Welcome to Sad Press Games. Everything here is free and/or pay-what-you-want. It is also (more or less) mothballed, while I focus on other projects. That said, if you are a games designer who has something very cool and weird and radical that is looking for a home, do get in touch. Also check out the links list for more interesting independent games.
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. It takes its inspiration from Billy Pulpit's Fiasco. 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 help.
These two games do have all the rules you need to play them, but they're by no means finished. Realistically I don't see much opportunity to continue work on them in the near future. Sorry!
- 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.
Tabletop RPGs available now
These three smaller games are complete:
- 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.
- Skycrawl, a text-based adventure game that runs in your browser. A fragment, and likely to stay that way, but still 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).
- Dungeons & Dead Presidents, guidelines on gambling and 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 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.
Tabletop RPG "under development":
- 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.
Skycrawl: in order to teach myself the interactive fiction engine Twine, I undertook to build a little text-based dungeon crawler. 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). Also, here's a very short unseelie bit excerpted, and a YouTube video describing one of the techniques (using arrays to create locations). I don't think I'll work on Skycrawl much more, but the fragment is big enough to play around and start a story. When it glitches, maybe you can finish that story in your mind ... ?
Links: mostly tabletop RPGs
- 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
- P5 JS
- RPG Maker
- Geomorphs (dungeon tiles), Dave's mapper, Donjon (random dungeon generator)
- All That Is Solid Melts Into Aargh! (SF&F fiction etc.)
- Jo's academic site
- The Sputnik Award
- Sad Press Poetry
- Economic Humanities
- 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
This site is kind of shambolic. If you have any trouble ordering or downloading, please accept my curt, clearly reluctant 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.