Locus presents its game rules through two books, a Player’s Guide and a Director’s Guide. For our test run, I served as the Director and J, Rory and Bugvilles served as the players. I sent out the player’s guide about a week in advance of our scheduled game. The Director’s Guide is not to be read by the Players. Locus from CobblePath Games is a horror/mystery TTRPG described as “a game about flawed character, consequences and morality.” Recently, Variant Ventures had the opportunity to experience Locus firsthand.
Locus can be played with as little as the Director and single Player. Most of what is needed to play can be printed from the Director’s Guide, including character, item, and monster cards. You will also need a standard deck of playing cards and 3d6 for each player.
Players assign points amongst eight attributes while creating a character. These attributes are Frailty, Clumsiness, Carelessness, Impatience, Cowardice, Ignorance, Repulsion and Temper. Increasing each of these skills decreases the odds of succeeding an associated skill check, which is a departure from how most TTRPGs handle skills. Each character also has a flaw, indicating a wrong committed by this character in their past.
Ease of Setup and Play
Due to our player makeup, we played Locus virtually using Zoom and were not able to play together at the same table. As such, it is harder to critique the ease of setup objectively. Once we determined what supplies each player would need to play remotely, things moved more smoothly. Character creating was a unique experience when compared to TTRPG Titans such as D&D or Pathfinder, but the process was easy to learn and quick to complete. The item and character cards are well designed and helped immensely during gameplay. Overall, despite the distance, each player was able to follow the narrative and play the game without being tied up learning a new system.
One of the things I enjoyed most about playing Locus was the seemingly limitless possibilities the openness of the material allowed. Character creation required enough focus to create a unique character while leaving enough freedom to explore a variety of personalities and tropes. The rule set is flexible and can easily be adapted to any settings or even molded into existing materials. One of our players even suggested running The Curse of Strand from Dungeons and Dragons using the Locus rule set. Cobblepath Games has teased some settings of their own that I am excited to explore.
The contrasting grayscale artwork really outlines the theme of the material, while the occasional splash of crimson truly draws attention to the horrific ordeals the players may find themselves in. The gnarled and twisted landscapes with roots that jut out like sharpened blades give an eerie, dangerous feel to Locus. The art chosen truly supports the rules and material presented within the Player and Directors Guides.
Current events, both in our personal lives and on a national scale may have prevented us from delving too deeply into some of the more nuanced horror aspects of the game. That aside, we all thoroughly enjoyed the game from set up to end of the session. I look forward to taking another dive into the world of Locus, and eagerly await more content from Cobblepath Games.
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*Photo Credit: Cobblepath Games