Interstitial: Our Hearts Intertwined, often shortened to Interstitial is a Powered by the Apocalypse game made by Riley Hopkins, funded through kickstarter. It's inspired by and legally distinct from Kingdom Hearts.
It's a game about your connections with other people, gathering connections as you travel, and the power drawn from those connections. Player characters form Links with each other based on their relationships: Light links for friends and romantic relationships, Dark links for enemies and rivals, Mastery for those you teach and are taught by, and Heart for those who make you realize something deeper about yourself.
It's also a game designed to be a vehicle for playing out weird crossovers. Much like its inspiration, travel between worlds and dimensions based on existing intellectual properties is an intrinsic part of the game. What's more, playing as existing characters from those worlds is not only allowed but encouraged.
Playbooks are defined not by a character's abilities, but their narrative archetype. The Chosen, The Discarded, The Mystic, and more are available options, with most of their moves designed around furthering their purpose in the story and how such character tropes would rub up against others. They also supply examples of existing characters who inspired such roles. For example, one campaign might see Aang, Lotor, and Qui-Gon Jinn ending up on a world-travelling team together. They could visit the Enterprise and help stave off a Borg attack, then turn into animal forms when they visit Sonic the Hedgehog. Canon is nebulous, and the only limits are the imaginations of the players.
Gameplay is designed to veer wildly from heartfelt to bonkers thanks to the combination of both mechanics. This was demonstrated in the Actual Play playtest podcast, Interstitial: Actual Play, which featured Riley in both campaigns.
This game contains examples of:
- Actually Four Mooks: Those who take "The Dark Makes Me Stronger" from The Dark count as a small gang.
- Alternate Self: "Echoes of Another Life" from The Anachronism playbook allows the character to come back as a version of themselves from an alternate timeline.
- Back from the Dead: Mechanically, a character can choose to come back after their Harm Clock is filled at the cost of losing their playbooks, their Links, or owing a favour to a dark force. The move "I'm Sorry About the Ice Cream" from The Friend playbook also allows this if the player is willing, though on a mixed success the resurrection is delayed and the character has forgotten something important.
- Big Good: The Light playbook can style themselves as this, as they're essentially the opposite of The Dark.
- Cast from Hit Points: A few moves require you to take Harm as a cost, regardless of roll.
- "Leaf Bracer" from The Chosen lets you take Harm to upgrade a mixed success to a full success.
- "My Darkness is My Weakness" from The Discarded lets you take Harm to add +2 to a Dark roll.
- "Nothing Hurts Like the Cold" from The Light lets you cash in Heart Links to deal 2 Harm each to someone, but you take 1 Harm each yourself.
- "Command Deck" from The Other has you take Harm to temporarily gain abilities to overcom an obstacle.
- The Chosen One: The Chosen playbook is all about being the protagonist of the story. The moves are designed around dishing out extra damage and protecting both yourself and your friends.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The Memory playbook relies on this to continue existing - if they lose all the links they have with people, they cease to exist and are forgotten.
- The Determinator: The Knucklehead playbook is themed after this, giving the player mostly combat moves that help them get a leg up on their opponents.
- Dynamic Entry: "If There's No Door, Then I'll make One" from The Prodigy lets you create your own path forward, be that metaphorical or literal.
- Evil Mentor: The Dark works by manipulating other players, and is even specifically referred to as a mirror to The Mystic.
- Expendable Clone: "Disposable" from The Other channels this. It causes all marked experience to immediately pass over to their Counterpart.
- Expy: Being inspired by Kingdom Hearts, every playbook in the core rulebook is based on a character from the series.
- The Chosen is Sora.
- The Connected is all the various Disney characters.
- The Dark is Xehanort.
- The Discarded is Riku.
- The Displaced is the residents of Traverse Town whose worlds were consumed by Darkness.
- The Friend is Donald and Goofy.
- The Light is Kairi.
- The Mystic is Mickey, Master Eraqus, and basically every mentor across the series.
- The Other is primarily Roxas, but also represents named Nobodies in general.
- The Anachronism is Young Xehanort.
- The Amalgam is Sora again, or Terranort.
- The Linksmith is Namine.
- The Prodigy and The Knucklehead are more vague. Both focus on physical fighting, with the former focusing on rivalry and the latter on foolhardiness. This describes a lot of major Kingdom Hearts characters.
- The Memory is Xion.
- Fish out of Water: The Displaced playbook is about playing characters who have lost or been separated from their worlds.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: The Anachronism, a playbook based around characters who travel through time as well as to other Worlds.
- Fusion Dance: The Amalgam can incorporate other characters into their system as they progress. Those who take the "Equal and Opposite" move also have a rival who is the fusion of the rivals of all the Amalgam's hearts.
- Gaslighting: The Linksmith is all about this as it can manipulate people's memories in order to make them do what they want. As such, the playbook has a trigger warning right at the top to ensure everyone playing is comfortable with it.
- Genre Savvy: "That's Not How Things Work 'Round These Parts" from The Connected lets characters not only know how the world they're in should work, but spend a link to keep things working that way.
- Guest-Star Party Member: The Connected is based on this, with the player changing characters every time the rest of the party goes to a new world.
- The Heart: The Light is themed after this if they're not the Big Good. The Friend can also fulfill this roll.
- Idiot Hero: If a character takes "Taps My Head Three Times" from The Chosen playbook, they are deemed "not smart enough to be manipulated it" and can easily be interpreted as this.
- Literal Split Personality: The Other is based off of Nobodies from Kingdom Hearts, so can easily be some manner of replica of another player or NPC.
- Living Lie Detector: "You Can't Fool Me" from The Light lets your character always tell when someone is lying to you.
- Mentor Archetype: The Mystic playbook can easily be this due to its focus on Mastery Links and moves like "For Your Own Good" and "Magical Teacher".
- Mind Hive: The Amalgam playbook is about playing a being containing multiple minds.
- The Power of Friendship: Light Links are this mechanically, and any move that uses them draws on this power. The Chosen and The Friend are based around this even more than others.
- Reference Overdosed: The core of the game's mission statement. Every playbook is clearly inspired by major character tropes from media, and nearly all their moves are named after lines or concepts from other works - usually Kingdom Hearts, but plenty from others.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: One of the motivations for The Anachronism, and also the result of a max roll on their Advanced Move "This Is Not Inevitable".
- Support Party Member: The Friend playbook acts as this, with most of their moves giving other party members advantages, or themselves advantages when helping their allies.
- Token Evil Teammate: The Dark is all about being cruel and manipulating others, but since it's a playbook any player could take up that role.
- Turn the Other Cheek: The move "Mercy" from The Light playbook: when you decide to spare someone you have reason to destroy, make a Heart Link with them.
- The Unchosen One: Thematically The Discarded is a playbook all about being left behind. Mechanically, it deals the most damage out of any playbook, as the Discarded desperately tries to prove they're worthy after all.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Other raises these questions, as they are a copy of some kind of another character and have as many moves pointing to them as disposable and fake as they do about asserting their own identity.