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Whisperstone makes learning a new RPG as simple as doing a jigsaw puzzle

Beginner-friendly Heirloom system uses unique pieces for equipment, skills and spells.

An upcoming RPG looks to combine the storytelling of roleplaying games with the ease of jigsaw puzzles.

In place of traditional character sheets, Whisperstone uses unique shaped pieces for both its characters and their skills, spells and equipment. A prototype on show at this year’s Gen Con showed off the clever concept using laser-cut wooden pieces.

As players acquire gear or spells, they can equip them to their character by slotting the pieces into their character board’s item slots or hands. If the piece fits, the character can use the item - with a variety of shapes and lack of need to perfectly fill the slot allowing for plenty of flexibility between different classes. As well as weapons, armour and items, the characters’ two hand slots can be used to equip other , such as pet companions.

The boards for a beginner ranger - at first level - and second-level veteran magician were shown by publisher Flatout Games at Gen Con, demonstrating the differing slots between classes; the magician has additional slots to allow a spell to be equipped in place of an item.

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Characters also have an inventory, represented by a simple rectangular frame. Their carrying capacity is reflected by how many pieces they can physically fit into their backpack.

Tests are resolved using a simple colour-coded dice system. Dice in three different colours - red, green and blue - and the classic range of polyhedral shapes, from d4 up to d20, are determined by a character’s equipment. When tests such as combat are resolved, the player simply rolls all the dice determined by the relevant skill or equipment.

The game’s GM similarly has a collection of puzzle pieces, creating jigsaws for enemies from a selection of pieces behind their DM screen. Specific adventure modules will include unique pieces for each scenario, stored inside separate tuckboxes inside the game’s box.

Designer Nicholas Trahan’s puzzle-based Heirloom system aims to allow entire adventures to be created from scratch in under half an hour and help players to learn in a matter of minutes.

Whisperstone will launch on Kickstarter, with plans for a box including hundreds of different items and components, along with a starter adventure set in the game’s original setting. A launch date, release date and price are yet to be announced.

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Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.