AquaVertigo Publishing

Leaning towards the Light

The year is coming to a close, while the daylight grows longer, and the quieter time is much appreciated. Here’s what’s been going on for the most part.



I was fortunate to get some amazing players from the same session of Found I ran during Cortex Con to playtest the game through another series.

During our Session Zero, we decided to hew closer to Sense8 than to Orphan Black this time and had a long conversation about thoughts on this and even played through the setup as a kind of test for what we might do going forward as a group. We’ll reconvene between or after the holidays with our shared-consciousness conspiracy thriller adventure.

Orphan Black: Echoes TV Show: Recently, I remembered hearing that another Orphan Black series was in the works and discovered the entire season had dropped. While not as strong overall as the original series, I was pleased to have more OB content and enjoyed the storyline and characters, set 50 years in the future, even if it ended on a major cliffhanger and the show doesn’t appear to have been renewed.

Travelers TV Show: At least one of my players suggested this show, and I’m five episodes in and enjoying it greatly as another option to play Found.

Hundreds of years in the future, the last surviving humans discover a way of sending consciousness back through time, directly into people in the 21st century—”travelers,” who assume the lives of seemingly random people. They’re also secretly working as teams to perform missions in order to save humanity from a terrible future. Armed only with their knowledge of history and an archive of social media profiles, the travelers—who include an FBI agent, a single mother, and a college student—discover that 21st-century relationships are as much of a challenge as their high-stakes missions.

Dark Well

I’m pleased to say that the revision work I’ve been doing on Dark Well is paying off.

Unfortunately, Roll20’s servers were under a DDOS attack the night of our Session Zero. Also, there are definite limitations or challenges with the interface, which I try not to let frustrate me, even when it slows everything down. One of the players has a Foundry VTT account and is kind enough to share access, so it may become a future test home for games.

During the session, we created our conspiracy and concepts with relationships for the Dweller characters. Given the tech issues, it was enough.

  • Here’s our working conspiracy: Shadow Government (contemporary) uses dark powers of gods; weather control side effect
  • Worldscape: The Age of Twilight (fall or rise of civilization); Details: Pre-Apocalyptic Climate Conflict; near-future D.C., U.S.A. (The West Wing meets Cthulhu on the scale of Westworld or similar)

Our Dwellers:

  • A political AND cabal protege from a wealthy family who’s recently become Awakened to what’s going on under the surface.
  • A talented meteorologist who stumbled onto the conspiracy (Dreamer) and has been “hired as a contract asset” rather than being killed for knowing too much.
  • A political fixer with numerous contacts across the government who is on the edge of knowing too much (Dreamer).

I’ve gone through five chapters to reduce grammar and punctuation issues. As we play, I’ll see how the mechanics go and then revise where needed. Then, if things seem stable, I’ll work on revising examples of play.



A series of playtesting Voyagers by another designer came to a close, with most of the threads wrapped up. It was a heck of a ride as a player and was the longest number of sessions I’ve done for a Carved from Brindlewood game.

Voyagers Between and Beyond the Stars is a game about Bold Starship Officers solving interstellar mysteries. It’s an Optimistic Science Fiction game inspired by media such as Star Trek, Mass Effect, and the Orville and is mechanically derived from Brindlewood Bay and The Between.

The adventures included dealing with space phenomena, negotiating intragalactic politics, contending with extra-dimensional beings, exposing a drug cartel, and, of course, space pirates with a quantum agenda.


The other PCs included our pirate-past Captain (The Paragon), a cool-under-pressure crystalline medical officer (The Empath), and a probability-defying-quantum-entangled romance novelist and Tactical officer (The Hotshot).

My character, Lt. Drulah, was a Phaenox science officer in search of other destroyed civilizations while coming to terms with their own species/imperial civilization being responsible for crimes against the galaxy. Drulah was created using the Outsider playbook and had access to strange abilities, including controlling Dark Matter.

Over the course of play, we learned that Drulah was an extraordinary scientist (thanks to many successful dice rolls), busied with several theories and projects, broke the holodeck and apologized to every person aboard the ship, led ensigns from Lower Decks on successful away rescue missions, enjoyed martial arts sparring, painted true selves, collected souvenirs from destroyed civilizations, was oblivious to most human social conventions, and pierced the veil between realities into the Mirrorverse to convince their Mirror-self to do what it took to save a planet in peril and defeat Cpt. Karn’s master plan.


At its heart, this is a great game that plays out differently than my experience with other similar “Trek-like” games. I enjoy the option of us leaning as little or as much into any particular IP without being limited by it.

The mechanics made sense to me; however, it may be a Brindlewood convention to have so few moves that it makes me want more moves to use. I’m more accustomed to PbtA games. There was an overhaul to some of the playbooks midway through the playtest in terms of rules and presentation.

I don’t know when the game is expected to be published or crowdsourced, but I do hope the designer keeps working on the game, as it could be the go-to option for a number of gamers who want to explore an exciting, hopeful future among the stars.


Alice Is Missing

I finally got to play Alice Is Missing online. Someone asked me how I would rate it using a scale of out of 100, with 100 being “[is] this the future of analogic gaming?” My response was that I don’t know if it’s the future, but it may inspire other games. Somewhere between 70- and 90-ish is where I’d put my rating at the moment.

The facilitator and the other players were great.

I want to try the game a couple more times to give it a better assessment. The experience I had was not optimal for a number of reasons, so I could end up sounding like I don’t like the game. I believe it says and does something interesting.

I do have a copy of the game, and I may facilitate the game when I can schedule it.


Thanks to the Open Hearth Gaming Community ( for inviting people to play games around the holidays.

I had the pleasure of playing Candlelight by Gabriel Robinson of Glowing Roots Press ( It is a one-shot horror game compatible with Trophy Dark. Here’s a little more about the game:

Candlelight is a role playing game about the restless spirits of treasure hunters reckoning with their dark past and seeking hope in a haunted forest that wants to trap them there. It is a one-shot, rules-light game, focusing on collaborative and thematic storytelling and is designed to be flexible in how you bring it to the table.

Due to some RL things, I wasn’t able to create my character before the game started, so I quickly worked on it before we started and came up with something different from the other characters.

The GM did a wonderful job of guiding the players through everything and reinforcing the tone and setting with descriptions and questions.

I created a town doctor, Dr. Nir, who had turned to necromancy out of desperation to bring back the love of his life (treasure). He believes that his attempt to bring her back cost the lives of all in the town through a supernaturally violent tornado. He also believes his attempt to bring them back cost him his own life.

As a spirit, he searches in the dark forest for the author of the unholy book to get answers for the treasure of life. Along the way, he consults with living travelers in the forest, helping them to remember those they love so that he can sustain himself on their affection.

And lastly, he found himself possessing the corpse of one of the other treasure hunters. He was fascinated by the opportunity to explore the necrotic arts inside and out. While pondering this and how he may contact other souls or bring them back, he enjoyed smoking some local mushrooms in the pipe of the corpse. It may yet become a new age for the recently departed.

Next Steps

To continue on with the creative work.


Let me know what you think. Was this helpful or insightful?


DMK, the founder of AquaVertigo, is a creatively curious artist, author, designer, educator, entrepreneur, and organizer based in the Midwest, USA.

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