The Dance and the Dawn is a fantasy roleplaying game of romantic tragedy by Dev Purkayastha of Sweet Potato Press. It tells the tale of a midnight waltz in the court of the Ice Queen, where the forlorn Ladies of Ash have come to dance with the mysterious Lords of Ice, each Lady in search of the True Love that can yield them happiness. Happily ever afters are possible, but far from guaranteed.
The game is designed for one-shot play for 3-5 players (but 4 players is recommended). One of the players is the GM (or Narrator) and the others play the Ladies of Ash.
The action of the game takes place in the ballroom of the Ice Queen’s court. The dance floor is represented by a chessboard, and all the attendees by chess pieces. As the pieces move around the board, the clock ticks on to morning. At dawn, the Ladies will have to make their fateful choices.
I recently had the opportunity to play the game, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s not for everyone, and I’m ambivalent about its replay value, but there’s a lot of great stuff in it that I think is worth unpacking.
The Dance and the Dawn is available for purchase from Lulu or Indie Press Revolution. There’s even a live-action roleplay (or “theatrical experience”) adaptation of the game, if that’s more your sort of thing.