the red dream is a writing-focused, discord-based RPG attached to PRESS MANQUÉ, a melbourne-based zine press.the world is not quite experienced by each player in the same way. its interactive stories change and adapt to the choices you/your character makes, and to what extent you/your character engage with the narratives.to lose yourself in saccharine desires
or see the crack in the wall;
to solve the mystery or
be consumed by it—
it falls solely on your hands.


there was a cabaret, and there was a master of ceremonies ...
in a beautiful city, shining in the ruins of my own creation ...
it was the end of the world.and i was dancing with her until the break of dawn,
yet we were both fast asleep ...

when you linger through pularis long enough, you hear the locals speak of urban legends in jovial, derisive tones. often times, the myths are laughable: alligators in the sewers, mutant rats, harmless little stories that find no credence among many. there is one myth, however, that very few people speak about, out of fear that listeners may seek to verify the story for themselves.somewhere in the country, there is said to exist a ruined city, drowned and submerged by the waters of an artificial lake that took its place in the late 1800s. within this particular city, a dazzling night club lies waiting for patrons, alluring in its promise to not only fulfil your wildest dreams, but to liberate you from your troubles and doubts. the name of the club?the red dream.the origin of this myth can be traced back to the post-WWI recession. in its prime, the story had captivated the imaginations of the weary and tired, unable to find work, get money or subsistence. the desire to be free from the afflictions that plagued them spread like a virus, leading to many taking their lives in pursuit of the night club at the bottom of the lake. once the story had fallen out of circulation, however, it was quickly forgotten and supposedly lost in the annals of history.centuries later, a string of unexplained disappearances rocks the city. lazare, the trusted detective of the city, becomes inundated with missing persons requests. he, however, remains baffled and finds himself with no leads: nothing seems to connect any of the disappearances, nor do their families or colleagues have any reason to believe that they would disappear without a trace.unbeknownst to most of the city, the myth of the red dream has seeped back into the minds of many. what they discovered at the bottom of the lake, however, was a reality beyond the domain of death ...



➤ you must be 18+ to participate in the RPG and play its stories. by joining the group and obtaining the @patron role on the discord server, you are confirming that you are 18 or older. if you are discovered to be 17 or younger, you will be banned from the RPG server and prohibited from submitting to the literary press as a whole.➤ hate/discriminatory speech of any kind will not be welcomed. the use of slurs or otherwise bigoted language will result in an immediate ban from the RPG/literary press.➤ the RPG owner has the discretion to remove individuals who they deem to be detrimental to the server. please be kind, sensitive and respectful of others!➤ NSFW content is strictly prohibited - NSFW content will be removed without warning. repeated postings of NSFW content will result in a ban. please take NSFW discussions to DMs.these rules are not static and are subject to change as the server grows. rules additions/amendments will be accompanied by announcements.should you require assistance, please message the RPG owner via discord DMs, or through the contact form!discord username: hedwig#5640


all content related to the RPG may delve into sensitive topics and themes such as:➤ suicide/death
➤ drug use
➤ alcoholism
➤ violence
➤ religion/religious themes
however, there will be no graphic depictions of suicide/death, drug use or violence, only implied.regardless, please exercise caution and refrain from participating in this RPG if you are not comfortable dealing with these topics and others adjacent to them.


this RPG is an extension of the owner's personal story of the same name. the RPG's storyline and their NPCs belong to the owner, all of which may be used in different forms (such as a game) as they see fit.however, characters and their respective stories that are not the world owner's will strictly belong to the character's owner.the RPG offers a wide range of roleplaying opportunities which can be experienced by joining the discord server:➤ you are able to roleplay as yourself (as if you were reading a CYOA book) or as a character. the website discusses the lore of the world from the former's perspective.➤ the main two storylines (the red dream & lazare's agency) are more time-intensive, but are very comprehensive explorations of the world.➤ mini-stories are shorter, more focused explorations of the world. depending on your preferences, these stories can be played as a more traditional 'choose-your-own-adventure' story if you're short on time, or similar to the roleplaying style of the above RPGs.


two intertwined worlds, one inextricable from the other. dare you follow the siren call that lures you to places unknown?


you find yourself in the red dream, a strange, yet seductive night club. you don't know where you are, how you got there, or why you're here, but what you do know is that the air around you is like wine. whether you lose yourself to its intoxicating allure is up to you...


you find yourself standing in front of lazare's agency. after a recent string of unexplained disappearances rocks the city, lazare, the trusted detective of the city, becomes inundated with missing persons requests. you do your best to investigate the four cases assigned to you with the hope that you can help lazare unravel the circumstances behind their mysterious disappearances.


to be free, one must give up a little part of one's self...

you find yourself in the ruins of a city that was once known as emmaus, your body moving against your will until you reach the entrance of the red dream. here, you must make the choice to step into the club and 'lose' yourself in its luxuries.the city and the club await at the bottom of a long-forgotten man-made lake. as such, reaching the city itself means that you have decided to jump into the waters of the lake, dying in the process. at the start of the story, however, you do not recognise that you are dead.the door closes upon entry. in fact, you'll start to forget how you came here, why you came here, and whether a door even existed in the first place.what drove you to come to the club is totally up to you! each person has their own reason for coming here, even if, at the time, they thought the club was just fiction. what, in your life, made pursuing this club seem like it was worth it?left to reckon with the situation you found yourself in, you, with the assistance of the club's NPCs, are left to decide whether:➤ you fully believe in what the club offers and find contentment, or➤ you realise that not all is right, and you work to cut through the dissonance...


the red dream seems like a normal cabaret at face value. patrons can eat, drink and sleep (at their tables) and socialise with the NPCs as they wish.the red dream is comprised of several areas that can be explored:the lobby: a place for patrons to wait prior to entering the club. you will often find servers running around tending to newcomers.the table area: in the centre, which takes up the largest portion of the club (that is visible), is the table area. in lieu of rooms, each patron has their own table, whether they can do what they please (within reason).the bar: upon entering the club, to the left, you will see the bar. although servers normally bring drinks to patrons' tables, they are welcome to drink and chat with cyrus, the bartender.the stage: going deeper into the club, you'll inevitably see the stage. sebastian, the master of ceremonies, is usually there, organising the comings and goings of the club. eliza, the chanteuse, may also be spotted there, should she be preparing for her next performance.the side tables: by the side of the stage are tables where irene, the pianist, usually sits as she waits for the next performance to begin.the hallways: to the left and right wings of the club lie the hallways. you can't see too far into them, but should you feel brave enough to walk into the umbra, you may find what you desire in that moment. however, it may not be exactly what you expect.


the fictional city that contains the red dream, emmaus, was drowned in the 1800s. the club itself was established after the 1920s, though the details of how it was built and who exactly the club's mysterious benefactor is is lost to time.the club itself is timeless despite its traceable origins. both of these eras influence very little about the club itself, and is more so a problem for certain NPCs.time itself is no longer a consideration. you won't be cognisant of how long you've been, nor will you age. how you were when you arrive at the club is precisely how you'll remain.emmaus itself is not an underwater city despite the water-damaged ruins. you can walk and breathe in the city as if the city is encased in an air bubble. water, however, does seep through this divide. the persistent sound of dripping water can be heard in the background, but is unnoticeable due to the grandeur of the club. should this illusion be shattered, however...


emmaus, unimportant as it was in the grand scheme of things, was only known because of a rather important person named silas.people would come from faraway towns to meet them, to be comforted, to be seen, to be reassured that there is a place for them in something better, a garden more bountiful than anything they could imagine possible...


'we have all the time in the world to get to know one another. for now, let us focus on making this place beautiful...'these NPCs are the pillars of the club, fulfilling most of the essential roles that keep the dream alive, so to speak! each have differing views of the club, which you can use as barometers to gauge your own perceptions.

‘in a place that has not seen the sun in so long, you capture its brilliance, my dear.’eliza (she/her) is the chanteuse of the red dream. despite her warm aura and pleasant demeanour, a rented smile seems fixed on her face, the type she knows will keep her comfortable relationship with sebastian safe from jeopardy. you can't help but wonder what she would've said had she not caught herself...

‘i'd like to propose a toast...'sebastian (he/him) is the master of ceremonies at the red dream. always busy making sure that his patrons want for nothing, it's hard to hold him down for a conversation. when you can talk to him, however, he tells you to relax, to enjoy yourself, to worry for nothing as he reassures you that all will be well, before going back to work.

'come back with a glass of wine, then we'll talk.'irene (she/her) is the pianist of the red dream. often spending her time drinking, you get the impression that socialising with you is not a priority over her own comfort. if you were to drink with her, however, you may have a better chance of seeing what lies behind her cold demeanour.

'can i get you anything? or have you just come to chat for a while?'cyrus (he/him) is the bartender of the red dream. reliably located at his post behind the bar, he prepares every drink ordered. on rare occasions that patrons visit the bar and speak with him, not at him, he averts his eyes, focusing on drying an endless stream of glasses rather than telling you how he feels...

'now... who might you be, darling?'silas (any pronouns) is the benefactor of the red dream. mysterious and elusive, they don't seem to be anywhere in particular, wandering around where they please. the other NPCs are rather wary when it comes to discussing them, and very rarely see them themselves. should you come across him, however...

'i hold the weight of a moment in my hand. tell me truthfully—do you believe the universe will remember you?virgil (any pronouns) is ... ???


my conscience paralysed / against the rising tide...

you find yourself at the steps of lazare's agency, a detective agency located in a city known as pularis. here, you will remain under lazare's watchful (albeit sleepy) eye as you are assigned to investigate four missing persons cases.what drove you to come and work at the agency is totally up to you! each person has their own reason for wanting to help lazare out, be it selfish or selfless. are you looking for someone of your own? did you jump at any opportunity that promised compensation, no matter how nominal?as you investigate each case, you are left to try and can crack the mystery behind the disappearances:➤ where did these four people go?➤ do their disappearances have anything in common?➤ is there something more sinister happening in the wings?


lazare's agency is a detective agency that investigates cases of any type. though most of the cases are local, the agency sometimes deals with cold cases that need a fresh pair of eyes, or cases from another city/country that external parties believe may be of interest to lazare.though there are other investigators working alongside you, only one person seems to notice you're there: daniel, an ex-lawyer.lazare's agency is quite small, with most of the space being taken up by people's desks and the kitchen/break room.➤ only lazare has his own little office, sequestered away in an unlit corner of the agency closest to the front of the building.➤ a hallway adjacent to the kitchen/break room leads to the back entrance of the agency (informally known as the smoking area)


the fictional city that contains lazare's agency, pularis, feels as if it's in stasis. its citizens are stuck in a state of apathy, completely aware of how terrible the state of their city is, but not motivated enough to do anything about it.


➤ what one would normally expect in a city can be found in pularis! theatres, shopping strips, restaurants, parks, universities... anything goes!➤ on the far, far outskirts of the city, one can expect to find graveyards, funeral homes, and other establishments that require more expansive spaces.➤ travelling around the city can be done through public transport (trains and buses), by driving (on fractured roads, granted) and through ride-shares!➤ the architecture of the city differs depending on where a person is in pularis. closer to the heart of the city, the architecture is predominantly art deco, particularly evident in the city's train stations.➤ older buildings, however, have since been neglected, losing their original vibrance. newer, more postmodern buildings slowly replace more dilapidated-looking ones regardless of their historical significance.➤ farther from the city's centre and towards the 'richer' areas, the architecture is a mix of modern and victorian architecture, mostly comprised of townhouses and, for the especially wealthy, houses with large lots.➤ the world has its own 'brand' names for items/social media websites that one would find in real life! here is a current list of brands brainstormed so far: 'RouxTube' (YouTube), 'Rouxloises' (the preferred brand of cigarettes), 'Rougle' (Google)


the city itself is rather standard, and has little of anything noteworthy that could bring in a steady stream of tourism outside of popular cafes and restaurants. with no means of production of their own, pularis relies on imports for their food/supplies.as such, the city still remains economically troubled. despite being centuries after the post-WWI recession, establishing a stable economy continues to be a challenge, especially when the city is led by an inept (but not actively malicious) administration. unemployment rates are incredibly high, hospitals are under-funded and under-staffed - there is simply not enough resources to go around to help everybody.


much of the city's budget is being used by the city's police force, even though the city does not need an extensive police presence. despite being so prominent, they do very little to help civilians, being especially slow when it comes to responding to smaller issues like missing persons requests. this is where lazare's agency finds its importance in the city. people can rely on him to help them, and they know he'll at least try his best.what complicates the situation, however, is that the city's police department has an active distaste for lazare's agency, even if lazare alleviates the work that the police have to do. though they have done nothing thus far to sabotage lazare and his business, lazare wearily waits for the shoe to drop.


given the current state of the city, made worse by the increased number of disappearances, people keep sane by indulging (perhaps too excessively) in what comforts them. the two most common panaceas are entertainment and religion.music, cinema, literature, stage productions; all of these forms of art are dear to everyone's hearts, giving people something to talk about and look forward to.entertainment, however, barely holds a candle to the effect religion has on keeping people's spirits up. many of the popular 'religious groups' lean heavily on giving people hope that there exists something greater for them, a world better than the one they're living in.


'god, what the fuck am i going to do...'these NPCs live in the world above the water, trying to make ends meet in an unforgiving city. each have their own responsibilities and burdens that you can help alleviate.

'if you don't need my assistance, please leave.'lazare (he/him) is the titular figure of pularis’s main detective agency. when he isn’t drowning in a flood of missing persons requests, lazare indulges in lonely vices. inscrutable and distant, he closes his eyes, and you can't help but wonder whether he’s lost in his thoughts, or if he’s catching up on sleep.

‘hey. wanna hang out?’daniel (he/him) is one of the investigators in lazare’s agency. his formal, put-together appearance proves deceptive, as he does very little but socialise with you and the other detectives. that said, you believe him to be quite friendly, almost too eager to assist you with your cases even if he seems to be very behind on his own.

‘if you’re not gonna buy something, why are you here?’nona (she/her) is the owner of nona’s shop. as the name implies, she runs the little shop opposite lazare’s agency. equally as quick to bite into others as she is quick-witted, nona prefers transactions over conversations. you realise very quickly that it's unwise to visit her if you don't intend on making your wallet a little lighter...