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The Case

A Lovecraftian journaling game

Rated best overall in 2021's #CosmicHorrorJam

The Case is a  solo-rpg journaling game, where the player takes on the role of a Detective investing a mysterious death.  As the story progresses, strange events intrude on the Detective's life, causing them to gradually lose themselves to horror.

Using a deck of cards, a stack of sticky-notes and a notebook and pen, you will play through a series of prompts.

The Case is a 24 page PDF.  Full colour, basic and digital versions are provided.

The Case is a horror story which uses Lovecraftian themes.  From the outset it involves references to violence and murder, grief and loss, self harm and addiction,  loss of control and loss of identity.  Please do not read or play The Case if these themes could cause you upset or harm.  The Case is intended for adults only.

The Case was created for the itch.io #CosmicHorrorJam and is heavily inspired by the far superior Thousand Year Old Vampire by Tim Hutchings and The Wretched by Chris Bissette, both of which you should play if you enjoy horror games.

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars
(8 total ratings)
GenreRole Playing
TagsHorror, journal, Lovecraftian Horror, Psychological Horror, solo
Average sessionA few hours


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

The Case print version.pdf 12 MB
The Case basic print version.pdf 543 kB
The Case high quality digital version.pdf 12 MB

Exclusive content

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Comunity copies

Community copies are free to anyone who wants to experience The Case but is unable to pay. 

A community copy will be added each time a copy is purchased.


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This was my first journaling game! Really enjoyed it, easy to understand and very engaging prompts. I was on the edge of my seat the entire night and couldn't put it down. 

The only thing that confused me was the memory system. I didn't quite get how it was supposed to be implemented in practice. Ended up with events kind of scattered and when I tossed them, I didn't know how it should affect the story. 

Like say you have an event in memory about security footage, but then you toss it, and in the new space you get the B-event which is the same footage only more details, were you supposed to forget you already watched the first one? 

Instead I tried to separate the memories into categories, I felt it made more sense to have early past memories, case memories, private life memories etc and remove and arrange out the details instead of tossing out entire events (unless it made sense later to do that). Not sure if that ruins the intension, pleased to know what you think!  

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Hi there

I'm really glad you enjoyed it. Welcome to the world of journaling games!

I would say that they way you've done it seems perfectly sensible. (To be honest, one thing I wanted to do with The Case was to make the rules themselves slightly disorientating, especially as the story develops - which is probably not a great game-design idea). 

If you're interested in more, I've just added some free community copies of Lineage Epoch Edition.  Help yourself.


any chance of a community copy id love to review this for my vlog


any chance of a community copy


I started playing the game, and I have a few more questions regarding the prompts:

- What's the difference between 'Create an event' and 'Add an event'?
- When it says 'Create an event' or 'Add an event', do I have to place it in a memory?
- There are prompts that doesn't ask me to add, create or alter an event, like those on Jack of Hearts. What do I do in these situations?

Thank you again for such a great game!


Hello. "Create an event" and "add an event" are the same thing.  I used two different terms, which was a silly thing to do.

Events must be placed in a memory. Memories can only hold a maximum number of events, and there's a maximum number of memories you can have.  If you're told to create an event and there's no space to put it, you have to lose a whole memory. (So the character is forgetting things that used to be important as new things happen, and this is gradually changing who they are).

if a prompt doesn't tell you to create (or add) an event, then don't. You can still consider what happened with that prompt, but it's not a new thing to take up space in a memory.

Glad you've been enjoying the game.


It's much clearer to me now. Initially I thought that "Create an event" meant that it had to be placed in a memory, whilst "Add an event" meant that it had to be placed in the case file :-)

Thank you for the reply!


I'm a little confused by the "Moving through prompts"...

On step 3, it says: "Deal a card from the suit deck. Read and respond to the associated prompt. If the card is the King, ignore it another card instead."

On step 6, it also says to ignore the King: "Discard two cards from the suit deck. If either of these cards are the King, return the King to the suit deck and discard another card instead."

At the end of the page, it says: "Playing the King as one of the four prompt cards indicates that this part of the story is over. Put the suit deck aside and start with the next suit."

Do I have to ignore the King or put the suit deck aside when it comes to play? It's not clear to me...

Thank you for the game!


Hi Gustavo

So, Kings indicate that you're to move to the next chapter of the story. 

At the start, draw four cards so you get four prompts.  We don't want chapters to be super-short, so if any of these four cards are Kings put them back in the deck and draw another card instead. 

If you're drawing cards for prompts at any other time, drawing a King means the chapter ends.

Between rounds, we're also going to discard a couple of cards.  This will take them out of play, so they don;t come up as prompts.  Make sure, though, that you're not discarding Kings,  otherwise you won't be able to draw them as prompts.

Hope this makes sense



That makes perfect sense to me now.

Thank you for the reply!


Cara, é um saco toda essa pregação moralista nos rpgs. Vc realmente acha que seu apelo vai impedir ou mudar a cabeça de alguém?

As pessoas são o que são, apenas Deus pode sondar nossas mentes. Faça seus jogos e não perca tempo querendo corrigir os outros, a vida faz isso por si.

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I don't really think that "don't be racist" should be a controversial comment, but thanks for your input.


Por favor, não me entenda mal. Eu não disse que isso é controverso, eu quis dizer que isso é inútil. 

Pedir para alguém mal deixar de ser mal, achando que isso acontecerá, é uma piada.


I have no interest in trying to convince people not to be racist on the internet...but i made a thing I'm proud of and I also have no interest in sharing it with racists.

Lovecraft was a serious bigot. His racism wasn't incidental, it was a major part of who he was and the stories he told.  When we use Lovecraft as an inspiration but fail to address his behaviours as a person, that acts as a tacit endorsement of his racism.  It empowers those who still share his views.

It's that simple.  If you're not interest in the game, move on.

Well stated.  I am a fan of the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft but not his racial opinions.  They are laid bare in his works.  In this case I can love the art and not the artist, but it's not easy...