I went through a period of reading a lot of micro RPGs. That’s kind of given way to reading and playing journaling RPGs but it’s still fun to do it every once in a while.
Holy Mountain, at least the one I stumbled across, was originally published im Table Top Magazine. In it, players are a group of pilgrims climbing a mountain, stopping at different shrines.
Micro RPGs, to steal an analogy from Isaac Asimov, are the blowgun of RPGs. They just have room to do one thing and only one chance to do it.
The key idea of Holy Mountain is that the pilgrims have vowed to not speak of the outside world, their ancestors, the trail ahead or expose their faces. And they must break each of these vows at the shrines.
One concept that comes up a lot when it comes to looking at indie RPGs is bleed, the idea of real emotions bleeding into the game. (Obviously, this exists in non-indie games as well) Creating bleed is pretty much the only point of Holy Mountain.
Which is beyond reasonable. That’s not a bad goal. I was in a short-lived group that focused on indie games, mostly because we wanted a break from D&D. And we would have enjoyed Holy Mountain.
With that said, Holy Mountain has two hurdles to overcome. One, a group has to be serious about playing it (which is an issue any game can have) Two, it doesn’t stand out in a world where there are a lot of little games about bleed.
Holy Mountain reminded me why I started hunting down journaling RPGs instead. At the same time, I like living in a world where people write games like it.