Stille Nacht

Stille Nacht

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A small group of people living in a squalid village at Germany’s coast follows the invitation of a Medium and gathers in a lone house. It is the eve of December 24th, 1720. These Villagers have been haunted by the same spirit since a terrible flood killed more than a third of all residents three years ago. Like all the people who died that night, this spirit, too, returns to the village once a year. They come to mourn their death, but also to seek justice.

The Villagers know why they have been singled out. They all played a part in the brutal passing of this person. They were bystander, aide, or murderer. According to the Medium, the haunting can only be stopped if the Villagers invite the Ghost into their midst, return a sense of self to what once was a person, and confess what each of them did that night four years ago: “Honesty,” the Medium stresses, “is your only way out. You will suffer tonight, may even die, but, if you do, it is with a chance for redemption.”

However, not every Villager joins the conjuring for the sake of doing penance. They may, instead, seek the path of deception to protect themselves or someone else at the table. But lying comes at a cost and will put everyone present in danger, as each lie told stokes the Ghost’s pain and its wrath.

Written by Petra Volkhausen. Petra is a language teacher, writer, and game designer, whose go-to genres are supernatural and horror (preferably both at the same time). She also contributed to the PbtA game Brindlewood Bay by Jason Cordova. Find her other games at petrav.itch.io.

Stille Nacht is a supernatural one-shot role-playing game for 2 to 4 players and a facilitator. Reversing the usual setup of a TTRPG, it is the players who create the world,  while the facilitator, in the role of a ghost, becomes a collector of narrative breadcrumbs, a detective whose memory is unreliable but thirsts for the truth—or a truth.  The ghost's story emerges through improvisation. The roles of bystander, aide, and murderer are assigned before the game in secret and at random.

Stille Nacht is about jointly creating a melancholy tale about human connections reaching into the afterlife, about secrets, hardship, love, hate, pain, and loss. It is rule-light, and the only one rolling dice is the facilitator. Depending on the number of players, a game session usually takes between ninety minutes and two and a half hours.

Included as digital downloads: Stille Nacht audiobook (112 minutes); PDF of the Summoning script, the Tracking sheet, and the Villager profile; audio glossary and companion (PDF and mp3); recording of the first stanza of the carol Stille Nacht (but spooky*); media pack