Daily Dread is an upcoming tabletop roleplaying game that’s inspired by the psychology behind the Rorschach Test.
The new tabletop RPG takes place in a pre-apocalyptic dystopian Italy in which people live and suffer under the regime of the Milites Liberta. Daily Dread – II Male Quotidiano has players becoming a part of the Broken Wings, a sect of society who refuses to bow down to the regime. Through small acts of aggression, the Authority of Freedom, the propaganda-fueled name of the regime, gradually invades peoples’ lives and forces them to submit themselves to their control.
Society in Daily Dread is controlled via the censorship of mass media and the internet, with people being sorted based on the theories of the Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, who is best known for inventing the Rorschach Test. Designed to provide psychologists with a rough outline of someone’s personality, the Rorschach Test tests a person’s characteristics and emotional functions in order to potentially identify possible psychological patterns. Since its conception, the Rorschach Test has been critiqued by researchers and psychologists arguing that the test can be affected by too many outside variables, such as the objectivity of the tester.
Daily Dread applies Rorschach’s ideas of psychological catergorisation within a sci-fi RPG that sees player characters being created using various behaviours and drives. As Broken Wings, players will be creating characters using three different behaviours – empathetic, imperious and aversive – and the drives of needs, obsessions and purposes. Every one of these traits is represented in the game via a series of white, red or black blinkers, or circles, which are based on the Rorschach Machine created by the Milites Liberta to catergorise its citizens.
Each colour of blinker serves to offer narrative meaning which can provide players with ways to survive the various reforms of the regime. Whenever a player character tries to resist the regime, they state their intended action and put a number of coloured tokens that match their character’s drive. The Operator – or game master – then puts in tokens equal to the drive of whatever danger the player character faces. Once the player chooses a colour, the Operator will then draw three tokens and decide the outcome of the action depending on the tokens drawn, as well as the chosen behaviour.
Daily Dread – II Male Quotidiano was co-created by Zeus Longhi and Daniele Fusetto, a TRPG writer who co-created the Italian RPG Le Notti di Nibiru and wrote for the rules-light RPG Little Katy’s Tea Party, as well as translated several RPGs into Italian including Blades in the Dark. Grumpy Bear Stuff is the publisher responsible for releasing Daily Dread.
The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for Daily Dread is live until September 21st, with a pledge of €18 (£16/$17) getting backers a physical copy of the core rulebook in March 2023. Alternatively, players can get a digital PDF version of the book for a pledge of €9 (£8/$8).