When Girl by Moonlight landed successful my inbox, I knew it was thing special. A tabletop role-playing crippled utilizing nan Blades successful nan Dark strategy based connected nan Magical Girl genre successful nan twelvemonth of Barbie 2023? I was truthful ready. The crippled takes inspiration from classical shojo manga and shows for illustration Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Card Captor Sakura, and The Vision of Escaflowne arsenic good arsenic much modern iterations of nan genre like Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Stephen Universe, and Star vs. The Forces of Evil.
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So let’s get down to it. This is simply a standalone game, astir 250 pages, which includes 7 playbooks for characteristic creation, 4 genre-focused “Series Playsets” that helps find communicative themes and crippled direction. Also included successful nan playsets are jumpstart adventures to thief get your run started. Plus, the art. The art! Truly incredible.
I was very excited to get a chance to talk to Andrew Gillis—the writer and crippled designer down Girl by Moonlight, which is being published done Evil Hat Games. It’s currently crowdfunding and smashed done its backing extremity successful an hour! All nan extras now being funded are glitter connected apical of a very sparkly cake. So what does Gillis person to opportunity astir his caller game?
Linda Codega, io9: There’s a batch of Magical Girls retired location — what makes this genre truthful special, not conscionable to you arsenic a designer, but to group each complete nan world?
Andrew Gillis: The magical woman genre gives america an opportunity to look extracurricular nan ascendant (read: masculine) mode of storytelling successful our culture. It’s not conscionable astir identity, though, it’s astir different ways of seeing nan world, and approaches to changing it.
Magical woman stories are besides stories of hope, which feels very important to clasp connected to successful cynical times. Every genre is simply a group of expectations, and an opportunity to subvert them. I usage nan genre very expansively successful nan game, and connection up a assortment of takes connected what it could mean, and beryllium about. So I deliberation it’s a very fruitful abstraction successful which to show stories, and a chance for maine to connection thing unexpected successful [tabletop role-playing games].
io9: How do you equilibrium societal roleplay pinch combat mechanics?
Gillis: In Girl by Moonlight nan action of nan communicative you show is grounded successful emotion. So whether it’s a quiet infinitesimal that 2 characters stock successful downtime, aliases nan climactic confrontation pinch nan series’ adversary, nan soul world of nan characters matters. The crippled gives adjacent mechanical weight to my characteristic straight confronting a large scary monster that was erstwhile nan skipper of nan way team, arsenic it does to maine appealing to nan vulnerable quality bosom that still thumps wrong it. It was very important to alteration non-violent, compassionate approaches to nan threats facing nan protagonists. I wanted to situation nan thought that our first and champion instrumentality should beryllium violence, which is truthful communal successful games, and successful media much generally.
io9: What was your favourite creation situation you had to ace during nan creation of this game?
Gillis: The crippled has 4 chopped ‘series playsets’ that connection different situations, adversaries, and themes pinch which to play your ain bid of Girl by Moonlight. I wanted to build these playsets specified that elements from each were inter-operable. The guidelines rules of nan crippled use successful each, pinch immoderate mini further elements aliases variations that are unsocial to each playset. It required that I support each 4 successful mind erstwhile moving connected nan halfway rules of nan game, which is simply a batch of imaginable interactions to relationship for. Figuring retired what needed to unrecorded wrong a series, and what was halfway to nan crippled generally, really helped maine understand nan creation better, successful nan end. Just arsenic hacking Blades successful nan Dark helped maine understand really that crippled worked, I ended up learning astir my ain crippled successful nan people of, essentially, making hacks of it internally.
io9: What benignant of metaphors tin beryllium woven passim this crippled and nan characters that group create?
Gillis: First and foremost, nan crippled is astir transformation, and struggling against a dispute world, truthful it is ever going to beryllium a metaphor for trans experience. It has a batch of my ain acquisition of that tied up successful it. Each of nan 7 characteristic types, and nan 4 bid playsets, person their ain palette of metaphor, though.
So there’s a very wide scope of ideas and stories that players tin prime and take from. So you mightiness play nan Time Traveller, who has travel backmost successful clip to forestall a unspeakable destiny befalling a friend, but that’s really you exploring really personification mightiness deliberation they cognize what’s champion for another. You mightiness play nan Harmony, a characteristic who is nan surviving embodiment of a relationship, and usage that to deliberation astir queer romance, and really there’s room successful your bosom for much than conscionable 1 person. Something I’ve tried to stress successful nan crippled is giving players a chance to return nan concepts I provide, and construe and toggle shape them into thing that suits their needs. The crippled offers structure, and support, but besides plentifulness of room for players to definitive themselves.
io9: If you had to take a magical woman catchphrase, what would it be?
Gillis: “Hope is not a plan!”
Even though dream is basal to changing nan world, dream is not capable connected its own. You request to get organized, and activity pinch your friends to make that alteration happen. I often consciousness overwhelmed by nan struggles of my life, nevermind nan bigger problems that style nan world we unrecorded in. Having a scheme lets maine break it each down into pieces I tin understand, and really make advancement on. Believing successful thing is simply a awesome start, but if you ne'er do thing pinch it, it doesn’t mean much. Hope is not a plan.
So I conjecture I would beryllium nan rival magical girl, who pushes different characteristic to move their dreams into reality. I don’t mind if I create a spot of friction, if it gets things moving. Even if they resent maine now, they’ll convey maine later.
Girl by Moonlight is crowdfunding connected Backerkit until June 22.
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