What a really wonderful read
On the Wings of a Red Dragonfly
A downloadable game
CW: death, grief, loss, family history
On the Wings of a Red Dragonfly is a ttrpg that revolves around a Japanese Buddhist holiday of Obon, where players communicate through abstract means with a spirit that has come back to visit for a three day festival.
Note that the spirit is someone the characters know not someone the player knows.
Cover image by Milena Briceño http://edge-sama.artstation.com
In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $10 USD. You will get access to the following files:
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This is such a lovely game! I love that it reminds us not just in the Safety section to be mindful, but also in the way it set up and in the daily prompts.
On The Wings Of A Red Dragonfly is a game about communication between the living and the dead during the heat of summer.
The PDF is 13 pages, with a gorgeous ink wash cover and an interesting layout approach where part of each page feels torn away to expose the photo art underneath. The effect is cool, but sometimes this breaks a paragraph or causes a paragraph to flow weirdly down the page or onto the next page. The text and background are clean and easy to read, but overall reading the book is a little jarring.
The gameplay of Wings is relatively simple, but also balanced and effective. The players split into members of a living family, and a spirit that knows them. The spirit tries to send messages to the living, but the messages can't be simple and direct. The living then work to interpret the messages.
There isn't any consequence to failing to understand the spirit, and there aren't any hard, specific limitations placed on the spirit's communication, so a spirit that's not being understood can just spell things out for the living if they wish.
There also isn't necessarily any narrative tension (although you can create it)---the flow of the game is largely about doing Obon things.
Overall, I think the tone of Wings is calming and fun. It's not suspenseful, or eerie, or fraught (again, unless you deliberately introduce those elements into the plot,) but it is a chance to gather with in-the-story family and engage with your predecessors, and that gentle, reflective tone is really cool.
If this sounds like something your group would enjoy, or if you'd like to learn a bit about Obon, I'd highly recommend checking Wings out.
-Page 4, last para, "Players comfort" Players'
-Page 7, How To Play's wording feels a little confusing. Is the intent that the spirits send messages, the living decide how to interpret them, and then the spirits send more messages?
-Page 8--9, the subheadings on these page are the same font size as the body text, and only one is underlined, and not all of the words are capitalized in them. This feels a little weird, and they look like part of the text at first glance.