By Alana Joli Abbott
In a world very much like ours, the realm of Espada is about to begin something very much like Earth’s Spanish Inquisition. Unlike on Earth, however, some well-meaning aliens arrive in time to stop Espada from going down the path of zealotry and religious persecution. That’s the set up for Negocios Infernales (Infernal Negotiations), a diceless, GM-less, collaborative, “two-shot” role-playing game created by award-winning authors and husband-wife team, Carlos Hernandez (The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria, Sal and Gabi Break the Universe) and C.S.E. Cooney (Bone Swans, Desdemona and the Deep).
When the aliens appear in the throne room of Reina Resoluta, Queen of Espada, she is gobsmacked. Espadans have no framework for understanding extraterrestrials, so they fall back on more familiar myths and metaphors.
“Are you devils?” asked Reina Resoluta.
“Think of us as your Benefactors,” the aliens replied.
La Reina gave them a knowing wink. “Of course. And will you, O ‘Benefactores,’ bestow uncanny powers on all Espadans who sign away their immortal souls to you?”
The aliens shrugged. “Close enough.”
Players in the game are magos who think they have sold their souls to the aliens in exchange for powers. In reality, they are auditioning for the privilege of joining the “cosmic consciousness” of the aliens, thereby beginning humanity’s next evolution.
The core of the game centers around the “Deck of Destiny” (“La Baraja del Destino”), a custom deck of 70 cards which features gorgeous artwork by Rebecca Huston. Much like a fortune teller reads cards to portend futures dire and blissful, the players interpret the cards they draw to determine their magos’ successes, failures, and fates. Together, the magos quest on behalf of Reina Resoluta to save Espada—or, depending on the luck of the deck, just to save their own skins.
In addition to collaborative role play, the cards can be used as a deck of story prompts or inspirations for writers, visual artists, and creatives of all varieties. Outland is set to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the game in February, 2022. Players can get a sneak peek at the deck and gameplay with Team Outland at Planet Comicon, August 20-22, 2021. Follow C.S.E. Cooney (Instagram/Twitter) and Carlos Hernandez (Instagram/Twitter) for possible playtest announcements and news on their other writings.
Outland Entertainment Editor in Chief Alana Joli Abbott acquired world rights from C. S. E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez in a single game deal.