+Fraser Simons has some nice words to say about my latest Kratophagia playtest at +BreakoutCon over the weekend.

For those who have played before, the main changes were solidifying the hunger mechanic (I think I'm happy with it now) and the addition of "Community Starter playsheets" (name subject to change) inspired by +Vincent Baker's The Sundered Land (this starter was "The Gore-Filled Sea"; at Gateway 2017 I ran "The Earth's Claw").

The only change I plan after this playtest is de-emphasising the way I use "goblin" to describe the kratophagoi. It's a good shorthand, but it doesn't entirely fit with the feel I want.

My comment there: "I think Kratophagia is just about done with internal playtesting. Next step is to write down how to run it so that I can send out some copies for external playtesting. That will also involve at least a Print n Play version of the cards, or quite possibly a playtest/ashcan deck on DriveThruCards. It also will be enough work that it probably won't happen until the Dinosaur Princesses kickstarter is going later this year."

I got a chance to play +Hamish Cameron's Krataphagia: The Gore Filled Sea on Sunday — it was so good! I generally am not very big on gore and adjacent subject matter but playing as a goblin community in which your hunger defines you and is made central allowed for me to make space for it in a way I didn't initially expect. I think it also helped that Hamish provided two X-Cards, one for each side of the table rather than one.

The crashed ships of the Progonoi pierce the land like teeth of a dead god. The domed cities of the Katoikoi lie squat and empty among them, strewn like droplets of the land’s blood. The air is fetid and deadly, but you’ve learned to breathe it. You’ve learned other things besides. And your swollen glands thirst to know more. In the land of the dead, you eat or you die.
A game of hunger, consumption, cannibalism, body horror and oppression.

Of course, by this time I was also barely freaking audible because my voice gave out. It recovered somewhat after Saturday when it was terrible, but it was still pretty dang bad. I got to play with +Matthew Doughty, +Paul Taliesin, and someone I forget the name of. Everyone was awesome and there were some fantastic moments.

We all lived in fear under a bridge with our community leader, the all-seeing all-knowing Vatos shaming and punishing the various infractions. Below was a sea filled with shark-like creatures. And from time to time we knew of giants passing above... and the water level continues to rise, encroaching on our safety. Between was a light that all knew should not and must not go out. A flame also used by Vatos to torture and punish us, of course.

There were so many interesting and surprising moments stemming from the excellent community and character generating procedure. Because it was PbtA it was easy to get going and just do what we wanted, triggering moves as we went which leaned on our stats, which were our various body parts. Legs and hands and body and mouth; all used by us to do mostly basic things centered around our survival and our hunger. You can also mutate, and as I understand it, eventually breed, by feeding. When you decide to select this option there's an intense and evocative deck of cards which describe your new power, along with this change, external or internal. You can use these cards to also withstand harm, otherwise, one of your stats and body parts are debilitated, further driving you to feed to try and regenerate.

I dug it a heck of a lot.

"Do not tell me of hunger!!" -- Vatos


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