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Pinoy-made ‘Speak to me. The voices are far too loud.’ could be the anti-hate RPG we need

While we live in a divided world, it’s important to remember that hope for a better future remains as long as we learn to value communication and empathy.

This is the message of two-player tabletop roleplaying game “Speak to me. The voices are far too loud.”

Created by Filipino game designer Tobie Abad and released through his TAG Sessions platform, the game serves as a “statement against bullying” and a “defiant stance against the hate which seems to currently fuel the world.”

“We must embrace love,” said Abad. “And this game hopes to allow opportunities to find that despite the bleakness that surrounds us.”

“Speak to me. The voices are far too loud.” is available on DriveThruRPG.


Finding hope in each other

“Speak to me. The voices are far too loud.” introduces players into a terrifying situation by locking them up in a dark prison. To avoid succumbing to despair, these “Prisoners” must learn to rely on each other for hope.

Prisoner A and Prisoner B embark on this proverbial quest for hope by communicating with each other.

Using pencils and pieces of paper, players “take turns ‘writing letters’ to each other, as they are both prisoners reaching out to find connection despite the stressful prison they are trapped in,” said Abad.

“However, one might not exactly be who they claim to be. It’s a free form dramatic role-playing game, which can be played as a larp or as a tabletop experience.”

The game begins with neither prisoner knowing the circumstances that landed the other in jail, progressing over the course of three acts.

In Act I, “the two Prisoners communicate with each other, finding another person to reach out to in this time of distress.”

Act II involves the gradual revelation of secrets that could drastically affect how the prisoners see and connect with each other.

“In Act III, the truth tends to come out,” said Abad. “This is the twist or the shocking moment in the story.”

This part was inspired by a scene from the graphic novel “V for Vendetta,”  which focuses on an incarcerated woman as she finds comfort in a recently discovered letter written by another prisoner. Abad was inspired by said scene as he believed it captured “the very essence of the need to embrace hope despite the bleakness of what the world currently is.”


Exploration and introspection

Abad created the game to counter the hate that seems so prevalent in the real world as well as online.

“[T]here has been a rising tide of dominating behavior being imposed on others simply for being different, or disliked,” he said. “And given my passion towards gaming, I felt creating a game which helped bring some thoughts into communication was in its own way an important stand to take.”

Due to the “capacity of role-playing games to be avenues of exploration and introspection,” Abad carefully selected difficult, socially relevant issues, then designed “Speak to me. The voices are far too loud.” to give players the ability to examine such issues.

This way, Abad hopes the game will help emphasize the message that “so many things can be tackled if both parties simply listen and communicate with each other.”

He added: “Too often, people seek a magic bullet to make things go smoothly. But lack of clarity can always complicate communication. And intentional deception from one side will always make the other side struggle to trust again.”

While Abad understands “Speak to me. The voices are far too loud.” won’t be for everyone due to the challenging nature of some of its subject matter, he hopes it’ll connect with people and find its audience.

“It is far too easy to embrace the temptation to sever ties and hide from the sources of stress and pain,” he said. “Hopefully his game will help some realize the importance of maintaining connections.” — LA, GMA News