A Road to Somewhere
by Luke Jordan
The soul of Japan is dying.
Bulldozers rumble through the countryside, destroying shrines older than their drivers’ grandparents to make way for yet more roads, more apartments. Forests are cleared to drive the nation’s march into the halogen brightness of the future, felling spirits that were old when Japan itself was young. In rural villages the old wither and die and take belief in the little gods of field and stream with them, leaving the ancient rituals empty of meaning and the sacred words hollow.
And so they come from all over Japan, kami who have starved on the bare scraps of belief that survive and now are forced to leave their age-old homes.
They come in groups of four, in groups of nine, in their thousands. They travel the length of the country on a promise, a chance. A hope that amidst the blinding electric lights and ceaseless noise of the city they will find something that they recognize. Something that will sustain them.
They follow a road to somewhere better. They follow the road to Tokyo.
A single-session game of scarcity and sacrifice, about five kami finding out what they will do and how much of themselves they will give up in order to survive.
- A river monster
- A raven swordsman
- A fox trickster
- A Buddhist badger
- A deceitful spider
|What’s the game again?||Present-day Japan, with a Shinto twist. Five desperate kami struggle for survival on the much-changed streets of Tokyo. A tribute to Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.|
|Seriousness||Characterization-heavy. This is a game about emotional truth and emotional choices and their consequences. It aims for immersion and player identification with character.|
|Genre/Setting||Modern Day Japan|
|System||Systemless, with a resolution mechanic based upon traditional Japanese omikuji-divination and acquiring/losing narrative traits.|
How to Win Friend and Influence Sophonts
by Random Jones
It is the year 3100 and sophonts* of all shapes and sizes are spread across the galaxy. Ranging from the stock standard human and related modifications, through the uplifted Terran species that gave us the Rillas, Neophants and Ursumari, to the psychotic Ob'enn, the one-eyed Uniocs, the well-armed Fobott'r, the enormous Vhorweds and the twinned Uklakk, all the way to the truly bizarre F'sherl-Ganni, Kreely, Frellenti, and the Carbosilicate Amorph, each of these sophonts has a place for them in galactic society.
Which also means that each of them has a place in this mercenary company.
So my curious friend, want to get paid to travel the galaxy? To see what the best of those sophonts have to offer? To carve your place in this galaxy? To shoot things?
Yeah, I thought that last one would get your attention. So, just sign here…
*Sophont: n. A Sentient or Sapient being. Particularly one which travels amongst and colonizes star systems. (Oxford English Dictionary 47th Edition)
How to Win Friend and Influence Sophonts is a game for 4 to 6 members of a small to middling mercenary company in the universe of Schlock Mercenary (www.schlockmercenary.com) created by Howard Tayler, using the new Planet Mercenary rules system.
|What’s the game again?||Small mercenary team in a big universe
|Seriousness||1 (Not at all)|
by Michael Hitchens
You were soldiers. There was a war, hard and long and terrible. Your side won. But in any war there are casualties and loss. The ship you served on, the Morning Sun, was destroyed in the last days of the war. War changes people. Who were you then? Who are you now? What made you enlist? What did you do when disaster struck? In the moments of panic, when the choices are literally life and death, what did you choose? The ship was destroyed, but the stories of its crew are yet to be told.
What will you do in this game?
Play your character, someone caught up in great events and who survives a terrible disaster. Interact with the other characters and NPCs, fellows serving on the ship. Create your character, flesh it out, and see how that character changes through war and disaster. The main emphasis is on how you play your character, how your character is effected by their experiences and how you interact with each other and the rest of the game world. When the stress is greater than anyone should to bear, who breaks and who is remade?
Note: There are no competitive/PvP elements inherent in this game. The characters may sometimes argue, they are on the same side and all will survive the disaster. What they may do to that end is up to the players.
|What’s the game again?||War changes people, what changes did it make to you?|
|Genre/Setting||Trauma in a science fiction setting.|
|System||Simplified Heroquest (which is a simple system to start with)|
The Horror at Haberman Hotel
by Nathan Lee
15 years ago today tragedy struck the remote lake town of Angle Inlet, Minnesota. Arthur Haberman, proprietor of the Haberman Hotel, inexplicably set fire to the mansion that had stood for generations. The town responded as quickly as they could, and as a result, only one wing of the mansion succumbed to the inferno, but the Haberman family was lost. In the aftermath of the blaze investigations were made into the suspicious nature of the fire, during which it was found that Arthur Haberman, his wife Annette, and young daughter Maria did not die in the fire, and instead perished before the blaze. The official report states that the incident was a murder-suicide, conducted by Arthur Haberman himself, but rumours abound in the town. Locals report that on the anniversary of the fire strange lights appear in the Hotel, and the ghosts of the Haberman's can be seen stalking the grounds.
We at the Organization for Metaphysical and Esoteric Naturalism (O.M.E.N.) believe that, if the rumours are true, then something ties these spirits to the house. We aim to find out what.
|What’s the game again?||A game for 4–5 paranormal investigators looking to immerse themselves in a chilling and suspenseful experience.|
Cosm Games presents: The Slaver's Path
by Gareth Hodges
In the poor settlement of Scrounge, a villain has fallen. The oppressed now struggle for new independence in the vacuum left behind, while those with a stake in the status quo reach for an older, darker power to reassert their control.
This game showcases Crucible, an Australian-produced, coin-based fantasy RPG with a focus on morality and diversity. After a hugely successful Kickstarter last year, it is scheduled for release in December 2016, with pre-orders already open at cosmgames.com
The Crucible: a world forged to guide mortal souls to Enlightenment, but a world that has lost its way. In the absence of the creator Primes, the Crucible's six sentient species live mostly unaware of their potential to achieve godhood.
Those who take a stand and follow their beliefs may still learn to control the instruments left behind by the Primes, gaining power and the potential to change the world to match their principles. But selfishness and cruelty, and all that is shed on the path to Enlightenment, gathers in the cracks and shadows, feeding a new and malignant Prime - Dross.
|What’s the game again?||Tabletop game for 3 to 6 players, in a fantasy world that showcases 'Crucible'|
|Seriousness||Middling to High|
|System||Crucible. System knowledge will not be required.|
by John & Philippa Hughes
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.|
The Wizard on the Coast
by Marissa Harris and Mark Bruckard
The elderly wizard sat on the bare sand and cast his power into the ground before him. He spoke softly to the others “I see them. They will come.” With shaking hands, he points at each of the glowing shells he has drawn forth, a mystic mark emblazoned upon each smooth surface:
“The rune of strength – a mighty warrior, blessed with strength and wisdom, but cursed by their greatest love.
The rune of wisdom - One of the people of the stone, sworn to serve, but conflicted in their heart.
The rune of the wild – One of the people of the forest, watched by the great ones and yet to choose their path.
The rune of the shadow – One of the small people, light of foot and finger, but bearing a terrible burden.
The rune of power – One of the ancient people! But how could that be possible? Only the promise of great power would draw them from their hidden cities.
What’s this? The blank stone! There will be one other, but I can tell nothing of them. Their life is obscured, both past and future.
They will seek the Lost Talisman of Kae’nath, follow the path of blood and face the challenges set before them. And then they will come to you. I can only hope they are in time.”
The others stirred restlessly at his words, but the only sound was the crashing of the waves.
|What’s the game again?||A traditional 2nd Edition AD&D tabletop game for 4 to 6 players, intended for newcomers to roleplaying and those who love the classics. This game is definitely suitable for younger players.
|Seriousness||While this is not a comedy game, we can be as light-hearted or as serious as players want.|
|System||2nd Edition AD&D running anywhere from full rules to system-lite, as desired.|
|Movie rating||PG rating with stylised violence (kill monsters, take stuff).|
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead
by Nick Matthews
Cause of Death: Repeated Gunshots to the Head
Cause of Death: Strangulation
Cause of Death: Mauled by Wolves
Cause of Death: Exsanguination
Deceased: 2300 BCE
Cause of Death: Autopsy Inconclusive
It took six months to find who set them up. Now, they’re collecting what they’re owed.
An action movie for five monstrous mercenaries out to clear their name, loosely inspired by the songs of Warren Zevon.
|What’s the game again?||The A-Team with Monsters
|Seriousness||Low - Middling|
|Genre/Setting||Mostly modern day, with some supernatural horror|
|System||FATE-lite. No prior knowledge required.|
The Crypt of Carthagos
by Steve Towson
You’re no hero.
You’re an adventurer: a reaver, a cutpurse, a heathen-slayer, a tight-lipped warlock guarding long-dead secrets. You seek gold and glory, winning it with sword and spell, caked in the blood and filth of the weak, the dark, the demons, and the vanquished. There are treasures to be won deep underneath, and you shall have them.
Return to the glory days of fantasy with the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game. Adventure as 1974 intended you to, with modern rules grounded in the origins of sword & sorcery. Fast play, cryptic secrets, and a mysterious past await you!
|What’s the game again?||A game for 5-7 players interested in fast play and cryptic secrets.
|System||Dungeon Crawl Classics (system knowledge not required).|