Happy 2020! It’s a new year, a new decade, and a new day! So, let’s kick things off with trying something new!
If this is your first time on this site, word of warning: my preferred roleplaying style is gonzo. As in I like to go off the rails and into absurdity. Normally, this involves taking a game’s setting and turning it on its head, such as turning a LARP about grieving for a dearly departed friend into a full-blown primetime TV supernatural drama or take a cutesy game about Imperial Japanese warships being turned into anime women and have their commander be a black market arms dealer with the aforementioned anime women being his muscle.
However, if an RPG is gonzo in of itself, like an RPG set in a fantasy version of a Wendy’s restaurant where the main villain is Night King Ronald McDonald, then that immediately piques my interests. Such as the case with this game. Just… look at the cover! You have a shirtless dinosaur human cowboy, front and center, while he’s flanked by both Bigfoot and an elf archer, all while there’s tentacles going on… What’s not to like!?
Welcome to the Tingleverse, an RPG based off some crazy novels that you can buy on Amazon! What’s it about? Well, it’s set in a universe where a variety of species have integrated themselves into society, ranging from the Bigfeet to the Dinosaurs, to even Unicorns and living objects. And thus, T-Rexes buying steaks and baseball playing motorcycles have become the norm for society.
Things are not so pleasant though, as monsters from a dark place known as the void often invade the Tingleverse. Some of these monsters were people just like us who were warped by the Void in an attempt to jump timelines while others are born right from the void itself.
Our story takes place in Billings, Montana of the good ol’ US of A, though altered to account for the Tingleverse, such as the lack of gunpowder or internet. Now, what kind of character shall I become?
Interestingly enough, the game’s system is a loose version of an OSR. It keeps the ability scores the same, but with the names altered. Constitution becomes Fortitude (ironically the name of the Saving Throw that uses Constitution in 3.5) Intelligence and Wisdom become Book/Street Smarts respectively, and Charisma becomes Charm, naturally.
Classes are easy to compare, with Bad Boys being Fighters, Charmers being Bards, Sneaks being Rogues, True Buckaroos being Clerics, and Wizards being… well… wizards. Though, this and the Alignments are where the similarities end. The races are pretty unique in terms of lore and stat distribution, while there’s a feature similar to Feats called Unique Ways that, mechanics wise, are completely different in how Feats go.
Namely, each Unique Way has an advantage and a disadvantage, with a huge stipulation to encourage roleplaying. For example, a character having Abs would help them in their Charm checks, but they need to spend some time doing sit ups to maintain them. Then, there are Cool Moves, which are special abilities that you can pick to customize your class.
Equipment gets a brief mention because not only do you start off with a bag of holding, but the selection of items mashes up an urban setting with a fantasy setting, kinda like Final Fantasy and Earthbound having a baby. The currency? US Dollars. Okay, that made me smile.
This is what I wanted out of an OSR game. A simplistic system that allows for character customization instead of having your character’s abilities and stats be fixed to a table. I really like this and now I want to roll up some characters. Let’s do it!
I’ll try to create five characters, one for each race.
First off is the human. Trace Buckland was a human from our world who got sent into the Tingleverse after an experiment gone horribly wrong. As he doesn’t like fighting, his calling as he was flung into the void was that of the True Buckaroo. He’s a spiritual scaredy cat with existential dread and a sense of humor. On top of healing his allies and giving them advantage, he can also light up dark places and summon magical armor onto himself.
Next up is the Bigfoot, Larry Woodknocker. He’s also a very spiritual person who is also a vegetarian. Despite these niceties, he’s a Bad Boy who don’t need no man. On top of being supportive of other Bigfeet and blending into his surroundings due to his Bigfoot nature, he is able to leap great bounds and hold the door for long amounts of time.
Verde is our Raptor friend. He’s swift and can bite people, which makes him perfect for the Sneak. He has flexed out abs and calves that make him irresistible to people, but he can also reroll one mishap a day, disguise himself to blend into a crowd, and can even climb sheer surfaces. He’s one of the few characters to have a score past 18.
Orange Glow is a unicorn who is kind enough to encourage people to keep trying their best, but she is also a Charmer, able to befriend people and even frighten them. She wears glasses and has a thing for humans, which enables her to know a lot about them and their history. She’s the one who found Trace and took him in, studying on his origins and the means to bring him back home.
And that would be it, but there’s a fifth type: The Living Objects. Due to their unique nature of being any sort of object, even embodiments, the Living Objects has their own book. To my surprise, this book is akin to a racial splat book than it is a book on magic items. It covers additional lore of the Tingleverse concerning the Living Objects, such as them having the ability to summon limbs for hands-on work or have faces that cover the majority of the object in question. It has a surprising amount of depth, talking about the abilities, how they’re born, and even their relation to time as they age.
So, let’s make one! Loculus was the casket for a powerful sorcerer, both lowered six feet under once the latter passed away. For centuries, his rest was undisturbed until a pair of grave robbers came by and dug him up, taking the skeletal remains of the sorcerer with them. Now out for revenge, Loculus rises from the grave (not literally, but you get what I mean) to find the thieves, obtain his master’s skeleton, and return to rest once more.
Sentient Coffins have a stigma against them due to their grim appearance. After all, no one wants to be reminded of their death when they’re out for groceries. But they can use that to their advantage, causing fear in the hearts of men. Not only that, but they’re not easily scared and their casket can be used as a makeshift barricade for one person. As a wizard, they are able to detect magic, create false magic to dissuade anyone from detecting him, and create a magical barrier that protects him from one hit a day.
Their nature also helps lead into how death works in this game. When a character hits zero health, their soul is taken to a ghostly train station where they must wait for The Lonesome Train. If they’re not called back to their world by the time the train arrives, they go in and full on descend into the afterlife. So, in other words, your character is instantly dead and the deadline to revive them, while varied by a d4 roll and your Fortitude score, is much shorter than most resurrection spells give you in other games. Yes, resurrection is possible, but from what I’ve read, there are a few ways to achieve that. Loculus has two of these methods: he can instantly come back to life within the first hour of being at the train station and even double his time being dead before he has to board the train.
And with that, the gang’s all here. What will be the story? Well, I’ll figure that when I play the game. I have a few ideas, such as a guy lost in the Tingleverse and Loculus’s quest, but for now, feel free to look at the characters with this cool Google Sheet made by Chef Stentor. Bon Voyage, gamers!