What We Do in the Shadows and Russian Doll inspired this trio of comedic Jewish RPGs
If I Were a Lich, Man.
A trio of comedic tabletop roleplaying games inspired by What We Do in the Shadows and Russian Doll enable players to fight against Jewish oppression.
If I Were a Lich, Man, is a collection of upcoming tabletop RPGs that put Jewish heroes at the forefront. Featuring three separate RPGs, the collection places essential elements of Jewish culture – such as Passover, Bat Mitzah and Dreidels – within horror and fantasy settings. The anthology takes inspiration from the likes of What We Do in the Shadows, a 2014 film and current television series about ancient vampires attempting to live in modern society, and Russian Doll: a Netflix series starring Natasha Lyonne in which a woman discovers she is able to transcend time and space, with its second season strongly focusing on her Jewish heritage.
The RPG that shares its title with the overall collection, If I Were a Lich, Man, invites up to four players to experience a tragic comedy featuring a family of Jewish-coded Liches. A creature known for its ties to antisemitism and made popular through fantasy roleplaying games such as Dungeons & Dragons, liches in the upcoming roleplaying are elevated to the status of hero instead of villain. As this family of liches, players will debate how best they can survive being hunted by murderous lawful good paladins, with each lich sibling having their own opinions on the situation.
Same Bat Time, Same Bat Mitzvah is the second title in the RPG collection and has up to 13 players discovering – to their horror or delight – that they are becoming vampires. Starring Ruthie and the various guests coming to her Bat Mitzvah – a coming-of-age Jewish ceremony – Same Bat Time, Same Bat Mitzvah has players roleplaying turning into a party of bloodsucking vampires, after Ruthie is turned into one on her way to the reception. Players’ personalities are decided by a collection of character cards, with each person having a connection to Ruthie.
The final game featured within If I Were a Lich, Man, is Grandma’s Drinking Song. A musical comedy roleplaying game, Grandma’s Drinking Song is about a matriarchal Jewish family that was directly inspired by the creator’s own family history. In Grandma’s Drinking Song, players take the role of either Bertha – the head of the family – or one of her teenage grandchildren. As members of a family of bootleggers operating during a period of prohibition – meaning that they smuggle alcohol to various secret illegal businesses – players will be collaborating to make their own song whilst getting up to all sorts of mischief.
All three games feature in If I Were a Lich, Man were created by Jewish non-binary designer Lucian Kahn – the designer behind Visigoths vs. Mall Goths – with illustrations from trans Jewish artist Ezra Rose and foreword from James Mendez Hodes, a Filipino Jewish designer and cultural consultant who has previously worked on the likes of the Avatar: Legends RPG and Magic: The Gathering.
Hit Point Press, the studio responsible for releasing the Humblewood campaign setting for D&D 5E, is the publisher behind If I Were a Lich, Man.
The Kickstarter campaign for If I Were a Lich, Man, is live until March 9th, with a pledge of $40 (£34) getting players a physical version of the RPG book in September. Alternatively, a digital version is available for a pledge of $20 (£17), with backers also able to pledge to help players who might not be able to financially afford a copy get their hands on one.