Everything here is also (more or less) mothballed, while we focus on other projects. That said, if you write, design, develop games, and you have something very cool and unusual and experimental idea that is looking for a home, do get in touch. Sad Press would be especially interested in games with political themes, storytelling engines, immersive storytelling, ludic writing, games about the future, games that help us to think / learn / imagine differently, generative aesthetics, data perceptualisation, games that create games, and things like that. Also check out the links list below for more interesting independent games.
RPGs were my first introduction to procedurally generated content and aleatoric storytelling. So I wonder: what happens when you procedurally generate RPGs themselves? This is an experiment in development. See the pilot here.
Scenario exploration tool
Connections is a storytelling game and scenario exploration tool, designed to help experts, policymakers and other stakeholders narratively explore risks and opportunities associated with technological, ecological, and social change. If you're running a workshop or other event and you'd like to use Connections or something similar, get in touch and I'd be happy to advise on facilitation.
Tabletop RPGs in permo alpha
These two games have all the rules you need to play them, although I wouldn't call them finished exactly.
- Dungeons & Drapers, also known as Hunger Games & Dragons. Play a candle-maker moonlighting as a mage. Try not to get swept into the Prosperous Game ...
- Ends, a diceless system where you search for your lost friends in a semi-submerged New York City.
- Daiquiris & Demigods, also known as Dungeons & Drinking, a featherweight universal system where drinking replaces dice.
- Drama & Dice, a featherweight universal system with a core mechanic you can retrofit to most tabletop RPGs.
- Shadows & Shapes, a lightweight dungeoncrawler based around a trick-taking card game. Of particular interest is the collaborative, puzzle-like aspect of combat.
Skycrawl, a text-based adventure game that runs in your browser. Also a fragment, and likely to stay that way, but still a live and a pretty big fragment. Skycrawl is set in The Vale, same as Dungeons & Drapers and Shadows & Shapes (only it is set in the Second Age, before the banning of the Adventuring Guilds. So you're not forced to be a Reeve or whatever).
Hacks, generators, and miscellaneous
- Dungeons & Dead Presidents, brief guidelines on adding gambling to tabletop RPGs.
- Ambershadow Ambler, an experiment in collaborative game / story authoring, using Twine. Star Trekky.
- Bardabracadabra, a ridiculous bardic magic supplement for use with any fantasy tabletop RPG.
- Dungeons & Decks, a ridiculous hack for using tarot cards to cast magic in D&D and other fantasy tabletop RPGs. Instrumentalizes the numinous & numinizes the instrumental. What if you do real magic while you're doing fake magic? Includes Excel grimoire.
- Dreams & Dystopias, near future mutant teen adventures, based on the diceless Disempowered by the Apocalypse (TM) rule set. Working on this is at the bottom of a really long list, but you may be interested in the very distinctive and curious conflict-resolution mechanics (Chess moves!).
This site is mostly Jo Lindsay Walton. My other sites are here, here, & here. I'm on Twitter as @jolwalton. I run @sadpresspoetry with Samantha Walton. Despite the similar name, I'm not the author of a number of SFF novels including Among Others, The Just City, etc. (But I recommend them!)
Skycrawl: to teach myself the interactive fiction engine Twine, I started building a little text-based dungeon crawler. It got a lot bigger than expected. You're very welcome to playtest. The setting is similar to that of Dungeons & Drapers, though without the "adventuring in secret" premise (it's set a little earlier, perhaps, in the Second Age). Related: here's a very short unseelie bit excerpted, and a YouTube video describing one of the techniques (using arrays to create locations). As of 2020, I may work on Skycrawl on and off, but the fragment is big enough to play and probably get killed by baddies (or ARE they?! I mean yes actually they are) before you reach its glitching edges. And if you do get to its glitches, maybe you can finish that story in your mind ... ?
- Sad Press Games at DriveThruRPG
- Sad Press Games at Patreon
- Steal Away Jordan - RPG about slavery (here's a review)
- SIGMATA - cyberpunk antifa revolt
- Eclipse Phase - postapocalyptic transhuman conspiracy & horror
- Dream Askew - queer post-apocalyptic word-(re)building
- Hack the Planet - cyberpunk cli-fi
- Spire - dark elf revolt
- #Feminism - an anthology of nanogames
- Songs for the Dusk - Blades in the Dark hack about progressive postapocalyptic heists
- Bluebeard's Bride
- Misspent Youth
- My Life With Master
- Shock: Social SF (GM-less storytelling exploration of sociopolitical issues)
- Red Markets
- Night Witches
- Risus: a free universal rules-lite RPG -- use its cliché-based aptitudes concept to improve Drama & Dice (and maybe Daiquiris & Demigods) immeasurably
- E. Chris Garrison's list of free RPGs
- Rob Lang's Free RPG Blog
- Jenna Moran's WTF
- Design Patterns: almost an RPG design notation system?
- John Wick's Flux - a multiverse meta-RPG
- Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wasteland - another free post-apocalyptic RPG
- The Republic
- Runed Age magic system
- Fear Fetchers (I like Sarcastic Teen as an upgraded enemy)
- John H. Kim's RPG site (with many many more links)
- Emily Clare Boss's site (including games & fictional games)
- Icar: free space opera RPG
- Sufficiently Advanced: a posthuman / singularity themed RPG
- Stephanie Bryant's games
- David Schirduan et al.'s 200 word RPG challenge
Links: software, engines, tools
- All That Is Solid Melts Into Aargh! (SF&F fiction etc.)
- Vector from the British Science Fiction Association
- Jo's academic site
- The Sputnik Award - part award, part game, part participatory art project
- Lost Astronaut Games research network
- Sad Press Poetry
- Economic Humanities
- RPG Creation subreddit
- The Boarding Kennel: board games reviews
- Allen Stroud's games
- Mhairi Simpson's Be a Bard storytelling game
- Game Chef - annual RPG competition
- First Person Scholar - games studies articles, essays, etc.
- DiGRA: Digital Games Research Association
- The Twine Cookbook
- Analog Game Studies
- Night in the Woods (review)
- Ian Bogost
- Jane McGonigal (Reality is Broken)
- Katherine Isbister (How Games Move Us)
- Mary Flanagan (Critical Play)
- Layoff (activist / conscious digital game)
- Phone Story
- The SPIRIT - board game reviews + more
If you have any trouble ordering or downloading, please accept my flustered, charming-but-in-an-annoyingly-knowing-way apologies, & let me know via Twitter or Gmail (josephclwalton). Or if you'd like to pay in kind or not at all for something, do hit me up & I'll arrange it.