This Spells Trouble is a messy, silly game about magical mistakes. This tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) includes materials for both in-person and online play, a rulebook, and an audiobook narrating its rules.

Here's the thing: magicians are awful at doing anything that isn't magic. Their problems always seem to spiral out of control as they fumblingly summon spirits to deal with the things they can't. In This Spells Trouble, players quickly cycle through roles that see them summon spirits, cause problems, and helplessly watch the chaos that unfolds.

Quick stats:

  • 60-90 minutes
  • 3-4 players
  • No GM
  • Rotating asymmetric roles
  • No advance prep for online play, some printing recommended for offline play

This game includes:

  • All materials required to play the game online or in-person.
    • One 16-page PDF file containing the rules and cards of the game in full colour, best viewed on desktops and tablets.
    • A link to an illustrated spreadsheet (via Google Sheets) for online play.
    • A separate 4-page PDF file with the 15 illustrated cards for printing and in-person use, available in colour and black+white.
  • Additional materials to accommodate alternative play platforms or accessibility.
    • One 18-minute mp3 file that narrates the full rule text -- basically, an audiobook of the rules.
    • 16 card images (.jpg) for use with your preferred online playing card program (such as Roll20 or playingcards.io).


A Smouldering Lighthouse is an Ottawa-based indie publisher of tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs) and live action roleplaying games (larps). Their first major game, This Spells Trouble, was released in February 2021.

For more creative work in tabletop games from the people behind A Smouldering Lighthouse:

  • Kathleen is an associate editor for Meeple Mountain, a tabletop gaming review site. Her writing can be found here.
  • Kurt is an associate editor for Meeple Mountain. His writing can be found here. Kurt has also designed a series of online play platforms in Google Sheets for TTRPGs like i'm sorry did you say street magic, Fiasco, and Breaking the Ice. He posts these spreadsheets to his Twitter account, but is working on collecting them in one place in the future.
Book
Format Digital PDF
Type GM-less one shot
Pages 16
People & Companies
Author Kurt Refling
Book
Format Digital PDF
Type GM-less one shot
Pages 16
People & Companies
Author Kurt Refling

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This Spells Trouble

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Tags: This Spells Trouble, Lighthouse, Magic, Magicians, Spells, GM-less

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