A Lugubrious Lullaby prints onto a single sheet of paper, and when folded up, becomes a zine RPG about innocence lost.
Written in 2018 first by Benjamin Anibal Reyna as Un Arrullo Lugubre, the current version of the game, in English, is now available on Itch. It costs however much you want it to.
You are a child in the game and stranded in a strange and dark world. It’s up to you how you got here; it could be by shipwreck, wardrobe or dream, but how you tell your origin story will affect your stats.
Characters have four stats: virtues, energy, maturity, and heart; the other is innocence.
You start with one dot in each virtue and put one more in the one you consider most important after you’ve told your background story to the others playing. As a player, you pick another character from the group you think has a special relationship with yours and define that relationship. The player of that character then increases one of your virtues by one. It is their choice which, then the Storyteller does the same.
The game’s simple mechanics use d6, one rolled for each point in the virtue you have, with the result deciding who narrates the outcome of an exciting or dangerous scene.
The game is about kids exploring the dangerous world and that magical innocence slowly being paired back.
You are far from your home, something dragged you to The Twisted Land, a place where nightmares walk, where the dead speak, where the forests are dark and sinister ships prowl the coasts. This place is strange, unnatural and fantastic. People, things and thoughts from different places and times end here, even from other worlds.
All characters begin with innocence and can be spent using the magic property in an item, or by spotting monsters hidden in the adult world or by making a myth come true by believing in it.
Innocence is lost when the world is cruel to you, and you can trade it to increase one of your virtues permanently.
Once your character’s innocence is lost, it is a mystery how to regain it, and they will no longer be able to see the magic around them.
A Lugubrious Lullaby is, I think, a fantastic one-page RPG for one-shots between friends. It requires strong storytellers, dark rooms and a goth playlist on low in the background.
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