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Ten Candles is a zero-prep tabletop storytelling game designed for one-shot 2-4 hour sessions of tragic horror. It was released in December 2015 and is best played with one GM and 3-5 players. It is played by the light of ten tea light candles which provide atmosphere, act as a countdown timer for the game, and allow you to literally burn your character sheet away as you play. Ten Candles is described as a “tragic horror” game rather than survival horror for one main reason: in Ten Candles there are no survivors. In the final scene of the game, when only one candle remains, all of the characters will die. In this, Ten Candles is not a game about “winning” or beating the monsters. Instead, it is a game about what happens in the dark, and about those who try to survive within it. It is a game about being pushed to the brink of madness and despair, searching for hope in a hopeless world, and trying to do something meaningful with your final few hours left.
The setting of Ten Candles will change game to game as the gamemaster selects different “modules” to run for an ever-changing lineup of doomed characters and scenarios for them to play within. The antagonists of the game also change, leaving you to fight nightmares in one session only to fight sentient shadows, bloodthirsty clowns, or the gods themselves in the next. Every session of Ten Candles is unique and will present an entirely new tragic story for you to tell.