New designers' games are marked with the New Designer Star:
The Phenomenon Games Rating System. So you know exactly what you're in for!
|What's the game again?||Game Summary|
|Seriousness?||On the lighter side / In the middle / On the serious side|
|Genre/Setting||A brief summary of the setting|
|System||What system the game uses, if any|
|Movie Rating||If this was a movie, it would be rated…|
A Torchlight Tale
Have you ever heard a good scary story? One that tingles your spine and makes you sleep with the light on for a week? Have you ever told one that scared you nearly as much as those you are performing it for? Have you ever felt that thrill of having a little power over the audience? And have you ever thought that maybe someone… something… Is listening too?
A Torchlight Tale is about a group of five friends who are on a camping trip. They are supernaturally changed Artists of all kinds, a Painter, a Hacker, a Surgeon, a Boxer and a Thespian, celebrating a birthday. Around the campfire, secrets will come out, stories will be told and perhaps, a monster will rear its ugly head.
|What’s the game again?||5 friends who share a unique bond go on a camping trip to tell stories. Creepy things happen while they hang out. Each character has minor magical abilities. Expect intrapersonal conflict as well as sharing a bottle around the campfire.
|Seriousness||3, scary things are going to happen but humour isn't out of place.|
|Genre/Setting||Supernatural thriller. In the woods, at night. Think Blair Witch with some laughs and characters who are actually likeable.|
|System||Bard, WoD, rules knowledge not required. Bard is a Fan-made template for a world of darkness exploring the concept of “Art is pain”. Characters pursue a creative endeavour so well, they are changed by a supernatural power.|
The morning after a cider-soaked D&M in the local woods. Fractured memories of flashing lights and Alexia’s bloodless face intersect with a crippling hangover. Looking after her was your responsibilty. Then again, responsibility has never come easily to you lot, and her parents assure you that everything’s fine.
But why, then, are they moving out her belongings in the middle of the night? Why is it so hard to remember exactly what happened in the forest? And what’s with the numbness creeping slowly up your legs?
|What’s the game again?||5-6 players about the nightmares of growing up|
|Seriousness||On the serious side, with the possibility for a few laughs.|
|Genre/Setting||A horror mystery|
|System||World of Darkness lite, emphasis on story and character|
|Movie rating||M for themes and possible violence|
It was more than fifty years ago now. Nine ski hikers went on an expedition up Kholat Syakhl, known by the Mansi as ‘the mountain of the dead’ to cross the Dyatlov pass.
The case reports were the first things to have caught your attention.
“…injuries that could not be created by a man…"
"…tongue missing from the victim’s mouth…"
"…victim’s skin turned orange to deep brown…"
"…tents ripped open from the inside…"
"…farmers reported strange lights in the sky…"
"…skin showed high levels of radiation…"
"…drawn from their tents by an unknown, compelling force…"
A frantic struggle in the darkness. A torch, a gun, a gps, a phone. Twigs snapping as you run. Writing scribbled everywhere. Noises rising from the ground.
You should never have come here. You should have heeded the warnings of the locals. You should have let the past be.
You need to find your friends. You need to hide. Or run. Anything to get away from… that.
And you hope to God it’s not actually looking at you right now.
|What’s the game again?||A modern horror storytelling tabletop game for five souls.|
|Seriousness||Dark and serious|
|Genre/Setting||A modern horror mystery|
The Last Night in the Mountains
“Here in the Blackwell Mountains, there’s a long history of mysterious phenomena and strange disappearances. Some of the locals attribute this to the mountain’s unforgiving terrain and inexperienced campers, but there could be another, more sinister reason. After all, these mountains are home to a gruesome legend, a malevolent ghost some call ‘Wolfskin’. But are these legends true? I’m Neil Kay, and I’m here with my team to find out for certain. Welcome to Spook Hunters.”
It’s been four days since you filmed that intro, and three days since Neil went missing. The police have called off the search and your permits to be on the mountain run out tonight. Looks like it’s all on you to find him, and hopefully the truth behind this ghost story.
|What’s the game again?||A tabletop game for five ghost hunters, on the search to find a missing friend and just maybe a ghost.|
|Seriousness||Leaning serious, but humour is welcome|
|Genre/Setting||Modern Day in a US Mountain Range|
|System||System Lite, Mildly FATE Based, no prior knowledge required.|
|Movie rating||M15+, Strong Language, Adult Themes, Supernatural Themes.|
The Marauders from Mars!
a Thrilling Adventure featuring
Amazing Action! Mystifying Science! Plucky Heroes! Daring, Danger and Desire! Instantaneous Interplanetary Tranmaterialisation! Planetary Romance and Romantic Comedy at the same time!
On Three Worlds!
EARTH: Ancient Mysteries! Government Conspiracies! Alien Infiltrators! Complicated Relationships! The Treasures of the Ages!
VENUS: A Planet at War! Lost Realms! Lost Technology! Giant Space Lizards! Venusian Princesses! Venusian Princesses who want to steal your boyfriend!
MARS: A Sinister Scheme for Insidious Invasion! The Corrupted Super-Science of a Forgotten People! Sky-Galleons! Space Pirates! Minds Immeasurably Superior To Our Own Implacably Plotting Our Destruction!
Grave Danger! A World in Peril!
Three Worlds in Peril!
Faraday Fitzhamilton, Girl Adventurer
THE MARAUDERS FROM MARS!
|What’s the game again?||Teenage Pulp Adventurers Save the World!|
|Seriousness||On the funny side.|
|Genre/setting||Pulp, with Planetary Romance and Teen Detective subgenres prominent. A young John Carter meets Nancy Drew, and they might kiss.|
|System||Systemless, taking some cues from FATE.|
The Turn of Midnight Waters
A two session 1920s Sydney Mystery
The crouching image with its cuttlefish head, dragon body, scaly wings, and hieroglyphed pedestal was preserved in the Museum at Hyde Park; and I studied it long and well, finding it a thing of balefully exquisite workmanship … I thought … about the primal Great Ones: ‘They had come from the stars, and had brought Their images with Them.’
H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu.
Kings Cross looks like Dante’s inferno on its best night. On its worst, it looks like Darlinghurst.
Darlinghurst, Then, Now and Maybe.
Sydney, 1926, that wild and haunted city. Criminal razor gangs rule the streets of Darlinghurst and the Cross. There is a mysterious idol in the Australian Museum. There is something nasty in the Harbour. And stone the crows, it’s coming ashore.
Two session Lovecraftian horror with an Australian accent. Teams may choose to play either Genre or Trauma storylines:
- Genre option: Seasoned Mythos investigators with purpose, courage and the odd psychic scar combine to confront a terrible mystery. A plot-driven storyline with scope for digging deeper [MA].
- Trauma option: Kooris, streetwalkers, alcos, shell-shocked diggers and other lost souls attempt to survive on the streets of Razorhurst and the Cross, watching from the sidelines as the world goes to hell. A more intense, character-driven variant, with lots of room for personal storytelling. ([R] by consultation).
Copies of the module will be available at Pheno. For more game background, visit
myth-o-logic.org/razorhurst. The module draws on Australian events described in chapter 3 of H.P. Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu.
Download a copy of the novella here.
|What’s the game again?||Cthulhu does the Cross, in sunshine and shadow.|
|Seriousness||Serious to searing (by negotiation) with interludes of genre levity.|
|Genre/setting||1920s Lovecraftian horror.|
|System||Systemless / Call of Cthulhu very-lite.|
|Movie rating||[MA]-[R], decided by team. Horror, sexual and religious themes, psychological realism, violence.|
Those That Can't, Go Adventuring
Adventuring is not a glamorous job, it's for people who lack the talent or birth or just luck to do anything else. Crawling through dark caves and forest, beset by dangers, scrabbling for treasure among the ruins of a greater age. All to earn just enough to keep you alive and equipped for the next expedition.
This trip could have been different, one big score to get out of the game forever, only it has gone very badly and the five survivors would happily trade their treasure for enough food and warmth and cunning to get home.
|What’s the game again?||Torchbearer. Inspired by classic D&D. A dungeon survival horror game of flawed heroes and resource management for 5 players.|
|Genre/setting||Torchbearer, Survival horror, dark fantasy|
To Tread the Spiral Path
Mythic Ireland. Five outcasts quest for a chance to regain their honour and place in society.
Five warriors, five wanderers, five exiles. Bear, Fox, Hare, Lynx, Wolf. Five lost souls offered a chance to reverse their exile. These three things stand in their way: the spirits and little gods of the Otherworld; a druid dark and rotten as the corpse of a kinslayer; the weakness and frailty that doomed each to exile and leads them on towards a tragic wyrd.
Smoke rises from the ritual fire, rich with the scent of sacred herb. The wind sings in narrowing circles around the clearing. Five wanderers watch and wait; blood hot, hearts impatient. The flames leap, the wind howls, the druid chants, and the Spiral Path opens to the terrible beauty of the Otherworld.
“O the wind is blowing, it hurts your skin
as you climb up hillside, forest, and fen”
The Decemberists, The Tain
System-light. Uses Vincent Baker’s Powered by the Apocalypse system, but purely-narrative descriptive traits are given more emphasis than dice or numbers. No prior knowledge of the system is required.
Characterization-heavy. This game is about honestly playing the weaknesses and flaws of the characters to the hilt to see if they can come together and regain their honour and dignity.
Competitive or co-operative, depending on what honesty and wyrd demand.
A single-session story about five strangers, cast out for their failings and their crimes, caught between the need to trust one another and the fear of vulnerability and betrayal.
|What’s the game again?||Irish warrior-exiles quest for redemption.|
|System||System-light, using Vincent Baker’s Powered by the Apocalypse. No prior knowledge required.|
|Movie rating||M–R, decided before play by the team.|
It’s not easy being eighteen and dead. It’s not easy being a voice in someone’s head.
In the warm, sundrenched Skinlands, the living are getting on with living without you, going about
their lives, growing up and moving on and only giving you the briefest thoughts, while you spend all your time in haunted houses and beachside graveyards. God I hate them SO MUCH.
And the land of the dead is a byzantine horrorshow, with an empire that’ll sell you into slavery or turn you into furniture but which is just barely holding the line against monsters made of teeth and congealed hatred, and there’s a terrible, howling void that threatens to swallow the whole world.
I’m really not so bad once you get to know me.
But Halloween’s coming up, and the walls between Life and Death are paper thin. It’s time to see your friends, to solve your murder, to rise from the grave, to make people remember you. It’s time
for another shooting spree. Another shot at your unfinished business.
A two-session tabletop for six ghostly teenagers. Play it. It’s Wraith. What’s the worst that could happen?
|What’s the game again?||Ghost stories from the ghosts’ perspective.|
|Seriousness||In the middle—the setting is dark but the characters aren’t.|
|Genre/setting||Wraith: the Oblivion, dark fantasy/personal horror.|
|System||Wraith: the Oblivion, but system/setting knowledge is not necessary.|
|Movie rating||R—violence, adult themes, strong language.|