Welcome back, dice fondlers. This week, we’re taking a twisted path through a dark wood, over a trollish bridge, to Grandma’s house made of sugary sweets. From here on out, things are going to be pretty grim… That’s right, we’re talking about the RPG Grimm this week.
Word of warning, this game is not based on the tv show Grimm, but rather, the original Brothers Grimm and their tales. On the surface, this may sound like a fun fantasy tale, just with requisite amounts of danger. Not so much— Grimm is far closer in tone to the darkness in the previously discussed game Little Fears than to your average Looney Tunes or Disney interpretation. Let’s open the book on Grimm, and see where the story takes us.
Trapped in a Twisted Tale
First and foremost, Grimm is a game where children have fallen out of the “real world” and into the Grimm Lands. The Grimm Lands, as the game lore elaborates, were not places chronicled by the Brothers Grimm, but instead accidentally created by them.
Originally, the Brothers merely detailed the monstrosities sighted all across Europe. However, a book of unfinished stories they stole from a giant they had captured and tortured led them down a different path. Spurred on by an enigmatic temptress named Melusine, the Brothers worked feverishly to complete the book. Once finished, rather than describing our world, the book instead detailed another world so thoroughly that it came into being. That world, as you may have guessed, is The Grimm Lands.
Rotten to the Core
The Grimm Lands are a patchwork of fantasy tropes. The Checkerboard Kingdoms, the Fallen Beanstalk, the Great And Awful Forest, the World’s Edge Mountains, and the Sea all comprise the lands. While their names in this instance are mostly unremarkable (only the Fallen Beanstalk hints at a post-Jack landscape), there is one more whose presence makes clear the rot at the heart of the Grimm Lands. The Castle of The Rotten King, ruled by the fractured Humpty Dumpty, makes plain the corruption and madness at the heart of this world.
Now, this isn’t a game that plays coy about origins of the original fairy tales, either. It calls out Humpty Dumpty’s origins as a stand-in for King Richard III, whose 26-month reign ended with him being pulled off his horse at the Battle of Bosworth Field and clubbed to death. Grimm also reminds readers that both “The Three Blind Mice” and “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” refer to the victims of Queen Mary I.
Every part of the Grimm Lands, even the areas that look the
Will You Save the Children?
With a rough hewn outline of the terrors lurking in The
Grimm Lands, we’ll break for this week. When we come back next week, we’ll be
talking about the children subjected to these terrors that we’re trying to
guide back to the real world. Between now and then though my friends, remember