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kumada1

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A member registered Dec 04, 2019 · View creator page →

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The Fool's Journey has probably my favorite cover on any trpg. It's simple, but it communicates its contents to the reader perfectly, and it sets a whimsical tone for the game itself.

The game itself is 14 pages, 2--4 player, and tarot and dice based. It also feels a little similarly to Baron Munchhausen, in that there's technically victory points, but the real goal is just to tell cool stories with each other.

Despite this, the mechanics are a little complicated, and while at the end it works out to "tell a story about the major arcana that are on the table", you go through a bunch of steps to get to that point. There's bidding in stages to determine the order of the major arcana on the story track, and there's dice rolls to determine who tells their story first. For groups in a hurry, or who are looking for a warmup game, this can be truncated, and you can just skip to the final phase of the game. For groups that are more competitive, you can deep-dive into the mechanics, but there aren't clear rules for who wins. You could vote, but it's probably safer not to treat this as a competitive game.

Then again, another option might be to secretly assign each player two objectives ("make sure the chariot and the fool are adjacent, make sure the star is on the track, etc") and have them declare they win if their objectives are complete.

Either way, alongside its rules, Fool's Journey does come with several short stories, all built with the engine of the game, and they're all cool. I think there's definitely also a niche here for using Fool's Journey as a single-person short story prompt, although the book doesn't explicitly suggest this.

Overall, Fool's Journey is a cool, casual, improvised storytelling game. If you like Munchhausen, Once Upon A Time, or other games in that style, I would recommend checking it out.

Heaven Nor Hell is a three page, two player rpg with solid layout and a potent (usually romantic) premise: you are two supernatural creatures that the powers that be will try, and fail, to keep apart.

Basically, if you liked the TV adaptation of Good Omens, there's already something for you here.

Beyond that, the mechanics are extremely simple. You frame scenes on your own, sometimes rolling a d10 for a prompt, and you make all significant decisions by yourselves.

The game's hook and internal tension are already baked in, so you don't have to work to challenge and support your characters' relationship. You can just support it, while occasionally referencing that god and the devil don't want the two of you to kiss.

Incidentally, while Heaven Nor Hell introduces itself as a two-player game, there's nothing mechanically preventing it from having more players. You may want to make up other planes for additional players to be from, but the story still works if two people are from hell and one from heaven, vice versa, or any other combination with other numbers.

By a similar token, the game works for nearly any relationship, and it's just as playable with the "you love each other" bit removed---as long as the other emotion is also strong.

Overall, this is a really solid idea executed effortlessly. It's easy to set up and play, and it doesn't take a lot of energy to run. If you like romantic games (or games about friendship,) I would absolutely recommend giving this a shot.

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This is a heck of a thing.

Have I Been Good? is a two-player one-day larp.

Also one of those players is a dog.

It's only four pages, but it's extremely worth your time.

Concept-wise, Have I Been Good? riffs off a number of memes and idle thoughts about dogs---that they see humans as these ageless creatures, that time runs differently for dogs, that their existential questions orbit around what humans think of them---and pulls all these elements together into a fully cohesive whole.

Gameplay-wise, Have I Been Good? shines. You play by hanging out with and interacting with your dog, and also by reflecting on that.

Some of the gameplay steps feel a little strangely paced (you write letters at a couple of points, and this sort of disconnects you from actually interacting with your dog,) but overall you're going on walks and making good food and just generally spending time with a creature in your life that the pressures of the human world might otherwise incentivize you to pay less attention to.

It's really solid.

This might be the weirdest bit of feedback I've ever written for a game, but the only critique I can think of is that Have I Been Good? might benefit from a quick blurb about "here's how to recognize / omit steps your dog doesn't want to do." There is some guidance in the text that you should use your best judgement, but I found myself wishing it was a bit more centralized.

Also, for folks without dogs, this game feels pretty mod-able if you want to use it to hang out with other pets. You'll likely have to calibrate it based on how much the pet wants to hang out with people, but I could see it working for a cat, fox, or ferret pretty easily. For something like a bearded dragon, tarantula, or fish, you might have to redo a lot more of the structure.

Overall, I'd strongly recommend this to anyone with a dog, and who can spare a day (or even a part of a few days.) It's got a neat structure and a great concept, and it's well worth checking out.

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This Party Sucks is a relatively intense storytelling game about processing a bad breakup, but which is nonetheless sympathetic to both the messy protagonist and the players.

It's 13 pages, with an easy to read layout, and the instructions are extremely clear and easy to follow.

It's also got a unique format, and as a group you'll be shifting roles periodically. This helps a bit to diffuse the emotional intensity, since the character being a shared space helps keep people from feeling acutely that "this is me."

It's got reasonable safety mechanics, along with a really cool soft mechanic where you can tap a card to show that something feels personal to you, but you don't mind at all that it's in the story. Being incentivized to signal this way makes it easier to avoid running into problems in the first place---but you may also want to pair this with x-card or something more forceful in order to have a way to throw the brakes on anything that you didn't define as a no before starting play, but that you've realized you def don't want to play through.

Overall, This Party Sucks has a hopeful tone and an interesting atmosphere. If you like intense, character-focused and relationship-focused explorations, this is a good choice, and it's very solidly written.

Minor Issues:

-The Palette. It might be better to list only everyone's NOs first, and then list everyone's YESs. Otherwise you run into a potential issue where someone drops a YES that the next person actually wanted to make a NO.

-Are all Party Prep Moves are performed before a party? I wasn't 100% sure, but this seemed likely.

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Wu De is a GM-optional storytelling trpg that is all about its core dice system, and honestly it works.

Wu De's dice are fresh.

You roll two colors of dice, representing opposite polarities. Each numbered face represents an element. The elements and polarities cancel each other out, and on a net neutral roll your action succeeds.

This sort of goes the long way to recreate Fate's net neutral dice pool, but Wu De adds three mechanics on top of that that give a lot of manipulatability and context to the dice. First, any surviving dice give context to what happens next through their element and the things it's associated with. Next, rolling a positive 6 (or Qi) lets you choose a negative die and cancel it out. Finally, you can bank negative dice for future rolls.

Essentially, you ignore failures by moving them to a separate track, and after enough of them have built up there, you get a scene dedicated to things going really wrong.

This gives the (optional) GM a great way to introduce new conflicts and advance plotlines, and it gives the players a lot of control over when they succeed.

Setting-wise, Wu De is a bit like Fate, where the system is meant to be useable for anything. The book comes with four settings, each with a number of hooks, but it expects the group to collaborate and fill in world details as they come up.

Overall, Wu De is a cool storytelling rpg with a dice system that made me rethink how dice operate. I would recommend it to anyone who's comfortable with Fate, or with card-based storytelling games.

Minor Issues:

-Page 12, "Find equal elements in yin and yang. These will balance each other out and are removed from the roll." Wording unclear. Does this mean if you roll yin Earth and yang Earth you remove both? Does it also apply if you roll yin Earth and yang Metal?

-Page 12. Let's say you roll yang Wood, yin Earth, yang Water. When yang Wood destroys yin Earth, does this prevent yin Earth from destroying yang Water?

-Page 12. If you have a yang Qi, can you only apply it after the elements have destroyed each other, or can you apply it before that, potentially preventing a yang element's destruction?

-Page 15. When you bank a yin die, can you do this before the elements destroy each other (potentially preventing a yang element's destruction)? Or does it have to be after?

-Page 15. If you bank a yang die, does it cancel a banked yin? If you bank 3 net yang dice, do you get a scene dedicated to your situation improving? Can you bank yang dice to save them from being destroyed by yin dice / yin elements?

Uneasy Lies The Head is a GMless trpg that is, despite the format, fairly competitive and significantly crunchy.

It's also somewhat close to a LARP in some respects---in that it's partly a social game with hidden agendas, and that you're cooperating and competing against the other players without ever being truly certain what their objectives are.

Uneasy can be a little tricky to decipher when you're just starting your read-through, as it introduces ideas without immediately explaining what they're for. It also has some oddness to its balance, where turn order is determined by tokens pulled out of a bag, and you might simply not get a turn if the End Of Round token is pulled before any of yours are.

On the flipside, there's an actual character class for being late to the game / having to leave early, and that's a really cool add that allows people to get in on the competitive aspect of the game without needing to make a large time commitment.

Gameplay itself revolves around votes, which are guided by some really crunchy mechanics around setting difficulty and rolling dice, but which ultimately translate to "the more people who speak out against you, the more likely your action is to fail."

The setting of the game is customizeable, but works for basically any group where the long-standing power structure has suddenly become vacant. Several possible settings are provided with the game, and all of them are seriously flavorful. They range from Bloodborne to Junji Ito to the French Revolution to age of sail piracy.

Overall, I think this is a really strong choice for groups that like hidden information, social competition, and storytelling that doesn't sacrifice the feeling of challenge that comes from trying to master a game. Uneasy is pretty versatile, and can be adapted to both different settings and different gameplay styles, and is probably a solid impulse-buy for folks who like Fantasy Flight's Battlestar Galactic board game, or voting games like werewolf.

Minor Issues:

-Page 4, Player Token, 3., "and it can inc The". There's a sentence fragment here

-Page 8, Spread a rumor/Dictate a sermon, these don't seem to do anything mechanically, which seems a little weird given everything else having mechanical applications.

-Page 8, Projects, "fill in the next step of each project clock with a token next to it". Each clock with token next to it, or each step with a token next to it?

-Character playbooks are split in half in the "bigger fix" version of the game, and this makes them a little difficult to read and navigate without printing them and taping them together.

Since I started it, I'll go first. I'm currently 4 pages into a (probably wildly divergent) cover of The Gilled by georgiebats

To go with the "Games To Cover" thread, this is for people to post the games they're covering. 

Posting here doesn't mean you have to finish a certain cover. It's completely okay if you get stuck, or if stuff gets in the way.

It's also completely okay to just focus on working on your thing, and not post anything about it until it's ready.

However, for those of us who like jumping the gun, or who like talking about stuff while we're working on it, this is the place.

It's a really lovely game! Thank you for writing it!

This is a really good idea! Thank you for starting the thread.

All of my games are open to being covered, and I'm happy to provide free copies if anyone wants to read some of them rather than designing off of the cover/tagline.

Get Your Game On! is a trpg about a world where card games are a Big Deal. It's 23 pages without art in its current (8/3/20) version, but it's being developed further, and the gameplay is definitely solid.

Essentially, Game On is built out of a series of minigames. The minigames are fully fleshed and basically set up different kind of scenes---which taken all together form the game's story.

Game On also expertly navigates 1 v 1 card duels by having everyone who's not dueling hype up/explain the plays.

Mechanically, Game On tracks two kinds of tokens---Heart and Skill---with increases in one often leading to decreases in the other. Thus, the more you care about card games, the less you care about people, and vice versa. This makes for an interesting deconstruction, where you're choosing card games or friendship---not finding friendship because of card games---which feels like a decent step back from the way a lot of card battle series try to position their games.

Overall, card games series (when they're not brutally deconstructive) tend to be about excitement and hype, and Get Your Game On! does an amazing job of capturing that. If you want to tell stories about over-the-top-card-duels at an academy without the game slowing down every time it goes into crunchy battle mechanics, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of this.

Minor Issues:

-Page 2, The Trans Rule, 3rd para, minor spelling errors on misrepresenting and opportunity

-Page 3, Character Creation, 2nd para, "don't not matter"

-Page 3, Character Creation, 7th para, "they must one of the following" choose one of the following

-Page 4, Ace, you may want to bold this, since it's a mechanic that matters, and that otherwise is really easy to miss.

-Page 10 and 15 and 17 and 21, the mixer and moment of introspection and confrontation with the cards and exams don't change anyone's token counts at all, and this feels a little weird.

-Page 23, 2nd bullet point, "you port forward your social relationships first" you put your social relationships first

Minor Recommendation:

Play in-game card duels out-of-game with something simple like blackjack, uno, or Love Letter. Making up cards on the spot can feel a little ungrounded, but everyone knows how to hype a Draw Four.

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Have You Heard About The Beast is a unique-encounter generator for fantasy adventuring games. It's clever, and it's also system neutral, but statting the beasts it spits out will take longer in something like 5e than it would in something like Mausritter due to 5e's more intricate statblocks.

Gameplay-wise, you all play as folks gossiping in a tavern about a regional beast, one-upping each other's details until you have a fully realized monster. Then all those rumors turn out to be true, and the adventurers have to go fight it.

There are prompts to make sure the beast always has certain key elements (like a special ability and a treasure) so the important bits are never left out, and there are also some tables for random features/abilities/treasures/etc so that you can use this without needing to play it.

I took a spin through it and came up with a regular cow that lives in a muddy hole next to a stream where no fish swim, that ate farmer Johnson's bull and spat the bones in his face, that can change its size to fit through a keyhole, that has coins for eyes, and that sneaks into your dreams and drains your soul. So basically A Wizard, but it's A Cow.

 Some of the table entries are silly and some are sinister, so there's a very real chance of starting to build something ominous on the random tables only to find out that it can outdance any bard in the land, but if you play with a group and ignore the tables, you won't have this problem.

Overall, I think this is a really solid way of generating encounters for one-shots and sidequests. Nothing on the tables seemed deeply scary or unsettling (although mileage can vary a lot for this,) and it creates custom monsters and their accompanying folklore on demand. For groups that play fantasy adventure games, I would strongly recommend this as an additional piece of the GM's toolkit.

Minor Issues:

-Page 8, special ability, 7, "as its you from the inside out" as it eats you

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One Last Fight is a card game that's also a storytelling adventure rpg.

It honestly feels a little like Munchkin, if Munchkin was a purely narrative experience. or like Lone Wolf, if Lone Wolf was Munchkin. Or like Darkest Dungeon, if it had a slider you could use to set the level of atmosphere.

You have stats, you accumulate treasure, you use those things along with your character class to pass checks and win combat, and you die if you run out of hearts.

At the same time, you answer questions prompted by the cards, collaborating with the other players to add a story layer to the game, and if people really commit to it, it feels like it can get notably intense.

There's a lot of crunch and flavor in One Last Fight, but none of it's unmanageable, and the game is super easy to set up and play.

I would strongly recommend this to anyone who likes a hearty mix of storytelling and mechanical challenge. It feels extremely well constructed, and I think it would make both an excellent intro game and a cool experience for long-running groups.

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The Wretched is a single player journaling game with gorgeous art and deeply atmospheric writing and layout, and although it's technically a single page, it's layed out bookmark style and probably has about 15--20 pages worth of content for you to scroll through.

Content-wise, it's a combination horror/disaster story, following from a sort of bad end to Alien, where Ripley did not successfully escape and is stuck on the husk of the Nostromo with the creature still on board.

It's deeply bleak, but not hopeless, and it makes a point of this. You're not dead 'til you're dead. Everything else is fighting.

The Wretched uses a fair bit of mechanics for a journaling game, and it's also one you can (and are likely to) lose. This matches the tone.

You also need a bunch of kit, including a jenga set, d6, tokens, and a deck of cards---although you can make the game easier by making the jenga set optional.

For folks who would not be comfortable with a game that periodically reminds you of confinement and impending mortality, this is probably not an ideal experience to play.

However, for folks who really like atmospheric horror, and who would be interested in a game that produces journals/recordings that are basically as dramatic as the game itself, this is probably a title to prioritize.

Overall, this is a journaling game that I think has an appeal way outside of the normal journaling game market, due to its noticeable crunch. If you like Dread, or Alien, or non-ttrpg games like Alien: Isolation or Gods Will Be Watching, buy a copy. It also comes with its own soundtrack.

Edit: realized there are multiple formats for the game. You can also get it in booklet form if bookmark form is not ideal.

It's really cool! And I don't think Belonging Outside Belonging is bad at all, just that I have trouble with it.

The first ep might still be on youtube. It's genuinely incredible. It was made to be an in-theaters movie, but that got scrapped and it was aired as a miniseries instead, and my goodness it works perfectly in that format.

Probably one of my top ten favorite works of horror media, and it does that while simultaneously being a heartfelt homage to the original show.

Community Copies are a bit of a roundabout process to set up. The info is buried in this tutorial about rewards: https://itch.io/docs/creators/exclusive-content

Everyone should always feel free to grab community copies of any of my stuff. The only reason my mid-length games currently have a pricetag at all is so that I can try to get a sense of if/how fast they're moving---although if I can recoup art expenses on them, that makes the model self-sustaining, and that's good too.

As for Dusk Sequence's inspiration, I didn't set out to make Are You Afraid Of The Dark the trpg, I sort of just started from the title and worked backwards. And then like a month after I'd finished the draft, the (really unbelievably good) new miniseries aired.

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I don't know what this is, just that it is.

Here are some things I think I understand.

-The title is a Chiodos reference?

-It has mechanics.

-You can sort of play it like a random encounter table that you can win, although it leans heavily towards surrealism.

-I'm not sure it works as a funnel for starting adventures, because there's entries that just end the world.

Overall, this is definitely a pdf.

Minor Issues:

-On some pages the heading in the seconds column says "tota" instead of "total"

Subway Runners is a 32 page, color, Forged In The Dark game about a neon weird city where immortality has been discovered so no one gets to retire, and you have to work a gig job hunting monsters in the train tunnels.

It's fun. It's pulp. It operates on a little bit of dream logic, but if it were a movie, I would for sure watch it.

The Forged In The Dark engine has also been modded a little bit here, in a way that absolutely works for the game. The players absorb a little bit of the GM role (they're the final arbiter as to whether a roll needs to be made, and also what trait they roll,) there's some dice pools that are just part of the character and not traits, healing and stress recovery happen automatically at checkpoints, and the game fully embraces being a thing born of 2020, designing its intended play around online tools.

In fact, both characters and missions are created by an online generator, which the book links to, fully automating that aspect of setup.

This may also be a downside for people, as the game isn't quite fully playable without the generators.

This and some other gameplay elements felt a little odd (the skill list is gargantuan for a FitD game,) but in the end as long as you have an internet connection, nothing interferes with the quality of the game.

Overall, this thing is like a chill synth-pop version of Metro 2033. I earnestly recommend it to anyone who likes clever worldbuilding, solid balance, and mild-mannered hellscapes. Also probably anyone who likes Red Markets---as there's definitely a similar feeling at play here, if with a different tone.

Gourmet Street is an OSR, D20, or 5e zine focused on street food in a universe of adventurers. It's 20 pages of charming, wonderful text and art, and it has probably the most comprehensive random food generator I've seen in a game.

But it goes deeper than that.

There are factions themed around various styles of cuisine (molecular gastronomy, home-cooking, fermentation, brewing,) monsters fitted to match culinary principals, items in a similar vibe, and a solid two-page adventure.

The overall tone is fairly Discworld, but there's some genuine threat to the monsters and a few hints at underlying forces. I think this would pair very well with something like the Hill Cantons.

Overall, if you like slightly zany but conceptually very solid material to mix into your weird fantasy adventure game, I would strongly recommend grabbing a copy.

Minor Issues:

-Page 12, "arms reach" arms' reach

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The Sword And The Loves is a 48 page black-and-white medieval/Arthurian roleplaying game. And it is *very* grounded in that courtly romance / chivalric tales feeling. It specifically rejects being identified as fantasy.

It does do this all through a fairly scholarly tone, which runs through the game, but I'm happy that it chose to be direct about this. As a game, it really wants you to treat its elements as fresh (the way a medieval audience might have) rather than simply tropey (the way a modern audience is tempted to,) and it works a lot better when you do that.

Gameplay-wise, Sword is primarily a storytelling game. It has a rotating player, a rotating GM, and a rotating supporting cast---so you'll each take turns playing extras in each other's stories in a fashion that I'm tempted to call "Canterbury style."

Interestingly, Sword gives a lot of power to the player to invoke the GM. You can call "Harder!" if you think the GM isn't hitting you hard enough with an obstacle or a situation, or you can call "Describe That In Detail" to force the GM to give more information, and there's enough of these power-words to cover all major situations without being excessive.

In some ways, Sword feels like a convergently evolved Belonging Outside Belonging. Instead of forsaking the GM role, it hands off parts of the role to everyone else, and then it tightens up the game elements that the GM is responsible for. This gives gameplay a very strong flow, and it makes managing the spotlight not just easy but effortless.

Overall, if you like the specific cultural feeling of the middle ages in western Europe, or if you like your Arthurian mythos without adding modern fantasy flourishes, or if you write narrative games and want to see a phenomenal approach to the genre, I sincerely recommend Sword And The Loves.

Minor Stuff:

-It might be worth houseruling that anyone can pick up or put down an Element, rather than assigning them permanently at the start. This allows people to jump in with good ideas, and lets them bow out when they're not sure they have something in mind for their element in the current circumstances.

It's a really cool game. Thank you for writing it!

Black Mass is a 62 page, black-and-white, tarot-based storytelling rpg (and accompanying soundtrack!) set during the witchcraft accusation hysteria of the late 1600s in colonial America. It has gorgeous, evocative art and clear layout, and it's also probably one of the most complex, nuanced character studies I've seen in interactive fiction.

Mechanics-wise, Black Mass is a little similar to Bluebeard's Bride, but you play as the personas for two different characters rather than one, and the game is less of a funnel through a series of bedrooms inhabited by abusive skeletons than it is an open-ended exploration of an ominous New England woodland.

Black Mass does tackle some heavy material, but it also puts a good deal of effort into warning folks upfront, offering safety mechanics, and recommending alternatives. There's even a suggestion for using playing cards instead of tarot if people aren't comfortable with tarot---which works due to the shared history of playing cards and tarot---and this wasn't an accommodation I expected to see in a game that was already about the occult. There's also three broad modes of play, named after different months, and which allow you to pick the content, tone, and themes of your game before you start.

The game itself is divided into phases, with the first serving as a sort of communal storytelling prologue, and the second as something closer to a supernatural horror adventure game, and the third returning to the communal storytelling format. During the second phase, the rules change considerably and the game gains a fair bit of crunch (using portions of the tarot deck to make skill checks, giving the characters special abilities based on their personas, and relying on a GM to push the narrative along.) Everything is extremely flavorful, and I personally really like this shift from storytelling to mechanics and back to storytelling again---although I acknowledge it may not be everyone's preferred thing.

Overall, if you like the idea of an atmospheric horror rpg that doesn't really lean so heavily into the horror, if you like the idea of a game that's a deep character study with a lot of scaleable interconnecting elements, or if you just really liked the movie The VVitch, this is a steal for $9. I would strongly recommend checking this out.

Minor Issues:

-Some headings display with a line through them, rather than underneath them. This looks a little weird.

-Page 48 "It emerged as the Massachusetts was settled" is the 'the' part of the intended phrasing?

-Page 48 and 49, there's some scribbles on the page that are a little jarring, and that pulled me right out of the immersion. Are these an intended element?

BALIKBAYAN is definitely one of my new favorite cyberpunk games.

It's 33 pages, mostly black-and-white, GM'd or GMless, and very narrative-focused.

It's also visually garish. Everything is laid out clearly on the page, but there's a riotous amount of contrast. And I think maybe any other game might have fumbled this approach, but with BALIKBAYAN it just forces you to pay attention.

Plotwise, BALIKBAYAN feels like Blade Runner, but seen from the perspective of the replicants---and with the caveat that the replicants are literal ghosts in the machine---elementals that have been confined and repurposed to power human technology. The writing is lovely and punchy, and there's no shortage of atmosphere and flavor. It also deeply enmeshes cyberpunk with the supernatural, on a level that I don't think I've seen another game manage to achieve (including SR and BloodNet and stuff like that.)

BALIKBAYAN's mechanics are a thing folks might bounce off of, because they're Belonging Outside Belonging, which makes BALIKBAYAN a rare non-crunch cyberpunk game. However, BALIKBAYAN also works in an overarching narrative system, where actions in the game tick boxes on Reckoning/Homecoming tracks, which both trigger responses from the fiction, and move the game towards a clear end-state.

Again, it's not crunch, but it is a really cool mechanical element, and it keeps the story both anchored and always moving forward.

Overall, I would strongly recommend this to anyone who likes flavor and atmosphere, narrative games, and the supernatural.


Minor Issues:

-page 26, Use your magic with, "by paying a token you the choice is easier" extra 'you'

-page 30, Weak Question, this feels a little like it wants its own section. At minimum, it might benefit from an example of what a typical weak question is, especially for folks that haven't played or read Belonging Outside Belonging games before and don't quite have an intuitive sense of how this element should work.

It's a really cool game!

Also I wanted to ask, would it be okay if I put a link to TIAGAF on my fishgame's page? I want to promote this niche microgenre when I can, and I'd like to put links to other fishgames as I find them.

I've also updated the advertising for my game so that it's not claiming to be "possibly the first fishing rpg." I'd googled the genre before writing that line, but TIAGAF didn't surface in the search results, and now I'm wondering how many others I completely missed.

Up until an hour ago, I was cautiously optimistic that I had written the first fishing trpg.

Not only did TIAGAF beat me by a mile, it's also ridiculously good.

The writing's super engaging---pulpy, fun, and everything feels like it makes perfect sense within the setting.

The game concept is also really strong. You're daring misfits on a post-apocalyptic anti-corporate fish heist. You punch mechs and steal pike from heavily guarded vault-aquariums.

Belonging Outside Belonging is a narrative-first kind of system, so it may not be for everyone, but TIAGAF also has one of the most engaging explanations of the Belonging Outside Belonging rules that I've seen in a game, so I'd encourage people who aren't sold on the idea of a roleplaying game without dice to still give this a second look.

For folks who already like Belonging Outside Belonging, TIAGAF takes the system a step further with its Resolution mechanic. Basically, for each Move, you choose the permanent result that happens every time you use it. Use the Move often, and you can choose a second permanent result that you can cause to happen instead.

The whole game channels this same sort of almost supernatural level of "yes and", with all player actions succeeding and the whole group just sort of one-upping each other to make the story more high-octane and ridiculous, and the whole time the wonderful flavor of the book is leaning right in and saying "what happens next?"

Overall, it's 36 pages, it's really clever, and it's worth the read. If you like fishing trpgs, get this one. If you like things that are good, get this one.

Honestly, it's Mirror's Edge but you're stealing carp. I don't know what stronger endorsement I can give a thing.

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Full Of Memory is a storytelling game where you play as a vengeful forest.

That's it. That's the premise. And it's a strong one.

Full is diceless, and it feels like almost more of a game to read than a game to play, but it *is* definitely playable. Full's writing is also really strong, and it does a lot of mechanical and narrative tricks to specifically ground you, make you feel present, and to connect you with your forest. 

If you like intense experiences, this is definitely a game for you. And if you like collaborative storytelling without having to worry about random results, this is really definitely a game for you.

I think I would recommend this to anyone who likes narrative games. Every part of it is super polished and well-executed, and it would be an extremely solid addition to your library.

Ikigai is a 12 page, GMless one-shot about the mayfly lifespan of a tiny creature.

I don't know that it's an easy game to get into, for several reasons. The font is a little bit tricky to read, as it's both dark enough that it's hard to distinguish its regular from its bold, and stylized enough that it takes a tiny bit of effort to decipher. At the same time, its mechanics are explained in a way where you'll get a little bit lost if you're used to roleplaying games, and very lost if you aren't.

To learn how to play, you kind of need to completely set aside any desire to understand what you're doing, and just follow the directions step by step. Once you've completed them, you'll have sort of an idea of what you were trying to do from the start.

It's unintuitive, and I wish the game explained its terms a little instead of just dropping them into the text.

Moments are scenes---one person frames one, and then everyone adds details one at a time.

The game is 9 moments long, and at the end of each moment everyone rolls a black die (pebble) or red die (berry), with the highest die determining how Iki remembers the moment.

I had to read through the first half of the pdf probably three times before I was confident that I understood this, and I'm posting this here in the hopes that it helps other people.

That said, despite the initial hurdle figuring out the mechanics, Ikigai hits hard.

You spend the game following and emotionally connecting with a tiny creature that's experiencing the world for the first time, only to have it die in the end, and the fact that you know this the whole way through does not make it hurt less.

I would strongly recommend this to anyone who's patient when reading through the rules, and who likes to feel strong emotions when they play games.

I am not either of those people, but the fact that Ikigai is not for me doesn't mean it's not really, really good.

Minor Issues:

-Page 4, "they too grab a BLACK or WHITE die" black or red?

Whoah, glad I could help! It's a really cool adventure.

Poison For Beginners is a 14 page fantasy reference on natural poisons. It's broadly intended for PbtA and d20 systems, but it contains some information that is generally useful all around for writers and roleplayers---although it's definitely not a scientific reference, and you absolutely want to double-check all of its information before using it as anything other than a cool game mechanic.

Overall, Poison has a very clear, readable layout and a cool Victorian handbook vibe, and its writing is super strong. There's also comprehensive, useful information on a variety of naturally growing poisons that can be found in (I think) primarily northern climates.

Not everything has an illustration, so I wouldn't treat this as a handbook for going out and ID-ing stuff in the wild (although just knowing that False Morels exist can potentially save your life if you're idly mushroom hunting---btw, on that note, never consume anything you can't 100% beyond-all-possible-doubt identify.)

Also, not everything has all possible names listed, so it's possible you might know a thing by a term that isn't in the pdf.

Also some poisons have been fantasticized, for example the Calabar Bean, which in real life just kills you instead of mildly punishing you for lying, or the Destroying Angel, which the game links to an actual destroying angel, or the False Morel, which again just kills you irl instead of making people not believe you.

Overall, it felt a little strange to me that the book focused so hard on taking real herbs and then adding fantasy effects to them, when it could have just as easily have come up with fantasy herbs and had a little more leeway to assign traits to them, but at the same time it's a cool toolkit and has good information about various ways poison can be prepared, how settings handle the existence of poison, and some examples of how to GM situations involving poisons.

Hero Too is a 5 page superhero rpg that uses a fairly impressive list of touchstones (including Mob Psycho, Lumberjanes, plot ARMOR) as well as journaling mechanics to tell a story about the interconnection between superhero identities and trans identities.

Because its subject matter gets heavy, and because it's a journaling game, Hero Too includes a really neat mechanic where you can green/yellow/red content as it comes up, thereby ensuring that if you inadvertently write in an element you don't like, it isn't automatically caught up in the narrative momentum, and you can absolutely just throw it out.

Hero Too also has mechanics for debriefing after writing, and comprehensive content warnings on its recommended media.

Gameplay-wise, Hero Too steers away from a more simple "roll a die, write a prompt" approach and encourages basically a sequence of short stories. It gives you the framework to do this, too---and although it encourages you to roll a die and skip whole swaths of "issues" in your comic book, you could easily ignore this and write a full mosaic novel.

In fact, I think Hero Too has a really strong niche as a game for people who want to get more comfortable writing short fiction. Its framework encourages writing full, self-contained stories, and it reliably hands you prompts to help you do so. Hero Too also gets a lot of its mileage out of its quiet moments, and this gives it the potential to hit really hard---it also makes me glad for all the safety framework it has.

Overall, I would recommend this to folks who like writing, and who feel okay with facing some discomfort while exploring an identity. I would also enthusiastically recommend this to anyone who is interested in game mechanics, because it does a ton of things all at the same time, and it does them all really well (including and especially connecting color to game mechanics, using mechanics to frame storytelling, and setting up guardrails that allow plays to tackle difficult topics while staying safe.)

Hollytech & Jollymancy is a four page Christmas-themed lighthearted rpg that somehow manages to mash up Assault On Precinct 13 and The Santa Clause.

It's the night before Christmas and the north pole is under attack. As basically an extra from Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, it's up to you to repel the incursion. You do this with a really well-put-together mini stat block, and some PbtA Moves themed around seasonal cheer.

The game features a Lasers & Feelings style prompt generator (which really cleverly also determines the GM's Moves,) and some loose guidance on what to do, but it's very much in its element as a festive pickup-game one-shot.

It's got solid layout, good writing, and a fun premise, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants to play a casual Christmas-TV-movie-themed game with friends near the holidays.

No worries. It's a super cool supplement!

Journey Away is a 25 page fantasy adventure narrative ttrpg with gorgeous art, a cool premise, and a tagline that I think is maybe scaring people off.

Journey Away bills itself as a "non-challenge-based rpg", but I'm having a hard time seeing that as true. There's a dice system. The outcomes of rolls matter. Character choices matter. Challenge exists, it's just not about your build or your tactical choices in combat.

I think how I'd describe Journey Away instead is as an extremely "yes but" system. Or, I guess for a more palatable tagline, as a "chill traveling rpg."

Rolls are done by generating large pools of dice based on all the circumstances at play in a situation (helpful traits, hindering traits, environmental factors on either side, etc) and then pairing them off. For each pair, if the die representing the stuff favoring the players was higher, it turns into a boon. If not, it turns into a complication. Then the group decides what each boon and complication means for the situation at hand.

As a result, outcomes are usually mixed---some good things happen, some bad things happen---and everything resolves at once. This creates a nice sense of pacing, where the dice are likely to come out at most once per scene, but when they come out, they matter and a bunch of stuff happens.

Journey Away comes with its own default setting (and it's got some nice notes, like magic being a recent discovery in the setting,) but it's pretty easy to run it in any setting you desire. There's nothing here that's firmly anchored to any specific lore, or that will break if it's taken out of context.

It's also probably a really solid first game, since it comes with good GMing advice, and the mechanics flow naturally to tell a story, rather than requiring you to dig through monster behaviors and weapon damage tables.

I think folks who like Dogs In The Vineyard, Ryuutama, Tokaido, or just chill and cozy games will dig Journey Away. I also think folks who like hacking systems to run stuff that's way out of genre will dig Journey Away as well, because I can see the potential for one heck of a World War I style game in here too.

Overall, if you skimmed by this because the "non-challenge-based" tagline put you off, come back for another look. Journey Away is doing something really cool, and I'd love to see more settings for this engine.

Minor Issues:

-Page 12, When pairing dice, who pairs them? The player who rolled? The players as a group, alternating? The GM? Players and the GM alternating? The relevant section says it's "up to the players", but I wanted to double check the meaning on that, since how dice are paired has a huge effect on the boons to complications ratio.

It's Dangerous To Go Alone is a cool one page rpg framework about spontaneously handing out stuff you have.

Basically, you dig into your bag, pull something out, hand it over, and then that's the mythical object your player has to use to solve their adventuring problems with.

I wouldn't say Dangerous is an intro game, since part of its instructions are kind of just "play through an rpg" and it doesn't really go over what that entails. However, it potentially combos really well with other short rpg systems, and if the GM just brings a bag of random objects, it makes for a neat prompt generator too.

I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to freestyle a legend of zelda sort of game, or who wants to add some novel mechanics to their favorite system.

Grave Liaisons is a single page rpg about ghosts trying to get mortals to just date already.

It's adorable and it uses chocolates as one of its game mechanics, which makes it kind of an automatic shoo-in for halloween one-shots.

It *also* has a Wraith-style mechanic where other people at the table take on different roles in your scene, and one of them plays your Rival, who is opposed to your constant efforts to get your Descendant and their Descendant to kiss.

I can't say I've seen many ghost-based romantic comedy rpgs, but my goodness this one works. The setup generates chemistry on its own, but if a dynamic ever falls flat, you don't have to follow through on it, and the game focuses on more than one set of characters.

The chocolate mechanics are fairly minor, but they allow for some light-hearted pvp on the side, and they very technically determine the winner of the game---but honestly, if you're playing this, you're already winning.

Get Grave Liasons. Pay money for it if you can.

This is hands down one of my favorite one-page systems.

The Oath Of The Good Traitor is a paladin oath for 5e.

It fits on a single page. It's got a great, evocative cover. And it's tied together by a really neat concept.

Basically, faithfully serving an organization as it drifts from its course and loses its heart, might be good, but it's only one kind of good. Traitor oath paladins oppose their own organizations, attempting to force them back towards better behavior.

I kind of can't believe the paladin class has been around for so long and I'm only now seeing a nuanced version like this. It lets the GM lean into (honestly really cool and engaging) plotlines where the paladin's church or agency is doing something unethical, and it lets the player signal that that's exactly the kind of story they're looking for.

Mechanically, the Traitor oath is best at exposing deception and attacking/debuffing. It's not a class that will steer you away from conflict, and it gives you a toolkit to let you fling yourself headlong in.

I do not have a good enough sense of 5e to be able to say much useful about balance. It looks fine, but my gut feeling is that it's going to resonate more with a "yes, and" style DM.

Overall, if you're a player or a DM who likes conflict within Good institutions, I would highly advise giving this a shot.

It also makes a pretty neat antagonist if the players are blindly following the orders of a good-in-name-only organization.

Minor Issues:

-Integrity of the Martyr: should this only apply to other believers of your faith or creed? Do you have to fight to the death *anyone* who tries to move you ideologically?

-No More Lies: the "to the best of their ability" bit, is this meant to imply they are compelled to answer truthfully and in good faith, or something else?

-Avatar of Inquisition: is this meant to affect hostile creatures of neutral or opposite alignment within 30 feet of you?

No worries! And I really dig Apocalypsis and Tenebrae as mechanical concepts.

Sounds good. I'll send over a copy and post.