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Style and Tone

Brainwave is a game of dualism, of extreme mundanity and the utterly absurd. From the power fantasy to powerlessness and the contrast between the ability to solve the problems of others with magic and chaos and then having to turn to one's own with no such magic wand to hand. We aim to tell a story of two worlds, interacting heavily with themes of absurdism, dualism, emotion, escapism and imagination. The game will have its darker moments and will incorporate some horror elements, but overall it will be angling for a more upbeat and optimistic tone, one with positive belief in the power of community, imagination and dreaming of a better world.

The major themes we wish to deal in are:

Mundanity and Absurdity

This game's primary themes centre on contrasting the mundane and the absurd. Players will be presented with grounded problems requiring regular, grounded solutions in the mundane world; and with fantastic and absurd situations in Headspaces, requiring fantastic and absurd solutions. The game thrives on juxtaposing these two and the serious and humorous situations that result.

This is not to say that that the real world will be necessarily normal or ordinary. In fact, Museford is quite intentionally very strange and absurd in its own right. The hard divide between the realms of imagination and reality comes not from the fact one is absurd and the other is not, but Museford is absurd in the strange way that reality can be, in the plausible. By contrast, in Headspaces, anything is possible, and the absurdity derives itself from the impossible and strange nature of our own minds.

That said, all the players are humans, and will have human problems requiring human solutions. Museford might be a strange place, but the struggles are very human and very ordinary. This is where the game is grounded: in psychics grappling with breadspace problems that they cannot solve with the magic of headspace.


Brainwave presents players with a mundane world full of mundane problems, and a fantastic world where they can exercise immense power and be who they please. The Brainspaces of others can be seen to be an “escape” from the problems of everyday life, and this game will indulge themes of this, and the repercussions of a surfeit of ignoring the real world.

Brainwave characters can be a variety of people and come from a variety of backgrounds. However, as this is a game about adult escapism (distinct from the escapism of children) all Brainwave characters must be 21 or older. This was chosen not because 18-20 year olds can't be exceptionally mature or shouldn't be considered adults (some of our GM's are younger than 21!), but because by 21 most people are fully confronting adult life and adult responsibility. Brainwave is about the escapism and responsibilities and problems that come with being an adult in that way, and that is why we have set this limit.


This is a game about exploring the human psyche and mind, and as a result emotion will be a major theme in explorations of people's innermost thoughts and feelings. Both the positive and negative aspects of intense emotion will be explored, as well as the effects.

Psychic power facilitates people to literally explore and encounter emotions in the abstract, to feel how others feel and express your own in return. Headspaces will analogise what actually goes on in the human mind and the effect emotion can have on it, positively and negatively. Conversely, in Breadspace there's no psychic or magical way of exploring emotion, yours or other psychics, and coping with the feelings that arise in our day to day lives, and this is the portion of the game that will deal with emotion less abstractly and more focusing on its outwards effects on people.


This game will deal with some sensitive and serious themes, particularly around mental health and the dangers of being emotionally isolated, and have moments that may be very sad or somber in tone, but will aim to emphasise the ability of communities to improve their own lives, and the power and benefits of both the ordinary and the extraordinary to benefit the lives of all. Emphasising a positive belief in the power of teamwork, empathy and emotion (positive or negative) to make everyone's lives better, Brainwave wishes to express a bright, optimistic, and often silly, tone overall.


The game draws influences primarily from the following sources:

  • Inside Out (movie)
  • Psychonauts (video game)
  • Persona (video game franchise)
  • Mob Psycho 100 (anime)
  • Inception (movie)
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (book series)
  • The Thursday Next book series by Jasper Fforde (for pro-croquet)
style_tone.txt · Last modified: 2022/08/14 17:32 by gm_jamie