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Stonewall 1969 - A War Story is an RPG about the history of LGBTQIA+ rights

A fight to remember.

Tell stories in the run-up to the historical riots that made LGBTQIA+ rights heard in Stonewall 1969 - A War Story, an upcoming roleplaying game.

Stonewall 1969 is set in the lead up to the Stonewall Riots, an event that saw members of the LGBTQIA+ community in 1960s New York revolt against police violence and oppression. During 1969, the NYPD invaded the Stonewall Inn - a gay bar in Greenwich Village - and proceeded to harass and attack the people inside, due to rampant discrimination against LGBTQIA+. In response to the raid, the club-goers and other members of the community fought back against the police department’s attacks, resulting in riots that lasted for days and a historical event that changed the stage for the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights.

A queer tabletop RPG that enables the players to explore the run-up to the event, Stonewall 1969 has players immersing themselves in the time-period, which includes the game using language that is no longer used to describe members of the LGBTQIA+ community. From a pool of 14 different characters, players will be able to choose their character and guide them through the world of the LGBTQIA+ scene in 1960s New York. Each character in Stonewall 1969 has their own identities and questions that will determine their relationship with the others, as well as what kind of themes players can expect to explore. Queer identities aren’t the only factors considered in Stonewall 1969, with intersectional ideas of social class, gender identity and race also included.

Stonewall 1969 - A War Story layout

At the beginning of the game, every character is introduced as being ‘ill’, meaning that they have been forced to hide their identities and true selves due to oppression from the police system, government, society and other oppressive organisations. Over the course of the game, players will attempt to move their characters towards a state of being ‘healed’ - when characters are aware of who they truly are and are ready to fight to affirm their right to exist - or ‘healing’, meaning that though they aren’t prepared to fully dedicate their life to the fight they will never go back to being ‘ill’ again.

Over the course of a prologue, five acts and an epilogue, the players will explore the historical context of the period and encounter various conflicts that can push their characters into action or further repression. As a GM-less RPG, players will use background and story cards, as well as scene cards, to push the narrative forward and provide catalysts for change. In the final stages of the game, players will decide what the consequences of the riots were for their characters and how they chose to live their lives afterwards.

Stonewall 1969 - A War Story was created by a diverse team of people - many of whom identify as LGBTQIA+ - such as author and game designer Stefano Burchi, project manager Marta Palvarini, the artists at Studio Caraba, which is a collective that seeks to provide stories with better representation, main artist Michela Da Sacco and character artist Sonia Grossi.

Asterisco Edizioni, an independent Italian publisher that’s committed to supporting the work of marginalised groups, is set to release Stonewall 1969 - A War Story, with an English language version also available.

A Kickstarter campaign for Stonewall 1969 - A War Story is live until February 17th, with a pledge of €55 (£46/$62) getting backers a physical version of the RPG in November. Alternatively, backers can pledge €18 (£15/$20) to get a digital print-and-play version.


About the Author

Alex Meehan avatar

Alex Meehan

Staff Writer, Dicebreaker

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.

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