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[Darkpages] Sketchbook

15 September, 2008
Darkpages Wordle

Darkpages Wordle

Darkpages is Jared Sorensen’s long time in development roleplaying game inspired by dark comics from Werewolf By Night and Ghost Rider to Swamp Thing, Watchmen and 100 Bullets. And it’s still not done, but Jared published 66 copies of an Ashcan version for Gencon 08. I’ve managed to grab hold of one via Gregor Hutton.

It’s very interesting, to say the least. It’s a collaborative story game using the storytelling techniques from comics, for one GM and max 2 players. You even PLAY the game like a comic, describing the panels with dialogue and sound effects, angles, the lot. You even have “writers’ guidelines” for your characters. When player characters die or disappear from the story they may return “re-incarnated” either as a different version of their former self (think Harvey Dent/Twoface), as Son of… or in several other ways.

The Challenge mechanics click into action when the players (GM is a player) don’t agree what’s going to happen in the folowing panel. If you win, using your character’s motifs and powers, you gain the right to narrate the panels. You even gain the right, momentarily, to control another player’s character. When you lose, you gain Pain for your character, which can threaten powers, connections and the character himself.

I’m giving Darkpages a test run this week, and have been noting down a setting, which Jared calls an Imprint, of course, since we are talking about comics here. The Imprint contains setting description, mood, style, characters, and the setting as a whole is played by the GM as a character as well, meaning he can gain Pain for it and eventually lose setting elements or powers.

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