2G1N – City of Refuge

October 24, 2009

I’m participating in Nathan Paoletta’s Two Games One Name challenge. The name of my game is City of Refuge, and my constraint is “out-of-game interaction is punished by the game”. I chose this constraint for myself, because it seems to run opposite of my usual hippie tendencies.

My first thought was to go with a game about refugees, each of whom has a secret they must protect. Out of game interactions would be punished by allowing the GM to take certain actions against the secret if the player interacted out of game.

Refugees seems too easy though. So my other idea is that the City of Refuge is a city that essentially has no extradition laws. Anyone may live there as long as they don’t break the laws of the city. This leads to all manner of nasty people living peacefully in the city. The players play the peacekeepers of the City, protecting it’s residents from those who hunt for them. Not quite sure how to work the constraint in yet, but it may be something similar to the way I listed above.

Prehistoric Ties – The Older Sibling

June 8, 2009

I’ve added rules for adding a fourth player to Prehistoric Ties. I’ve also started keeping the latest version always in the same location. The version number at the bottom of each page will update as I make rule changes. The latest version can be found here.

Prehistoric Ties – New and Improved

February 18, 2009

I just finished rewriting Prehistoric Ties. I’m particularly happy with this as a basis for more playtesting.

You can find the newest version here.

In a Land Called…

January 29, 2009

There is always a knight, a princess, a dragon, and a wizard. That’s just the way it is. They don’t always need to be together, but each of them will appear at some point. Your three stages are always the living room, the office, and the bedroom, but your world is as large and varied as you can imagine.

Each of you should have brought ten small items. Keep five in front of you and put the rest into the center of the table. The items that you possess represent the power of your belief in the world.

Whenever your story moves to a new location, choose a stage different from the one you are currently using. Bring your location to life using everyday items found on the stage. A couch becomes the castle or a high mountain range and the rug is a moat or a river.If you make a suggestion that the group decides to go with, then take a single item out of the center of the table and add it to your pile.

Everyone should decide who they will play while they are in a location. A location always needs at least the knight, the princess, the dragon, or the wizard in it. If you want to wait until after your friends have started to play in the location, then announce who you are and join in.

If at any time one of your friends disagrees with something you’ve done while playing, then they can push forward items from their belief and declare an alternative. If you truly believe in what you did, then push forward an amount of items from your own belief that exceeds theirs. This continues until one of you is no longer willing to spend belief on the dispute. The winner places all of the items that they pushed forward into the central pile.

Stop playing after a wedding, or after it becomes clear that a wedding will never occur.

Quick Guide to 30 Shorts

December 10, 2008

I’ve gotten several requests that I make a quick summary that points out the shorts from the past month that I think are worth someone taking a look at. I’ll do five, since it’s a nice number.

  • When the Giant Comes – The second short that I wrote and the first that I was really excited about. The plan as an artifact of play really excites me.
  • I Have to Go Potty – I really like the subject matter of I Have to Go Potty. I also can really see how the short plays out, and I’m already looking at reusing some of the mechanical concepts in Prehistoric Ties.
  • Family Dinner – I like the secret mechanic in this one. Splitting the secret into pieces so that each of the other players has something to work with, but not the whole picture.
  • Tryst in the Woods – I used a similar mechanic to this one in a few of the shorts that I did, but I think this was my favorite implementation. This short might need a little more, but what’s there inspires me.
  • The Only Toy – My Black Friday short, another dwindling dice pool game, but this implementation is closer to the original dice game that inspired me. I think this has potential.

30 Shorts in 30 Days… Finished

November 30, 2008

I did it. It was a little rough at the end, because I had to write six in three days, but I got it done. I can’t vouch for the quality of all of them, but I’m happy with a few of them. Enough to make the whole thing worthwhile. Now I’m going to go veg out for a while.


November 30, 2008

In Elevator you and two to four friends will play people that are trapped in an elevator. Decide who your character is. Give them a name at least, but you will probably also want to know what they do for a living and who they are close with. Some of these questions can be answered on the fly during play. Also you should come up with a connection to one other character in the elevator. This can be done in play as well, but should be completely clear to the other players when revealed in play.

Begin with the moment that the elevator stops. Play out this moment in character. Set a timer for one half-hour.

When the timer goes off, the elevator will begin moving again. Meanwhile stay in character and interact with each other. Try playing the game in a small space that simulates the elevator. The characters should open up to one another as time progresses. This isn’t a requirement, but it should make it more interesting.

After the timer goes off, have each character exit as if they were getting off on their correct floor. The “correct floor” is of course completely arbitrary, but should serve any dramatic necessity, such as leaving two characters alone.

Tryst in the Woods

November 30, 2008

Tryst in the Woods is a short for three people. Two of you will play a couple meeting in secret in the woods and the third will play the people opposed to their love. You will need five 6-sided dice. These dice will form the initial dice pool.

The opposition frames two simultaneous scenes, one for each lover. If you are playing the opposition, then you can frame one character into a scene, and then cut over to the other lover. Cut back and forth as it feels appropriate.

A scene should focus on the lover trying to avoid the people opposed to their union while searching for their lover. Play out the scene until it reached a decisive climax. The climax is a moment that should decide if the lover successfully escapes or is tangled up. If one of the scenes reaches a climax before the other, then cut back and bring the other scene to a climax.

When the scenes each reach a climax, one of the players of the lovers should pick up the current dice pool and roll all of the dice. Remove any sixes that are rolled from the pool. If a six was rolled, then the lovers escape the obstacles in their scenes and make progress towards one another. If a six was not rolled, then they are held up by their obstacles and are led away from one another. Describe as a group how the various outcomes occur in the story.

When the last die is removed from the pool, the lovers find one another. Play out their reunion, and wrap up the story in anyway that you feel is appropriate.

Last Hope

November 30, 2008

Last Hope is a short for four to five people. The story centers around one person who is the last hope for mankind and their doubts. One of you will play this person, and the rest will play that person’s companions. Each of the companions need to teach the chosen one in order to overcome the doubts that fester inside. Brainstorm to come up with a number of doubts equal to the number of players. Also decide who each of the characters are. Continue when you are all comfortable with the set up.

Each player of a companion will take a turn having a scene with the chosen one. Before the scene begins, the player of the companion should choose a doubt that their character will help the chosen one to overcome. Frame a scene in which the companion can teach the chosen one to overcome the doubt. Play out the scene, until the player of the chosen one feels that their character has learned to overcome the doubt.

Once all of the companions have had a turn, there will be one final doubt left. The player of the chosen one should frame a scene for the whole group of characters. This final doubt is a doubt in all of the companions, and in the final scene the chosen one will help them overcome the doubt.


November 29, 2008

In Homecoming, you and a friend will tell the story of someone that is returning to their home town for the first time after at least ten years. One of you will play the prodigal and one of you will play the people that they interact with in their hometown.

The story deals with the prodigal exploring the places that they remember from their childhood. The player of the prodigal should frame scenes starting with a brief monologue of a place that the prodigal remembers from childhood. The other player now describes how the prodigal finds the place in question. You can start with the prodigal already at the place, or the scene can be about them finding it. A scene ends when you both feel that it is appropriate to end it.

If you aren’t playing the prodigal, then it is your responsibility to introduce change into the places that the prodigal visits. Stores change ownership or close. Sometimes the only changes are the people. Maybe the place is exactly the same, but no one remembers the prodigal. Often things are smaller then the prodigal remembered them.

If you are playing the prodigal, you could use an old favorite hang out, a favorite store, or even the tree with the prodigal and a high school sweethearts carved initials in it. Draw on these memories from your own life, and use these to help fuel your ideas. After the prodigal has visited three different places end the short.