Epitaph for a Bartender

Tonight we played Epitaph by Marc Hobbs, a new game in which you explore the life of a character you create together.


A bartender named Mason never leaves the contemporary Midwestern city he is born into. He dreams of writing a book of the definitive and original drinks he mixes throughout his career. Mason, unlike most, sees and recognizes the fae folk who live among humanity for what they truly are.

Epitaph cover courtesy of Less Than Three Games.


Born 1933 in Traverse City, MI

Age 18 (1951)

Mason graduating from high school and saying goodbye to Opal.

  • Snapshot: Mason hugging Opal in their graduation gowns, saying goodbye as she goes to college and he prepares for the Korean War draft.
  • Reflection: Feels great nostalgia for Opal but wishes things had ended better.

Age 18 (1951)

Closing up the bar by himself for the first time (a few months after graduation).

  • Snapshot: Mason is standing in the dark bar with all the chairs and stools on top of the tables looking into a glowing hole in the wall, which houses a miniature bar. Two sprites with wings are serving drinks to other fairy folk inside.
  • Reflection: Feels privileged to have gotten to witness that moment and the fairy folk. He’s grateful to not be one who overlooks things.

Age 19 (1952)

Mason’s first encounter with Fenwick the selkie.

  • Snapshot: Shorter person in an oversized cloak with hood sitting at the bar smiling while waiting for Mason to serve him. Mason is wearing a puzzled expression on his face.
  • Reflection: Finds it amusing how clueless and skeptical of Fenwick he was initially.

Age 28 (1961)

First time Mason met Bethany.

  • Snapshot: Mason and Bethany at the bar on his birthday with streamers and balloons in the background, with Mason leaning over the bar talking to Bethany, who is smiling but not into him. Mason falls for that smile.
  • Reflection: Mason loves this memory; it makes him happy.

Age 35 (1968)

Mason serving a new drink inspired by a faun to a human (hairy hoof).

  • Scene: Local boy tries the drink after insisting that Mason remake it so that it uses only locally sourced or other non-exploitative ingredients. He really likes it and says he’ll bring his friends.
  • Reflection: Mason is extremely proud of his accomplishment to create this new drink, but feels guilty about not trusting the fae when they suggested the drinks.

Age 40 (1973)

Mason and Bethany’s long-delayed wedding.

  • Remembrance: Bethany remembers how long they had waited and their two children (age 6 and 3) in attendance. She feels their love will endure, and was so grateful to have her children in attendance. She remembers falling for him slowly due to his good humor and soft laughter, and how he was always there for her.

Age 43 (1976)

Mason starting to write his book.

  • Snapshot: Mason sitting at his kitchen/dining table with a toddler at his feet, a 6-year old sitting with him, and a 9-year old walking by. Mason is writing out the recipe for an old-fashioned that he believes he has at last perfected and deciding to write a book of his drink recipes.
  • Reflection: Mason sees this as the best decision he ever made.

Age 57 (1990)

Mason and Fenwick arguing over a drink recipe.

  • Scene: Fenwick claims that a Pale Sea Water needs more sea grapes, but Mason realizes that he served Fenwick a Manhattan by mistake. A young professional walks up to the bar and orders two Manhattans, ignoring the dispute between the two.
  • Reflection: Mason remembers with fondness the friendship of the selkie, even if his certainty and stubbornness were frequently frustrating.

Age 70 (2003)

Wake for bar’s previous owner who had sold the bar to Mason ages ago.

  • Snapshot: Mason sitting surrounded by his family including his new grandchild in his daughter’s arms and the many people who know him or his predecessor. People are raising glasses and hugging and consoling one another as they gather in an irregular semicircle around the bar with Mason at the center.
  • Reflection: Mason feels contentment when thinking about this event, when so many wonderful friends came together to remember someone who meant so much to them all.

Died 2017 in Traverse City, MI (Age 84)


  • To honor Mason, the Sprites who work in the weefolk bar-within-a-bar paint the signature inlaid in the glasses his unique drinks are served in so the signature actively shimmers like phosphorus and the signature never fades.
  • His children pull together all his various drink notes and recipes into a proper book that is printed as well as a hand-bound version that preserves his original papers that they keep at the bar.