Ten Candles is a 2015 role-playing game by Stephen Dewey published for Cavalry Games.

Heaven betrayed you ten days ago
The world has fallen into darkness. The sun has disappeared.

It presents itself as a role-playing game of shared narration, sunk in tragic horror. Ten Candles it requires little, if any, preparation, and is designed for one-shots lasting a few hours (3-4), for 3 to 6 people.

Cover of Ten Candles. some survivors are surrounded by THEM
LORO surround the survivors immersed in darkness

Everything in this title pushes to create atmosphere by making it the crucial element of the experience. Playing it in the light of ten candles is hers optimum!

Playing with lit Ten Candles and burning our hopes has a lot of effect
Nice effect, isn't it?

Those around the table, except the Master, will play the members of a group that tries to survive, in the hope that the sun's rays, sooner or later, will return to pierce the darkness that is enveloping the world.

Five days ago, THEY arrived
the aid that was promised on the radio never arrived
in the darkness, where before there was silence, you hear screams.
THEY are coming for you.

Ten Candles preparation phase

Whoever is going to play sits at the table, in the center of which there is an ashtray, or another container, around which 10 candles are placed, unlit.

The task of the Master is to introduce the evening during the creation of the characters, so as not to go totally out of context; they can change year and place in which we are and other details, but the focus is always the same: staying still is equivalent to dying.

You have to keep moving. Do not lose hope. And stay in the light.

During the creation of the characters, little by little, these candles are lit. Candles must be the only source of light in the room, candles represent hope.

There are no cards with numerical values, attributes and abilities, but small pieces of paper with the distinctive aspects of the characters: an advantage and a defect, two key moments and the breaking point, which must be positioned under all, is our last " resource". We will then need a concept of who we will interpret, but this does not actively enter the narrative.

Then there are LORO. What they are LORO we don't know, no one around the table knows yet, not even the Master. He knows only one detail that concerns them, decided in secret by one of the players, be it a strength or a skill.

Hic sunt umbrae

When all the characters are finally ready, and the Ten Candles lit, you can start.

The Ten Candles and the vessel that contains the ashes of our hopes
Hopes have gone to ashes. There is no longer any light to save us

The flow of the narrative continues normally between Masters and Players, when the Master believes that an action could affect the story, or believes that it could have dangerous implications, he will request that a roll be made.

The player who has taken this action will take as many dice as there are lit candles and will roll. If the action is successful (at least a 6), the narration continues (the dice bearing the 1s cannot be used for the rest of the scene); if he fails (no useful result) the player can field one of his traits to reroll part of the dice. Putting into play suddenly is not something to be taken lightly, the merits help, it is true, but the defects will complicate the scene. Regardless of the outcome of the new roll, the attribute will literally be burned.
A faint glow will slightly fill the room more with light, and the light, as mentioned, is hope.

They only fear one thing, light

But what if the roll fails again? Things get tragically complicated, a candle goes out and, in turn, the Players and the Master will have to establish Truths that will deepen the story.
Imagine a scene change in a movie, a home run, something that moves out of their sight in the shadows, anything that can be interesting and constructive for the story being told.
But the light will not return, the sun will not reappear to bring you relief. THEY will not disappear, they will remain there in the shadows waiting for you.

In Ten Candles we must remember that: These are the Truths The world is dark and we are alive

These are the Truths
The world is dark
and we are alive

Hic sunt tenebrae

One of the Ten Candles it went out. Hope fades. The slow descent into darkness becomes less and less slow and more and more inexorable.
After all it's a tragic horror story, there is no room for a happy ending.

Conclusions on Ten Candles

Ten Candles it is a game that has so impressed me, from the first moment I saw it, that I never tire of playing and proposing at every opportunity. Try new modules, find out what or who they are LORO, along with the players as the story unfolds is always very beautiful and rewarding.

Therefore, during this lockdown period, I wanted to propose it in a digital key, trying to devise expedients to recreate the atmosphere, the cornerstone of the game.

The result was a middle ground, the interesting story, the beautiful scenes, but the feeling of hope, the light, which fades faster and faster, the desperation of the characters, protagonists of the story, who realize that nothing is left to them, these are all things that the digital media has unfortunately failed to convey.

Ten Candles remains, in my opinion, the best atmospheric horror RPG, at least among the ones I've tried. This is because every mechanic, every part and every moment of the game is meant to create the Atmosphere, with a capital A. After all, a horror without atmosphere is not a horror!