Upcoming RPG Weird Stories aims to bring the mysterious, surreal storytelling of David Lynch movies, Haruki Murakami novels and TV show The Twilight Zone to the tabletop.
Weird Stories counts the auteur filmmaker, acclaimed writer and seminal television series alongside the likes of hit TV show Lost and Annihilation author Jeff VanderMeer among its key influences, according to designer Gil Hova.
The RPG is described as being a light storytelling game that focuses on telling tales full of unexplained mysteries, strange happenings, moments akin to a dream - or nightmare - and questions deliberately left unanswered. Players will be left with an idea of their characters’ experiences and stories, without seeing the full picture or a singular “truth”.
Hova compared Weird Stories’ gameplay to the rules-light RPG Fiasco, which tells cinematic crime capers inspired by directors such as the Cohen Brothers. Like Fiasco, Weird Stories will not require a dedicated GM and is designed for one-shots played in a single two- to three-hour session with zero preparation needed ahead of play.
Players begin the game with a mysterious entity, such as a place or object, known as a singularity. While there are characters, the group shares control of all of the characters rather than having control of a single character for each session. Players will retain complete control over their own singularity’s impact on the narrative.
Each scene during the game’s story is led by a guide - one of the players, with the role rotating during the session. The players decide on characters and singularities to include in each scene, before collaboratively playing out the events.
Instead of rolling dice, the RPG is driven by effect cards that the players can reveal during scenes to influence the story and characters with strange events. As more cards are played, the weirdness level of the game will gradually increase, eventually leading to more dramatic and surreal occurrences. When the weirdness level hits a specific level, the game ends and the players bring their story to a close - without being able to answer every last question that remains.
Weird Stories is Hova’s first roleplaying game, having previously designed board games including word game Wordsy, city-building title High Rise and satirical TV management game The Networks. Providing the cover art are illustrators Ibon Adarne and Aron Wisenfeld, with Amber Seger handling graphic design.
Weird Stories is due for release this October, with Hova previously suggesting the game may come to Kickstarter in the future following a digital and print-on-demand release via the designer’s indie label Formal Ferret Games.