What is it about? Inspire them, the fairy role-playing game that uses sign language to cast spells and was funded on Kickstarter?

We have already seen role-playing games that speak of language and language dialect, but a new title appeared this summer: Inspire them.

It is a role-playing game designed for teens or pre-teens, set in a fairy world that is in danger of disappearing. To save him, the characters must collect Credo (Belief) by solving problems, injustices and puzzles around the fairy world. The strength of the characters lies in their unique abilities, such as being able to drink the water of the Holy Grail and being able to cast spells through sign language.

So let's see more precisely what it's about Inspire them. What kind of mechanics does it use? Which audience is it aimed at? How is your crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter structured?

A fairy world in danger: the setting of Inspire them

Inspire them is set in a series of fairy islands, the Inspirisles, largely inspired by Celtic mythology and the Arthurian cycle. And yes, despite its variety and simplicity, this setting is better than that of Cursed.

The reality of the Inspirisles, however, is threatened by the fact that in our world we are ceasing to believe in fairies and magic. Among the fairy clans of the islands, called Amici (Friends), seven are trying to repair the damage of the Creed's lack. However, there is a clan that ignores the problem, as they live in the depths of the earth and do not feel the earthquakes and do not see the gaps in the reality that this threat creates.

The players play young human beings transported to the Inspirisles, as they are bound to them by destiny. Thus, the characters will be gods Foundling, the only ones capable of using the water of the Holy Grail. Each Foundling will be trained by a fairy clan, thus learning unique skills. The Foundlings, therefore, are the best people to search Credo to strengthen the Inspirisles.

The Creed can be collected by carrying out adventures, solving the injustices of the Inspirisles and, above all, by convincing the children of our world of the existence of magic. To face the dangers, the characters can use the technique of Modeling (Shaping), which allows you to do magic through the use of a sign language. The Signs of Modeling can only be taught to Foundlings by Inspired (Inspired), the four forces of nature who will eventually be able to bring the characters home.

An example of Inspirisles combat, combining cards, dice and Skill scores
A combat example of Inspire them, which combines cards, dice, and Attribute scores

The game system of Inspire them: between cards and sign language

Inspire them uses an original game system, all based on six Attributes, spell cards and the Grail Pool.

To face an obstacle, whether it is orienting yourself in the woods, fighting an enemy, solving a puzzle or defending someone, two six-sided dice are rolled, to which the score in the Attribute most useful for the occasion is added. The Attributes they are Sword, Shield, Speed, Intelligence, Social and Survival.

Each roll can be given additional bonuses, obtained through either spells, or the Grail Pool. The incantations are written on carte and give bonuses to skill rolls: Fireball, for example, gives a +1 bonus to Sword, which becomes +2 if used against a being bound to the element of earth. There Chicken of the Grailinstead, it is a pool of dice of various types (from d4 to d20), which represent the strength given by drinking the Grail water. These bonus dice to roll are given by the person in the role of master, who in Inspire them it is called Grail Guide.

In Inspire them characters cannot die, but they can accumulate points of Disbelief. If the Foundlings accumulate too many Unbelief points, they should consult the Destiny table (Doom chart), finding out which catastrophic event will hit the Inspirisles. The only way to cancel Unbelief is through the use of accumulated Creed points.

The British Sign Language Alphabet in Inspirisles
The British Sign Language Alphabet in Inspire them

The use of sign language in Inspire them

As an optional rule, in Inspire them Spell cards can be activated by forming letters of the alphabet with sign language. The game allows you to use two sign languages: BSL, that is British sign language (British Sign Language), and in SSE, i.e. in English Supported by Signs (Sign Supported English).

What is sign language? A quick introduction

Before we move on, let me do a few small ones linguistic premises, in my opinion necessary to understand what we are talking about.

Sign language is a language that expresses meanings not through sound, but through hand signs, facial expressions and body movements. It is used (also, but not only) by deaf people, that is, by the community of signing persons. Sign language is not universal, but differs from state to state: the Italian sign language (LIS) will therefore be different from the American one (American Sign Language, ASL).

Sign language VS signed language: what's the difference?

Sign languages ​​have their own morphosyntax and are not a mere cast of oral languages. For example, English Sign Language does not have the subject-verb-object order typical of spoken English, but follows other rules.

Here because Inspire them proposes two types of signs. BSL is the real British sign language, with its own syntax and rules, very different from those of the English language. In reverse, the SSE is a cast of the spoken English language and therefore, using the same signs of the BSL, it proposes word for word a sentence spoken in oral English.

So, taking up the examples proposed in this beautiful video of the activist Ahmed Khalifa, in BSL the word order of a sentence such as "What is your name" will be as follows:

Your name what

Instead, in SSE, we will have the canonical word order of oral English:

cual es su nombre

As you can guess, BSL is faster and more minimalist than SSE, as it uses fewer signs. This does not mean, of course, that the BSL carries less information, but only that it conveys it differently. The fact that BSL does not have the verb be in the example "Your name what" does not make it easier than SSE, since there are many languages ​​in which, in different contexts, the verb be is omitted.

That said, BSL and SSE use the same alphabet, which is why they have both been included in the description of Inspire them.

Why language signs and not language any signs?

Finally, I emphasize that, although in Italian language e language tend to have the same meaning and to be used interchangeably, when it comes to sign language it is important to use the word language. Indeed, in linguistics language e language they are two distinct technical terms.

Il language it is our intrinsic ability to be able to express meanings through a language (oral or signed), and it is a universal ability, common to all humanity. Language, on the other hand, it is used to indicate a specific realization of language capacity, that is, one of the various natural languages ​​existing in the world (oral or signed), and it is not a universal capacity, but must be taught. Sign language, precisely because it differs from state to state and between different communities of signing persons, is not an innate ability, and therefore should not be defined language.

Why Inspire them use sign language? And how do you use it?

In Inspire them sign language is used for two things: casting spells e solve puzzles. To be precise, Inspire them teaches the British Sign Language alphabet, which is therefore also used in the SSE, albeit with different combinations, and the basic manual also contains the American Sign Language alphabet.

Since sign language uses a lot of the three-dimensionality of the space in front of the person and does not perform well if explained in writing, the creators of Inspire them also offer their Kickstarter supporters access to a workshop in video format on sign language. This workshop is done by people from the deaf community.

The goal of the creative team of Inspire them it is mainly the sensitization of the youngest towards people with hearing disabilities, so as to encourage them to learn a sign language.

On the left the classic cover of Inspirisles, on the right the special edition of the Kickstarter
On the left the classic cover of Inspire them, on the right the special edition of the Kickstarter

How does the Kickstarter of Inspire them?

Click here to go to the Kickstarter of Inspire them

The Kickstarter of Inspire them si will close on August 17th. Currently it has almost collected $22.000 on a goal of around $ 1.300, thus unlocking various stretch goals.

of stretch goals unlocked, I will underline here the ones in my opinion most noteworthy. First of all, there is the expansion of Modeling, which also adds a real one to the sign language alphabet sign language lexicon. Video tutorial on American Sign Language. Finally, the available spell cards have also been greatly expanded, the signs of which are now in both British and American sign languages. The next stretch goal to unlock, at $ 30.000 is the thematic six-sided dice.

The rewards of the Kickstarte of Inspire them

The rewards for Inspire them there is a minimum contribution of € 17 to a maximum of € 56.

The contribution of €17 gives access to the PDF copy of the manual and the sign language workshops. With €34 instead you will also have a hard copy of the manual. By spending €50 he will take home a reward early bird (still open), with a special cover for the paper manual, Celtic music specially composed for Inspire them and all the stretch goals. With €56 you will have the same rewards of the early bird, when copies of the latter are finished.

There are currently no other early bird rewards available, such as the PDF and tutorials at € 14 or the € 110 reward where you receive the material in advance and create a monster for the manual.

The Grail hardback, Inspirisles' main "security" mechanic
The hardcover of the Grail, the main "security" mechanic of Inspire them

Is this Kickstarter worth supporting?

Inspire them is an RPG with a very simple and basic system. It doesn't have much innovative, but its structure would seem solid.

Personally, I am very curious about the "safety" mechanics proposed by the game, which allows a player to turn a hardcover of the Holy Grail if he finds himself in a situation that is too difficult or complex. I find it particularly suitable for the young target who Inspire them intends to approach. I then emphasize that Inspire them it is purposely written in a font that makes it easier for people to read dyslexic.

An opportunity to learn a sign language?

The most interesting feature of Inspire them it is certainly the use of sign language to cast spells. In my opinion, it is a good way to teach everyone (and not just the youngest) the basics of a sign language, since it is not only implemented through a pleasant practice such as the game, but also through specific game mechanics that allow to have advantages. Therefore, in Inspire them learning a sign language is useful and important to play, it is not just an accessory.

Certainly, if the game were translated into Italian, it would be necessary to decide whether to keep the British sign language as a basis, or to propose a version of Inspire them with the Italian sign language. In this case, however, the work of the Italian publishing house would be much higher and more onerous, since not only should we redo the drawings of the alphabet and on the cards, but we should also shoot video tutorials with LIS speakers. However, it could be a service of enormous value to the Italian signing community, marking a greater inclusion in the rpg community.

Personally, I am extremely curious da Inspire them and I'd love to try it out. I've never had the chance to learn sign language and this might be a good time to start.