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Princess Mononoke and The Hobbit inspired this queer fantasy RPG

Go down with your ship.

Sail a ship along the river in search of its source in Upriver, Downriver, an upcoming roleplaying game inspired by the likes of Princess Mononoke and The Hobbit.

A fantasy RPG, Upriver, Downriver sees players becoming a crew who must sail their ship along a great river in order to reach its source, which is said to be the place from which all magic springs. However, there is an equal chance that the source could also lie within the depths of the sea, which no sailor has ever returned from. Regardless of how player characters might reach their end, death is just another way of being in Upriver, Downriver - as the sailors’ oaths keep them tied to the ship forever, even if they die.

Upriver, Downriver RPG artwork

Upriver, Downriver is a pastoral tabletop roleplaying game with queer themes, with its creators naming RPGs such as Wanderhome and television shows like Mushishi as additional pieces of inspiration. In the game, the players create characters using the three paths defined by the Major Arcana found in a deck of tarot cards, with each path bringing its own abilities and dictacts. Throughout the game, players will draw tarot cards whenever they commune with the River God - which can lead to characters gaining both blessings and curses, depending on the card drawn.

At the beginning of their campaign, players choose whether they want to travel upstream to the source or downstream to the sea, with each new location that they reach bringing its own collection of non-player characters and challenges. Should a player character ever die along the way, then they are able to continue playing as a ghost with their own set of abilities that are exclusive to the undead. Each campaign of Upriver, Downriver can range from four to 12 sessions, with the game being designed to be played over a short period of time.

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Upriver, Downriver was created by Ella Watts, with the illustration for the game being made by Max Briar. The tabletop roleplaying title as also co-developed by Jonathan Sims and Sasha Sienna of MacGuffin and Company, with a soundtrack for the game being created by David Devereux.

The Kickstarter campaign for Upriver, Downriver is set to be launched on 26th October, with the pledge amounts and estimated delivery date yet to be confirmed.

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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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Upriver, Downriver

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