Drawing a picture of the tabletop space with Forgery

Banana Chan’s solo, paint-by-numbers pathway rpg is an incisive satire of the hobby.

Drawing a picture of the tabletop space with Forgery
Forgery, by Banana Chan

It is 2024 in New York’s Hudson Valley, and you are launching a website for tabletop roleplaying game coverage alongside two of your friends and colleagues. Late last year, you were laid off from a decently-paying job where you were overworked and underappreciated by upper management. There was a lot of time spent re-writing press releases and aggregating other people’s content. Occasionally, you were able to do work you were proud of. Despite the downsides, it was a job with healthcare benefits, and it’s not like journalism is thriving right now. 

You’ve worked the breaking news desk for nearly five years, honing your craft, attending conferences and trainings, making connections in your coverage space… and today you’re going to find out if it all comes to bear. You whisper to yourself, “write free or die,” like it’s a comfort and not a candle you’re burning at both ends. You and your colleagues announce Rascal on social media, you send five hundred emails to your contacts, your parents call and tell you they’re proud of you, but you’re still trying to build this up from nothing. 

Does your work matter? Are you good enough? Do people care? Will you be able to pursue your chosen career through the tumultuous capitalist future full of glossy micro-celebs and AI generated sludge? Will you let the demons fuck you over?

Cover by Alex Eckman-Lawn

You’re playing Forgery, by Banana Chan. 

You play as Tempest, not Linda, and you’re a painter, not a journalist. You can’t catch a break—your art isn’t selling, your work isn’t moving the needle forward, and you’re stuck selling replicas on Etsy. Your friends, Kara and Cody, balance out the resentment you feel towards Alina, a snobby gallerist, and Nate, a born-rich immersive artiste who’s into NFTs. After a disappointing gallery showing, you receive a message from Richmond, a well-off businessman who wants you to recreate a painting. He’s legit and gives you a huge-for-you downpayment immediately. You get to work.