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Romance, Intrigue Abound in Telenovela TTRPG

Tabletop game designed around the Latinx soap opera format

Brandon Leon-Gambetta / Kickstarter

The daily soap opera, once a dominant force in American daytime TV schedules, is waning. ABC, NBC and CBS each had no fewer than four soaps running during the 70s and 80s. Today, only four remain in all.

However, in Latinx America and in Spanish-speaking countries, the telenovela business has been booming for the last decade. Telenovelas generally last only 13 weeks, so viewers feel they have less of a problem following the story while juggling their everyday lives. But in those 13 weeks, you could have a blazing romance, murder plots, political espionage, and all the other hallmarks of an American-style soap condensed into a self-contained story.

Such is the basis of an interesting Kickstarter by Brandon Leon-Gambetta, called Pasión de las Pasiones. Described:

Pasión de las Pasiones is a Powered by the Apocalypse game, drawing on game techniques and mechanics from games like Apocalypse World, Monsterhearts, and Masks: A New Generation. When your character takes an action that fits a move, the move tells you what happens in the story or you roll two six-sided dice to find out. The moves in Pasiónprovide their own system geared towards melodrama, excitement, and romance.

The game's core contains information and playbooks for six archetypes often found in telenovelas: the damsel, the cad, the evil twin, etc.

A review for the "Ashcan version" of the game criticized the use of these archetypes when non-Latinx people portrayed them as coming off awkward, if not entirely problematic.

Tell us what you think: Watch this playtest of Pasión de las Pasiones by the primarily non-Latinx group at Gauntlet and give us your opinion on whether their portrayals of the PCs and NPCs is problematic - email or tweet us @d20net.

Despite this dissenting critique, Pasión de las Pasiones has already amassed nearly 500% of its initial ask in just two days.

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