Games

Each series of our second season featured a different Tabletop Roleplaying Game system. As our players explored these adventures we dissected what kinds of storytelling each system favors. In our second season we examined campaigns of Blades in the Dark, Kids on Bikes, and Lancer, as well as one-shots of Bluebeard's Bride and Oh Dang! Bigfoot Stole My Car With My Friend’s Birthday Present Inside. To see our lineup for Season One, click here.

Blades in the Dark

by John Harper| published by Evil Hat Productions in association with One Seven Design, 2017

 

Blades in the Dark is one of the most influential of the games that are Powered by the Apocalypse: inspired by or derived from Vincent and Meguey Baker’s Apocalypse World, which you can listen to in Season One. In Blades, the players take on the roles of daring scoundrels pulling off heists and battling foes in the fantasy-industrial city of Duskvol. The game features innovative ways to model both the quiet time between heists and thrilling flashbacks or plot twists within the heists themselves. Just four years after its publication, Blades in the Dark has led to an entire movement of “Forged in the Dark'' games that follow its guiding principles or borrow its core mechanics.

Philomela and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! A band of rogues agree to procure a heart from outside of the city, but when they also steal a body things go from bad to worse, and poor Philomela has to bear the brunt of it. The crew, who made their name selling illegal ghost-infused alcohol (BOOze™), is comprised of the Lurk, Princess Mirena Alonda Gracielle Valerio of the Grayfire Line (Tess Huth); the Leech, Wick (Whitney Lehn Meltz); the Spider, Milos Jeduin (Nick Orvis); the Cutter, Gabe (Dex Phan); and the Slide, Ellery Crow (Ran Xia). Watch as they pull off daring heists and elaborate plans under GM Elliot Peterson in a surprisingly light-hearted, freewheeling version of Blades in the Dark’s iconic Duskwall!

Bluebeard's Bride

by Whitney “Strix” Beltrán, Marissa Kelly, and Sarah Richardson | published by Magpie Games, 2018

 

Bluebeard’s Bride is an award-winning game of supernatural horror and investigation based on the fairy tale Bluebeard. Also Powered by the Apocalypse, Bluebeard’s Bride is remarkable for portraying a single character: the Bride, Bluebeard’s latest wife/victim. The players portray different parts of the Bride’s psyche as she tries to learn the truth about what’s hidden in her husband’s house, but she risks shattering and worse if she uncovers too much.

Our game of Bluebeard’s Bride features the Animus (Haleh Roshan), the Virgin (Gina Femia), the Mother (Romana Isabella), the Witch (Kory Flores), and Groundskeeper C. Meaker. A group of Sisters, fragments of Bluebeard’s new Bride’s psyche, explore their new home and attempt to figure out the true nature of the man they’ve married. She enters room after room in search of clues that point her towards loyalty or mistrust - will the Bride be faithful to her new husband, Bluebeard, or will she flee?

 

Warning: Bluebeard’s Bride contains themes of gendered violence and images that can be disturbing. Please check the show notes for content warnings on individual episodes.

Kids On Bikes

by Jonathan Gilmour and Doug Levandowski | published by Hunters Entertainment with Renegade Game Studios

and Infectious Play Publishing, 2018

Kids on Bikes is a game about ordinary people facing the extraordinary, the supernatural, and the just-plain-creepy. Set in the recent past, the game evokes stories from Scooby-Doo to Stranger Things as the players attempt to uncover mysterious goings-on in their small town. Kids on Bikes features collaborative character building, a resolution system that puts a twist on the traditional set of polyhedral dice, and the chance to play a communally controlled character with supernatural powers.

Our Kids on Bikes game features Fred Hudson (Emma Covert), George Privanathan (Esther Yumi Ko), Kodi Thompson-Lee-Garcia-Smith (Leo Mock), Hank Boswell (Percival Hornak), and GM CJ Linton. A group of middle schoolers take a field trip to the BromCom silicon chip manufacturing facility in their hometown of Bromwell, Pennsylvania and stumble upon a strange monster after sneaking away from their tour group. In their attempt to discern the true nature of the monster, the kids reunite with an old classmate, harass a 32 year old BromCom employee named Benny, and try to figure out what secrets lay hidden in the mines beneath the old Town Hall and what they have to do with BromCom’s slow takeover of Bromwell.

Oh, Dang! Bigfoot Stole My Car With My Friend’s

Birthday Present Inside

 by Paul Matijevic | published 2019

Oh Dang! Bigfoot… is a hack of John Harper’s Lasers & Feelings that is also an objectively perfect birthday gift. In the game (available for free here), the players take on the role of a group going to a birthday party that are sidetracked when Bigfoot steals their car - with the birthday present(s) inside! The players must embark on a road trip to track Bigfoot down, get that car back, and maybe learn something along the way.

After a routine stop at the gas station Hank McGruff (Chris Diercksen), Chet Daystar (Mieko Gavia), Helma Shrinkley (Susan W. Rodgers), and Geraldine “Gerrie” Winters (Shannon Wade) realize their car has been stolen by none other than Bigfoot (Jon Jon Johnson), and worse yet, their birthday presents for Percy were inside!! On their way to reclaim it they’ll have to overcome Wookie LARPers, tranquilizer darts, three-way makeouts, and Preppy Brian.

Lancer

by Miguel Lopez and Tom Parkinson Morgan | published by Massif Press, 2019

Lancer is a far-future TTRPG about huge fighting mechs and the people who pilot them. The setting of Lancer features a post-Anthropocene world in which humanity has spread to the stars, and mech pilots known as Lancers do battle with both human foes and unknowable entities. Lancer features a streamlined set of social rules, engaging tactical combat, and extraordinarily customizable options for mechs.

Our Lancer Campaign, Every Lancer Gets A Girlfriend features the audacious Derrick McDuck (Todd Brian Backus), the inconspicuous Hatuey (Jovane Caamaño), the murderous 18,000 (Ben Ferber), the just-wants-their-paycheck-dude Decency B. Damme (Tristan B. Willis), and Game Master, Julia Doolittle.  A daring(?) squad of Lancers from UNIO heads from their home planet of Baleena to Hagar. Scientists responsible for genetically engineering the hive-mind of cats that is 18,000 have requested aid in response to a downed satellite, but things are not what they seem. Unfortunately the craft landed in enemy territory and it’s up to our lancers to go and reclaim it. As our pilots square up against the Warriors of the Agate Cross, strange, inhuman limbs emerge from the spacecraft…