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Create creepy crawlies in Cuticorium, a tabletop RPG inspired by video game Hollow Knight

A bug’s life.

Form a colony of intrepid insects to explore the world below in Cuticorium, a roleplaying game inspired by the likes of video game Hollow Knight and more.

The tabletop RPG sees players becoming bugs who - after a life of danger and desperate survival - have finally discovered the city of Cuticorium, a place where insects can think for themselves. Instead of living from day to day, seemingly unaware of anything beyond finding food and safety, the players’ insect characters become part of a society of sophisticated beings.

However, they remain far from safe, as despite being secure from the many dangers of the world above, the players’ characters must attempt to navigate the machinations and social pitfalls found in the city.

Characters in the RPG are created by combining whatever elements players can imagine their insects having - adding wings, venom pouches, multiple legs and whatever other bug aspects they desire. Having these different attributes can provide players with abilities for the characters to draw upon in various situations, giving them a potential edge over enemies.

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The key to surviving this underground city is to establish webs, which can be anything from advantageous relationships with important bugs or valuable information that could sow discord towards a rival group or insect. Players are free to use whatever webs they have to further the goals of their party, or their character’s own selfish desires. Wherever players want to use their webs, they combine them with a d4 in order to perform moves that will enable them to get closer to their objectives.

Player characters will eventually be able to string moves together to form a flow of actions that can either lead them to eventual success - if they perform them well - or failure, if they so happen to trip up.

The rules-light roleplaying game is played in a collaborative way, with the GM and players working together to present and progress through various scenes. Cuticorium can be planned as a long-running campaign or as a single one-shot story.

Aside from Hollow Knight - an indie video game released in 2017 that had players exploring caverns populated by various insects - Cuticorium was also inspired by the roleplaying games Monsterhearts, which sees players becoming teenage monsters navigating social groups, and Sleepaway, the horror RPG created by Wanderhome designer Jay Dragon.

Cuticorium RPG artwork 3

Cuticorium was created by Duck, who has previously designed several roleplaying games on, including The Quiet Life - an RPG about playing gay nuns living together in a monastery - and Lost Order, a game that mixes fantasy and history together in an epic story.

Artists for Cuticorium include Mel Spontaneus, Escher Cattle, Steven “Ski” Nosov, Hibi and Danny, who have helped to create artwork of the various insects and locations players will be exploring in the game.

The Kickstarter campaign for Cuticorium is live until January 10th, with a pledge of $15 (£12) getting backers a copy of the physical book set to arrive next May. Alternatively, backers can get a PDF copy of the game in April 2021 for a pledge of $10 (£8).

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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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