Stories to Astonish the World is a pointcrawl RPG where you journey through Chinese landscape paintings. You play as a group of travellers each with your own quest and destination, facing perils both supernatural and mundane along the way.
Stories to Astonish the World
A downloadable game
[NEW UPDATE ANNOUNCEMENT! I have been working on a newer snazzier version of this game with 2 bonus maps and some updated mechanics! Please ensure you get the updated file.]
Stories to Astonish the World is a point-crawl TTRPG drawing inspiration from Chinese landscape painting and literary compilations of weird supernatural events that happen to hapless travelers.
In this game, you play a motley group of travelers on a journey through the valleys and mountains of the Great River region. Motives and backgrounds vary greatly amongst your crew, perhaps you are a member of the literati travelling to appreciate scenery and poetic sights, an outlaw out to fulfill their mission, or a political exile going off to find the best place to be a wise hermit.
Regardless, you are united in three key points - you have some destinations you need to visit along the Great River, you have prepared yourself for perils both supernatural and mundane, and you definitely cannot do this alone.
Pick your map and embark on a weird and hopefully wonderful road-or-boat-trip.
Created for Laurie O' Connel's Paintings Jam.
Inspiration credit is due to Lady Blackbird by John Harper, Hieronymous by Laurie O' Connel and Ultraviolet Grasslands by Luka Rejec.
In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $7 USD. You will get access to the following files:
Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.
Free copies of the game are available - pick one up if you want
- New Updated Version & Print Run Announcement!Nov 01, 2021
Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.
I've recently acquired this game through the Ukrainian relief bundle, and reading through it I'm amazed. I'm currently running a "the Untamed" inspired DnD game and tbh I find my knowledge of Chinese arts and culture lacking (being French). I'm really excited to play this game with friends, and I find it to be a great inspiration for my own campaign. I love this idea of bringing classical arts to ttrpg.
I hope you have a good day <3
Thanks for the lovely comment - am glad to hear that you are enjoying the game :D - and yea I am real fond of Chinese landscape paintings so the game was a way to share that fondness with more folks
Wishing you a good day as well! - that Untamed inspired DnD game sounds v cool
I’m really interested in this game as a companion to develop settings for Ryuutama. That game strongly emphasizes “aspect of place” which I found difficult to convey as DM. Sights, sounds, smells, all the sensations. I’m more experienced with the “aspect of action”. Planning to pick this up soon!
Point crawls were a new concept to me when I first opened your game, despite having familiarity with hex crawls. To that end, the first thing I felt when flipping through was, "This is going to feel like a Tokaido RPG."
Did the existence of the board game at all influence or inspire your creation of this, given that it also is (essentially) a point crawl overlaid on gorgeous art?
Hi! - Thanks for your comment and question :D - to be honest, I suspect yea it did, though potentially subliminally rather than intentionally. I remember watching a video on Tokaido and enjoying the journey/roadtrip vibe very much, though that was ages before Stories was written so maybe the vibes stuck around.
Amusingly, Stories was initially intended as a hex-crawl until I found Ultraviolet Grasslands and realised the pointcrawl style was more fitting.
I really appreciated the experience, and I shared a leg of that journey to my blog in two parts. It was part of highlighting to Malaysian flood relief bundle with a few other games, so people could see what you contributed, both to the relief and to gaming in general.
The simplicity of taking beautiful art and turning it into a map still blows me away. It's right there, and it never even occurred to me, but it helped ground the experience and made it that much richer. Do ping me if you ever do an expansion and put together more maps and tables.
If you want to read the short journey I shared with my audience, here's the two parts:
Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with the game - it was really great to read through your blog posts :D and I am glad that you like the map idea and that it enriched the experience. One of things I was pondering a lot while writing the game was how to convey the intended atmosphere and vibes so am happy that the paintings were helpful with that
Also, thanks for your interest in future content - I will definitely keep you in the loop regarding expansions or new maps
Beautiful, with clear inspiration and lovely and unique touch points. I love how the maps and prompts give enough of a structure to keep the imagination flowing.
Ah thank you very much for your comments :D and am glad to hear that you like the maps and prompts
I also got the itch email key error, but the updated version is still on my download page! I think as long as the updated version is uploaded here and not on a separate product page, we should be able to access it if we already own a copy!
Hi, ah okay, glad to hear there is another way to access it - thanks very much for flagging this - I will amend the announcement then, though I am likely still going to send out a clarifying email just in case.
this is so lovely! the idea of using landscape paintings are pointcrawl maps is inspired and i'm very excited to try this!
Thanks for your comment :D - glad to hear you like the game and the concept - I had found a lot of cool landscape paintings and thought a game would be a neat way to share them with folks (also the colour schemes were soothing)
Please forgive the monster for taiwan users is relatively meaningless, so only simple processing, and my friend stuffed a bunch of his favorite landscape poems
Thanks so much for the translation - really like the extra landscape poems - they are cool
Also, yeah no worries, I admit the names are definitely hard to translate - I just got them from an English adaptation of the 山海经
I am a player from Taiwan
This is a great work, I didn't even think I could present the mood and mystery of Chinese landscape painting in this way before.
My friend also liked it so much that he translated it into Chinese for easy reading (just... many Taiwanese do not read English very well), do you need one?
Thank you! - I am really glad to hear that you and your friend enjoyed the game, and that the landscape painting mood came through.
A translation sounds super cool - I would really appreciate if I could get a copy of it.