This is really wonderful! Simple, with lots of room for imagination but with a good set of tables and instructions for guidance. I love it!
Bookstore by Chance
A downloadable journaling game
Your World | Your Bookshop
This game is about exploring an imaginary world through the perspective of a bookstore worker. Talk to customers and keep track of their stories as you work day to day. These interactions are driven by prompts based on your dice rolls and are completely made up by you as you write in your journal. Interactions are taxing on your Social Energy, but this can lead to fun roleplaying moments.
Balance your social energy as you interact with customers that come and go. Roll from tables or use bibliomancy to guide your conversations. As you play, customers are liable to return to the shop. The more books you've sold them in the past can help open them up to conversation. This lets your relationship with them develop in such a way that slowly unfolds at a natural pace. Some customers are much more outgoing than others, so it can feel great when you finally break through to the more standoffish sort of customers.
Designed for remixing
The game is designed with a simplicity that allows you to remix the rules as you see fit, or even use external RPG tools to guide your customer interactions. You could even use this game to supplement another RPG.
Example of Play From Anonymous Player
A mechanical roach. A big jolly guy in tweed.
"I run my bookstore in a cosmic, gentrifying world. I'm part of the "old guard" species, and while many are suspicious of the arriving inhabitants, I'm open-minded and welcoming."
Vidar is endlessly curious, and would rather meet new travelers than fear them. He always allows for the bookstore to be a safe haven for those down on their luck and he can't stand the xenophobic trends in the "old guard" population.
Day 3 - Energy: 20
The latter half of the previous day put me in the best mood I've been in for weeks. I sleep well, wake up an hour earlier than normal, and open the shop with high hopes for an interesting day.
The player goes for a level 1 difficulty of interaction and rolls successfully.
My first customer of the day is a local --- the first I've had in the shop for several days. A giant, spindly spider in casual religious dress, he crawls over the walls to peruse books on upper shelves.
"Reverend Carillo," I call out to him. "It's a pleasure to see you here, but please don't walk on the walls." I've had to remind him of this rule for years, and yet, he always seems to do it.
"Vidar," he calls back. "My apologies." He comes down from the wall to greet me at the counter. We idly catch up before he cuts to the chase.
"Am I to believe the rumors that your shop is now catering to ENDO Skeletals?"
I sigh, then tell him, yes, my doors are open to any and all curious minds. And just as I knew he would, Rev. Carrillo begins to lecture me on his doctrine of belief that endoskeletal creatures are unnatural and wicked in the eyes of the great queen mother.
The player rolls to see if the customer buys a book and succeeds.
I let him carry on, but when he finishes, I tell him we'll just have to disagree. To my surprise, he browses for a while, then picks out a book and brings it to the counter. We wish one another well, but he can't help himself by tossing a final warning against the newcomers over his shoulder as he leaves.
End of session sample
The player in the gameplay sample above used many tools alongside this game for their play session including:
The Everyone Everywhere List (generating customer names)
Maze Rats (generating customer species)
UNE - Universal NPC Emulator (generating quick customer descriptions)
GUM - Game Unfolding Machine (help determining setting)
Mythic GM Emulator - 2nd Edition (rolled on “Locations” table for setting)
Ex Novo (rolled on the “Culture” table to establish the world a bit more)
Between the Skies (used some character creation tables for my PC)
These tools aren't at all necessary to play but are totally welcome in the process.
Share your sessions!
If you run a session of this game and wouldn't mind sharing, I'd love to read it! Feel free to share in the discussion boards.
In order to download this journaling game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $5 USD. You will get access to the following files:
Support this journaling game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.
2-Color Risograph Printed (Black Text - Burgundy Art) physical copy on cotton paper with a purple cardstock cover. Half-letter sized, stapled.
Sent via envelope in snail mail.
If you know me or live near Fort Wayne, IN, USA, send me a message and you can buy a cheaper copy in person!
Can't afford a copy? Just take one. <3 I trust you.
- Creator's Game Session - Spirit Box Books89 days ago
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This is adorable, and hits just the right balance of mechanics and storytelling for me. Can't wait to sit down and write!
I saw your enthusiastic posts over on reddit so I ended up purchasing a copy to play. While I write as slow as molasses - I'm happy to share a link to the start of my first day and hoping I can try and write a little each day. Please feel free to let me know if I'm making any mistakes.
Its been a lot of fun so far!
Oh this is great! Thanks for sharing.
“is the world full of goblins and elves?" so - you know what, yes. Yes it is.
You look to be following the rules just right, and I’m glad to see you messing with the numbers to role-play. The agriculture book series had me laughing. Can’t wait to read more!
Thank you! Also as I'm prepping tomorrows writeup and mulling over ideas - is the idea that if someones social resistance is a nat 20 that there is basically no option to talk to them unless you spend a maximum energy bonus (because 20 + interaction difficulty - 0 for books sold)?
I think I'll give the patron headphones or in the worst sort of mood but in this (odd niche edge case) there's literally no option for me to succeed even at a basic interaction, is that correct?
Yeah. Really the only way to get through to them is to sell them books since you subtract that from the number to beat. So if they buy a few books, their number to beat is no longer 20 the next time they come in.
I’m not super into the capitalistic aspect of that but I didn’t want to introduce yet another number to track, like amount of times visited and subtract that. I guess I just wanted to keep it in theme and simple so I landed on books sold.
I just read through your 3 blog posts for the first day. Really enjoyed it. I just love how different people's worlds and bookstores can be. I also like how you did writing between customers, and how you started roleplaying with characters and then integrating the different roll checks throughout the interaction. Some people do all of their rolls first and then write (which is what the book recommends) but it's just as valid and cool to do it in more of a serialized way. Thanks for posting those. I hope you're having fun with it.
Hah, I'm glad its not just bots reading my posts. Having all the rolls done first might be worth a shot as it lets you sorta set the whole scene - might play around with that the next day!
I've been having some challenges lately but still excited to write more, hopefully feeling well enough by Tuesday. The fact that this game book got me up and writing again is a testament in itself :) It's really been scratching a creative itch that's been missing in my day to day.
I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of this game to try out. It’s wonderful, open enough to let your imagination go wild but enough substance to be a really enjoyable experience, with lots of replay possibilities. Set up a humble stall in a post-apocalyptic landscape selling to robots, roll a covered wagon village to village, or set up a mega mart in a giant city! Literally anything.
The game includes rolling tables to make each day, and each customer, unique. I used GameMasters Apprentice cards to name my customers, and add weather, but outside tools really aren’t needed to play. My next playthrough, I’ll be using bibliomancy for the first time to add more prompts, this game is perfect to try using books for play!