Indie RPG Spotlight: ‘This Discord Has Ghosts in It’ Will Haunt Your Open Browser Tabs
Is it me or is it getting a bit chilly in this voice chat? I think it’s possible that This Discord Has Ghosts In It!
We love a unique, innovative, and weird tabletop RPG around here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of good old fashion classic D&D, and by now everybody knows that I’m a fan of the simple and approachable Powered by the Apocalypse ruleset. But sometimes we run into a game that’s really, really something else and it makes us say, “Oh, darn. That’s neat.” And that’s This Discord Has Ghosts In It.
This Discord Has Ghosts in It
The concept behind this game is simple enough and very classic for a horror-adjacent game: there’s a haunted house. I’m running a haunted house game right now, in fact. Not using this system, but still. It is not an uncommon theme. Only in This Discord Has Ghosts In It, the haunted house is the Discord. Basically, there are different rooms (channels) that make up the entire house and the investigators explore the various rooms while the ghosts haunt them.
So how does investigating and haunting work? That’s where this game gets really neat.
At the beginning of the game, your six-plus-ish players split into two teams; one of the paranormal investigators, and one of ghosts. The ghosts have a story- who they were, how they died, and what’s tethering them to this mortal coil. Y’know, ghost stuff. Meanwhile, the investigators have fears and secret motives. Throughout the game, each team wants to learn about the other.
How It Works
This is a game played in Discord, which means that it’s meant to be played remotely and online. After the last few years, none of us are really strangers to remote gaming, but This Discord Has Ghosts In It is a rare game that’s designed completely around this technology.
Within the Discord server, investigators are only allowed to use voice chat to communicate. Sort of like if they’re exploring the house and communicating with each other over walkie-talkies. Meanwhile, ghosts may only type into the various channels in order to “haunt” the various rooms. Their haunting can reveal room or setting descriptions, weird happenings, or little clues about their stories.
Investigators can (of course) read everything the ghosts are typing into the chat as if these are things they are seeing as they explore. And the ghosts- while not allowed to talk in the voice chat- can (and should) absolutely be listening in.
The game takes place in three phases, the haunt, the intermission, and the seance.
During the haunt, the investigators explore the house and through walkie-talkie conversations with their fellow investigators they will narrate what they see and how they’re responding. The ghosts take this time to haunt the rooms, describe what they’re doing, what strange sounds or smells they’re creating in the house, and leave clues.
In the intermission, the two groups come together to discuss what they’ve learned about the other team.
The final phase is the seance. Here the two groups will meet up with each other, reveal what they’ve learned, what they’ve parsed out, and what bits of their story went undiscovered. It’s a little cooperative, a little competitive, and a lot of fun, interactive storytelling.
Have you played This Discord Has Ghosts in It? Would you want to be an investigator or a ghost? What do you think of games designed to play utilizing technology? Let us know in the comments!