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Abzu and Studio Ghibli inspired this solo roleplaying game about diving around spectacular coral reefs

Dive deep for ideas.

Artwork for Bow RPG.
Image credit: Hatchlings Games

This new solo tabletop roleplaying game takes inspiration from diving video game Abzu and the films of Japanese animation company, Studio Ghibli.

Bow is an upcoming roleplaying game in which players become freedivers competing in a Shoaling Festival on a world of picturesque oceans. Taking inspiration from the video game Abzu - a 2016 indie title in which players explore an ocean populated by various sea life and filled with secrets - Bow has players imagine they are diving into the depths of a pristine ocean, swimming around colourful coral reefs and coming across all sorts of strange and beautiful creatures along the way.

This fictional world is depicted via the various pieces of artwork featured in the rulebook for Bow, which were created by artists WillowsQuest and Alex Connolly and inspired by the movies produced by Studio Ghibli: such as the likes of Porco Rosso, with its glorious seascapes, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which is directly referenced by the title’s publisher Hatchlings Games.

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Bow can be played as either a solo RPG or a duet-journalling game, with one to two players writing their answers to a series of prompts they’ll be presented with whilst playing. A playthrough of Bow is shaped around a race taking place as part of a Shoaling Festival, with players being challenged to collect various Old-World relics along the way. The player character/s are tasked with reaching four different markers placed in a route through the ocean, with the future of their community resting on their ability to beat out their opponents.

The tabletop RPG is based on the Carta gameplay system created by Peach Garden Games, with players using a deck of 24 playing cards to determine the events of their story. These cards are laid out in a six by four grid, with each suit providing players with a different type of challenge to overcome during the race. The card suits also represent the rival competitors players will be racing against, providing opportunities for players to interact with them during the game.

Artwork for Bow TRPG.
Image credit: Hatchlings Games

If players are able to uncover four aces and beat their opponents to the end of the race, their character is victorious.

Besides Bow, Hatchlings Games has also created and published another solo roleplaying game inspired by Studio Ghibli called Dragon Dowser, as well as a tabletop RPG that teaches British and American sign language called Inspirisles.

A crowdfunding campaign for Bow is set to be launched on Backerkit on May 31st.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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