Parselings is a modern Deck building RPG about using collaborative word magic and discovering your place in it. The game takes place in a world like our own, but with one major difference – to some, words have literal power. Parsecytes, swarms of ravenous ink-like parasitic organisms, have emerged into the world causing irreversible changes to society and our ecosystem.
When a Parsecyte invades a human host, it forms a symbiosis with them, together becoming an entity known as a Parseling. At a glance, Parselings are indiscernible from most other humans except for the labels on their skin and the ink mixed into their blood. When brought together in groups, these individuals become greater than the sum of their parts. The infected hosts can use their tattoos to form phrases and sculpt the world to their desires. This power has come to be known as a Parse.
You will play as one of these beings. Struggling to strike a balance between appeasing the Parsecyte within, and proving you are a complex human being who cannot only be defined by a few careless words. This is both a curse and a blessing, but with the others that share your affliction, the world is your oyster.
Purchase now in order to experience this unique game or download the teaser PDF below to get a better idea of how it plays.
Nominal City, or The Wellspring of Infection as it later came to be known, began as a dark metropolis. The weak and watery sunlight shone feebly through the gray sky for only several hours of the day, before the smothering dusk fell upon the tall cluster of buildings. We now know it as the ground zero of the parseling phenomenon, the very soil fertile with meaning and words. In the germination stage of the infection, the stench of paranoia and hushed whispers filled the air. I suppose it was only fitting that in such a place every thought and the stray word became enriched with such intensity of significance. Perhaps the most distinctive thing about Nominal City is that large areas of the city were torn from their roots and rose into the air where they have been ever since. The catastrophe of this created many victims and refugees still clustered within the city, to which the rest reacted poorly to. The memory of this event remains a stain in the collective psyche of the people.
The old city encircled by a new wall, sits quarantined on a peninsula away from the rest of the mainland. Underneath in the craters and shadows, it smells like a dense forest of tall gray buildings with faded and peeling pastel paints. Posters are layered over each other like rings of wood in a tree. Replace the forest animals with people rugged up in their thick coats and scarves becoming anonymous figures. There’s a feeling of oppression in the concrete, the enclosing wall bordering the entirety of Nominal City and the nearby mountain range, the fall of the government, and the rise of large private corporations to take over public interests. It doesn’t help that there’s a new movement, spoken of only in quiet corners. Something that might be a threat.
Parselings, have you heard of them?
A Deck of Cards For Each Player
In the Choice System, each player controls a single character and a deck constructed out of a set of regular playing cards. The cards you choose will represent your character’s health and mentality. The larger the deck, the more options, and health they have, while in comparison with fewer cards, the more limited their actions are.
You will need to make some hard decisions when constructing your deck because of one simple reason: Parselings are not gods, nor are they omnipotent. They will need others to help do what they themselves cannot. As the game progresses your deck can change and twist as your character progresses through different scenarios.
A Set of Dice For Your Game Master
Though predominantly a deck-building game, you will still need a set of dice to be shared by your group. When sitting down to play the game, only the GM will actually need these dice. While many NPC actions could be replicated with cards, it is faster for the GM to use dice on lesser challenges.
- A small pool of d6s (six-sided dice) to represent the small enemies and obstacles in the campaign.
- A single d10 (ten-sided dice), d12 (twelve-sided dice), and d20 (twenty-sided dice) to help decide the words a Parseling can use.
As a roleplaying game, stories are at the heart of these systems and the rules offer a systematic way of translating actions into a format that everyone else agrees upon. We are utilizing our imagination to fuel the game, putting our time and our effort to create our own fun and a story we would want to listen to. For players, this means you’ll need to be able to describe your character and what they want to do. For the GM, you’ll need to create an adventure with your players in a way that everyone enjoys.
Parselings is a game where you get to tell any story that you can imagine.
Whether you are undertaking a devious deal or enacting a daring distraction, the circumstances are never the same for any two people. Governing the mechanical side of the game, the Choice System is built to embody the individuality of your own character, to represent how you want to play. By choosing your cards it’s more than just a gamble, your choices are will change fate.
Each card in your deck tells a story about your character. You’ll know what it feels like to step into their shoes, watching the odds change with every card you spend and every move you make. Whatever happens in your story, the choice is yours.
By uniting we stand, by dividing you will fall.
If the Choice System is the gears directing the fate of your characters, Parses are the heart and soul of the game. The Parse System is where your imagination and will to co-operate with others truly matters. Parsing is the supernatural phenomena or magic that is carried out by two or more Parselings with a simple touch and uttering a small string of words. Through using this power to redefine the world, you’ll be able to achieve amazing feats that would be otherwise impossible.
A Parseling’s words are determined by their perceived role in the world. These come from anywhere – from strangers, friends, and even from the Parseling themselves. All players are involved in the process of determining the potential words each character may possess. Dice are used to mix things up and represent the haphazard nature of the Parsecyte they've bonded.
Do what you will with your gifts, but ask yourselves, how will your words define you?