Background Startup Examples Rules

The Centre Cannot Hold logo


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of
Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

W B Yeats, 'The Second Coming'

Welcome to The Centre Cannot Hold, the new role-playing PBM from Undying King Games. This way madness lies...

The Centre Cannot Hold is an open-ended, freeform RPG. That means that there is no particular aim which characters must follow, and no way of winning the game. You set goals for yourself (or not, if you prefer not), and define success or failure in your own terms. You may conceive vast ambitions and strive to realize them, or you may just happily potter about in the lower reaches of the story. There are no deadlines, and you can send in turns as often or as rarely as you wish: and you can choose the extent to which you want to interact with other player characters.

Compared with our other games, The Centre Cannot Hold is most like Ixion's Wheel in its open structure, so it might be worth looking at the example turns for that game if you want to get an idea of the sort of things characters get up to.

One important way in which the two games are unlike, though, is that The Centre Cannot Hold is rooted in our own historical world. The game starts in London, in 1860, and the setting is as authentic as we can make it – there are no significant differences from our own history. This is an important difference between this game and Inferno. Any reading you want to do about the period will be time well spent: when people talk about Victorian England, they usually mean the 1890s, but we've gone for a slightly earlier period, where some of your 'Victorian' assumptions may be inaccurate.

This book

... is not meant to be definitive, all-embracing or even 'finished'. It contains all you need to know to initially create your character, but as you play in the game your understanding of its world will grow, and we'll send you more detail and background on the areas in which you're interested in. So think of this as an organic document which will grow with your character, and not as a complete state-of-the-world.


To play in The Centre Cannot Hold, just send GBP 15.00 to cover your setup and first two turns.
Further turns are GBP 6.00 each. Please make cheques payable to Undying King Games,
or you can pay by credit card using our secure transactions page.
You will receive a copy of the rules, map, and start form.

Like all our games, The Centre Cannot Hold can be played by post or by email, as you find convenient.

Undying King Games, 57 London Road, IPSWICH, IP1 2HF, United Kingdom


Inferno | Ixion's Wheel | Pieces of Eight! | UNEXPLAINED | Europa