Skip to main content

Liminal RPG attempts to map out The Backrooms in an expansion based on the collaborative creepypasta universe

Hell is mouldering yellow wallpaper.

Liminal: The Backrooms expansion Kickstarter art
Image credit: Alexei Vella

If you’ve never heard of The Backrooms, you must not spend much time on TikTok or whatever social media the under-25-years-old crowd are using, now. The internet creepypasta-turned-massively collaborative horror universe has inspired artwork, games, stories and now an upcoming tabletop RPG all about mapping the endless spaces of The Backrooms and making it out alive.

The Backrooms are a creative extension of the liminal space concept - areas of the world such as hallways or offices that feel caught between reality and somewhere else, surreal in their composition of familiar aesthetics and architecture but without any real trace of humanity in them. Like IKEA furniture assembled by aliens, or naturally busy areas oddly devoid of human presences.

The Backrooms builds a shared universe around that vibe by introducing a shadowy government agency, employee researchers in hazmat suits and the nightmarish entities that haunt the labyrinthine hallways. According to lore, someone doesn’t find The Backrooms - they ‘noclip’ into it by literally slipping through a crack in reality. Much of this 'lore' is created and shared on social media, with communities sharing the most popular entries and thus creating an ever evolving repository of knowledge and rumours.

The Dicebreaker team had trouble with a single spooky room last Halloween.Watch on YouTube

Liminal_ The Backrooms is an expansion to the combat-free mapping RPG Liminal_, created by Alexei Vella and Willow Jay, that already translated the spooky feeling of an empty hallway or abandoned mall at dusk into a tabletop experience. This new expansion provides plenty of tools, tables and material for outfitting players to explore The Backrooms and (hopefully) come back with something resembling a working map.

The 20-page zine includes dozens of room designs and a double handful of entities to haunt the corners of the group’s eyes before disappearing right as they turn around. According to Vella, Liminal_ The Backrooms can be used all on its own to run one or two-shot sessions or appended to the full game for longer horror campaign play.

Players won’t be gathering weapons and ammunition as they desperately chart their progress onto graph paper, hoping to remember the important layout of rooms they’ve already explored. Instead, each new door or corner leads to a fresh encounter cobbled together from tables by the facilitator. It might contain valuable resources or some fresh hell for the group to witness and navigate along their search for an exit. Entities will attempt to disorient and confound members of the group in order to trap them forever within The Backrooms.

The Kickstarter campaign for Liminal_ The Backrooms runs through July 22nd and is hoping to create both a digital and physical edition. The designer expects fulfilment to backers will begin in November of this year.

Read this next