Sigil & Shadow banner showing the book surrounded by an illustrated scene of four people in a dark room taking part in a séance with digital tablet computers, with the title and the words "A Roleplaying Game of Urban Fantasy and Occult Horror"


We recently ran a play-by-poll choose your own adventure on Twitter for our RPG of occult horror and urban fantasy Sigil & Shadow, written by the author himself R.E. Davis! Over two weeks we posted a scenario in daily chunks and our Twitter followers voted on what action the protagonist should take. The winning answer shaped the story moving forward and took it in entirely different directions on the fly. We've collected together the full narrative with all the final results here. Read on to begin the story of The Stained Artist...


A picture of the Sigil & Shadow book surrounded by an illustrated scene of four people in a dark room taking part in a séance with digital tablet computers, beneath the words "A Roleplaying Game of Urban Fantasy and Occult Horror" 

It begins...

Your eyes drift across from your usual coffee stop into a curtain of overgrowth, sandwiched between a couple abandoned department stores. Losing your focus in the details between the thick brush, your eyes meet with something staring back.

Upon processing this, the figure darts back into the brush. Your mind spins, unsure if what you saw was a creature or person. You get up and leave, but the moment replays in your head throughout your day. So, tell me, why did you come back here?

An illustration of a figure in a hoodie staring down a dark alley while ravens watch from overhead

Screenshot of a Twitter poll showing the winning option as "To understand what I saw" 


You've returned to the overgrown lot tonight, determined to seek out what you saw. It's a hot, muggy evening but something about this place sends chills that almost suck the breath out of you. The brush is thick with brambles -- how do you proceed?


Screenshot of a Twitter poll showing the winning option as "Scan for tracks/markings" 


You take time to comb over the brush and soil with the light of your mobile device. You find no tracks but do see evidence of scratches and rubbings against the vines and tree barks. Your search, however, is abruptly interrupted by two stark noises...

The first is someone coughing on the street behind you - you're unsure if they're approaching or just passing. The other sound, ahead of you deeper in the overgrowth, is a low growling that sounds like percolating gravel. What now?


 Screenshot of a Twitter poll showing the winning option as "Be still in the bushes"


Sliding back into the bushes, it feels like all the foliage can't hide you enough. You hold your breath, eyes fixed ahead of you - silence, stillness, until another cough is heard. Then a shadow snaps across the streetlight towards the bystander passing by.

There's no scream, only muffled gasps marred by the sounds of cartilage snapping. Swallowing fear, you nervously push branches back to spy a vague humanoid shape of smoky darkness, enveloping its victim and dragging them back into the thicket.

An illustration of three sinister shadowy shapes against a treeline by night

Screenshot of a Twitter poll showing the winning option as "Hit it with a big branch!"


Something deep in your bones instinctively guides your hand to a long branch on the ground. Without hesitation you lunge forward, taking a mighty swing at the smokey entity. There is an audible CRACK, followed by it shrieking and letting go the bystander.

The man collapses to the ground coughing and clutching his shoulder. The entity...ceases to smoke, or growl. Instead, wisps of shadow dissipate and a young man, hands over face, curses in pain. He looks straight at you with *those eyes* before turning to flee.


 Screenshot of a Twitter poll showing the tied options as "Give the bystander aid" and "Mutter an invocation"


The bystander is dazed on the ground, with a bleeding bite wound on his shoulder where his band shirt is ripped. In your bag, you grab a tube of herbal-smelling balm given to you by a friend (who calls themself a "pharmakeist") to give the man aid.

While anointing the bite, you recite a litany that bears resemblance to a RHCP song -- your friend did say that the intent matters more than the words. Over a few moments you feel his wound heat up, then heal. He comes to with a confused look. You say to him...


Screenshot of a Twitter poll showing the winning option as ""What the hell was that?"" 


"What the Hell was that !?" you ask the man, offering him a hand up. His grip shakes as he pulls - "It was cold. It was lies. This wasn't part of the deal..." He gestures at the area of the bite, then looks up with terror in his eyes...

A shadow cascades over both of you, as now the young man appears suspended in the air in front of the streetlight. "You're not real!" the man cries out. A weird echo of laughter comes from within the lad hovering above you. Your neck hairs raise; you react by…

 An illustration of someone making strange signs with their hands while an intricate necklace they are wearing glows

 Screenshot of a Twitter poll showing the winning option as "Scan with your 6th sense"


You do the trick your Pharmakeist friend taught you - unfocusing your eyes yet gazing to a pinpoint, like trying to glimpse the space between the subject and elsewhere. Your mind sparks as you subconsciously push back the Curtain and gaze into the Echo...

The aura of the entity before you isn't human at all; you've seen ghosts and "shadowed" individuals before, and this ain't it. Intuitively you deduct the guise of the young man is completely a phantasm; an aberration playing as a mockery of a person. With this info you:


Screenshot of a Twitter poll showing the winning option as "Invoke a banishment" with a skull and cross bones emoji 


Seeing the aberration for what it is, you take a knee to the ground while grabbing a quartz crystal necklace from under your collar. You wedge it in the soil, and calmly draw a circle around it. You then begin connecting lines, forming a sigil of intent

As you invoke your spell, the young man collapses - not a man at all, but a mannequin from one of the neighboring shops. A large shadow figure towers over, smokey tendrils lashing out into the air. "Oh God," yells the bystander, "you're making it mad!" You proceed to…


 Screenshot of a Twitter poll showing the winning option as "Channel magic through you"


Your hands struggle to finish the banishment. Above you feel the gaze of the entity boring into your psyche, trying to overpower your efforts. Practical casting isn't going to be enough. You've heard of those who channel magic like a conduit...sorcerers.

You grab the crystal and hold it up to the aberration as a focus of your will. You scream out as you open yourself up; magic is instantly pulled through you and refined into the spell, much like light from a prism. Energy isn't just created - where are you channeling it from?

 An illustration of a man staring into a mirror in which he shows no reflection

 Screenshot of a Twitter poll showing the winning option as "The darkness inside me"


A cold, dreadful force erupts from your core and through your hands. The quartz glows green, and both you and the aberration scream out as some primordial force banishes the entity, unraveling its wisps and blowing it away like dust. You black out.

You come to before dawn. The bystander you helped is long gone. Your veins feel like ice. You pick up the crystal, shove it in your bag, and scramble out of the thicket to hurry back to your loft apartment. During a long shower, you go over the events of tonight.

You question if any of it was real. Maybe you passed out and were dreaming? You stagger out of the shower and into your room. It's not until you stand before your mirror - with your reflection *not* in it - that you realize that your nightmare is only beginning...


To continue the story of The Stained Artist, check out R.E. Davis' blog and follow the
@SigilAndShadow Twitter account...

Want to delve into the world of occult horror and urban fantasy yourself?
Order your copy today.

And watch out for the new play-by-poll coming to our Twitter next week, for our upcoming neon-noir RPG
Crescendo of Violence!


An illustration of a man screaming as his eyes glow and someone holds their hands to his head, beside the quote: "Ancient nightmares lurk behind the closed doors of board rooms, entities from beyond time prowl the city streets, forgotten rituals are reborn as viral memes."