One more to get here thanks to OSP. I played a lot of RPGs in my youth but the last time was probably like 25 years ago. I am delighted and amazed to see such wonderful ideas put into a game.
A downloadable game
"This is genius. ... This is spectacular. ... I want to play this game, like, today." -- Overly Sarcastic Productions (The Bleak Spirit part starts at 1:11:08, but the whole video's worth watching.)
Bleak Spirit is a storytelling game where you and your friends create a brooding, cryptic tale about a stranger in a strange land. Everything is falling apart, crumbling, corrupted, and the wanderer carries the potential for a return to past glories – or the power to sweep away all that remains.
Everyone contributes to the tale, sharing the sense of mystery that comes from no-one knowing the entire truth of what's going on. Everyone takes turns being the world for a scene, introducing lore which hints at the history of the setting. After every scene everyone leaps to conclusions based on the lore which has been revealed – and these conclusions affect the sorts of lore they will introduce when it's their turn to be the world.
Of course, everyone is going to interpret the lore in their own way, and introduce their own variations. You'll have to adjust your conclusions based on their input, they'll adjust theirs based on yours, and the story that results will be truly the creation of the whole group.
You will all also take turns playing the wanderer – the destiny-wreathed individual who is going to bring change to the world, one way or another. The wanderer is the one who faces the dangers of the world, who discovers the lore, and who will ultimately leave things different to how they found them.
At the end of the story the wanderer will enter a proving ground where they will confront an adversary. Everyone will have contributed their own lore to the tale but only one of you will determine who or what the true enemy is, and what sort of future the wanderer will usher in.
Finally, anyone who is not currently playing the wanderer or the world will join the chorus. Their role is to elaborate on details introduced by the other players, drenching the world in both grandeur and decay.
In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $15 USD. You will get access to the following files:
Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.
Saw this pop up in the OSP video and I have quite literally paused in the middle of their explanation to come look for the actual game. Turns out I got it in the Trans Rights in Texas bundle and I am so, so ready to pull my group to a screeching halt until they play this with me (lovingly exaggerated). I'm glad to see so many cool indie games getting that kind of promo!!
Thank you for your kind words!
And thanks to OSP for putting my game in front of 2.4 MILLION subscribers. That kind of thing makes a real difference to us tiny indie creators.
Inspired by Souls-like games, Bleak Spirit is an TTRPG for 2-5 players with a rotating GM system. You play as a wanderer exploring a land of mystery, melancholy and faded glory. What cryptic secrets are hidden within? You play to find out.
I backed this on Kickstarter and then played it in an online convention that replaced a regional convention when the pandemic broke out. Here are three things that we learned that might help others have a good experience:
- Get a small notebook, steno sized is fine. At the top of the first several pages, put one of the key questions you have to answer when you Jump To Conclusions. So at the top of page 1: What is the Nature of the Area?, top of page 2: What caused the Fall?, etc. This way when you Jump to Conclusions, you never forget a question and you have plenty of room to cross off your previous thoughts and write a wholly new one if the fiction has gone in that direction.
- When introducing the game to new people, emphasize that, other than Lore, everything you say must be introduced with a light touch. You are gonna say some cool stuff that is going to get overlooked or misinterpreted by the other players. You have to always have your Conclusions but you can't hang onto them so tightly that you can't change your mind about what's actually happening. If you have a really cool thing you DON'T want people to overlook, you will have to introduce it in a piece of Lore.
- Lay out the full economy of each act at the beginning of the act. Be sure everyone understands how many scenes there are, and how many are required to be danger scenes. Walk all the way through the epilogue when explaining Act 3, including that there is only one scene at the end to show how things change as a result of the wanderer's journey.
We had a great experience with this game, it has similarities to classics like Swords Without Master, Dirty Secrets and Primetime Adventures. Highly recommended.
Thanks for that! It all looks like solid advice that I should probably have thought of myself. On the subject of organisation, I've seen one online game use a Trello board to keep track of introduced lore, details about the wanderer, and other things.
Anyway, I'm glad your experience with Bleak Spirit was good, and thanks again for leaving such a nice comment.