The Ugly Monster
Published in

The Ugly Monster

Credit: OneGameDad

PEGBRJE: Software of Page 45

Wait, there are only 10 on this page?!

Words, Wilting

Starting us off is this duo RPG by Adelaide Rieck, where you and another player must act out young, secret love. The two cannot be together, so they have come up with a hidden communication through flowers to express what they mean without having to say anything. This is done through cards of flowers, where you and the other player will make your own ‘code’ together while taking some inspiration from the Victorian floral love language. The key is remembering what the flowers mean while acting out a scene between the two in the hopes that they both can recall what the other means. It builds until both can finally talk without fear, and drop all pretexts of code to finalize the game. If you love romance games or ones with codes, this might be a good one to try.

Light to Your Heart

Light to Your Heart is a TTRPG by Jacky Leung, a designer featured a few times prior in the bundle. It’s a game built for two (or more if you can) who wish to learn and explore each other emotionally. As each question is answered, a candle goes out to indicate progression; only it also allows players to ask more vulnerable questions and give more personal answers. It’s a tried and true usage of negative space, where by the end both players are sitting in the dark, but feel as if they know more about each other. The darkness allows for them to feel more connected — after all, you no longer need your eyes to see them. If you love romantic or personal games, this is a great one to add to your collection.

The Stars Whisper

Alright no more two-person games. It is time to LARP with up to 12 of your friends. Created by Wheel Tree Press, The Stars Whisper has each player taking on the role of a star in a constellation, having existed for millennia before and many more to come. Played in a dim room big enough for you all, each player is given a flashlight and a booklet, and one major rule: audible communication can only be in whispers. The point is that each player is separated by light years of distance, and can only communicate properly with light flickers and movement; anything to tell the others that they are still alive. The Facilitator is there then to keep the rules in order, but also to slowly inform players which one of them will die out, because this is a game about understanding the philosophical nature of loneliness.

It’s heavy as all get out, and thankfully includes some safety tools to help those that may panic. If you want the feeling of loneliness while playing a game with friends, this is perfect.

find(Humanity)

Keeping with abstract themes and difficult understandings is find(Humanity), a meditative TTRPG about automatons looking for humans. Each player has descended to the world unknowing of anything, not even what a human is — yet you are tasked with finding them. As you might guess, it wants the players to explore what humanity truly is through the interactions, hopefully finding humans that still exist, and perhaps breaking free from what made them automatons in the first place.

Layabouts and Degens

Breaking away from RPG-style games is this zine by Indigo, covering many different stories for those misplaced by society but have created their own community. The original rules were supplemental to Troika!, but can be manipulated if need be to fit anything and everything your heart desires. It was mostly created for those that have first-hand experience with this style of life, being an homage to those able to make it through the hardest of times and still make it worth it. Give it a look if that sounds like your jam.

Year after Year

Alright. back to TTRPGs we go. Year After Year is a TTRPG by Black Armada Games that follows an average family doing average things while the world crumbles around them through massive changes. It’s focus is on how you and the ‘family’ plan to deal with these societal shifts, and the decisions you all make together to keep everything afloat. It is somehow really good at capturing a sense of intensity as these life-altering events rock each character's world until the last ‘episode’ where everything is locked in and the endings are played out. Life can already be hard enough as a family, so this just compounds that difficulty and makes it worse; which is perfect for a TTRPG about interactions and collaboration.

SACRIFICE

Keeping with the theme of making things work no matter what, SACRIFICE tells a tale of players trying to complete tasks that seem impossible no matter the cost. The core is that after each character is established, players will attempt to do things to ensure they are victorious; but if that ‘thing’ is outside of their established ability, they must give something up to succeed. It’s completely open in system, able to be put in any setting; the only limit is your imagination. If you like RPGs that force decisions that you may not want to make, this might be a good one to check.

Plasty: A Thing of Beauty

Created for the 200 Word RPG Challenge, this is a LARP about those waiting in an office for a plastic surgeon. It’s originally designed as an everyday simulation, where players would come to grips with the relationship they have with their own body and how they are perceived by the others within the room. Thanks to its simplicity and openness, however, it can be tweaked to allow for any setting and world, so you can put your own spin on the style as much as you want. Give it a whirl if you like interactions that focus on how you feel about yourself and how you talk with others that are also doing the same.

MYNT — An RPG System

What a twist, MYNT is in the bundle! This is an RPG system seen many times throughout the bundle, created by Gregory Pellechi (known as OneGameDad). It’s a system specifically designed around encounters using the logic of ‘Maybe, Yes, No, Twist’, where each situation is about building off of the success or failures of the previous result. Conversations are key to gameplay, as those involved try to find ways to succeed through failure or through nonsense. There’s a reason why it is used so much in smaller projects thanks to how it facilitates both cunning interactions and silly nonsense. Give it a flip-through and find some RPGs that use it to see for yourself.

Critical!: Go Westerly

After all the serious TTRPGs above, we end on a note of sheer nonsense. Critical!: Go Westerly is a TTRPG about creating nonsense to solve the nonsense. Players create skills that are utterly ridiculous on purpose, and then justify how they would assist in completely unrelated tasks. Every skill can be used for anything, even cheating if it is possible. The system itself is a 2d6 system, where players roll to beat a number that is determined by the difficulty of the task and how well you convinced everyone that your skill works. If you beat that number you somehow succeed, while failure means you fail as everyone expected. Rolling exactly is a terrifying ordeal, for that means you succeeded and failed, and that’s when things get even weirder.

If you have a group of friends that are able to come up with skills like ‘Best Mouse Repairman’ or ‘World Champion Lipstick Eater’, and then argue that they would definitely help you defeat a giant, this is the game you’ve been waiting on.

Well that was fewer than expected.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.