There are many fun and interesting ways to make roleplaying games feel immersive, but my new favorite has been the “Keepsake Game” sub-genre, which has been gaining a lot of popularity since being pioneered by Shing Yin Khor and Jeeyon Shim a couple years ago. Keepsake games guide you through creating an artifact that’s an important part of the story, therefore immersing you, the player into the story as an important part of it yourself.
The Secret of the Mermaid is a brand new keepsake game currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter that aims to involve the player in a research project about mermaids via a series of beautiful and immersive postcards and ephemera. The game creators, American Kevin Dann and German Margit Schäfer, take immersion very seriously, fully taking on the roles of researcher Dr. Dann and ritualist Clarissa, who will guide the player through the game. We had a chance to chat with both of them about their vision for The Secret of the Mermaid.
Jamey is a non-binary adventurer from Buffalo, NY who wishes they were immortal so they’d have time to visit every coffee shop in the world. They write code, like plants, record podcasts, categorize zines and read tarot cards. Find them on twitter at @jameybash – and ask them about Star Wars or Vampire: the Masquerade if you dare!
Many immersive theater experiences and various LARP groups have learned how to innovate and adapt in response to the cautions and concerns created by the ongoing pandemic. Mirror World Creations offers a whole catalog of experiences that can be played remotely, while Lucid Immersive recreated the work-from-home conference call.
Elvie somehow finds bliss in purposefully complicating the art of storytelling and undertaking the painful practice of animation. If you see her on Twitter at @lvmaeparian, she is doing neither of those things. She currently helps with managing the socials to ensure that the secret recipe will never be revealed.
I’m a pretty solid noob when it comes to Dungeons and Dragons, but I’m proud of the characters I’ve created and the campaigns I’ve participated in so far. These D&D campaigns didn’t last long due to adult responsibilities and commitments, but they gave me a solid feel for the game, and let me cross something else off of my geek bucket list.
2017 was a long, brutal year. On top of political strife, industry shenanigans, and personal/professional chaos, it was also the first full calendar year I spent out of school and thus removed from automatic contact with a big group of my friends. But in the last few months, games not only gave me an explicit reason to reach out and connect with a group of people whose company I cherish, but also an outlet to explore stories I would never otherwise have told.
I tend to get a little overzealous when I have an idea. Deciding to build a tiered vegetable garden, I went out and bought dozens of seed packets without having actually built anything yet. I wanted to start a gaming channel on YouTube, so I bought a recording program without considering the effort it takes to talk to yourself for a half hour straight. So, when I decided to start playing Dungeons & Dragons, my first step was dropping $200 on supplies despite the facts that I 1) didn’t have a group and 2) knew nothing about the game.
Armed with expensive hardcover books and a set of pretty purple dice, I set about to find people to play with. My first two attempts were both web-based, and neither panned out due to scheduling issues. With one, I got as far as making my character—a pansexual half-elf sorcerer with a habit of picking pockets and seducing enemies. The other group never even made it to the character creation stage. It was clear I needed to find an in-person group.
The problem? I live in a small town. The population is about 2,500 people. Finding a group of people around my age who were interested in tabletop roleplay wasn’t going to be easy.