What is Scherzando!?
Scherzando! is a musical tabletop roleplaying game about things going explosively wrong in which you play both the characters and the soundtrack. It is a GM-less, diceless story game designed to be played in a single session by 3-7 players. You don’t need to own any instruments or know anything about music to play (although if you do, you can absolutely bring that to the table)—it’s a completely beginner-friendly game.
Scherzando! is setting-agnostic, so games can take place in radically different fictional spaces; in general, though, you’ll be playing characters with strong feelings and big dreams following their goals while the world around them goes to hell, sometimes literally. The game is often bizarre, outrageous, and funny, but always earnest, safe, and collaborative.
In addition to playing characters, you will also be playing music. You can do this by humming or tapping on nearby objects or using whatever sounds you can find around you. You aren’t worried about playing “correctly;” you’re trying to guide the emotional landscape of the scene. The structure of a scene is designed to ebb and flow around the music so that neither active players nor musicians can play the scene alone; the scene is directed in turns by the music and the characters.
The game will be printed as a perfect-bound softcover book in full color, chock-full of tables, helpful tips, and loads of art.
How do you play?
Scherzando! is an original system built over dozens of playtests and iterations which merges music and roleplay from the ground up. Play occurs over a series of scenes in which players take turns playing either their characters or the music.
There are five main emotions in Scherzando!: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and tenderness. At the beginning of each scene, the musicians each secretly select one emotion they want the scene to move towards. They guide play towards this emotion throughout the scene. At the end of the scene, the active players each guess which emotions they believe the musicians chose. The better the players guess, the better the scene resolves for everyone—you will fail and succeed as a group by how well you can communicate emotions to each other.
How are scenes structured?
Each scene is structured organically by players by using an interjection mechanic. At any point during a scene, any active player can choose to interject, narrating a complication in the scene for a bonus at the end or narrating something good happening for a cost at the end. These interjections are always accompanied by a musical solo played by one of the musicians. This gives the scene a natural sense of progression and creates a balance and an interplay between the acting and the music.
What if I don't know anything about music?
This is easily the most common concern we get, and we promise we’ve thought about it a lot! The good news is that you don’t need to know anything about music to play this game. You can be thoroughly tone-deaf and unable to keep any kind of rhythm to save your life and still play this game just as well as anyone else.
There is no bad news.