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Crescent B/X & Whychwood Fair


Ema Acosta, who I've known for a couple of years, revamped her Patreon in March 2023, looking to explore a new format. It had previously been used as a sort of "behind the scenes" look into the creation of her RPGs Crescent Moon and Crescent Moon: Exiles. What she wanted to do now was multifaceted - create monthly postcards, merch, and micro games. In an ideal world, she wouldn't have done all of the designing, but would have had this operate as a very small and niche publisher for what were essentially single-page RPGs.

While there was interest and people really enjoyed the 3 games that came out, Em ended up scrapping the idea in June because it just took too much work, effort, and cost for it to be sustainable for her. (When you're a writer and an artist, it's really hard to not operate at a loss, something I'm intimately familiar with myself.)

After the first release, Em came to me to talk about how she'd been thinking about doing a pamphlet version of her first game, Crescent Moon, using some character sheet ideas that we'd talked about before - the idea was that the attributes would be almost arbitrary, because they were more about who your character is rather than that translating into mechanics.

Em's hand showing off the printed character sheet bookmarks and Crescent B/X pamphlet

She asked if I'd edit it (which of course I was thrilled to do). But she ended up in a bit of a jam because she wanted the game to ship with a starter adventure, but didn't have the time to put it together, and even though it was an extremely short window, would I be so kind as to help write one?

I was nervous. It was a very quick turnaround (about a week for the script, which gave her a week to do some sketching, and then a few days in case there were printing issues) and I was really anxious about letting her down. So I dove in, and wrote a draft. We went back and forth on a couple of things, she then sketched the characters while I further refined some language, and in a few weeks, Crescent B/X and Whychwood Fair came out.

A rendering of the printed Whychwood Fair

With Whychwood Fair, I was trying to explore this idea of a carnival run by Fae creatures, this sort of perversion of nature where you have luring songs, form-stealing changelings, and old magic. I had these distinct visuals in my mind, like whac-a-mole with mushrooms, and a roller coaster with a track made of wood - not carved, but grown. Berry juice slicked the track and the carts were pulled by vines.

It was another experience where I've discovered the need for brevity, something I am often not good with, because of how little space there is, and exactly how much needs to be conveyed. There's an interesting power, though, in painting descriptive words but leaving a lot of room for the reader to fill in their own blanks. It was a very cool experience, and I'm really pleased with what we made, especially in such constraints.

You can still get Crescent B/X and Whychwood Fair on

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