The past few years have brought an influx of games focused on story creation – the hardest part of DM-ing a roleplaying game. Games like Fiasco act as a guide for creating a narrative adventure in a fun and intuitive way. Weave feels like a next step in that evolution.
Weave is a tarot card-based roleplaying game creating tool which is remarkably easy to use to create interesting adventure games. Using the Weave application, you scan individual tarot cards to determine how they add to your story. For instance, in the Gloomies playset, scanning the assassins card when generating enemies creates bullies, with a short description of who they are and what they do. Likewise, player characters are created by scanning a few tarot cards from the deck and selecting appropriate traits.
The great thing about Weave is the way it gives you tools to create your own story. After scanning three cards, I had already created a tale of scared bullies who do the bidding of the lunch lady out of fear that she will turn them into the next main course. Each additional card scanned for NPCs, enemies, or locations just filled me with more excitement as I added different elements to the broader narrative.
The roleplaying system is fairly straightforward. The DM can issue challenges to the players which are succeeded through one of four traits: physical, mental, social, or reaction. Based on the player’s character sheet, the character will roll dice to determine whether a challenge has been overcome and how much damage the character took in overcoming or failing the challenge.
One thing that makes Weave interesting as an RP platform is the freedom it gives the dungeon master. At any point in the story, the dungeon master can scan a tarot card and weave the new element into the story (yes, I know what I did and no I’m not sorry). It makes you think on your feet while also expanding your story in interesting or new ways. And if you don’t want some bad options to ruin an otherwise interesting adventure, you can always cancel the card and scan a different one.
While Weave’s current implementation includes the tarot deck and application, the developers have plans to release a pure application based version that is free-to-play. In the application version, a dungeon master can issue a challenge directly to another player’s phone. The player virtually rolls dice and the results are sent back to the dungeon master. It’s a fascinatingly lightweight means of running a campaign and can be done at any distance.
Weaves current system looks like an awesome narrative creation toolkit. The application version looks like it will be even better with greater freedom and flexibility. Monocle Society also showed off their new DM screen which we could see was filled with technical features. The scope of those features will be released by Monocle Society over the coming months.