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Sink your teeth into What We Do in the Shadows-inspired RPG Low Stakes

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Share a house with a gang of supernatural weirdos in Low Stakes, an upcoming RPG zine inspired by film and television series What We Do in the Shadows.

In Low Stakes players become creatures of the night who must survive the drama of living together in the same house. With the option to play as a vampire, werewolf, ghost, mystic or plain old human, players will be engaging in comedic scenarios involving their inability to get along as a rag-tag group and their own supernatural incompetencies.

Low Stakes uses a rules-light RPG system, with players encouraged to freely roleplay their characters’ dialogue and actions. However, whenever a player wants their character to attempt either “gain the upper hand and influence” over one or more of their roommates, or tackle any of their own personal demons, they will need to roll dice to determine the outcome.

Low Stakes rpg artwork

Each campaign is structured in a similar manner to a sitcom show, with various scenes strung together to create an overarching storyline. The GM is encouraged to use the game’s prompting system to escalate the current situation towards different emotional and tonal beats - whether funny or moving. At any point, players are invited to engage in a confessional scene in which they “speak to the camera” to reveal something about themselves or their roommates. Performing confessions can aid the player with future die rolls related to their confession.

What We Do in the Shadows is a 2014 film starring Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi and Cori Gonzalez-Macuer that follows a household of vampires in a mockumentary-style format. The film was eventually followed by a television series that launched in 2019 and has since had two seasons aired.

Low Stakes was created by Craig Campbell, the designer of the Capers RPG and owner of publishing studio Nerdburger Games, edited by Massive Damage Adventures host Meric Moir, and illustrated by Ashley McCammon, the creator of queer gothic horror webcomic Obselisk.

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The launch of Low Stakes is part of Kickstarter’s current Zinequest 3 event, a campaign that looks to host over 470 indie roleplaying games and hacks during February. Zinequest 3 throws a spotlight on a mixture of indie projects created in a game jam-like environment designed to encourage creativity. Other Zinequest 3 games include Bucket of Bolts, a sci-fi hack of RPG Artefact created by its original designer Jack Harrison.

The Kickstarter campaign for Low Stakes is live until February 17th, with backers able to get a physical and PDF copy of the RPG for $12 (£9) estimated to arrive in May. Alternatively backers can just get the PDF version for $6 (£5).

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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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