October might be over, but spooky season lasts until Thanksgiving in my house. While people are returning from Big Bad Con and getting over their candy-induced sugar highs, I’ve been collecting TTRPGs like dice sets, and I’m thrilled to share some excellent picks from across the indie-verse.
Featured Designer: Cezar Capacle
Cezar Capacle is a Brazilian game designer who has been in the dice-rolling game for about five years, and in that time has made an impression on the indie RPG scene, releasing clever games that take frameworks and turn them into expansive networks of connection and storytelling. One of my favorites of Capacle is I Guess This Is It, a TTRPG about breaking up, which uses cards to help inspire storytelling and is small enough to fit in your pocket.
His newest game, Not A Demon, is currently available in digital format, and there are plans to release the book as a physical game. In Not A Demon players are tasked with guarding the human world, and possibly even humans themselves, but have found that humans themselves find their appearance frighting or even indicative of evil intent. As players attempt to influence humanity via their domains, they have to fight against what the human world thinks of them, even as they attempt to save humanity. Not A Demon requires no prep work, can be played as a solo game or in a group, and uses the Dash system, which relies on a pool of dice in order to create tension through resource-depletion and addition.
In Capacle’s own words, “Not a Demon is a game about perseverance and creativity, about seeing beyond appearances, and being true to who you are.” He said on the press release that he was inspired by “a Japanese scroll from the Edo-period featuring those wonderful bakemono (shapeshifting spirits of Japanese folklore) ... I wanted to make a game that investigated the tropes of good-looking heroes and scary villains. What if we saw those entities as demons just because they look frightening? What if they were here to protect us, but we don’t even give them a chance?”
New Releases: Thousand Empty Light, The One Ring: Ruins of the Lost Realm, Rise of the Apes, Cosmic Latte
“Thousand Empty Light is a psychedelic-xerox adventure zine that brings solo play to Mothership RPG. Written throughout as an in-game corporate document, the zine takes the game’s rules and builds a procedure for playing single handedly. It is a 36-page adventure, short story, and universal solo toolkit all wrapped up into one. The adventure casts the player in the role of a lamplighter hired by the HAZMOS service corporation. Their job? Enter an abandoned underwater tunnel on an uninhabited planet alone and restore power and light to each section. As they proceed, the player will discover that things aren’t quite what they seem.”
“Long to explore the lone-lands of Eriador? Ruins of the Lost Realm is the first expansion for the award-winning second edition of The One Ring RPG based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.”
“Rise of the Apes takes the premise of the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes and lets you play as a group of Apes escaping a laboratory on their quest to reach freedom in the woods.”
“In 2003, astronomers determined that the average color of the universe was a light beige known as “cosmic latte”—but what do we know about the spacefaring baristas who brew these cosmic lattes? That’s where you come in at the beginning of Cosmic Latte. In a solo or group game, you’ll play as a cadre of baristas tasked with creating new planets while trying to unionize.”
Crowdfunding: O Captain, Here We Used to Fly, Remember Frankie, Crown of Avarice
“O Captain is a solo journaling game played with a pool of dice—stars in the night sky—which players use to build constellations and chart their story. The game puts players in the shoes of a ship captain challenging the sea and their destiny.”
“Here We Used to Fly is a game about kids visiting a theme park, and the adults they become exploring its abandoned grounds. Inspired by games like Fall of Magic and Wanderhome, players work together to tell stories about discovery, loss, and growing up. The game is played using scenes, and feels a lot like a coming-of-age indie film.”
“Remember Frankie? is a storytelling game about creating a shared history at the crossroads of memory and fiction for 3-4 players. Players will reminisce about an imaginary person using real memories—playfully twisting the facts of their story to create a thematic veil of mystery. Anecdotal stories about Frankie are accompanied by stylized lyrics composed by the other players—breathing life into Frankie’s persona while emphasizing the connection players have to each other.”
“Throne of Avarice is a new setting book for adventuring in the dark world of Best Left Buried; with focus drawn away from the crypts themselves and towards the Grand Duchy of Calmyn—a former empire seeking to reassert itself as the capital of the known world. A perfect site for adventure and fortune seeking—if one is willing to look upon their countrymen, their vaunted nobility and the unwashed masses alike, as chaff to cut from the wheat.”
“In The Dread of Night, a combat-oriented spin on the Powered by the Apocalypse TTRPG system, play as a Monster Hunter (inspired by various Dark Fantasy media such as Berserk, Kimetsu No Yaiba, Dark Souls, Lord of the Rings, and more!), as you traverse and defend a world dealing with Monsters for the first time, learn how to navigate this now-dilapidated land, and overcome the abominations that infest the fields you once called home!”
In Other News
- ZONE WARS – A Mutant: Year Zero multiplayer miniature wargame just went live on Kickstarter today.
- The Scissors and Glue TTRPG Jam is ongoing at itch.io and will remain open for entries through the end of December.
- Steamforged Games has released two new Epic Encounters: Cove of the Dragon Turtle & Island of the Crab Archon are now available.
- Odin’s Beard Games is currently taking pre-orders for hard copy editions of We Deal in Lead.
- The Science Fiction Tabletop Bundle is live on itch.io. 69 TTRPGs for $25!
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.