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DeScriptors RPG: Definitive Edition
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DeScriptors RPG: Definitive Edition

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DeScriptors: A Word Game Micro RPG was first released to the public as part of 2015's Wayne Con, and it has been featured in several episodes of the popular writers' workshop podcast, the Worldbuilder's Anvil, hosted by Jefferey Ingram!

Create characters in a minute. Come up with a handful of encounters, scenarios, or plot twists in five minutes...or even on the fly! Run a full, satisfying game in just 1-2 hours...or longer! Within the compact nature of the game, the use of adjectives and nouns forces characters to change and grow as they deal with the scenarios they face, and therefore a short series of continuous sessions or even a long campaign are fully supported, and your characters will evolve!

DeScriptors: Definitive Edition expands upon the previously released "Anything Goes" edition by including not one but five fully detailed campaign settings, complete with scenario ideas, optional rules, advice, and pregenerated characters. This helps to show the true range that a narrative game like DeScriptors can provide! The settings are:

Ethanol Pop: Wondrous Days. This steampunk fantasy slice-of-life game is filled with wondrous gizmos, genre-bending mashups, and scenarios that are equally at home in a pastoral fantasy or an airship pirate campaign!

Anything Goes: While You Were Gone. The setting featured in the PWYW "Anything Goes" edition of DeScriptors and inspired by the micro fiction story "While you were gone" reappears here for completeness' sake! This bizarre setting has been described as "RIFTS as played for laughs": portals to alternate dimensions have ravaged the world, but you can run funny, scary, or epic scenarios with equal ease.

Hunters Guild of the Ancient Lands. This fantasy campaign setting is perfect for monster hunter scenarios or a "gotta collect 'em all" monster training/fighting scenarios! The players build characters who are members of a guild that strikes out into a truly fantastic, utterly mysterious monster-filled world, hoping to catalogue them, tame them, fight them, or harvest them for trade. The vistas are truly remarkable, and certainly the product of some kind of great magic. What mysteries might be unearthed while searchng for incredible monsters throughout the Ancient Lands?

SUPERMAX! A superhero campaign in a "dystopian utopia" - superpunk, if you will! In this setting, superpowered folks beat back an alien invasion and helped unite the Earth's government, creating a utopia. Except, if you're a powered individual, you're either in prison -- SUPERMAX prison, of course! -- or you're one of the prison guards. "Utopia" indeed! Also, as it turns out, there's a conspiracy involving alien technology recovered from the invasion force...

The Philosopher's Stone. You are one of the brave few that stands against the madness-inducing interlopers from beyond the realms of reason, hoping to heal the wounds of reality-warping Cthulhu-esque monsters as they ravage the land. This setting works in a fantasy world, in 1920s New England, or in the modern world: the point is that the madness is palpable, and only you can help repair reality.

The Definitive Edition comes complete with an FAQ-style game master/storyteller guide: creator Matthew Bannock and Worldbuilder's Anvil podcast host Jeffery Ingram answer a series of questions regarding inspiration for narrative games, gettings players who are used to more "traditional" RPGs into the mindset of DeScriptors, balancing encounters with regard to trait-bidding, and their experiences running the game. Functional advice for an incredibly open-ended game!

Created and Designed by Matthew Bannock. Additional Development, Editing, and Layout by Tim Bannock. Art by Bruno Balixa, Rick Hershey, Currens, Kellepics, Pixexid.

Purchase with confidence! We release the entire (or very nearly, depending on the release) product in the preview so you know exactly what you're getting!

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Reviews (2)
Discussions (4)
Customer avatar
James C October 24, 2020 4:23 am UTC
A silly question for a remarkably well written idea. How do you recommend setbacks be used? I understand it's an adjective, but do you use it as a Compel in the vein of Fate? i.e. You can fail this action and trade up the setback. Or does it just provide an adjective that may or may not come up again mechanically? Or do they function more like Tags or Aspects : You're Wounded, so what you're trying is not likely to succeed?
Customer avatar
Tim B October 24, 2020 3:33 pm UTC
RAW they are just new adjectives. You can use them as normal. They may have a negative connotation when originally applied, but you can use them to overcome challenges or to trigger your Descriptor as normal. Think of it as a step in your character's story arc telling us how they've changed.

Optionally, your idea that it could be used as a Fate-style compel is a good one. Character's adjectives should inform the sorts of scenes that happen, so thinking of them--either the setbacks or the 'normal' adjectives--like compels is great. It's up to you if using them in this manner 'spends' them, but the game is balanced on not having too many more ways to lose traits throughout a 1-4 hour session of play, so you want to be careful there. Either add more refresh for fishing scenes, or only have a couple (or just one) big challenges that could lead to combat or require multiple adjectives to be spent to overcome the challenge.
Customer avatar
Todd M August 07, 2019 2:24 am UTC
Not to assume, but how amenable is this system to making your own settings?
Customer avatar
Tim B November 21, 2019 9:24 pm UTC
Sorry I didn't see this comment sooner! Stupid no notifications...

Anyway, to answer your question: highly! In fact, I'd say that's the point. Definitive Edition features 5 extremely different settings in terms of genre, adventure/scenario tropes, and types of characters the players will run. While there isn't a lot of time or energy spent on world-building tools in this book, there is some of that emergent from the optional and variant rules we provide. The idea being: you come to it with any setting you want to play in, and the game covers it because it's focused entirely on the narrative arc of the player characters.

A great example is how we provide options and variants for nouns as slightly more focused, specialized, and thus "weaker" than adjectives. But the beauty is that a noun can be anything. So, we provide some samples of stuff in standard fantasy settings -- sword, healing potion, etc. -- but you could easily make that cyberpunk tech like guns, datajack, and combat...See more
Customer avatar
Ryan L February 13, 2019 6:51 pm UTC
I am really excited about this RPG system, and think a lot of people will have a ton of fun with it!

"DeScriptors is a wonderfully conceived and quality produced RPG that highlights the fun a highly narrative-focused system can be. It just needs a little clarity inserted. I am giving it 3.5 Stars and recommending it for roleplay experienced GMs and players who don’t mind losing the crunch that a d20 system brings. Though I suggest even “crunch lovers” check it out. I have a hunch you’ll love it with a good GM guiding you!"

For the full review, copy and paste the link below:
Customer avatar
Tim B January 07, 2019 6:34 pm UTC
UPDATE 12/1/2018:

We've added an Appendix that will be continuously updated with new optional and variant rules to help you run different campaign styles and present new mechanics for players -- troupe style or one-on-one play -- and new challenges for Storytellers to use when creating setbacks and hazards.

Login to your account, go to your Library, and download the latest version to make sure you've got all the options to play with. We'll keep using this Discussions area to note future updates.
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This title was added to our catalog on November 03, 2018.