sound of gunfire usually leads to someone calling the Mainelin County police, and that never ends well.
Investigation & Action
When you start to investigate the mysteries of Roseville Beach (whether natural or supernatural), the GM will accurately describe what you observe, perceive, and know in the current situation—though sometimes your perception will be limited by obfuscation, illusion, or trickery. If you want to dig deeper, describe what you are searching for in your environment or your memory, and ask the GM an open-ended question based on what you might possibly notice or know based on what you're seeing as well as what you might figure out based on your background, skills, troubles, or prior adventures.
Action & Dice
Only risky actions provoke rolls. When you head into danger knowing what you're facing, you gather a pool of dice and roll.
When you build a dice pool, select one die for being a sleuth. Add more dice to the pool as follows:
|+1||if you aren't Injured or Spooked in a way that inhibits what you're doing|
|+1||for at least one relevant background|
|+1||for having a relevant skill|
|+1||for having a second relevant skill|
|+1||for a golden opportunity|
|+1||for an ally or other NPC's help (though the ally is also at risk)|
|+1||to protect a housemate, ally, trouble, or comfort from dire consequences|
When you roll, you always risk failure. There's also a chance you'll gain some bonus clue that you haven't already found. Of course, your risks might include not just failure, but also injury and scares.
Before the roll, the GM should tell you what you're risking (failure, injury, scare). Assign your dice to each. If you don't have enough dice for all of the assigned risks, treat any risk that you don't assign a die to as 1.
As noted above, every roll involves the risk of failure. Assign one of the dice you rolled to the Goal.
|6+||You achieve your goal.|
|4-5||You either make progress on your goal, but it's taking longer than you thought, or you succeed with unforeseen consequences, possibly including injuries or scares.|
|3-||It's not working or it's taking too long! The GM may announce some unforeseen dangers, threats, or consequences, possibly including injuries or scares.|
When your risks include the chance of injury or physical harm, assign a die to Injury.
|4+||You succeed without getting yourself or your housemates or allies injured.|
|3-||You, an ally, or a housemate is injured. If someone was assisting you, they may also suffer an injury.|
When your risks include a chance of being spooked, frightened, or scared, assign a die to Scared.
|5+||You succeed without frightening yourself, your housemates, or your allies.|
|4-||You and anyone assisting you is Scared.|
If there's something more you could learn, or discover in this situation, you can place a die on Additional Clues.
|4+||The GM will tell you what you discover, learn, or realize. If the GM can't tell you something you don't already know, you can place the die elsewhere.|
|3-||You don't discover any additional clues.|
The Trouble Die
After you roll if you find you need an extra die in your pool, your GM may let you roll a Trouble Die. If you do, you must place one die on the Trouble table.
|4+||Either one of your troubles (or a housemate's trouble) is going to show up this session, or you'll find an ally or comfort unavailable or in need of help.|
|2-3||Either one of your troubles (or a housemate's trouble) is going to hinder your investigation or escalate problems, or else an ally or comfort will be placed at risk.|
|1||An ally, trouble, comfort, or Roseville Beach resident is either in immediate trouble or else is doing something that puts others in trouble.|
If you get help from an ally or other NPC, you can add a die to your pool as noted above. However, if you suffer any consequences, they may suffer them as well.
If one of your housemates help you, they can add one die to the pool, or two if they have a background or skill that would be especially useful. However, they also risk any consequences you're risking.
Calling the Authorities
The Mainelin County police used to regularly conduct gay-baiting and queer-bashing raids in Roseville Beach on a regular basis. They resent the court orders that prevent them from continuing to do so, and residents have very good reason not to trust them. If the characters or someone else calls the police, the best possible result is that the police ignore the call.
Injured, Spooked, Out of Action
Injuries are physical conditions outside what a character can comfortably deal with. The GM will give a name to each injury, e.g., winded, broken arm, sprained ankle, exhausted. When you attempt something risky, being injured may limit the number of dice you can use.
When you are spooked, something has emotionally frightened or shaken you in some way that's outside what you can normally deal with. Like injuries, the GM will give each a name, whether something general like "jitters" or something specific like "scared of the water." When you attempt something risky, being spooked may limit the number of dice you can use.
Out of Action
Whenever you have three conditions listed under either Injured or Spooked, you're out of action until you get help (or until the end of the session). Agree with the GM what that looks like: retreating, fleeing, fainted, or just too wounded to keep up with the action. If your housemates can get you to safety and get you some help, you can bring your injuries and/or scares back below three.
Recovering When Injured
Recovering from an injury depends on the nature of the condition. Some, like "winded," may just require time, while "exhausted" may require food and sleep. Some require a trip to the clinic or the Mainelin County Hospital off of the island. A housemate with the First Aid skill may be able to spend time with an injured person to remove or mitigate injuries. Mitigated injuries are often less likely to impede your actions. Performing first aid isn't usually risky, but may be if under duress.
Recovering When Spooked
Recovering when spooked sometimes just requires a little time. For instance, if you have "The Jitters," you may just need to take some time to calm down. Usually, though, the best option is to find a roommate, ally, or another important person to talk it through with, or else to spend time with one of your comforts. This shouldn't involve a roll unless you're under duress or something else is going on (trying to talk it through with someone special while you're both hiding, for instance.)
The Fresh Face
The Fresh Face is an adult now and they're ready to live their own life. Whether Roseville Beach is where they want to settle for a while or just a break for the summer, it’s a chance to get out on their own. One thing's sure: They're not in Kansas anymore.
17 + 1d3
When you make a roll without your background or skills, you can reroll any dice that land on a 1, but you have to accept the reroll.
Backgrounds & Skills
Pick two Backgrounds, roll for two skills from one background and one skill from the other. If you get the same skill twice, pick another from either background list.
Back on the Farm
|6-||Someone from your past is looking for you. Put their name on your “People I'm Hiding From?” list.|
|7-9||Whether favors or money, you owe someone on Rose Island, and you owe them a lot. Put their name on your “People I Owe” list.|
|10+||Someone you care about from your old life has been showing up around Roseville Beach, and you need to keep an eye on them to make sure they stay safe (and maybe also stay oblivious). Add the name of an old friend or family member to your list of “People Counting on Me.”|
The Scandalous was doing fine: They had a life. Maybe they made some mistakes, but they were keeping things together. Then the scandal happened. Now they are keeping your head down and trying to find happiness again.
21 + 1d6
Your Trouble will tell you what the scandal was, but when you meet someone new, there’s a 1-in-6 chance they’ve seen your picture in a newspaper or gossip rag.
Backgrounds & Skills
Pick two Backgrounds, roll for two skills from each. If you get the same skill twice, pick another from either background list.
Tuned In, Dropped Out
|5-||Someone you were close to (romantically, professionally, or otherwise) was accused of a federal crime and went on the run. Add the name of an FBI or similar agent to your list of “People I'm Hiding From.”|
|6-8||You got entangled with a well-known family member, mentor, friend, or ex who did something very unethical or immoral (but not illegal) and disappeared after a media exposé. You may want nothing to do with them, but they're still looking for you. Add their name to your list of “People I'm Hiding From.”|
|9+||Whether the torrid news of a public figure's same-sex affair was about you or someone close to you didn't matter: your picture was everywhere. The only one willing to help you was a sketchy fixer who set you up with a job and a place to live. Now they want the favor repaid. Add their name to your list of "People I Owe."|
The Shifter is someone with the ability to transform from human to animal and back. They may be in Roseville Beach for a new start, to hide out, or just for a break from the world's cares.
18 + 1d6
You can voluntarily change between your human and animal forms (unless you're affected by one of your Banes). When you change from human to animal, you cannot do anything the form you are in cannot do.
Treat your animal form as a background and roll for one skill associated with it.
Backgrounds & Skills
Pick one Background, and roll for two skills. If you get the same skill twice, pick another from any background list.
Out in the Country
Pick two things that seem to force you into changing. Trying to prevent the change can be risky.
Touch of Silver, Touch of Gold, Touch of Cold Iron, New Moon, Full Moon, Daybreak, Anger, Embarrassment, Fear, Spilled Blood
|4-||Someone with serious connections is looking for you because you’re a shifter. Add the name of a federal agent to your list of “People I'm Hiding From.”|
|5-9||Someone with some occult connections is looking for you because of your powers. Add the name of a modern-day occultist, paranormal investigator, or monster hunter to your “People I'm Hiding From” list.|
|10+||Someone from your life off Rose Island has been showing up around Roseville Beach, and you need to keep an eye on them to make sure they stay safe (and possibly oblivious). Add the name of an old flame, friend, or family member to your list of “People Counting on Me.”|