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Author Topic: Son of Iron Game Chef!  (Read 162738 times)
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 1113

Master of the Inkstained Robes

« Reply #90 on: April 15, 2004, 07:32:04 AM »

I am not confident about this game's chances; it feels like it has something missing.  But I stand behind both the concept, and the utility of the game's rules (even if they don't really excite me).

Island at the Dawn of Time

Intro/Back Cover Text

A chilly wind picks up as the sun begins to rise; you feel the first touches of warmth on your cheek.  It is the first time - your first sunrise, the first sunrise ever, and as you awaken you look over the island on which the Creator set you before he turned off the lights and walked away.  The ice is melting on the island, but as you look out upon the frozen sea all around you, you realize there is so much work to do.

It is the dawn of a universe, a world waiting to be born, and your characters are its Adams and Eves.  It is your job to name the things in this world, and in doing so give them form and purpose.  But the long night before the first day has frozen those things in the sea, encased them in ice.  And the ice will not give up its secrets easily.

Armed with nothing but your Names, you and your fellow children of the Creator prepare to make war with the ice, to free the world that is waiting to be born.

Game Preparation

Gather some players (2 is the absolute minimum, but I personally suggest 3 or higher) and two sheets of notebook paper.  Write 'Creation Roster' on the top of the first sheet, and tear the other one into equal parts, one for each player.

Each player writes their character's name on their sheet of paper - this is all they need to do at the start of the game.  The Creation Roster holds all the Names that have been brought into creation.  At the start of the game, the Creation Roster includes all the character's Names, each starting at a value of 4.  It also includes the Island itself, also rated at 4.  As names are added and addressed, the ratings will change, so make sure to write everything down in pencil.

Game Constructs

In Island at the Dawn of Time, there are two types of points that need to be tracked.  The first, Nomen, are the points that determine how important a Name is.  A Name on the verge of extinction has 0 Nomen points.  A Name on the verge of becoming perpetual has 6 Nomen points.  At 7 Nomen points, a Named thing has become perpetual - it can no longer be unmade.  If a Name ever goes below 0, it has been Unmade and can never be returned.

The other type of points are the Machinae.  For every Name that a player brings to 7 points, he earns a single Machina; for every Name that a player creates that is brought to 7 points, he earns another Machina (thus earning up to two Machina per Name, if they bring it to 7 points themselves).  Machinae are mainly a point of prestige, but they do have a few in-game uses, the most prominent being determining the turn order during each round.


Island at the Dawn of Time is played in turns, each turn signifying a day (from dawn to dusk).  These turns are further divided into sections.

1.  Dawn
At the dawn of each day, before anything else happens, each player is given a Nomen to spend.  This can be put into a new Name, or it can be given to an existing thing.  If put into a new Name, that Name should be added to the Creation Roster at a value of 1, and the player who created it should be noted as well.  No more than one Nomen may be given to a single Name during dawn - players must spread their points around.  If any character's Name has reached 7, or dropped below 0, their player does not get this point.

2.  Day

Every player gets one 'turn' a day.  On the first day, players go in alphabetical order.  On subsequent turns, the turn order goes from most Machinae to least - if two players have earned the same Machinae, the player who earned it first has seniority.  Players may not pass their turns, but must take them in order.  Turn order does not change during a day, even if a player earns more Machinae.

During each player's turn, the NEXT player in line will take on the role of the Unmaker, personifying the forces that are assaulting Creation.  Then they take their turn, and the NEXT player in line takes on the role of the Unmaker, and so on.  The last person in line has the first person in line as their Unmaker.

During their turn, a player must describe what their character is doing during the course of the day, and which Names they are addressing.  A player always uses his character's Name, and may use as many Names as desired, as long as they all make sense in the course of the narrative.  You may only use the Name of another player if they okay it.

Once the Names the player is using are decided, there comes the guessing game.  For each Name, their Unmaker picks a number between 1 and 12.  The player then tries to guess that number.  He may add or subtract a number of steps equal to that Name's current value - with a 0 between 12 and 1 on the cusp.  Yes, a player may guess 0, but the Unmaker may only pick a number between 1 and 12.  If the number their Unmaker chose fits within the range surrounding the player's guess, it is considered a success.  If the target number is guessed exactly, that Name's value is automatically raised by one Nomen.

The player needs at least half his choices to be successes.  If this happens, all the Names he was addressing have their Nomen raised by one (this is in addition to any bonuses from guessing).  If the player fails, the Names don't change at all.

There are special cases for those players whose character's Names have been brought below zero, or brought up to 7.  A player whose character's Name has reached 7 is now a part of the world - he has lost the stuff of creation, and cannot Name things.  However, their existence can still be useful - they can add one Nomen to any single Named entity, and may collect additional Nomen by reducing their Machinae, on a 1:1 basis.  In addition, they may attempt to guess a number that their Unmaker chooses - if they succeed, they get an additional Nomen.

A player whose Name has dropped below zero has their character become an agent of the Unmaker.  During their action, they may subtract a point from any Name - and may expend additional Machinae to subtract more points, on a 1:1 basis.  If any Name falls below 0 due to their actions, they earn an additional Machina - or two if that Name was their own.  This player may also attempt to guess a number that their Unmaker chooses - if they succeed, they can create a new Name.  With luck, they can then Unmake it on the following turn.

3.  Nightfall

At dusk, every player with a Naming character must compare their Name's score to their Machinae.  If the value of their Machinae is higher than their Name, their Name's value rises by one.  If their Machinae value is lower than their Name, their Name falls by one.  After this, the ice and cold of the night creeps in, and each and every Name that hasn't reached 7 is reduced by one Nomen.  Names that are already at 0 become Unmade, never to be Named again.


Once there are no more Names in flux (all are either Unmade, or perpetual), the game is over.  The player with the most Machinae has won this round of Island at the Dawn of Time.

Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
Moderator of Indie Netgaming
Darcy Burgess

Posts: 476

« Reply #91 on: April 15, 2004, 08:09:40 AM »

As I try desperately not to fall off the radar...

(That panting is me trying to keep up with all the rest of you writing machines AND work 6hours of overtime a day...GRR!)

As I jump on the band wagon, the game formerly known as Isolation Therapy is now know by the much more "artsy fartsy" moniker, ISOL.

Here's a snippet of what I'm working on...

You're going to need a bunch of things to escape the Eidolon (and maroon your friends).  These are the tools of the game!

Chairs are optional, but a decent-sized table that everyone can fit around is an absolute must for a game of ISOL.  This just isn't one of those games that you can comfortably play in the back of a car on your way to Moose Jaw.

Adult Content
Your character record.  It isn't anything flashy, but it really cuts down on the cheating when everyone can see you don't have "always win this game" as a Facet...

This is where you chronicle the obstacles your character has faced, and what the result was.  Not only does it help reduce confusion at the table (Who was it who faced the three-toed sloth man?), but it also provides a nifty record for reminiscing purposes six months from now.

ISOL makes tried and true six-sided dice.  (All hail the stoic d6!)  However, to help gameplay move a little more smoothly, dice are classified into colour-coded categories.  Below are the categories of dice, along with their suggested colour.  Actual colour doesn't matter, so long as each category has a discrete colour.

Boon Dice (White)
The higher your boon dice result, the better things go for your character.  Each player will need at least one Boon Die, and one or two spares wouldn't hurt.

Bane Dice (Black)
These nasty little devils counteract your Boon Dice.  Just like their lighter cousins, each player will need at least one Bane Die, ibid on the spares.

The Stranger (Green)
There's only one in the game, and everyone's going to be squabbling over it.  The Stranger is tied to themes of isolation.  The Stranger, the Sun and the Crystal, are collectively refered to as Story Dice.  Story dice can be used to help or hamper, a character, depending on who is rolling them.

The Sun (Red)
Works just like the Stranger, except that it's tied to themes of XXX.

The Crystal (Blue)
No big surprise, the Crystal is tied to another theme group -- XXX.

The Island
An index-card sized piece of paper.  Preferably colour-coded to match the Stranger (I like to use construction paper).  The Stranger begins the game on the Island, and the Island begins the game in the middle of the table, where everyone can reach it.

The Horizon
Same trick as the Island, but colour-coded to match the Sun.

The Glacier
I believe I detect a trend.  Colour-code this slab of dead tree to match the Crystal.

Sprite/Gremlin Tokens
Any two-sided token will do, so long as you can tell at a glance wich is the "good" and which is the "bad" side.  There also needs to be room to mark who this token belongs to, as every player will need one.  Othello (tm) chips work really well, if you have some white grease pencil for marking the black side.

Story Tokens
If you aren't drowning in glass stones by now, you soon will be.  Make a trip to your local flower shop and get a big old bunch of these pretty coloured stones.  Any colour will do, even mixed.  Every player will need about a dozen.

The Quill
There's only one writing instrument allowed at the table during ISOL.  That way, everyone will be forced to focus on the story at hand.  Try to pick a good, dark felt marker that writes with a nice, sharp point.  Also, make sure that it will be legible when used on the Island, the Horizon, and the Glacier.  Since everyone shares the same Quill, don't stick in in your mouth...

Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.
Shreyas Sampat

Posts: 970

« Reply #92 on: April 15, 2004, 08:20:42 AM »

Snow From Korea
The characters in Snow From Korea are samurai men, the devoted lovers of samurai mistresses home in Nihon. They have been sent to Korea (or any of the other barbarian countries of the mainland) to recover some rare and precious thing, the Snow. The Snow doesn't have to be real snow. It's just what Snow-hunting samurai call it, from a line in the popular story The Tale of the Heike where one of the court ladies says to her lover, "The summer is hot. Bring me snow from Korea to cool my brow."

It is your job as a player to make sure your samurai comes home with enough Snow to make his mistress happy, and to make sure that he isn't so terribly transformed by the journey that she'll recognize him when he gets there.

One player, the Holy Emperor of Korea, (or referee, for a less grandiose title), has the job of describing the samurais' travels to the players. She (I'll always refer to the HEK as "she" and the other players as "he") decides what they encounter on their way, and serves to narrate those things external to the players' characters. It's her job to make the journeys difficult.

How To Play:

Getting started:
First, decide how long the game will be, in terms of encounters the samurai have along their journeys. I suggest that you play at least ten encounters.

Then, each player (except the HEK) should describe his samurai; he should write a haiku giving some idea of his character. A classical Japanese haiku is an unrhymed poem three lines long; the first and third line are five syllables and the second seven. If you're not Japanese speakers, you may want to write English haiku; don't fret too much about their length. After writing a descriptive haiku, each player should name his samurai, and his samurai's mistress, and decide secretly what the Snow is that his mistress desires.

The next step is to assign numbers to your samurais' Facets. All the players should agree on a number and divide that amount of points among the Facets as they choose, putting at least 1 in each. Each Facet describes a skill that's important in samurai society; there are three, Awaré, Kenjutsu, and Tanka. Awaré is the samurai's sensitivity, his feeling of the sadness of impermanence. It describes any deep emotion evoked by an external object or person. Kenjutsu measures your samurai's steeliness of spirit and his skill with the blade. Tanka measures his spiritual discipline, skill at poetry, and so forth. Record these initial Facet scores.

The HEK goes around in a circle, describing a scene with each player where the samurai leaves his mistress to go on his journey. In this scene, the names of those two characters and the identity of the Snow should be revealed.

Once each samurai has been introduced in this way, the HEK goes around in order again, running an encounter with each samurai. She chooses the type of encounter, but she may not choose the same type twice in a row. After each encounter, the samurai's player may describe where his character is headed next, and whether he wants to challenge one of the other samurai. Repeat this until each samurai has had as many encounters as was decided at the beginning of the game.

Finally, once all the encounters are played out, the HEK and each player should play out a scene where the samurai returns to his mistress, with or without the Snow. Once all these have been played, you can determine who has won the game.

An encounter is a place in the samurai's journey where he comes across something unexpected which tests his abilities and affects his disposition. Any encounter has the potential to change the samurai's Facets. In every case, the Facet being tested is the one at risk; it may be increased or decreased by the encounter. In most cases, another Facet may be affected by the encounter as well, its force being transferred into the tested Facet. We call this Facet the "source." There are three types of engagement:
    [*]Letter Writing! A good samurai lover will write often and eloquently to his mistress, and sometimes he needs to communicate with other loved ones as well, or simply record his thoughts. He tests his Awaré in doing so, and the satisfaction of writing a good letter brightens his heart but its strain tires his mind and critical faculties; its source Facet is Tanka.
    [*]Oni Attack! There are many strange beasts, monsters, and ghosts wandering the countryside, and in all cases these creatures are hungry for manflesh or hot living blood. Oni Attacks test Kenjutsu. When a samurai wins an encounter with an oni, it hones his skill with the katana, but it hardens his heart; the source Facet is Awaré.
    [*]Enlightenment! Taoist priests and Buddhist monks wander the wild lands of Nihon and Korea, teaching anyone who will listen with riddles, stories, and tests of martial discipline. Enlightenment improves (and tests) a samurai's Tanka, but it sways his heart toward peace; its source Facet is Kenjutsu.[/list:u]There are three modes of engagement with encounters:
      [*]Assault: In the Assault mode, the samurai throws all his resources at an encounter, laying himself bare to the consequences. He recieves a +2 bonus to the tested Facet when engaging in this Mode.
      Win: Transfer two points of the source Facet to the tested Facet. Lose a point of any Facet.
      Lose: Lose two points of the tested Facet.[*]Dawn:In the Dawn mode, the samurai is suffused with the ki of the world; while he risks little in this mode, being guided by the perfumed hands of fate, he recieves only a minor benefit.
      Win: Transfer a point of the source Facet to the tested Facet.
      Lose: Lose a point of the tested Facet.[*]Island:In the Island mode, the samurai seals himself off from the rhythms of the universe. He can avoid feeling the repercussions of his action, in this way, but it is more difficult for him to act effectively. He recieves a -2 penalty to the tested Facet while engaging in this mode.
      Win: Gain a point of the tested Facet.
      Lose: Nothing happens.[/list:u]To find the result of an encounter, you need a number of 6-sided dice. The samurai rolls as many as his tested Facet, modified by his mode of engagement, while the HEK rolls as many dice as the Facet, unmodified. Count all 1s and 6s as successes for each side. If the samurai has at least as many successes as the HEK does, then he wins the encounter. Otherwise, he loses.

      If a samurai has been challenged, that means that he meets one of the other samurai along his journey, and the two engage in a contest of skills. This occurs on the defender's turn, before he has any encounters. The challenger chooses a Facet to test; the source Facet is the same as when an encounter tests that Facet. Then each samurai chooses a mode of engagement and the dice are rolled as usual; the challenger wins if he has at least as many successes as the defender.

      Finding the Snow:
      After an encounter where a player rolls the maximum possible successes, he finds a cue that leads him to the Snow. During his next turn, instead of describing an encounter or challenge, he and the HEK should describe together the scene where the samurai obtains the Snow. The Snow when he finds it has as many points as his highest-rated Facet. Whenever a samurai would lose points of a Facet, the player may decide that the Snow is somehow diminished instead and transfer the whole point loss to the Snow.

      Returning Home:
      Once all the samurai have met all their encounters, find the total difference between their initial and current Facets and subtract this number from the score of their Snow. The higher this number is, the warmer the reception that they recieve upon arrival; the samurai with the highest score wins the game.

      Coming Soon: Examples!

      Matt Snyder

      Posts: 1380

      « Reply #93 on: April 15, 2004, 08:42:14 AM »

      Sadly, like Gobi, I just don't have the time. I'll also be leaving town this weekend, thereby dismissing any chance I can get this idea I had finished. For shits and giggles, here's the idea in a nutshell:

      You play the Einherjar at the tail end of Ragnarok. Somehow, Fate changed. Things didn't go as gods and men expected. The lands are all but destroyed, and the gods with them. All that remains are scattered islands and cold, dark seas. The ice creeps ever inward, swallowing what's left of the world in darkness and cold. Despite what the prophecies say, a new world and another dawn haven't arrived.

      Your duty is to fight for the dawn and rebirth of the world. The remaining islands hold the last vestiges of life, but they are also inhabited by the last terrible enemies of Ragnarok (beasts, giants, undead, wyrms, etc.). So, you and your fellow Einherjar assault the islands, capturing them from the dark forces that inhabit them and fend off the long, cold death of the world.

      You cannot die; you are healed in Valhalla after each "night." But, you can lose ground. The endgame, then, compares the world's Ice rating (increased by the Einherjar's losses) to the Dawn rating (bolstered by their victories).

      However, fate, as ever, is unkind. This little gamist romp is doomed for the Iron Chefs gig, and therefore likely doomed beyond. I did spark some design ideas for myself, though!

      Matt Snyder

      "The future ain't what it used to be."
      --Yogi Berra

      Posts: 102

      « Reply #94 on: April 15, 2004, 09:18:42 AM »

      At last, Shreyas posts the game I've been waiting for!  Such a tasty dish will be hard to defeat.

      Might I suggest, Shreyas-san, a bit of flavorful garnish for your entree?  It seems to me that the "Assault Mode", "Dawn Mode", and "Island Mode" really ought to ditch the designation "Mode", and instead use the much more savory designation "Kamae", which is the word used in various Japanese martial arts to designate combattive engagement postures.

      The three thereby become "Assault-no-kamae, Dawn-no-kamae, and Island-no-kamae", which seems downright scrumptious to me.

      Hans Christian Andersen V.
      Yes, that's my name.  No relation.

      Posts: 85

      « Reply #95 on: April 15, 2004, 09:42:36 AM »

      Working Title: Forever

      Rosy fingered dawn palms one of the earth’s verdant islands, a paradise of white sand beaches, high-end resorts, starched uniforms, and laundered money.

      You wake with a start, sheets wound at your feet where you kicked them during the night.  The sun hasn’t risen enough to burn the chill out of the air, but your brow is clammy with sweat, clouded by an evaporating but inescapable dream...

      As the working title suggests, diamonds are the primary ‘ice’ in Forever. Stolen diamonds, conflict diamonds, maybe cursed diamonds. Although alternate meaning will come into play, from being cool under pressure, to ‘ice’ as in the verb to kill, to cubes melting in tall glasses.

      Forever is a game of three linked settings and stories.

      In the first, characters are members of a criminal gang, fresh off a significant jewel heist. They are lying low on some island in the Caribbean or Pacific, starting to think about selling their shares of the take and assuming new identities. Everything is going according to plan. Until the dreams start, and the waking visions, and the encounters.

      The second setting is a flash-back to the planning and execution of the heist. Profit and loss, betrayal and sacrifice, brilliance and blunders are revealed. Some of which may be mirrored, in warped form perhaps, in dreams in the first setting.

      The third story provides glimpses of the diamonds’ sources and consequences. A war-torn zone of sub-Saharan Africa in the late 1990s/ early century: Liberia, or Sierra Leone, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Marauding child soldiers decked out in knock-off American brand names, refugee camps, flak-jacketed aid workers, dour mercenaries, bribes changing hands, middlemen, and everywhere, the ice that lubricates the deals that buys the guns that secures the mines that provides the ice that…

      In other words, people and events and places the jewel thieves could not possibly know, but that somehow are intruding upon their reality. This bleeding over between places and times is the fantasy element of the game. It will be up to the players to explain the weirdness and synchronicity. They can keep it subtle or draw in elements of folk magic, curses, whatever.

      Players fill in the three story arcs, and create the connections between, by turning over playing cards that are placed face-down in three diamond-shaped patterns at the beginning of the game. Each card, when flipped, suggests a scene or occurrence through the combination of its suit and face value, each of which has a certain theme or mood or characteristic associated with it. The cards revealed will also allow or require players to switch between the three settings, so the stories intermingle. The innermost cards in the three patterns will hold the keys to the resolution of the stories in each setting.

      I haven’t decided if there will be rules to constrain what players can say when they turn over a card.
      Mike Holmes
      Acts of Evil Playtesters

      Posts: 10459

      « Reply #96 on: April 15, 2004, 10:25:47 AM »

      The chaiman takes note:
      Quote from: Ben Lehman
      A question regarding the judging:
      In regard to the three ingredient rule -- if all four ingredients are used, but one is less primary than the others, is there a loss of honor in the half-hearted use of one ingredient?
      Lehman-san, if all four of the ingredients are used, then the weakest use is discarded for consideration in terms of the ingredient use criteria.

      This might suggest adding the last ingredient on, "just in case". But consider that a bad use of an ingredient, even a fourth one, can hurt you on other parts of the judging. Basically, if you have a concept that uses just three really well, you're really better off staying with that than tacking on the fourth without it really adding to the game. On the other hand, a lesser, but still appropriate use of the last ingredient, though it won't help on the ingredients portion of the judging, may be beneficial.

      Use your best judgement.

      On the matter of "adherence" to genre. This is completely an artistic line that each game chef must approach themselves. Yes, if the game seems to have little at all to do with anything that could be called fantasy, then style points will be deducted. That said, the definition is intentionally vague so that game chefs will attempt to stretch the genre, should they feel the urge to do so. As long as the effort has some good link to fantasy, and doesn't emulate another genre more than fantasy, deductions are unlikely. Certainly game chefs shouldn't discard any good fantasy concept based on the idea that it might not be "fantasy enough."

      On the other hand, style points can also be given out for adhering to more traditional notions of what the term means. It really all depends on just how the gaming dish in particular is seasoned. Style can be given for effectively pushing the boundaries, or for adhering to them in aesthetically pleasing fashion.

      Think of it as though you're writing the game for a player that has said, "I want to play a fantasy RPG."

      Quote from: Fukui-san
      More entrants! This promises to be the largest field yet. Quite unknown a chef named redivider-san comes into the arena and immediately starts preparing his dishes. Lehman-san is obviously in the running as well, as we can see from his question to the chairman above. Outspoken newcomer Asrogoth-san also takes his place amongst the competitors. And Short Order Game Chef Arneston-san comes in strong, quickly laying down the outline for his meal. He may be a hard to beat contender given his well-known prowess with compact and rapid game meal preparation.

      And what's this? White-san has completed his entry? So soon in the competition? Is this confidence, or sheer bravado? More use of penguins. An interesting development. But they do compliment the ice ingredient well, in their own peculiar way.

      It seems that Solis-san has bowed out, though I think that we'll miss his dishes despite his claim that others are making similar ones. Maybe he will finish their preparation at a later date.

      The respected Snyder-san pokes his head into the arena long enough to give a little lesson on game dish garnishes, and to lay down an idea for a dish. And just as quickly vanishes.

      Dishes are being prepared left and right, and many of the culinary delights that the chefs are preparing are nearing completion. It looks like the products of their efforts will be well prepared to say the least!


      Member of Indie Netgaming
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      Jonathan Walton

      Posts: 1309

      « Reply #97 on: April 15, 2004, 11:04:25 AM »

      This should be the rest of my stuff, right here.  After this, I've just got to consolidate and arrange all these dishes into a final array for the judges.  And, as always, I've saved the best (and weirdest) for last...


      Seadog Tuxedo: System, Part Three

      Fill 'er up, boyo!

      Each player should have a shotglass or other small container in front of them.  Whenever their character succeeds in obtaining Dawnwine and refilling their bottle (since every character only carries one bottle), their shotglass is filled with rum, representing this.  All shaman-wizards start out each episode with their shotglass filled, unless there's some plot afoot involving a lack of supplies.

      Regaining Badassitude

      Both pirates and sun-worshiping shaman-wizards can lose their badassitude through conflict, reverting to their cute and decent selves.  In order to get their mojo back, the characters have to wait for the current scene to expire first.  This can be tricky, seeing as cute penguins are helpless targets for any sun-worshiping shaman-wizards in the area, unless shielded by their mateys and quickly taken back to the iceship or other safe hideout.  Likewise, Decent Human Beings can easily be taken prisoner by the pirates, unless other shaman-wizards step forward to prevent this.

      Captives on both sides are humiliated, but not mistreated.  Decent Human Beings may be forced to serve the pirates, dance for them, and so on.  Likewise, the shaman-wizards always appreciate penguin servants and have plenty of dungeon space in the Fortress Impervious in which to keep them in chains.  Often times, an exchange of prisoners will quickly be negotiated, with the pirates returning captives and Dawnwine in exchange for their friends and the shaman-wizards doing likewise.  Prisoners can also be exchanged for a ransom, magical objects, information, or whatever other scheme the pirates and wizards want to work out.

      The shaman-wizards always hold the threat of ritual sacrifice over the penguins' heads, which frightens them a great deal, but killing never actually happens.  Whenever a penguin ends up on the alter, they will inevitably be saved at the last minute by their pirate comrades.  Additionally, Decent Human Beings forced to walk the plank are inevitably fished out of the water by local fishermen or saved through miraculous acts of the Sun-god, who loves his priest-kings, misguided though they may be.

      Once a cute or decent character is integrated back into their respective faction, a simple scene-long ceremony is enough to restore their badassitude.  For shaman-wizards, this is a formal ceremony that re-invokes the favor of the sun-god.  For pirates, their mates simply redress the penguin in properly badass pirate garb.  Then they all the players should yell "Arrrrrr!" and get back to plundering.

      Victory? and Rebuttals

      Seadog Tuxedo is meant to reflect an ongoing cartoon series, which means that neither the pirates or the shaman-wizards should ever gain an obvious or irrevocable advantage.  This is an eternal battle meant to continue forever.  As such, whenever such a thing would seem about to occur (for instance, if the shaman-wizards were about to sacrifice a penguin to the Sun-god) the opposing side gets a "Rebuttal."

      Rebuttals are not world-changing paradigm shifts.  They are slight twists of events that make all the difference in the world.  For example, perhaps the penguin sacrifice suddenly manages an action that would normally considered badass (and, therefor, illegal), such as escaping from their bonds.  Perhaps there is some accident or lucky escape, where the ritual bonfire catches the high-priest's cloak ablaze.  Perhaps the hooded cultists are really the pirates in disguise.

      Similar things would occur if it looked as though the pirates had obtained an absolute advantage or were about to alter the very foundation of the world.  Maybe they stormed the Fortress Impervious and took it over.  Maybe they burned down the vineyards of the sun, destroying the source of Dawnwine (and what would the series be without Dawnwine?).  In this case, the GM or a player representing the shaman-wizards would get a rebuttal.  Perhaps Volcano Raga and other powerful wizards secretly sneak back into the Fortress with several casks of Dawnwine, ready to kick serious ass.  Perhaps the Sun-god yells at the wizards for not defending his vineyard and then uses his magic to regrow it from a box of stored seeds (afterwards, stealing some seeds could be the point of a whole episode).

      Gregory and Isabel

      Modern cartoons don't like absolute dialectics, where one side is all good and the other is all bad.  Instead of making things sufficiently complex, however, they often go the route of having "token" representives on both sides.  This was the route taken by the writers of Seadog Tuxedo.  Very much like the "token gay guy" in sitcoms, this show has, if you dig this comparison, "token transgendered" characters who cross cultural lines.

      Gregory is the shaman-wizard's loyal penguin servant.  He plays himself off as being selfless and hard-working, but he really just wants absolute power for himself, and the shaman-wizards have control of the only source of real power, Dawnwine.  Of course, the wizards have made it abundantly clear that Gregory is not allowed to drink Dawnwine, but, unsurprisingly, the little penguin spends all his spare time scheming about how to get some.  As such, Gregory shares his badass trait (Sun-Worshiping Shaman-Wizard) with the priesthood and his weak trait (Penguin) with the pirates.  Otherwise, he's treated as normal.  Gregory's Idiom is "St. Elmo's Fire," the ghost light that haunts ships and sailors.\

      Likewise, what would this cartoon be without a strong, uppity and very hot female character who hangs out with the pirate penguins and acts as a combination of unrequited love intrest and surrogate mother?  All action cartoons have one of those.  Ours is Isabel Raga, daughter of Volcano Raga, the High Priest of the Cult of the Sun.  Being a rebellious teenager, she has thrown her lot in with the pirates and spends her time pillaging the Summer Isles with her new adopted family.  Similar to Gregory, Isabel uses the pirates badass trait (Pirate) and the shaman-wizards' weak trait (Decent Human Being).  Interestingly, since Isabel comes from a long line of shaman-wizards, she gains fire powers from Dawnwine just like her father, though her volcanic Idiom usually takes the form of colorful jets of flame (her father prefers rivers of lava and clouds of smoke and ash).

      Sailing on the Ships of Ice

      Yeah, you know this is what you've been waiting for: iceship mechanics!

      Pirate iceships are basically just icebergs, those giant drifting islands of ice.  With a few quick alterations, such as sails (which pirates inevitably seem to have hidden in their trousers), any iceberg can be made servicable in the time it takes to run a few scenes.  However, iceships are not really made for sailing through the warm southern waters of the Summer Isles.  They melt rather quickly and are liable to leave pirates stranded if they suffer any delays or setbacks during a raid.

      To simulate this, iceships are represented on the tabletop by ice cubes.  If possible, find someone with an electric ice machine that spits out those little half-moon shaped slivers of ice.  When you put the round edge against the table, they look just like little boats.

      Now, assuming your house isn't kept at freezing temperature, the iceships are going to melt in realtime, while scenes are playing out.  If your iceship is totally melted, or drifts/falls off the edge of the world (the table), your pirates are stranded wherever they happen to be (in the water, on the Summer Isles, on a sandbar) until they manage to change this situation by stealing a human boat or hijacking one of the icebergs that occasionally floats south and steering it back home.

      Now the pirates normally live in a moderately-sized ice castle on the northern continent of ice.  Whenever they are there or sail around the arctic seas, no ice needs to be used.  Their iceships don't melt fast enough up there to actually shrink at any noticable rate.  Only when the pirates decide to sail south (which they almost inevitably do, in most episodes) does the ice hit the table.

      This is how this works:

      1) On any given turn, a player can either declare their character's actions or push their iceship 1d6 inches across the tabletop.  Dice must be rolled, a ruler must be utilized, all in real time while the icecube is melting.  Once the icecube reaches something placed on the table top to represent an island or other interested feature of the southern ocean, the players (including the GM) can declare actions and frame scenes related to to that location.

      2) Any icecube-drift that occurs, as the ice begins sitting in a growing puddle and even floating on top of it, also occurs in-game.  The pirates might park their iceship only to have it drift away, forcing them to abandon it or swim/sail out to it.  Icecubes that drift over the edge of the table are removed from play.

      3) The shaman-wizards fire magic can do a doozy on iceships.  This is represented on the tabletop too.  After drinking Dawnwine a wizard character can focus his attention on an iceship.  The player representing the shaman-wizard then picks up the icecube in their hands, warming it and causing it to melt faster.  As long as the wizard is focused on melting the ship, in game, the player can focus on melting the icecube.  If the wizard is distracted or impeded in his melting, the player must set the icecube back on the table in the same spot that they picked it up.  If more than one wizard is blasting away at the ship, one player may try to crush the icecube in one hand.  If they succeed, the shards are placed back on the table, representing fragments of the iceship that might still be servicable to resourceful pirates.

      4) It can be ever more annoying if the iceship melts on the way back home, stranding the pirates and their booty in the middle of the warm ocean.  There should be some marker on the player's side of the territory that represents the cold waters of the arctic seas.  Once back to that point, intact, the icecube is removed from the table and the pirates can breathe a sigh of relief.  This point is also the starting point where icecubes are placed to begin an expedition to the south.

      5) Sometimes, to ensure the safety of the whole, individual pirates who don't make it back to the ship on time may be left in the Summer Isles.  After all, they have to get the iceship back before it melts.  This kind of situation just comes an excuse for more storytelling, as the pirate tries to wait out on the Isles (avoiding the authorities) until their mates can come back and rescue them.

      6) To represent the lucky break of having an iceberg drift through the Summer Isles and provide a way off (which is a good option if the whole crew is stranded), the players can all choose to give up the rum (Dawnwine) that they have (assuming they have some) to put an icecube into play.  This can be moved by any player as normal, on their turn, including the GM and players representing shaman-wizards.  Since the pirates inevitably have more players, the icecube should eventually reach the pirates (assuming they are working together), but at a much slower rate than a crewed iceship, due to meddling by the opposite side.


      Like every cartoon show, Seadog Tuxedo has trademark phrases.

      -- "Yowza!"  Pirates always use this word instead of any four-letter words.  Try it.  It's fun.

      -- "Squeak!" This is the noise frightened penguins make.

      -- "By the sun's eyes!"  A popular curse among shaman-wizards.

      -- "Daddykins" is what Isabel calls Volcano Raga.  He hates this.  It's why he disowned her, actually (not because she's a pirate).

      -- "Power of the SUN!"  What shaman-wizards yell when downing Dawnwine and turning on their solar magics.

      -- "BURP!"  The sound pirates make after downing Dawnwine.  Kids love penguins and hot girls making rude bodily noises.


      And that's that.  Wow, what a great contest!  I've been drooling over some of the entries coming in.  Maybe we can work out something with indie-netgaming to run most of these in the coming month.

      I'll do a consolidated revision by the due date, just to keep Mike's brain from imploding, but that's basically all I've got.  Good luck to everyone who's still working on designs!

      Eero Tuovinen
      Acts of Evil Playtesters

      Posts: 2591

      « Reply #98 on: April 15, 2004, 11:30:53 AM »

      Jonathan. I've for a long time wanted to be a writer, and have accordingly gotten used to watching others' work with the eye of a competitor. I'm not jealous by nature; on the contrary, I tend to get only joy from the successes of others, as they elevate us all.

      Now, however, due to some combination of the open competition of the Iron chef and your skill in writing a light, clear and delightful game, my gut is wrenched by jealousy. If you were here right now I don't honestly know if I'd congratulate your obviously superior game or just cried myself content.

      I'd withdraw from the competition right now if that didn't actually rob you of one victory. Instead I'll just post my game so Mike can tell us both how much better you are.

      I'm not angry at you; I'm angry at myself for failing so clearly compared to the Seadog Tuxedo. I should have managed such concise output, simple mechanics and strong color, instead of the mostrosity I have to offer. The elegance of the other works with their fairytale settings, childhood wonder and ice skaters just underscores how my heavy tolkienism fails as modern culinary art.

      Anyway; The Battle of the Frozen Waste is nigh finished, with just some editing and final fixes to be done. The mechanics got cleared and straightened considerably from what I've already posted, and I wrote today the last part concerning the battle itself. I'll post the final work perhaps the day after tomorrow.

      Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
      Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
      Emily Care

      Posts: 1126

      « Reply #99 on: April 15, 2004, 11:45:13 AM »

      Quote from: Eero Tuovinen
      I'm not angry at you; I'm angry at myself for failing so clearly compared to the Seadog Tuxedo. I should have managed such concise output, simple mechanics and strong color, instead of the mostrosity I have to offer.

      Hattori-san chimes in:
      The Pathos!  Eero-san has offered to commit sepuku out of his sense of beauty and honor inspired by Jonathan-san's work.  Put away the dagger, Eero-san! Your words embody the high drama that inspired your work! Every dish has it's place, and anthing can happen in Gaming Kitchen Arena!

      To all those who may thinking of quitting, know that making it to the finish line is its own reward!

      Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

      Black & Green Games
      Jonathan Walton

      Posts: 1309

      « Reply #100 on: April 15, 2004, 12:08:07 PM »

      Quote from: The chef humbled himself and
      Eero-san, the anguish in your words makes my own heart heavy.  If I had but known that my dishes would cause you such pain, I would surely have chopped off my own hand and served it to you, my Finnish brother, before I allowed it to cause such discouragement to take you in its icy grip.

      Like your own arctic warriors, find that indomitable spirit that will allow you to overcome, even in the face of fierce penguin opposition.  There is little honor in giving up and much to be gained by seeing a dish through to the end.

      Out of character, here, I REALLY want to play other people's games (and I was really excited about yours, Eero, actually), so people BETTER finish them.  Don't me leave me alone, facing heavyweights like Walt, Zak, and Shreyas!  They'll tear me limb from limb and feed my body to the penguins!

      Eero Tuovinen
      Acts of Evil Playtesters

      Posts: 2591

      « Reply #101 on: April 15, 2004, 12:17:35 PM »

      Quote from: Jonathan Walton

      Out of character, here, I REALLY want to play other people's games (and I was really excited about yours, Eero, actually), so people BETTER finish them.  Don't me leave me alone, facing heavyweights like Walt, Zak, and Shreyas!  They'll tear me limb from limb and feed my body to the penguins!

      No worries, as said I'm not the quitting type. I just really feel inferior today. Maybe it'll go away tomorrow when I get a little perspective on the matter.

      The Battle of the Frozen Waste is practically finished, anyway. I'll just let it mull for a couple of days to see if I catch any possible improvements. Maybe take the time to write some more in-game fiction: Lord knows there's not much else one can use to fight games with that kind of strong color.

      My apologies for the outburst to any other chefs. I really am impressed with what we have here, with the samurai games, snow wars and other delightful courses. It's just that usually I can take greatness in stride, but the competition seems to somehow make it personal. I'll try to behave myself from now on, this' no suitable acting from a game chef.

      Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
      Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.

      Posts: 576

      « Reply #102 on: April 15, 2004, 12:25:32 PM »

      The Dance and the Dawn continues! Since I'm playing very deliberately within the fable-mileau, I'd say I'm securely within the bounds of fantasy. Now here's a snippet:

      Laws of the Waltz: Each Princess and each Prince is represented by a chess piecce, and will use a standard chessboard to represent their midnight waltz. The laws of the waltz are as follows:
      1. A waltz is of three steps, and so each Dancer will take 3 moves around the board.
      2. A dancer may only waltz clockwize around the board, and never backwards.
      3. A dancer may always request to cut in with the partner of another; this request must always be honored, and so the Dancers will exchange partners.
      4. When passing another Dancer, one must pay her a polite compliment.
      5. When a song has ended, all Dancers must pass their current partner on to the player on the next clockwise player.

      (Note: If I have time, I'll address the gender stuff in the Princess/Prince dichotomy.)

      Darcy Burgess

      Posts: 476

      « Reply #103 on: April 15, 2004, 12:28:49 PM »

      Chairman-san, a question with regards to rules:

      What of the ubiquitous Player Character Record Sheet?  If a .pdf of such were to be hosted off-Forge, would that be grounds for disqualification?

      They do make the dish so much tastier...

      Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.

      Posts: 102

      « Reply #104 on: April 15, 2004, 12:45:04 PM »

      Snow Day - Scene Structure

      General Principle:  The players have sole-authority over what their Kids do next.  The guidelines for this are described below.

      General Principle Number Two:  The GM has sole authority over the passage of time, with the caveat that time always moves forwards.  The game starts at around 10:00 in the morning, and ends at Dawn, which is 6:00 the following morning.  Thus multiple scenes may take fifteen minutes, or a single seemingly brief scene may span the whole afternoon between lunch and dinner.

      All scenes start with all the Kids convening at the Secret Base, namely the tool shed behind Jake's house.

      From there, everyone needs to decide what to do next.  The possible options are:

      Hold A Secret War Council
      Scout Out Enemy Territory
      Sculpt Ice Monsters
      Go Inside For Cocoa
      Go Lookin' for Trouble
      Assault Fort Joey!

      All of the kids must reach a consensus on which of the above happens next.  

      If no consensus can be reached, the matter is settled by stepping outside and holding a Snowball Fight.  Once the only Kids left standing all want to go do the same thing, the matter is decided.  This is a generalized mechanic - ANY time the rules call for Consensus, but no Consensus can be reached, the matter is settled by a Snowball Fight.

      If a Kid wants to be a spoilsport and not attend the scene, the only alternative option is to Go Inside For Cocoa.  Pouting is strictly optional, but encouraged.

      Now, for more detail on the different choices:

      - Hold a Secret War Council
         Because of the Icicle Spikes, any assault on Fort Joey is doomed to failure unless you first Hold a Secret War Council to decide on a Cunning Plan.  First things first:  The Cunning Plan needs a Cool Code Name, and there needs to be consensus on the code name before any further planning can happen.
         Once a Cool Code Name is established, the assembled Kids must devise their Cunning Plan for getting past the Icicle Spikes.  Any plan will do, so long as it is Cunning, and so long as the plan has Consensus.

      - Scout Out Enemy Territory
         This involves sneaking over towards Fort Joey, to find out who is defending it, and what sort of Ice Monsters they have.  Ice Monsters that can either Sneak or Fly are great for this.  As with any excursion from the Secret Base, there's always the risk of encountering either one or more Neighborhood Hazards, or another group of Kids, so keep your snowballs handy.

      - Sculpt Ice Monsters
         Already described in an earlier post.

      - Go Inside For Cocoa
         Already described in an earlier post; due to be revised and updated in the forthcoming Expanded Special Rules for Thermoses of Cocoa.

      - Go Lookin' For Trouble
         This involves prowling around the neighborhood until you find some other kids, at which point you pelt those kids with snowballs.  Why?  Cuz Snowball Fights are fun, that's why.

      - Assault Fort Joey!
         Already described in an earlier post.  Remember that unless you're armed with a Cunning Plan, an assault cannot fully succeed.
         And did I mention that Cunning Plans are one-use only?  Just like you can't make the same Ice Monster twice, you can't use the same Cunning Plan twice.  Though you can re-use Cool Code Names, with appropriate modifications:  For example, "Operation Slippery Thunder" might get reborn as "Operation Super-Duper Slippery Thunder".

      Only three more sections to go - Expanded Special Rules for Thermoses of Cocoa, Stats and Guidelines for Various Neighborhood Hazards, and best of all:  Midnight Moonlight Magic!

      Hans Christian Andersen V.
      Yes, that's my name.  No relation.
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