Share this project


Share this project

Queer strife amid the collapse. Jewish fantasy of the shtetl. Two beginner-friendly roleplaying games of belonging outside belonging.
Queer strife amid the collapse. Jewish fantasy of the shtetl. Two beginner-friendly roleplaying games of belonging outside belonging.
Queer strife amid the collapse. Jewish fantasy of the shtetl. Two beginner-friendly roleplaying games of belonging outside belonging.
1,705 backers pledged CA$ 62,355 to help bring this project to life.

Use this space to cheer the creator along, and talk to your fellow backers.

Have a question?

Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Menachem Cohen

      @Benjamin I would be happy to be on that thread and in that game. What you're saying about the sorcerer has me intrigued.

    2. Avery Alder 2-time creator on

      We hit $50k! I'm really excited about the momentum behind this project. Thank you all so much.

    3. Benjamin Rosenbaum Collaborator on

      @FrivYeti how lovely! Thank you!

    4. Missing avatar

      FrivYeti on

      Ran into this game on the One Shot podcast, and it is pure and beautiful in every way. You've sucked me into backing!

    5. Benjamin Rosenbaum Collaborator on

      @Menachem, awesome! I feel like we should get you and @Neil and some of our advisers together and record an all-Rabbi game of Dream Apart! :-)

      I emailed with @Neil about the Sorcerer and would be happy to include you in that thread. The thing is, the Scholar character is also potentially a mystic, and potentially also a Kabbalist; the difference between them is partly that the Scholar is probably doing it the normative and socially approved of way, and this playbook we're talking about, probably if the shtetl knew the details of everything they're doing -- or at least, everything they're tempted to do -- they definitely WOULD be ostracized. So picking a name that's totally something approved of by the tradition, and doesn't have that note of heresy and menace, feels suboptimal.

    6. Menachem Cohen

      I haven't made the time to look at what's been released yet, but I like to @Neil Amswych's comments and would add mekubal as a possible sorcerer substitute. Neil, I am also a rabbi backer with lots of game play, testing, and design experience, who is super excited about these games.

    7. Avery Alder 2-time creator on

      Davide Inghilleri, there definitely are Stretch Goals! Check lower down on the page, or previous updates. Our stretch goals are mostly about funding contributions to a zine called The Outliers, which brings new setting and character ideas to your table & helps flesh out the worlds of the shtetl and the enclave. We're getting super close to hitting our next goal, and I've just unveiled the one that lies beyond that!

    8. Davide Inghilleri on

      It's a pity that there aren't SG.

    9. Avery Alder 2-time creator on

      @Neil Amswych, I'll message Benjamin (the author of Dream Apart) and suggest that he follow up on your comments over email. Thanks for the thoughtfulness and attention you brought to your reading!

    10. Missing avatar

      Adam Kratz on

      Woo, 40k reached! :) Congrats, Avery

    11. Neil Amswych on

      Before I comment, can I just be clear that I love the idea of Dream Apart and will be bringing it to my community. So, the following is intended to help develop it, not to critique it.

      My main point is that I'm wondering if Mystic is a more appropriate term than Sorcerer? You may want a Sorcerer specifically, but here's why I’m not convinced that’s an appropriate term for a shtetl...

      A sorcerer is someone who claims to have divine powers, or is someone who specifically conjures up items. Sorcery is actually specifically forbidden in Torah as well. The word Sorcerer comes from the Latin sortarius, which is one who casts lots. It’s a Diviner. You’re using Sorcerer more as someone who communes with spirits, who accesses the other realm.
      For that, I’m thinking Mystic is a far more appropriate term. This is someone who might have studied Merkava Mysticism, or Sefer Yetzirah. They may create a golem but that’s not conjuring in the same way as a magician or Sorcerer as understood in fantasies. What they’re doing is manipulating the holy letters that make up creation. The closest modern parallel I can give is Neo from the Matrix, who learns to manipulate the Matrix in order to perform what seems like fantastical feats. Similarly, the Jewish mystic creates a cow to eat or a golem to protect the community not through magic but through manipulation of that which already is. Their access to divine realms is totally different to that of the scholar, it’s through an intimate connection, a cleaving, to the mystical side of God’s realm.

      At the end of the day, I see “Sorcerer” as a goyishe word (to use the game’s terminology). I don’t think a sorcerer would last very long in a shtetl because they would be socially ostracized. A mystic, however, would definitely be a part of the Jewish community.

      Interested to know what you think.

    12. Neil Amswych on

      So.... am I the first Rabbi to back this project? Maybe!

      Very excited to receive this, and if you need any help, consultation etc then please don't hesitate to be in touch (not only am I a Rabbi but I have been a playtester and editor of a number of large games).

    13. Avery Alder 2-time creator on

      @Wade, I think it bears similarity to the tone of The Quiet Year, another game design of mine that features community-building amid the collapse of civilization. Both games have a tentative, skeptical optimism. Something good could be built here, but it's not clear whether we have the skill and grace to pull together and put aside our differences.

      Dream Askew is a game of contending with both scarcity and opportunity, and at its heart are questions about what the collapse of civilization means for marginalized people: will it destroy us or lead us to utopia? You have to play to find out!

    14. Wade Rockett on

      Is the tone of Dream Askew fundamentally optimistic, where the apocalypse provides marginalized people an opportunity to rebuild the world better than it was? Or is the tone more grim? (Or maybe that’s up to each group?)

    15. Lex on

      Lovely to hear! And I adore that stretch goal; I don’t think anyone here needs to be told how poorly Romani culture has been handled in tabletop for ages.

    16. Benjamin Rosenbaum Collaborator on

      @Lex, that's a good idea. We definitely can include a little more detail about the basics. I'm also hoping that the zine stretch goals get funded, which will allow us to include some contributors with different perspectives on aspects of the history (like, first up, Caren Gussoff Sumption on the Romani).

    17. Lex on

      Is there any chance Dream Apart will have a brief guide to historical context in the full book? I know history homework is every gaming group’s worst nightmare (as someone who’s made the mistake of trying to drop folks into some settings more than one time), but it might be nice to have a one or two page brief to run over for folks who want some guidance for getting things right.

    18. Tasha Turner

      Thanks Avery. This sounds amazing.

    19. Avery Alder 2-time creator on

      @Kris, I won't be there personally, but there's a solid chance that at least one or two people will have a copy of the playtest version of one of the games in their backpack. You can also print off a copy of the playtest/preview kit and run it yourself! Just visit, pick your game, and find the link to the game at the bottom of the respective page. There's a rules overview one-sheet included. If you need more than that to figure out how to make the game sing, send me a message and I'll share with you a draft copy of the first chapter.

    20. Kris on

      Any chance this will be run at Origins this year?

    21. Avery Alder 2-time creator on

      @Tasha Turner, additional copies of the book will probably be another $38 CAD ($29.50 USD), but the added shipping cost will be quite minimal (if anything).

    22. Tasha Turner

      Excited to come across this. It’ll make a great gift for a number of friends. Do you know what extra copies will cost?

    23. Avery Alder 2-time creator on

      @Davide Inghilleri After the campaign is finished, you'll be sent a survey via Backerkit (or a similar pledge management thing). It'll get you to confirm your shipping address, as well as giving you the opportunity to upgrade your pledge: adding additional copies, upgrading to hardcover, and so on.

    24. Avery Alder 2-time creator on

      @Lex It's a made up example game that's used throughout the "Designing New Games" chapter of the book, to illustrate how the design process works. It's there to clarify the design process.

      I used a similar tactic in the section of Monsterhearts 2 about designing new skins, in a smaller way: the example follows someone in designing The Good Boy, a dog-person. That one was a little more light-hearted and silly obviously.

    25. Davide Inghilleri on

      How can I upgrade to hardcover book?

    26. Lex on

      I just realized you mentioned Dreams Incarcerated. Is this something we haven’t heard about yet?

    27. Yannick Massa on

      Just here to say, as a cishet dude, the Arrival really feels like a way for me to explore non-binary queer culture naturally so thanks for that and i'm really looking forward to playing this <3

    28. Philippe “Sildoenfein” D.

      Would you have any estimate of the shipping costs?

    29. Lex on

      Sounds like a dream come true, thank you!

    30. Avery Alder 2-time creator on

      @Lex, there is an entire chapter of the book about designing your own games of belonging outside belonging. We talk about designing from a place of lived experience, finding the right balance of agency and need in how you portray your community, how to design each component of a play kit, and what to watch out for as you deviate from the established mechanics. The chapter is complete with a running example, following Shaun as he designs Dream Incarcerated - his striving toward balanced representation, choices made and then retracted, and so forth. I think you'll like it!

    31. Lex on

      Any chance of a “here’s how you build your own hack on this ruleset” advice as a stretch goal down the line? Ever since the playtest kits went out, my friend group has been full of ideas.

    32. Patrick Brannick on

      Congrats y'all!!!!! <3

    33. Landon Swartz on

      Congratulations on the successful campaign! Your work is a touchstone of modern role-playing, and I am so excited to introduce these games to my players!

    34. Jason Pitre

      Congratulations for reaching your initial goal in he first 8 hours!

    35. Axel on

      Thank you for the detailed response!

    36. Avery Alder 2-time creator on

      @Axel While the book currently has some coverage of how to collaborate with non-marginalized players who might be nervous or uncertain, there isn't yet a specific section addressed to them. I'll add one in. Thanks for your question, it helped hone the project.

      As for what's meant by "hot to pitch these games to your friends," the text covers the basics of how to pitch a game, includes a concise + comprehensive pitch for each game, supplies that need to be gathered, and how to create a comfortable and nourishing environment for players. It's pretty simple and straight-forward, but it's something I feel like games often miss: advice on how to host well.

    37. Axel on

      The campaign description mentions, "It's also a guide for how to pitch these games to your friends, create a welcoming environment to play them in, and support healthy boundaries at the gaming table."

      I'm curious about 'how to pitch these games to your friends'. Is that referring to getting non-gaming friends to try this as a game? Pitching the themes or system to gaming friends used to more traditional games? Both? My ongoing gaming groups are (as far as I know) all cishet players, and I find the idea of a game entirely about queer identity and community intimidating to pitch or play, while I know others feel similarly intimidated by a game about Jewish identity and community (and I'm very excited about that aspect, but I don't know if my non-Jewish players would be).

      So, I'm curious, will the advice in the book address non-marginalized players that are nervous about being ignorant or appropriative in play? (While I also realize that non-marginalized players don't need to be addressed if they're not a target, and definitely don't need to be centered)

    38. Missing avatar

      Colton Chapin on

      Been really looking forward to this launch! Glad to see this project come into it's own on the main stage.

    39. Patrick Brannick on

      This is such an awesome project! <3

    40. Dana Cameron on

      Congrats! Very excited to see this finally launch (to the point I had an actual dream about it last night)!

    41. Lex on

      My group played four session of Dream Askew back in January, and we wound up crying every single session. I liked it enough to commission art of my Torch. You’ve made something pretty exceptional here, Avery, and I’m excited to see it thrive.