The Ugly Monster
Published in

The Ugly Monster

Credit: ThatAceGirl

PEGBRJE: Software of Page 44

Well, yeah.

Procession

We begin the page with a tabletop-card RPG by Zargo Games about a march of terrifying creatures making their way through Edmund Valley. The players will use cards to see what miracles occur during the event, how this effects the people of Edmund Valley and what the end version of the location will be. It reminds me of the Night Parade of One Hundred Demons from Japanese folklore, this idea of fantastical creatures marching through a town with unknown purpose. Hopefully the people enjoy their time.

Spare the rod, Spoil the child

This is a dark period piece TTRPG set in 1940s Ireland, where women deemed ‘fallen’ are sent to the real life Magdalene Asylums. Here they work without pay, harassed and starved, destined to a life of solitude as a nun or a mental patient. Players will be these women, navigating their way through the daily life while trying to survive. Perhaps exploration and curiousity is in order, finding out truths of the asylum hidden from the outside? It is all up to you, but do be warned that this game is not for the faint of heart.

Also of note, this was originally created with the systems Monsterhearts and Bluebeard’s Bride in mind, but can slot in nicely with any TTRPG system that you desire.

Immanence

spicycurrybread brings us Immanence, a TTRPG for 1–5 players about exploring space in pursuit of a new home. If played alone, it is a reflective game about understanding your own past and the journey that is being undertaken. With others, however, it becomes a game focused on the interactions of each player as they mingle aboard the ship and learn of their own understandings of what makes a home and their connection to Earth. Perfect for anyone that has moved away from home and wants to explore that feeling, or those that love space exploration-style games.

Garrote Couture

In a strange twist, this is a TTRPG based on the famous Cthulhu Dark; but instead of dealing with Lovecraftian Horror, you will be attempting to ensure that your fashion goals are not ruined by random inconveniences deemed threats. Ensuring that your ensemble makes it to the runway as cleanly as possible is challenging, but with all of the possibilities that life can throw at you, it almost makes the journey sound more harrowing than a horror film.

This is a fantastic adaptation of Cthulhu Dark. It uses the system to spin the game in to something nobody would have ever guessed. I know little about fashion, but that isn’t the focus really. The focus is on getting there and looking amazing doing so.

Figment

Switching gears to something a little more simple yet somehow more fantastical, Figment is a TTRPG intended not only for childlike whimsy, but designed to be played by children. It’s all about making up your own fairytales and bed-time stories, turning them in to adventures that the players can experience first hand. It reminds me a lot of the games we would play as kids with our own minds, only with a RPS system to assist it. If you want to introduce children to TTRPGs, this might be a great way to do so.

Animated Low Poly Cartoon Fantasy Character Pack

Alright, break time from TTRPGs. This is a cartoon asset pack by Overaction Game Studios that comes fully animated. The character models are themed after medieval and fantasy settings, with even a little Goblin for your amusement. From here, they are all complete with basic walking, running, attacking and even dying animations. Perfect for anyone that is looking for simple characters to utilize quickly in a game or jam project.

Moss Creeps, Stone Crumbles

Back to TTRPGs we go with Moss Creeps, Stone Crumbles by Adam Roy, highlighting the inevitable march of time and how nature moves within it. This one can have as many as 20 people which is definitely interesting, but this may be since the game is centred around players being able to draw and speak the forest’s growth at the same time. There are 100 years of progress to explore, so hopefully the forest survives.

Seco Creek Vigilance Committee

Instead of looking at the peaceful growth of a forest, Seco Creek Vigilance Committee is about going directly against that by living wild and free in the Wild Wild West. Characters actions are hyper decision focused; rather than looking at the ‘if’, this game is looking at how far you would go to ‘do’. Every action that is taken is met with a reaction within the community and the world, determined by the Judge (DM). This can gain or lose favour amongst an individual or faction, which can help players work with a certain faction within the future. The thing is, this only works with NPC characters, and interactions between player characters use a ‘Negotiation’ mechanic instead. Instead of the Judge deciding its fate, Negotiations are determined by the player who is being acted upon, meaning both parties need to be as honest and straightforward as possible, word count notwithstanding. If neither party can agree, the Judge can step in to resolve it; but this is rarely good for either party.

Inaction is punished, and the pressure cooker of a game continues. If you love tension in your games, this is it. Yee Haw.

The Cool Zone

Taking the edge off a little and entering the realm of over-the-top (but also not really) is The Cool Zone by Symphoneers, a one-page TTRPG created specifically for this bundle. That’s a first, I think! Feels weird to run in to one now, but nevertheless.

The Cool Zone is a game about escaping your current environment to find a mythical place where not being a fascist is cool again, loosely based on the system Lasers & Feelings. You and your friends will have cards associated with yourselves, using this to identify your impact on the game as you use your role to help out those around you. It’s quirky and silly, but also a bit too real at the same time somehow. Weird how fiction mirrors reality, ain’t it.

Believe

Believe is a self-help kind of game — calling it a TTRPG would be disingenuous. This style of game is called a ‘move’ for reasons I’m not entirely certain of, but it probably has to do with how it makes you feel; moved. Instead of pretending to be something you are not, you will be focusing on yourself and what you need help moving on from. Perhaps it is the passing of another, trauma, or maybe your head is just not in the right space right now. You can use this to help sort some things out, focus on the good while understanding the bad. Good luck.

My Way

This is a TTRPG by ThatAceGal using the Wretched & Alone system to detail burnout and obsessions using an unlikely vehicle of storytelling; pro wrestling. The player is a wrestler that has had their ups and downs, but has had a satisfying career save for one caveat that the player has never achieved a title. Never made it to the top. Yet as the player, you know that you should be tossing in the towel — but will you?

It explores how far you are willing to go to achieve your dream to the point of obsession, what needs to be sacrificed to reach the top. It’s a commentary on how our work defines us, but also in how our lives can feel strained simply because we want something so bad. If you love pro wrestling this is a no-brainer, but even if you don’t the themes it explores aren’t exclusive to the wrestler life. You might just find it hits a bit too close to home no matter what you do.

Live Hot Bugs (Waiting for YOU on Proxima Centauri b!!)

Alright, this one will confuse everyone. This is a comic by L Reeves, who was featured earlier with a diary during the autumn months. This is a much more cohesive narrative, but that doesn’t make it any less bizarre. The story follows Dr. Q.C Monnaham who is finally about to eradicate mosquitoes from the planet Proxima Centauri b. However, for some reason this plan requires making the sexiest male mosquito alive to spread his genetics as they stop reproduction. WHY? No clue, but damn is it hilarious. That’s all I’ll say.

Love by the Quarter Mile

Rev your engines for this one page TTRPG by Dice Monkey in which everyone balances their street racing life with their family. Think Fast & Furious memes about family but with gameplay instead of pictures of Vin Diesel. It’s made to be fast and punchy, full of quick turns and hard decisions. Try your best, but ultimately it is all for the family.

No cortarás a tu hermana con el filo de esta espada

This is a Twine game by TwineDoctors, making this a piece of interactive fiction. Naturally this would be written about as a game, but there’s one minor issue that is very apparent upon clicking; the entire thing is in Spanish. I have no reading comprehension of Spanish at all, so I am opting to defer this to anyone who can.

inter-view (original soundtrack)

Arriving without the game it is credited to, this is the original soundtrack for the interactive multimedia game ‘inter-view’. From what I can tell, the game itself is not featured in the bundle. However, this gorgeous list of songs is available to you who wish to have some lovely background music to chill to.

Ithaca in the Cards

Stranded trying to get home, Ithaca in the Cards is a TTRPG using blackjack mechanics. Travelers are trying to make their way back home from a (possibly) failed quest. The road was difficult before, but now it has become even more volatile and encounters are becoming more dangerous. You all know that if you don’t make it home, it will be as if the quest never happened, but can you make it home? It’s a game full of writing prompts and decision, and hopefully you can make it back.

Reach

This TTRPG is one with spirits, for players are trying to contact the living as the dead in order to get a final message in. Each player decides on who is the one they want to communicate with, but the catch here is that the players are also the living people that are unaware of the ghosts attempts. It’s not a long game, but it allows you all to reflect on what it means to leave messages behind for those that live on. It’s way more atmospheric than a game with cards should feel.

Keeping the Lights On

We have reached the end of page 44, and it is with a very unique TTRPG by Hekla Björk Unnardóttir. 4 players are trying to keep a synagogue afloat during financial troubles and worldly issues, but are also struggling with keeping their own spirits and bodies healthy. It takes place during Hanukkah of 2019 and uses a dreidel and matches — although the dreidel can be swapped out for a d4 if you do not have one available.

Apart from its setting and aesthetic, what makes Keeping the Lights On so beautiful is in its tone and design — players are struggling with so many things over the course of eight days, yet are encouraged to find ways to sort things out in mature and thought provoking ways. It is grounded in reality, knowing that each player is their own person while also helping to bring everyone together as a community and highlight what that means to everyone. It’s easily the sleeper hit of the page, and I strongly recommend it to anyone that wants to explore cooperation, community and religion.

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