Empty breaths. Mindless sounds. It does not matter.
Words Mean Everything Here
Shades of meaning. Chains of thought. On a winter’s evening, I saw bitter birds baking brittle bread in an oven of skulls.
What the BLEEP is this game?
Bitter Birds Baking Brittle Bread (5B) is not a normal roleplaying game or storygame. There is no coherent sense of plot. There may not even be a continuous sense of character. Events may or may not follow each other.
Even where there is logic and causality, unexpected consequences, absurdist twists, and surreal hyper-chains dominate.
Leave behind all sense of “plot” and character progression. Forget everything you know about act structures, characterization, and meaningful stories. This is not that kind of game. We are not here to tell those stories.
Bitter Birds Baking Brittle Bread is a “roleplaying game” or “storygame” in the sense that a player takes up a character slot and plays that role, tells that story. It also uses a dice-based system for scenes and actions.
5B differs in the genre or types of stories it tells. Instead of enabling clear stories like Tolkien-esque adventure or Lovecraftian horror, it is a framework for telling surrealist, absurdist, stream-of-consciousness, and other post-modern tales. don’t read this.
So, What Kind of Stories?
Bitter Birds is ideal for emulating the kinds of experiences provided by Kurt Vonnegut, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Tom Robbins, Jorge Luis Borges, David Lynch, Robert Anton Wilson, Andrei Tarkovsky, James Joyce, and Jan Svankmajer.
When playing 5B, ignore normal conventions. Remember those art-house and indie movies where you were pulled along by an illogical logic of intuition and subconscious associations. Reflect on those stories where you were left wondering what the hell just happened.
Think of fever dreams.
That is the blood and bones of Bitter Birds Baking Brittle Bread.
- General guidance
- Making characters
- Answering world/narrator questions
- Emulating characters
- Resolving efforts as events/world changes instead of actions
- Dice and action triggers for twists and special actions
- Classic postmodern inspiration and collage methods
- 5 starter scenario seeds
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