What Is Moonlight on Roseville Beach?

Just Funded - Moonlight on Roseville Beach Hardbacks

Right now, I'm sitting at The West in Brooklyn. It's where, during a screening of The Birdcage, I compiled the quickstart rules for Moonlight on Roseville Beach and put together the Kickstarter page way back in 2021. That Kickstarter did better than I could have hoped, and since the game released in print in February 2023, more than 70% of its print-run. We won got an honorable mention from the IGDN's Indie Groundbreaker Awards, won an ENnie-Award, and got a "Must Play" designation from Tabletop Gaming Magazine.

I am running a second Kickstarter for the game right now, this time funding hardbacks and a subscription series of mysteries. We launched on Tuesday, Oct. 17 and funded our initial goal a day later. So I wanted to come here and write a post about this game and this setting I still love a lot. It's up here posted for everyone, but it's targeted to people who haven't heard about it yet.

But first: Visitor's Guide to Cruisin', our quickstart and demo kit, is free DriveThru and Itch!

A Queer Game?

Welcome to Roseville Beach

Set in 1979 in a queer beach community (and yep, those existed), Moonlight on Roseville Beach blends together early queer pulp and crime novels from the 50s and 60s with early weird fiction of the 30s and 40s. While the town of Roseville Beach is as queernorm as the queer vacation communities of yore were, the world outside it is as queerphobic as the real 1970s ever were. People come to communities like Roseville Beach to live the open lives they could only imagine in their hometowns.

But most of the communities that surround Roseville Beach on Rose Island are wealthy and exclusive, and their denizens include not only people who'd like to turn the old, queer town into condos, but also a fair number of cults, sorcerers, and servants of strange entities.

Disco & Cosmic Horror?

A Guide for Sleuths

In Roseville Beach, the PCs are housemates living and working in Roseville Beach and taking care of the community. Character creation includes three big decisions: where you came from (origin story), what you're doing on Roseville Beach now (job), and how you learned about the superatural forces on Rose Island (a strange event). Your character creation gives you and your housemates some backgrounds and skills that you can use whenever you face risks and roll dice. Characters include not only the everyday humans who come to a place like Roseville Beach, but also witches, shifters, beings from beyond our reality, and magical familiars living in the world as animals.

There's also a section dedicated to "guest stars"—ready-made player characters for those visiting players who drop in for a session to help the housemates. They have unique backgrounds, skills, and special abilities, and your visiting player just needs to select a guest star, pick their pronouns, and give them a name.

Two guest stars options written by Alison Cybe: The Punk and the Soul of the Queer Community

The Game Master's Book of Secrets

For Game Masters (aka, Keepers or Game Moderators), the book includes advice on creating mysteries, running romance, an NPC generator, and a deep dive into strange entities and events around Roseville Beach and Rose Island. From the mysterious monoliths that always appear near supernatural events to the siren-inhabited lighthouse offshore and the mysterious colony of giant otters on Odd Island in the harbor. This section includes sorcerers, deep dives into strange events at Ocean Palace nightclub and Cedar Point Hotel, and mysterious locations beyond the town.

The book also includes five ready-to-run mystery scenarios from me, Anne Toole, Catherine Ramen, Maxwell Lander, and Sean F. Smith. They include the haunting of a beloved drag queen, the arrival of Greek titans and English hags, and a demon-haunted bathhouse in the woods. There's also a set of random tables for generating weird events.

A sample Roseville Beach mystery: Girls Before Swine by Cat Ramen

Stories from Roseville Beach

The book also includes seven flash fiction pieces set in the years leading up to 1979—stories of a Bible college runaway looking for a place to hide, a Vietnam vet seeking a purpose, a vampire hunter on a date, a melody-haunted nightclub singer drawn back to the town, and a gay guy and his lesbian best friend out to rescue her girlfriend from a strange pit that's opened in the ground.

Never more than a page, the stories explore all the shades and tones of Roseville Beach, from the light-hearted to the earnest and even the grim.

The Team

  • Richard Ruane created Moonlight Roseville Beach in 2019.
  • Cover design, art direction, and layout by Dai Shugars. 
  • The player-focused "Guide for Sleuths" by Richard Ruane, Sharang Biswas, Alison Cybe, and Ezakur, with additional content by Preston Leslie and Ramses Wilde-Wolf.
  • The "GM's Book of Secrets" by Richard Ruane, Rob Abrazado, Rick Chia, and Ethan Harvey, with additional content by Logan Rollins and Eric Moore.
  • Five mysteries and a strange-events generator by Richard Ruane, Maxwell Lander, Catherine Ramen, Noora Rose, Sean F. Smith, and Anne Toole.
  • "Stories from Roseville Beach" by Bendi Barrett, Sharang Biswas, Erin Roberts, Ennis Rook Bashe, and Richard Ruane (as R.J. Ryan).
  • Edited by Jared Sinclair with sensitivity reading by Brian Kunde.


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