⌚ A time-travel solo RPG, game news & more
Issue 13: Half Cosmic Horror, All Madness
1. Project ECCO with Elliot Davis
Project ECCO is a cosmic horror journaling game where you time-travel across the pages of a yearly planner. As a member of The Agency you must track an alien entity consuming time around you.
You uncover new time-travel devices each with its own random number generator (cards, dice, or coins) and set of prompts. For example the Temporal Spread device, with prompts written by Samantha Leigh, uses a deck of tarot cards.
Your planner acts as both a game board and a journal. As the entity consumes days, you black them out in the calendar. Travel to a significant date — a holiday or anniversary — and you’ll get a special prompt.
The creator’s journey:
Elliot Davis got into tabletop RPGs in 2020 when friends invited him to play D&D online. He discovered indie RPGs through TikTok creators like kendomakesfilms and improvgm, and the #beggartok tag used for recommending games other than D&D.
Elliot’s first game, Abominations, is a GM-less RPG/board game where Scrabble tiles become genes you use to design weird monsters. “It taught me how to make a zine and introduced me to the community. I got it stocked at my favorite local game store which was a huge confidence builder.”
He credits 1000 Year Old Vampire with showing how rich a solo RPG can be and Tether for directly inspiring ECCO. Tether is a two-player RPG where characters in different time periods communicate through a journal called “The Tether”, working together to defeat an ancient being. Like ECCO, the journal is an artifact in real life and in the game.
“The idea of bringing a planner into this game world and using it to time-travel popped into my head. I noodled on it for six to eight months — trying to find the unified mechanic that would make sense as time-travel. ‘Is it a d12 for months? Is it a deck of cards for 52 weeks? Is it tarot cards?’ None felt like the singular time-travel feeling mechanic. Then it just dawned on me that time-travel is weird: ‘Why can't it be four or five different mechanics?’”
Elliot’s next projects:
“Volatile is a superhero-esque game where the central mechanic is a volatility die. When you roll a maximum value, your superpowers go haywire and cause consequences in the world. The die changes size as you level-up which represents you gaining control over your powers.
Elliot also wants to make “a devastatingly sad game about brothers in a zombie apocalypse.”
Learn to play Project ECCO from My First Dungeon, the podcast Elliot co-hosts with Brian Flaherty, Abby Hepworth, and Shenuque Tissera.
2. Solo and co-op gaming news
📃 There were over 500 entries in The One-Page RPG Jam 2023. Here are a few notable solo games:
- is a monster hunting RPG set in 1746 London. You’ll investigate rumors and learn secrets to defeat the daemon.
📚 Humble has a new bundle of 32 random generation books from Dicegeeks including the The Great Book of Random Tables and spin-offs covering fantasy, cyberpunk, adventure hooks, dungeons, taverns, and more. Pay what you want and help support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals with your purchase! Available through August.
😱 DriveThru RPG’s cosmic horror sale is going on now. Some solo/GM-less standouts include:
Facing the Titan: a solo and co-op mechanics-heavy narrative game about a company of warriors, mages, and nobles taking on an ancient titan.
Call of Cthulhu Starter Set: everything you need to play the classic Lovecraftian RPG including the solo scenario Alone Against The Flames. Solo Cthulhu adventures Alone Against the Tide and Alone Against the Frost are also on sale.
3.🎲 Last roll
Bill Making Stuff is Bill Mullaney’s YouTube channel where he turns thrift store finds and random junk into miniature characters, buildings, and vehicles. The process is satisfying to watch, enhanced by Bill’s dry humor and polished editing.
Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune is Netflix’s high-action sci-fi anime following a team of human soldiers caught in an unexpected off-world conflict. The twist is that humans are at the bottom of intergalactic society. With great animation, art direction, and voice acting, Yakitori is worth checking out.
I’m listening to…
Party of One’s summer season finale features Alex Roberts (Star Crossed, For the Queen) and host Jeff Stormer playing Till the Last Gasp, a 2-player storytelling game of duels. If you’re a fan of low-budget John Wick knockoffs or a Gymkata master - this episode is for you!
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