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Midsommar, The Witch and The Ritual inspired this folk-horror solo roleplaying game

Jumping at Jenga.

Artwork for Carved by the Garden.
Image credit: Cassi Mothwin.

A new solo tabletop roleplaying game takes inspiration from the likes of Midsommar, The Witch and The Ritual.

Carved by the Garden is an upcoming tabletop RPG that sees its players attempting to survive in a forest filled with terrible secrets and horrifying discoveries. Based on The Wretched gameplay system – designed by Chris Bissette – and Loot the Room, a platform contained free resources for TRPG creators, Carved by the Garden utilises a Tumble Tower to build tension and enable players to interact with the very forest itself.

Players begin the horror tabletop RPG by assembling their Tumble Tower, either the traditional way or according to a specific alternate provided by the game, before rolling a d6 and removing that many blocks. Players then create their characters by picking from the available starting archetypes or making their own, with players then writing their first journal entry.

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The tabletop RPG then follows the same process, with players willing a d6, drawing as many cards as is shown on the die and then reading them. Cards in Carved by the Garden provide the player with prompts as to what their character encounters within the woods, with the player needing to draw as many blocks as is instructed on the card. Players are also encouraged to write their experiences and thoughts into their journal, answering any questions included within the prompts. If the tower falls, then the game ends – there are also over end conditions.

Inspiration for Carved by the Garden is taken from films such as Midsommar (2019) - a horror film written and directed by Ari Aster, in which a group of American tourists visit Sweden during a strange folk festival – The Witch (2015), a Robert Eggers film about a 17th century puritan family living on the edge of a forest, and The Ritual (2017): a film directed by David Bruckner that sees a journey through a Swedish forest become terrible nightmare.

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Carved by the Garden was created by Cassi Mothwin, a TRPG designer that has previously designed tabletop RPGs including Tangled Blessings – an RPG for one to two players about attending a creepy magical academy – and another solo RPG called The Sticker Game.

A crowdfunding campaign for Carved by the Garden is set to be launched on July 18th, with a digital version of the TRPG arriving between October and November, with a print edition coming between late autumn and early winter. A preview version of the game is available to download from Itch.io or DriveThruRPG.

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Carved by the Garden

Tabletop Game

About the Author
Alex Meehan avatar

Alex Meehan

Senior Staff Writer

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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