First Look: The Hard Lessons

The Hard Lessons TTRPG logo

love the idea of crowdfunding. I’ve been a fan of it for years, though the bigger known companies I do have some issues with. Some are better than others, but what I’ve been loving in the last few years is the innovations creators are using to crowdfund. itch.io isn’t your typical platform to crowdfund your project, but it’s becoming more and more popular. The Hard Lessons is the latest project to take this unique approach.

The Hard Lessons TTRPG logo

The wind howls as you trudge your way slowly up the mountain. You pull your hood closer around
your face. You see that someone has already lit the torches and the shapes of the old school waver in the
dance of dark and light. Soon you find yourself at the door and you remember the first time you made
your way up this mountain, an untested pupil. You touch the old symbol on the lintel and push your
way in. There, already seated and drinking something steaming, are faces both familiar and foreign. The
master taught many over the years, and you do not expect to know everyone. But you have all come
for the same purpose, to remember their lessons. The night is already passing, and by morning you must
be on your way. It is time to begin the ceremony to remember the one who pushed you along this path,
both the joyful memories and…

The Hard Lessons

The Hard Lessons is a GMless world-building and storytelling game that is launching on the itch.io funding platform TODAY! The game is designed to be simple to pick up and play for new or shy players while also providing enough depth for experienced role players.

In The Hard Lessons, you’ll take on the role of a group of former students gathered to remember their teacher, who taught you at the master’s school. You’ll tell each other stories about who you imagined your master was and how you met them. When the sun eventually rises after the night, you must decide whether one of you will take up the mantle of master, if none of you will, or whether you will completely demolish the school. You might even find a traitor among your ranks.

The game has simple “pick up and play” rules—all you need is a deck of regular playing cards and a drink! In a setting with neutral world-building rules for any genre imaginable, there is a flexible play style for both new and expert role players. This GMless shared story is ideal for kicking off a long-term campaign with a session 0 and includes additional play sets for different settings and genres.

For more information or to help fund this game, head to The Hard Lessons itch.io page. Learn more about the All Ports Open Network on their website and check out all their games!

Author

  • First and foremost, Kev is a dad to three wonderful children. He's also an uber Kevin Smith fan (all Smith's movies are worth a watch, even 'Yoga Hosers') who has cried during Kermit's monologue in 'The Muppets' and once owned two VHS copies 'Spice World'. He loves all pop culture, particularly the Berlantiverse (because 'Arrow' hasn't been the face of those CW shows for years), the MCU, and Star Wars. The Evil Dead franchise is his favorite horror franchise, though the original 'Scream' is his favorite scary movie. He bleeds Eagle's green in the (suburbs of the) greatest city on Earth, Philadelphia. Go Birds!