Paradox Press Games’ GLOOM is a Name Your Own Price storytelling game. It’s two pages long.
Itch frustratingly doesn’t tell you how many pages you’re about to buy, making you guess or estimate what you think is fair. I think between $2 and $5 for GLOOM is about right. Yeah, it fits double-sided onto a single page but I think it would benefit from one more.
You need tarot cards and tea lights.
You’ve summoned ancient Darkness in GLOOM, characters are high schoolers as per the horror trope, and you’ve until the candles burn out to solve the problem or the Darkness wins.
I don’t think that’s lowballing it. Any mechanic that has you play with fire is dangerous. Sitting with friends in a dark room, playing a horror game in which the dying light is also the countdown to doom on your character, is pretty freaking cool.
One of the paragraphs that GLOOM should add is a bit more clarity on the system. I think it works like this; you start with a pack of Tarot cards, and to complete tasks, you have to discard between one (easy) and three (challenging). If you run out, if the Tarot dwindles to nothing before the light in the room does, the Darkness wins.
If you draw one of the major arcana in the game, there are special rules for that card.
Characters in GLOOM
You use major arcana draws to randomly inspire characters. There are no stats, classes or skills. No levels, backgrounds or fate points. GLOOM is a storytelling game that needs your imagination.
You can all be characters in GLOOM, there’s no need for a GM, but there’s no reason not to have one. If someone has a story they want to tell or the desire to act as a guide, the game easily allows that. The difficulty mechanic works, whether it’s one person suggesting it or a group agreeing on it.
I notice Paradox Press / Games is on Twitter and helmed by Ryan Cagle. Perhaps that’s why the follower counts are lower than I expected, split across two accounts. Otherwise, for a game a month in the indie scene, I would have expected Paradox to be more widely known.
That’s to say, I liked GLOOM. I think there’s production value here, and more importantly, I believe there are ghostly legs here. I’d be happy to see GLOOM grow. A little more detail, I think, would add a lot of value. Heck to the trend of squeezing everything onto one page.
GLOOM for Halloween? Yes, perfect. If you’re looking for a cost-effective storytelling game to download for Halloween, have the tea lights (with an hour burn time), the Tarot handy, and you and friends can adlib up a story, then I think GLOOM is an excellent idea.
- Download GLOOM.
What are your thoughts? Strike up a discussion and leave a comment below.