Kickstarter has become THE place to go to find new and exciting additions to the tabletop roleplaying genre. From fan-made D&D 5E supplements to official reprints and even brand new games, the crowdfunding site is the site of choice for new product development. Since I started covering TTRPGs for Game Talk Network, I’ve been paying much more attention to new and trending projects. The latest TTRPG product on my radar is Gutterpunk: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game.
What is Gutterpunk?
Gutterpunk is the brainchild of John Thompson, founder of the actual play Twitch channel Rook and Rasp. It pulls on influences from punk music and culture, urban fantasy, and urban fiction. Part Wonderland and part isekai, players take the role of punk musicians who fight monsters and the Man with the power of a music-based magic system called the Riff. The art style is loud, like the music and theater of a punk concert. Heck, the cover of the core rulebook carries a “conformist advisory” for explicit content.
In Gutterpunk, the social activism of punk philosophy is ever present. The content encourages speaking out against injustice and standing up for what you believe in. Obviously, this philosophy won’t be for everyone on the surface, and that’s okay. For fans of dystopian fiction and challenging authority though, Gutterworld may be just the place for some fun escapism and dice rolling.
Down in the Gutterworld
If you do choose to take the plunge into the Gutter, you’ll face off against monsters who are described as “people, but not human.” There’s no sunshine, just a permanent orange haze. Massive curving buildings tower over the streets, and down in the shadows punks fight for survival. Punks get to the Gutter in lots of different ways, whether it’s entering a trance onstage, wandering into abandoned clubs, or passing out drunk after a big gig. After that, it’s up to them to find like-minded punks to form a crew – that may or may not be a band – and take on the challenges of this strange new world.
One of the neat things about Gutterpunk is that it has its own unique mechanics system. It’s D6 based rather than D20, and incorporates alternate ways to tackle challenges using the power of Riff and music. Scenes have what’s called a “tempo” that dictates how busy or intense a setting is. Stats are more focused on personality than activities – bold, caustic and so on. Challenges put stats against the tempo of the room and various modifiers. Like other newer indy games, the focus of the game is much more on storytelling than combat and math. It’s more rules-light, and encourages players to really dig into their passions, creativity, and love of music.
As of the time of this writing, only 11 days remain on the Gutterpunk Kickstarter. It wraps up on December 5, 2022 and has already smashed its $500 goal. Tshirts and other merch are also available on the creator’s website, and profits are donated to charity. Check it out, back the game, and get ready to mosh! I’m hyped for this one, so once I get my copy I’ll definitely get a more comprehensive write-up out about it.