Tabletop roleplaying games have evolved from the first commercially available D&D books in 1974 to the ever changing and innovative systems that exist today. No longer must we drag books upon books of storytellers guides, players manuals, monster compendiums, scenarios and more to each game night in order to enjoy sitting down and crafting a story with our friends.
Dungeons & Dragons had created D&D Beyond which puts their roleplaying system online for anyone to access, systems like Dread or Dungeon World have gone super light on rules making it easy to pick up and run, and now Kyle Kinkade, of Monocle Society, has created a new system called Weave.
Weave is a small box packed full of surprises. When I first opened it up, I was confused. There sat a deck of tarot sized cards and a set of dice. That’s it. No instructions. No rule books. No character sheets. Kyle explained the game to me as “A roleplaying platform.” The game is run by a free app available on iOS and the Android App Store. The only physical objects you need are the cards and dice contained in the box.
Keeping to the physical simplicity of the game, the rules are quick and easy to learn as well. The app houses 3 free playsets, each of which tell different kinds of stories including futuristic sci-fi to campy high school horror.
To play, the Storyteller will begin by selecting a play set and creating a season (the overarching story). Making a season reminds me a lot of a tarot reading. You’ll draw cards and scan them into the app which in turn, depending on which playset you chose, will tell you what the card means for your story. It will give you a theme, locations, and a boss.
The players will use the same system to create characters, drawing cards for backstory, talents, flaws, signature moves, and equipment. Many of the cards have multiple meanings within the playset and you’ll be able to choose from a few options to really make your character your own.
Once the story and characters are set, you can get playing. Set up takes only a few minutes and a full game can be done in an hour. That’s really fantastic for players who want to enjoy roleplaying together, but only have time for a short session. The story can be as fast and loose as you want or if you’re having trouble feeling creative, you can use the app to help the game along.
The storyteller can add NPC’s, challenges, new locations, enemies, loot, and more just by scanning cards. These little story tidbits that the app provides are short, but do a great job at creating hooks. One of my favorites is ‘The Gullible Science Teacher’. I can think of about a million ways players could trouble poor Mr. Arthur.
The reason I’m really impressed with Weave, is that you can fit everything you need to run a full and exciting campaign, into your pocket. Everything from the story to the characters is stored in the cloud so, as long as you have your phone or tablet, you start an impromptu session pretty much anywhere. I also love the facts that Monocle Society doesn’t plan to release any other physical components. The cards in Weave are used for every playset, so it’s exciting to see what cards like ‘The Watchtower’ will mean from one game to the next. Discovering all of the meanings behind the cards could be a game in unto itself!
I had worried that Weave would feel gimmicky, relying on the novelty of an app run system instead of high-quality content, but between the fascinating narratives, the bright, enticing look of the cards, the high quality of the components, and the slick design of the app, I think Monocle Society has something real here.If you are new to roleplaying and looking for a way to play without investing a ton of money and time or if you want to play something a little lighter, Weave makes for a great option. I’m really excited to see what Monocle Society comes out with for Weave next.
Want more information on the game? Check out our post ‘‘Weave’ Blends Tarot With Technology for Accessible, Innovative Roleplaying. You can purchase your own copy of Weave on the Monocle Society’s website.
What kind of stories would you want to tell with Weave? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Credits: Jessica Fisher