What is Spirits Walk?

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: The FALLEN PRINCE, the TATTERED MARCHING KING, invites you to SPIRITS WALK, a grand yearly procession of SUNDRY OTHERLINGS and DIMENSIONAL CURIOSITIES… but you won’t get in dressed like THAT. You’ll need to build a SPIRIT MASK, a tool to pick the locks that shut our worlds away from each other. To make one of THOSE, you’ll need TOKENS – solid fragments of DISTILLED ENERGY.

Go out into the streets of Melbourne, find the spirits and strange masked folk who skip the gap between worlds, SUMMON THEM with junk magic and HELP THEM. If you give them what they CRAVE, they’ll give you what you NEED – and you’ll get a taste, too, you’ll feel the THRILL of power as it changes hands through acts of TABOO and TRANSGRESSION, and trade the currency of SECRETS and LIES.


Spirits Walk is a big deal for me; having been asked by the lovely people at Pop-Up Playground to do the headline game for their Autumn event, the Fresh Air Festival, I wanted to do something different from my normal stuff. (My normal stuff is zombies and shotguns and running and screaming and adrenaline, by the way, or disco-dancing, or stealing sweets whilst wearing a bandit mask.) They’ve been impossibly helpful in making props and costumes, scouting locations, and generally being wonderful people and letting me design this strange game.

So – how is it different?

It’s about spirits; the embodiments of things, the anthropomorphic collections of occult energy that bubble out of culture and habit and emotion – and they crave their chosen passion like an addict craves drugs. The streets of Melbourne will be dotted with strange figures in masks, and they’ll ask strange things of the players, and it ends in a quick jaunt into the spirit world through a ritualised parade.

The Mother Bird waits, begging you to build her nest
Mask by Sayraphim Lothian and Jessica New

There’s plenty of theatre, and not a lot of game in the sense that I normally work within – this isn’t physically challenging stuff. But it’s socially challenging stuff, I suppose.

This is a game where players approach an odd-looking woman and follow her down a dark alley and then she asks them to give her something – anything – of themselves, and no two players can give the same thing, so what are you willing to give? This is a game where you have to convince strangers to give you valuable items in exchange for meaningless paper. Where you dance with a stranger to music only you can  hear. Where you march under a banner with your darkest secret written on it.

It is a game of transgression, and taboo, and the very real fear that you are acting out of line, that you are showing more of yourself than you would like, that you are letting your guard down, letting the mask slip. I am really, really keen to see what players will do; how far they’ll go in aid of the game, in aid of their own story.


If you’re in Melbourne this weekend, we’d love to have you along (there are still a few tickets left on each of the three nights at time of writing). It’s free to play. Here’s a booking link, and here’s the Facebook page where you can keep up-to-date with any developments.

I think I might be on to something here; if this goes well, I’d like to tour this around the place. Sydney next, obviously, then London? Bristol? New York? Who knows. Let’s get this one right first, and move on from there.






4 responses to “What is Spirits Walk?”

  1. Will Avatar

    This sounds really interesting, Grant. I look forward to reading your post-event thoughts. Best of luck with it all.

  2. Gavin Avatar

    Wish I could take part but I’m at the other side of the world. Glasgow or Edinburgh are 2 cities that’d have amazing atmosphere for (assuming I have the right idea) this type of event.

    1. grant Avatar

      Edinburgh especially, yeah.

  3. Benj Avatar

    I think my days of jetting a thousand kilometres on a whim are behind me, I’m afraid, but I’m very keen to hear how it goes.

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