There’s a lot of darkness in the world today. Endlessly doomscrolling through social media can stomp down any desire to fight back or fix things. There are some bright lights, such as the current game bundle raising money to fight for trans rights in Texas.Three hundred creators have donated over five hundred games, playbooks, classes and more to split between proceeds between Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT) and Organización Latina de Trans en Texas (OLTT). Not only that, Hit Point Press and Solatian Games have offered more free games for anyone willing to show them a receipt of the donation. This bundle has already raised 225,000 USD for these organizations.
That’s a lot of content for a minimum donation of five bucks. I’ve highlighted a few of the included games that are worth the donation. Each of these games is definitely worth that, though if you donate to get the bundle, I encourage you to give more.
AgonThe first edition of Agon was one of my gateways into the world of indie RPGs. It was a fantastic game of positional combat and evocative rules. The new edition by original creator John Harper (of Blades In The Dark fame) and Sean Nittner pushes the game further as a mythic tale emulator. You and your table are all Greek heroes vying for the favor of the gods, battling legendary monsters…but only one of you will be remembered as the hero of the tale. It’s a fantastic mix of cooperative and competitive storytelling that’s flexible enough to end your epic tales in satisfying non-combat ways.
Alien ArmoryWhenever they mention the Bioweapons Division in Aliens, weapons like the ones in this supplement for Mothership from Nyhur. The illustrations from J.F. Pierra are exactly the kind of gnarly stuff an evil transplanetary corporation has cooking in their black sites. And if you don’t have Mothership, the descriptions and powers are evocative enough that they could show up in all sorts of dark future games like ALIEN or Warhammer 40k.
A Dirty WorldThe Talents system powers a wide variety of superhero games, such as GODLIKE or Wild Talents. But it also powers this game of flawed heroes and hopeful villains from Greg Stolze. Film noir is a hard genre to get right in RPGs, but Stolze nails the tone thanks to a system that shifts characters' identities as they play. Just like noir protagonists, the ideals and dreams your characters start with might slip out of their grasp as they take action in a world that looks black and white but is actually many subtle types of gray.
The Things We Leave BehindStygian Fox has created some fantastic modern horror scenarios. The Things We Leave Behind has some of my favorites including Ladybug, Ladybug Fly Away Home involving a complicated hunt for a kidnapped child and Hell In Texas which casts a modern Hell House in a more disturbing light thanks to some “real” occult items used as props. These adventures are built for Call of Cthulhu, but could be run with any modern investigate horror system, like Delta Green or Monster of the Week with a few minutes of modification.
Thirsty Sword LesbiansCombat is easy, romance is hard. Thirsty Sword Lesbians hopes to change that with a PbtA system that mixed fighting and flirting in equal measure. The game puts safety tools front and center and has a light, breezy tone that encourages people to have fun while still taking the time to address a challenging subject for many gaming tables. The game also includes several settings full of fast action and high romance.
Shameless Self-Promotion Alert: My interview with creator April Kit Walsh about romance in gaming is available in Wyrd Science, which is also part of this bundle.