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gray darling

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A member registered May 05, 2019 · View creator page →

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I love the potential of this game; combining the prompt—to tell a story with no prep—with two randomization effects to motivate and narrow your creativity is really smart. 

While I'm not familiar with The Canterbury Tales, the setting seems like it would also bring a lot of atmosphere and mood to the game. In such a short space, this is a suggestive, poignant setup.

It's also a very, very cool double-layering to both play a character & have that character telling a story to others. I'd love to see how something like this shakes out in actual play!

Example of Play is beautiful. It might be a game, but it's not one that you can play; Jared doesn't even offer a ruleset, and it could be that one isn't even possible.

Only the sea can play this game.

That doesn't mean we don't get anything out of reading its example of play—far from it. Just as the people the sea plays its game toward benefit from their relation with it, we as an audience benefit from some sort of yearning, suspended beauty in this example of play.

It's gorgeously written: evocative, and reflective of stars.

The City is as Stars is a thoughtful game in both ways: it’s insightful and smart, and it’s also fueled by a deep sense of empathy. It’s—or at least, it plays very similarly to—a game I’ve often loved in my life, without ever having thought of it as a game.

Often, a writer can suddenly reveal something you’ve known to be true all along, but had never put the words to. The City is as Stars feels like that. The city-sky has been there all along, after all; Fen’s important work is in showing us how to look for it—and how to look out for each other, once we’ve seen.

MF0: Firebrands is a painfully gorgeous masterwork of well-balanced minigames and storytelling mechanics that lend themselves perfectly to letting the player group tell any number of stories about relationships that feel real—an intricate tangle of emotional and political complications.

You'll play your way through trying to further your cause while clashing with your enemies, competing with your rivals, and kissing your friends. Except maybe those friends you're kissing started out as your enemies, and maybe the people you initially thought were your friends turned out not to be. Maybe your rivals always hoped to work together, or maybe they'd sell you out for a day's extra pay.

It's a fantastic game: worth playing again and again just to see how many ways everything can turn out when mixed up together under pressure.

This generator is both inspired and inspiring, fun as hell to goof around with but also (potentially) really fertile ground for inspiring RPG creativity in a direction you might not've been planning for or expecting. Sam's made a cool thing here! Whether you want a quick laugh or a genuine suggestion for something to work on, give this generator a try.

Ophelia is one of the first Itch games I'd ever read, and I loved it then because it was Hamlet-adjacent and I'm an easy sell, but I still love it now because of the ways it speaks to me about embodiment, memory written on the body, unconscious action, what "playing" a "game" might mean—how something like the steps of grief might suggest a sort of mechanic—and because it's Hamlet-adjacent and I'm an easy sell.

But for real, it's always, always worth giving any game of Jared's a look. Ophelia in particular is a very short one-pager that still packs a punch with the grim horror of its simplistic core mechanic. It's great.

Clash! confidently handles the final falling-apart of the relationship between two people, setting the field (literally, the battlefield) for the players to illustrate a drawn-out battle between people who may or may not have always wanted each other dead, but certainly do now.

Clash! keeps its focus tight and its scope narrow. It's unrelenting and incisive with the emotional beats it chooses to hit—resignation, inevitability, determination, exhaustion, and an anime-like sense that even the weather is participating in the meaningful drama of this fight to the death. Kenori has done some smart work here; I absolutely recommend seeing what stories you can tell with this game.

Divine||Mundane is a brilliant hack of MF0: Firebrands that pushes the system in an entirely new direction. It allows a group of players to tell a vividly expressive story about divinity, power, belief, intimacy, and trust, through the lens of the interactions between humans and gods both good and evil.

It's a fantastic game just to read through, but a total blast to play. The character creation is poetic in itself and allows for a huge variety of striking characters, giving every type of player a huge spread of choices to run with. Once these characters interact, Divine||Mundane shines with its rewritten minigames that play into the game's mood and atmosphere and make it easy for the players to do the same.

It's also beautifully presented, with phenomenal cover art by Finn J. Carey and page layouts that are both straightforward and impressively well-styled. Han's hack is a robust storytelling tool and a work of art in its own right.

Mediums is a smart exploration of the interaction between games, technology, and the passage of time; it's unexpectedly fulfilling to go through the motions of its sort of enforced ritual and to see what unexpected, automatic directions your work ends up taking. 

Don't get too attached to things the way they are. Continuity might be dangerous. Trust that Janie's telling you a bittersweet, moving story about change and decay.

I love this game! And I love Charlie: because I love all cats, but also because this is a game all about Charlie and it manages that limited scope in such an endearing way. Every roll you can make is an action taken (or not taken) by Charlie, a cat. There is no real conflict and certainly no character-creation phase; there doesn't need to be. It's about Charlie.

Outside of that, though, The Spring & The Fall presents an honestly delightful set of moves. Rolling for these feels fun; it's exciting to figure out what the rolls correlate to and then to imagine the result. This is a lovely example of the beauty of the everyday for me. It's simple and understated, and absolutely worth your time.

Beyond Reach is a tidy, gorgeous game. It allows two players, as a mech and its pilot, to tell a bittersweet epistolary story of love and longing in a time of war. 

The two letter-writers don't know whether their words will ever reach their intended recipient; maybe they're just talking to themselves after all. Beyond Reach's beauty lies in the emotional drama of that uncertainty. 

Annie establishes the setting and the structures of play with a masterfully evocative style. Playing Beyond Reach feels like working with your fellow player to contribute one small, sad story to a varied, yearning constellation. I can't recommend it enough.