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COBWEBS is a 1-5 player GM-less RPG that tells stories of reluctant investigators uncovering terrifying conspiracies and getting far more than they bargained for.  It combines elements of noir, horror, and science fiction to create a uniquely haunting mystery built collaboratively. If you enjoy podcasts like Limetown and Tanis, comics like Mind MGMT, or movies like Under The Silver Lake and Mute-you're in the right place. 

This game builds upon mechanics you know from games you already enjoy such as Lovecraftesque, Blades in the Dark, and The Hour Between Dog & Wolf while simultaneously bringing a new and novel experience to your table. 

Cobwebs is designed by Adam Vass of World Champ Game Co. illustrated by Sally Cantirino, and published by Exalted Funeral


Cobwebs works best with a group three players but comfortably supports one to five. Over the course of your game, each player takes turns inhabiting one of three shared roles:

  •  The Darling - our lone investigator. This person is far outside of their realm of comfort, but when a loved one goes missing and those tasked with finding them fail, they are resolved to take things into their own hands.
  •  The Shadow - an ensemble of friendly, suspicious, or dangerous characters who our Darling interacts with during their investigation. Some will help, others will hinder, but each one brings our investigator closer to peril.
  •  The Machine - the outsider tasked with assembling scenes, describing locations, and ramping up tension as danger draws near.

Each role has particular goals and randomized contextual setups in each scene as determined by dice rolls interacting with a beautiful cloth die-drop playmat.

Each player shapes the mystery in secretive ways, adapting and projecting various theories as you progress. The final result is the sum of the collective’s contributions to the story, and still a conclusion that no one person could have anticipated.



The digital edition of COBWEBS includes the following:

If you're interested in the physical edition which includes custom dice, tokens, and a screen printed cloth playmat, visit worldchamp.io/store or exaltedfuneral.com


Purchase

Get this game and 6 more for $25.00 USD
View bundle
Buy Now
On Sale!
30% Off
$15.00 $10.50 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $10.50 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Cobwebs Rulebook.pdf 55 MB
Cobwebs role reference cards.pdf 1 MB
Cobwebs Printable Playmat.pdf 9 MB
Cobwebs Visual Assets PNG.zip 559 kB
Cobwebs - Alex Roberts Bumble And The Forest Friends.zip 10 MB

Download demo

Download
Cobwebs Machine Automatic (1-2 players).pdf 3 MB
Download
world wide cobwebs oct2020.pdf 875 kB

Development log

Comments

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It seems that the COBWEB Dice of COBWEB Template (Google Slides) are invalid.

For example, if you click "Roll, Less Than 3 Danger", you will get the following error message:

Exception: The image at URL...could not be retrieved. Please make sure the image is valid and accessible.

(+1)

Cobwebs is a 3--5 player conspiracy horror trpg about a single character investigating the disappearance of a loved one.

The PDF is 72 pages, with easy to read text and excellent low-fi, zine-style art and layout.

Cobwebs is played with d6s, a d12, tokens, a playmat, and optionally a voice-recording device. There's a Twin Peaks-y vibe to its setting, but its malleable enough that you can use it to run games in the present day or the distant past as long as you preserve the general atmosphere of suspense, distrust, and alienation in a crowd.

Because your main character is played by the group, character creation takes a different approach than many other systems. You're encouraged to leave chunks of your protagonist undefined and find out who they are during play.

Also, since there's no fixed GM, the group generates core plot hooks before beginning play.

In essence, uncertainty is your GM, and as you play elements of the story will naturally snap into place.

To support this approach, the game uses Theories and Motifs to keep everything loosely connected. Theories are each player's best guess at what's actually going on. They're kept secret from other players, but they are explicitly used to guide narrative decision-making. Motifs, meanwhile, are public knowledge and have no meaning on their own, but everyone is encouraged to include them. A Motif might be an image, or a song, or a reference, and everyone is encouraged to sneak it into scenes.

That said, Cobwebs *is* still a game that can be won and lost---at least by the main character. The game's playmat tracks time, danger, suspicion of NPCs, and other elements in a very corkboard-y kind of way. If too much time is elapsed, or too much danger accumulates, the story ends---sometimes abruptly and unhappily.

An unhappy ending to the story isn't necessarily an unhappy ending for the players, though. Cobwebs is a game that you play to enjoy the act of playing it. You play towards drama, and suspicion, and towards confirming your theories about the plot. Sometimes that means you get an ending like Alan Wake, and sometimes it means an ending like Blair Witch.

For player resources, multiple safety tools are provided (X-Card, Lines & Veils.) There are also game sections on modifying Cobwebs to support more players, to allow multiple main characters, and to resolve at-the-table conflict. A bunch of scenario hooks are included for groups that want to jumpstart their investigations, and the hooks are varied and compelling to read. Random tables are also provided to quickly generate names, relationships, fears, objects, and more, and finally the book features a list of media touchstones in case you want some Mars Volta or Alice Isn't Dead to get you into the right headspace for Cobwebs.

Overall, if you enjoy trpgs as a chance to act, and theorize, and engage socially, Cobwebs should be on your radar. And if you specifically like stories like Stranger Things or Twin Peaks, it should be towards the top of your list. It's not a crunchy game, and it divides up player agency in interesting ways, so it's best played with a group of friends that wants to collaborate, and who don't mind if they lose as long as the story is good.