The cover for Thirsty Sword Lesbians, one of many games available in the TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas bundle.

This itch.io Tabletop Bundle Just Raised $220k for Trans Texans

There are literally hundreds of indie RPGs for a good cause.
This article is over 2 years old and may contain outdated information

Make no mistake about it: Trans people are under siege in Texas.

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In late February, Republican Governor Greg Abbott penned a directive to the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services ordering the agency to investigate trans children’s parents. The letter equates medical care for youth gender transitioning with child abuse and is considered a blatant attack on trans kids, essentially forcing young trans minors back into the closet under the threat of separation from their parents.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal have since sued to stop the DFPS from carrying out its investigations, claiming Abbott’s directive has “no legal effect,” as ACLU of Texas’ Adri Pérez told NPR. Nonetheless, the governor’s directive has already forced the country’s biggest pediatric hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, to pause hormone therapy for trans youth.

Even if Abbott’s attack on trans kids is thwarted, anti-trans bills are in vogue right now in the U.S. Trans Texans face an onslaught of Republican hostility in the near future, and the chilling effect will impact trans children and adults for years to come.

Trans-led, trans-focused TTRPG aid

Given the dreadful state of things, trans rights organizers in Texas need more support than ever before. Luckily, tabletop role-playing game developers have heard the call. More than 300 creators came together this month, contributing over 500 games for a charity collection for two Texas-based trans rights organizations. The “TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas!” bundle, available on itch.io for $5, offers over $2.7 thousand worth in indie role-playing games for Organización Latina de Trans en Texas and Transgender Education Network of Texas.

A screenshot of itch.io's TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas! bundle.

Rue, a trans game developer, organized the bundle after receiving guidance from the co-admins behind Huetopia, a TTRPG streaming channel by and for BIPOC players. TENT focuses on eliminating bigoted stereotypes and stigmas against trans people, Rue told The Mary Sue, while OLTT offers a wide number of services for trans and GNC Texans. These include affirming shelters, legal support for trans immigrants navigating the U.S. citizenship process, and emergency housing and food for queer people in need.

Originally, Rue planned to raise $1,000 for the two organizations. But the bundle broke through that initial goal in just 45 minutes. By March 7, five days after its initial launch, the itch.io bundle had skyrocketed to over $220k worth in purchases.

“The support from the community has overwhelmed me with joy in a way I haven’t felt in a long time,” Rue said.

What can you expect in the bundle?

“TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas!” features an enormous assortment of indie tabletop RPGs, most of which are focused around queer narrative themes. One of the most popular games in the bundle, Thirsty Sword Lesbians, lets players act out dramatic encounters with other queer women between flashy duels and action-packed kisses (yes, there’s an actual move for that: “Finally Kiss, in a Dangerous Situation”). Another, Dragonhearts, is a DM-less RPG where players navigate the complex relationships between humans that can shapeshift into dragons (and vice-versa) amid a special dragon ritual.

Other highlights include Anna Anthropy’s tarot-based solo fantasy RPG Princess with a Cursed Sword, quinnntastic’s witchy two-player love saga RPG penultimate:, and Sleepy Sasquatch Games’ eldritch adventure game Wandering Dreams. The latter is sure to warm the heart of any Elden Ring players eager for a thematically similar solo RPG experience.

A still from Wandering Dream, showing a landscape.

The “TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas!” bundle runs from now until April 4. The collection currently has a $300,000 goal. Given over 22,800 people have already purchased the bundle, with one contributor offering as much as $1 thousand for the collection, it seems likely Rue and their fellow developers will reach their latest goal well before April.

“I’d just like to thank everyone who’s been involved in this whole process — the game designers who donated their products, everyone who’s purchased the bundle, and everyone who’s helped to publicize it,” Rue told The Mary Sue. “This is a collective effort, and while it can sometimes seem like as individuals there’s nothing we can do, we can move mountains when we come together.”

(Disclosure: Ana Valens was a Kickstarter backer for Thirsty Sword Lesbians.)

(Image: Evil Hat Productions)

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Author
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Ana Valens
Ana Valens (she/her) is a reporter specializing in queer internet culture, online censorship, and sex workers' rights. Her book "Tumblr Porn" details the rise and fall of Tumblr's LGBTQ-friendly 18+ world, and has been hailed by Autostraddle as "a special little love letter" to queer Tumblr's early history. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her ever-growing tarot collection.