If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll know Philomena Bucket from the Tales from the Squid and Teapot. She actually started life as a character illustrating how you do things in the Hopeless Maine role play game. This is why she’s now gracing the cover of a new book. From which you can safely infer that we are indeed up to something with the role play game.
Also in this image, is Simon. If you’ve been following our adventures in film making, you’ll already know that Simon is an example of the island’s pointy sea life. Look closely at this image and it is evident that there’s more than one Simon. There may have been baby Simons recently. But then, sea life changes gender a lot, and who know how Simons work?
Characters on the island tend to have fairly outlandish names. However, there are a lot of sentient beings who are never named where you can see it. Goblins, demons, sea life and so forth. For purposes of keeping track, many of them do have names – but they tend to be relatively ordinary, so there are goblins called Fred and Geoff, and the sea monster is called Simon.
All of this pertains to a kickstarter we have that should be of particular interest to fans in America. It won’t be so good if you’re in the UK because of the postage. Talk to us if there are things you want and we’ll try and figure out sensible ways of moving things round.
We’re in the exciting process of developing a Bestiary for the Hopeless Maine role play game. This is work being led on by Keith Healing. We are of course collecting up all the strange things that go by in the background, and working out a bit more about the mechanics of what they do and how/if they might hurt a person.
It means that new discoveries are also being made. Apparently we have ghouls. This isn’t a great surprise on a gothic island with a lot of cemeteries where food is often at a premium.
We’re also experimenting a bit with how art will work for this book. Here we have a ghoul drawn by Tom and inked by me.
As a young human, I played a fair few role play systems and it was a significant part of my life. One of the normal features of a role play game is that the world is… well… world sized. The setting you game in is usually as large as your imagination is willing to invest in.
A role play game set on Hopeless Maine is clearly a very different kettle of fish (or tentacles). It is, by any definition, a rather small setting. You could walk across it in a matter of days, and one of the features of the island is that it is very hard to leave it and go elsewhere. It is a tiny reality of its own, full of weirdness, but it is not really how most role play worlds function.
But, small can be beautiful. Small can be really intense and there’s not much scope to run away from the consequences of your actions. Everything you do as a player on Hopeless will stay round to haunt you – probably in a literal sort of way. You can’t just leave town and move on if things don’t go well, or you’ve nabbed the treasure or made an enemy. Outside of town, beyond the farms it is difficult to survive, which is why people mostly aren’t living there.
Hopeless as a role play setting is really good for intense scenarios. It lends itself to mysteries and murder mysteries. If you’re looking for a setting where your characters will have to make long term relationships with NPCs, this is for you. If you’re looking for situations where people have to think and role play rather than dungeon crawl, Hopeless works well. It’s not going to be the right setting for anyone who wants to spend their time slaying monsters, grabbing treasure and hooking up with pretty NPCs. But, if you like your gaming experiences to be weirder, more gothic and with more focus on the role play, this could well be the ideal setting for you.
The Hopeless Maine role play game has been a work in progress – and largely the work of Keith Healing – for some time now. We will have some significant news for you soon, we think, which is why I’m dangling this teaser-tentacle today. Also, the cover above is the old cover, there will be a new cover soon…