Review: Paris Gondo – The Life-Saving Magic of Inventorying

Paris Gondo – The Life Saving Magic of Inventorying is a wonderful twist on the trope of inventory management in tabletop RPGs.  It builds everything – your stats, your individual and group success, and even your character’s life fulfillment – out of the loot that you choose to carry with you.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission from purchases made using them. TTRPGkids uses this to keep the site going. Read full disclosure here.

Jump to: 

Paris Gondo is a TTRPG recommended for 12+ but adjustable for younger

Paris Gondo is recommended in the book for players 12+, however, this can also easily be run with younger players, especially if using the safety tools recommended in the session zero section.  A majority of the game is group storytelling about the setting, characters, and loot items with only the back end involving encounters as you escape the dungeon and discover your character’s fate.  

If you’re concerned about fighting, the encounters do not have to be scary or full of combat if you don’t want them to, and the game is built more to focus on the storytelling aspects of the journey with a few easy to calculate dice rolls to randomize the final results.  Challenges could be environmental, and, instead of a failure resulting in death or getting trapped, that character might get popped out to the dungeon entrance with no loot (which means they don’t get emotion points for their end, but they aren’t dead/stuck).

For mechanics, the rolls were straightforward and the inventory cards + character cards had the equations laid out, so it was easy to understand what was going on.  Rolls have a straight modifier added to them and are competing against a set number, so it was clear what the target was as well.  If players can do math for 1d20 plus a modifier, then they should be good to go.

Paris Gondo is set in a dungeon… that you’ve already explored! (Step 1)

Paris Gondo starts AFTER the party has already gotten to the loot room at the end of  the dungeon!  Before doing anything else in the game (even character creation), the group of players needs to figure out what this dungeon is and what they’ve done to get here.  They ask and answer questions about where the dungeon is, what they had to overcome, what the final challenge was, and where they are now at.  This creates the setting and is the first step in the The GonParis Method.

Your character in Paris Gondo (Step 2)

In Paris Gondo, you create your characters after designing the dungeon they’ve just explored.  Each player chooses a pre-made character deck (the game comes with character and inventory cards) that shows the character’s encumbrance limit and their starting inventory.  

Players then create their character by describing to the group who they are, where they’re from, etc AND explain how their starting inventory also impacts them.  The loot they have in the beginning is an important part of character creation because it does heavily prompt for that character’s background.  

For example, in the replay section of the book, one of the characters had a “Honestly Acquired Money Pouch” and another had a “Thrice-Blessed Hammer”… and both of these led to some awesome character stories and several tokens from the other players going towards the “Sparks Joy” card.

Mechanics in Paris Gondo

The Loot (Step 3) and The Life-Saving Magic of Inventorying (Step 4)

Now that you have your dungeon and your party, it’s time for the loot!!  Each player gets to roll for a loot’s stats, roll to see what class it works best with (there’s a bonus if you match the loot to the right person), and then name it something EPIC. 

After this, players divy the loot up and ask each other questions about where it came from or how it got here (like… why is The Scepter of Abominable Halitosis locked away in the The Tunnel of Unending Tunnels).  

From the rolled stats for each item, they’ll add up their encumbrance, usefulness, and emotion scores for all of their loot, get an average usefulness for the party… and then start the journey home.

I like here how there’s so much emphasis on storytelling as a whole group.  Everyone needs to ask questions and be engaged, and there’s a lot of teamwork involved with sharing loot so characters are matched correctly with the items you found.  If you’re a rogue and have a REALLY good item, but it’s for a cleric… if you keep that, it lowers the party’s average usefulness and makes things a lot harder for everyone during The Journey Home.  There’s a lot of group strategy here, but it’s also meant to be fun and full of creativity too.

The Journey Home (Step 5) and The Emotional Epilogue (Step 6)

The Journey Home is where we see who makes it out of the dungeon and survives the trip back.  Here, players roll against the average group usefulness with their individual usefulness modifiers (the higher the group usefulness, the easier it is to beat the roll and get a success).  Your failures and successes here, coupled with an encumbrance roll, determines if your party escapes, if your individual character made it out with the party or got left behind, and more. 

You’ll also be rolling to see if you have a good epilogue (either alive or as a ghost)!  That’s where your emotion score comes into play – if you went full utility and made it out safe but took no emotionally charged loot… you might be alive, but you also might not get that happy ending from feeling like you accomplished much more than surviving.  Even as a ghost, you might still get a happy afterlife if you went out saving your friends and are now chilling on Mt. Olympus with spectral versions of The Wondrous Helm of Flight (it’s a beanie hat with a propeller on it) and your grandma’s lost Scroll of Eternal Happiness (it’s her chocolate chip cookie recipe that you can now make with her spirit).  

The way rolls work here is really cool because it does challenge players to watch that balance of utility and joy in the items they carry, and it all creates more story with some very quick rolls.  It’s all described in a way where a failure isn’t necessarily bad – there might still be a bright side, and, either way, you get to tell an awesome tale.

Session Zero

Jumping back to the beginning, Paris Gondo really does a good job with session zero and safety tools too.  It establishes and walks through a session zero example and, in addition to covering go/no-go topics in session zero, uses an X-card and a “Sparks Joy” card throughout the game to let players pause the game if it gets too intense AND to throw tokens out onto the joy card to express when something is going well or they liked it.

I love this both from the perspective of having safety tools to help with keeping everyone comfortable at the table if triggering moments come up and for allowing players to show their joy.  There’s focus on the good too, and I think that helps to build a positive and maybe more lighthearted, or at least more enjoyable, game when there’s also a place to showcase the good elements, not just the triggers. 

Overall thoughts on Paris Gondo

This game was great! It’s a fun concept that’s well executed, and I love the humor that’s put into it – everything takes a tone of intentionally being a bit tongue and cheek.  From some great quotes on page 5 from previous users of The GonParis Method to a fun actual play transcript to the narrator comments at every step, it’s just awesome.  The storytelling prompts are on point, and there’s so much focus on player autonomy and creativity over anything else – it’s a great game to check out for some TTRPG shenanigans, and I hope you enjoy it too!

Find a copy of Paris Gondo 

You can find a copy of Paris Gondo – The Life Saving Magic of Inventorying on DriveThru RPG!

If you liked this post, make sure to subscribe to the TTRPGkids monthly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest reviews, tips and tricks, game and podcast list updates, and more! Thank you for playing tabletop RPGs with your kids and sharing this awesome hobby with the next generation!

2 thoughts on “Review: Paris Gondo – The Life-Saving Magic of Inventorying

    1. Awesome!! I’m glad Paris Gondo is making it’s way into conventions and that you had fun with it! I think they’re running a print edition on kickstarter soon (the pre-launch page is live) if you were looking to pick up a physical copy.

Leave a Reply