Apophatic Games was founded because of an afternoon filled with a pregnant silence. We’d just finished a short campaign, and we were trying to process it. We all sat in our chairs, lost in thought. I’d just tasted my first role-playing game session that was filled with a true, deliberate meaning. Something in our little group had shifted.
It was an apophatic experience.
That’s not exactly a common word, apophatic. The common meaning you’ll find if you look it up is describing God by subtraction, by contradiction. God is all powerful, but you’re assuming comparisons and that someone can be measured on the same scale. God is eternal, but you’re using the language of time, which has never applied to Him. By that definition apophaticism is merely a trick of language, a sophism.
That’s not the goal of apophaticism, however. The goal is to break the mind of thinking in limited terms. Experience is not bound by language or thought. We experience, then we think, trying to capture the essence of that experience so it can be communicated. But the core of all experience is a bright darkness, something always just outside our ability to communicate. Some experiences are harder to describe than others, defying categorization.
Apophatic Games is making games to drive towards these sorts of experiences, the ones that make you sit in silence afterwards and think. Playing these games will hopefully give you something uncanny, something just the other side of explainable. I
Crescendo, by Nathan Hicks. Crescendo is a dice and journaling fantasy TTRPG of deep character development in a dynamically mythological world. Your character will be changed. So will the world. What that looks like is up to you. An open alpha test is available! Come over to the Discord and see the evolution! Crescendo’s in an open alpha playtest, get the PDF here!
SPACE OPERA, by Nathan Hicks. Made for one shots and short campaigns, SPACE OPERA is designed to emulate the feel and structure of the big space elephant in the room. Make up completely new high-flying stories and settings on the fly, with highly collaborative mechanics Rooted in Trophy! SPACE OPERA is in an open alpha playtest, get the PDF here!
The following projects are being developed, but aren’t ready to test. Blog posts will go up about them, like with Crescendo and SPACE OPERA, although they’ll be more exploratory.
Its Shadow Still Remains, by Kyle Martinez and Nathan Hicks, is a high fantasy tactical TTRP, where your bonds with those at the table are tested, evolving under stress. It is a game about the evolution of a small group of would-be allies into a true team.
Chthonic Gallery, a solo exploration RPG,will focus on exploration in a world (and genre) of your making, using a deck of tarot cards and some dice. Build a world, set a goal for yourself, and see what your character becomes. Be careful, it may not be what you expect!
C’mon and join the Apophatic Game Discord and hang out here!