Character-Forward Roleplaying

Better characters make better stories.
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Illustration by Minerva Fox

Illustration by Minerva Fox

Beauty. Most days one can’t bear to whisper its name, but it is here – wondrous and beguiling. From the towering ashen forests and black gurgling bogs, to the tundral mountainscapes, river basins, coastal coves, and deserts, Vest captivates. It inspires. It lingers long in dreams. And yet, it is never held—never trusted. Here, beauty hides, shrinks back. It slips like salt through loose-locked fingers. It deceives. 

At times, the deception is palpable, painful. Raised hairs prick with each passing footfall, called to alarm by the quickening, unsettling notion that these lands are somehow less than they seem. Ornately painted husks. Clever set-dressing to evoke a vibrant, fruitful world. A generous world. 

But Vest does not give. It only dares us to take. […read more…]


Vest is a diverse, proto-apocalyptic landscape ruled in large part by a military-industrial force called the Hierarchy. The world bears all the hallmarks of a once-bountiful land now lost to decay and the greed of humankind. Whatever truth lies in their past, the people of Vest now face daily the impossible choice of scrapping to survive amidst a withering world, or settling for the undoubtedly dubious comforts dangled before them by the powers that be. 

Cultural touchstones include Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Noelle Stevenson’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, among others.


  • The Corruption is a peculiar, invasive rot which feeds on the land and its inhabitants.

  • The Dust holds memories of The World Before with which one may do incredible things. Through it, a Lead can access a trove of ancient wisdom and power; however, they risk awakening further Corruption in themselves or their wider environment.

  • The Hierarchy is the industrialized, governing force of the land. Their influence is felt to varying degrees among the Spheres.

  • The Spheres (The Forge, The Works, & The Wilds) are the common names for the lands of Vest as regards the Hierarchy’s sphere of influence in those given territories.

  • The Landscape contains a diversity of biomes including Salt Flats, Glacial Tundra, Sunken Marshlands, Deadwood Forests, Mountain Ranges, Rocky Coasts, and Arid Plains.

Illustration by Minerva Fox

Illustration by Minerva Fox

All characters in our stories are on a journey, and along that journey they learn new things. As Leads advance, they may pick up new skills, trainings, insights, and abilities according to which of the following Journeys best fits their Lead’s trajectory, tactics, and outlook:

  • The Cuff has been called hot-headed, and that’s probably fair. A good scrap is never far from their mind.

  • The Fold is a stalwart friend: counselor, shoulder, listening ear. And, if it comes to it, a strong arm of protection.

  • The Hook has a way with words. The power of language and negotiation propels them past the various pitfalls they face.

  • The Point relies on keen senses, strategy, and intuition to make their way. As such, folks tend to look to them for the way forward.

  • The Seam blurs the lines between present and past, their path directed by ancient wisdom, philosophy, knowledge, and power.

  • The Sift  is a matchless scavenger, and  their ability to pull something of worth from these wastes lets them survive by their own terms out here.