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Author Topic: [Game Chef 2011] A Serpent's Tooth  (Read 2723 times)
Ross Cowman
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Posts: 23

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« on: July 17, 2011, 07:24:14 PM »


Introduction

A Serpent’s Tooth is a story game about an old King in the twilight of his life, watching his power give way to the ambitions of youth. We will create principal characters to portray in our story. You will take on the role of King, who begins the game with vast powers of creative authority, the other players take on members of the King’s family and court, each with their own agenda’s and ambitions.
To play you will need 3-5 players, and about 2.5 hours of time.
We will act out a cycle of scenes around the table, each of us taking up these roles, and creating other supporting characters when needed.
Over the corse of the game the King loses his power to the younger generation, until, Kingdom divided, he fades into history.
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Ross Cowman
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2011, 08:23:21 PM »

Writing games is harrrrd! Here is the core of it...

Introduce Regalia
Place the Regalia before you. Each of the Regalia grants you an authority.  When you introduce regalia, place your hand on the object of power and say what follows.

I carry these Regalia, as symbols of my power.

This is my Kingdom, a symbol of my role as protector of my family and my people,  The Kingdom grants the authority to frame setting and place. I give up my kingdom when I hurt someone I love.

This is my Crown, symbol of my authority and power. The crown grants the authority to bring characters into a scene and state their purpose. I give up my crown when my trust is betrayed.

These are my Riches, a symbol of wealth and influence. Wealth grants the authority to frame action and set events in motion. I give up my Riches when I give up my sword when my will is defied.

This is my Sword, symbol of the armies and knights who enforce my will with their steel.  The sword grants the authority to resolve action and bring  a scene to its conclusion. I lose my sword when my followers lose faith.
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Ross Cowman
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I like games and music


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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2011, 10:11:24 PM »

Ok, here is the first draft, (mostly done) I'm missing some list items. I'm open to feedback / suggestions!

A Serpent’s Tooth

“How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
to have a thankless child!”
-King Lear

A Serpent’s Tooth is a story game about an old King in the twilight of his life, watching his power give way to the ambitions of youth. We will create the principal characters to portray in our story. You will take on the role of King, who begins the game with vast powers of creative authority, the other players take on members of the King’s family and court, each with their own agenda’s and ambitions.
To play you will need 3-5 players, and about 2.5 hours of time.
We will act out a cycle of scenes around the table, each of us taking up these roles, and creating other supporting characters when needed.
Over the corse of the game the King loses his power to the younger generation, until, Kingdom divided, he meets his end.
What follows are the steps for playing this game.

1. Prepare for stage
Before you play, gather the following

-A deck of cards separated into face cards (A-J) and numbered cards (2-10)
-Pencils
-Chess pieces
-Print out the Regalia cards (preferably on cardstock)
-a set of  Regalia,
   Sword - a knife, or dagger
   Wealth- a bag of coins
   Crown - a crown
   Kingdom - print out of the Kingdom Map

2. Introduce the Game
Text in italics is intended to be read aloud to the players gathered at the table to facilitate teaching the game.
Welcome to A Serpent’s Tooth, in this game I will take on the role of an elderly King in the twilight of his rule. You will take on the roles of members of my family and court full of youth and ambition. At the start of the game, I wield vast power and creative authority over the fiction we create together, but as we play, my authority will erode as the kingdom is consumed piece by piece. First we will create the principal and supporting characters of our story. Next I will go into more detail about the nature of my authority and how scenes work, then we will play out a cycle of scenes spread out over a year in our fiction.  The game ends when I am stripped of the last of my Regalia, and we play a final epilogue scene.

3. Create Principal Characters

We begin by creating the principal characters in our story, right now we know that I am King, the person to my left is either my Queen or eldest daughter, and the person to my right is either my advisor or eldest son. The rest of you are either lords and ladies of other lands in the Kingdom.

I. Relationships
First we will draw cards to determine the nature of our characters. We will each draw four cards and choose two to keep.
Deal three cards face up to each player besides yourself.

The face cards represent relationships with other principal characters, I am the King, the character to my left is the Queen, and the character to my right is the Jack
Aces represent a relationship with a character either to your left or right, your choice.  Hearts show you are loved, Clubs show you are trusted, Diamonds show are favored , Spades show you are protected.

II. Nature
Next choose your nature. You are picking a set and then choosing which is your public nature, and which is your private nature. Your perceived nature will be how other’s view you. Your private nature will be how you act in private.

Traitorous / Loyal
Confidant / Jealous
Loving / Hateful
Foolish / Wise
Brave / Cowardly
Insane / Clear Thinking
Honest / Deceptive
Passionate / Indifferent
Noble / Wretched

III. Title
Pass out a notecard, folded in half  to each player.
Each of us writes their title on this notecard. If you are sitting to my left or right, you are a prince, princess, or the Queen. The rest of you are Dukes or Dutchesses. Also decide if you are married or not.

IV. Populating the Map
Use the chess pieces to mark important locations and characters on the map. 
   Castle - the castle of the king   King - This is the king
   Queen  - Queens and Princesses
   Knight - Princes
   Bishops - These represent dukes and earls.
   Pawns - Any supporting cast is represented by a pawn.

Now we’re going to find out more about where people live, and what their relationships are, I’m going to ask you some questions and place these chess pieces on the map to show where the character’s live. Whenever we create a new supporting character I will give them a name and write it down in the Supporting Cast box.

First I will place my castle, if you are the Queen or an unmarried princess, you live here with me.
-Place the castle of the King on the map along with any unmarried princesses and princesses.

 If you are an unmarried princess, decide how many suitors you have and where they live.
-Place the suitors on the map

If you are a prince you are off at war, where are you fighting?
-Place the knight on the board

Lastly if you are a Duke, or Dutchess where is your Dukedom?
-Place the Bishops on the map

V. A Bit of History
Now we will learn a bit about the history of my rule, the numbered cards represent events which occurred under my rule, Hearts represent social, Clubs represent politics, Diamonds represent economics, and Spades represent military.  I will draw a card for each occupied territory, if the territory is adjacent to the castle, I will draw three cards and selects one.  Otherwise I will draw two cards and select one.

Hearts - Natural Events
10 = Flooding devastated your farmland
9 =  Fire devastated one of your cities
8 = A drought left many of your cities, short of water
7 = I provided relief when your crops failed
6 = The Black Death swept through your cities
5 = A tidal wave destroyed your shipyards
4 = An earthquake destroyed thousands of homes
3 = An avalanche destroyed roads and homes
2  = A heatwave struck, leaving your cities paralyzed


Clubs - Political Events
10 = …
9 = …
8 = …
7 = …
6 = …
5 = …
4 = …
3 = …
2  = …


Diamonds - Economic Events
10 = …
9 = …
8 = …
7 = …
6 = …
5 = …
4 = …
3 = …
2  = …

Spades - Military Events
10 = You fought on the losing side of a civil war
9 = You were invaded by the french
8 = You contributed troops to our oversea campaigns
7 = …
6 = …
5 = …
4 = …
3 = …
2  = …


Introduce Regalia
Place the Regalia before you. Each of the Regalia grants you an authority.  When you introduce regalia, place your hand on the object of power and say what follows.
I carry these Regalia, as symbols of my power.
This is my Kingdom, a symbol of my role as protector of my family and my people,  The Kingdom grants the authority to frame setting and place. I give up my kingdom when I hurt someone I love.
This is my Crown, symbol of my authority and power. The crown grants the authority to bring characters into a scene and state their purpose. I give up my crown when my trust is betrayed.
These are my Riches, a symbol of wealth and influence. Wealth grants the authority to frame action and set events in motion. I give up my Riches when I give up my when my will is defied.
This is my Sword, symbol of the armies and knights who enforce my will with their steel.  The sword grants the authority to resolve action and bring  a scene to its conclusion. I lose my sword when my followers lose faith.


Invoking Regalia
When you invoke your regalia, place your hand on the regalia and say what follows.

Kingdom
When you invoke the Kingdom;
-Say where we are, move the King to that place on the map
-Say 3 details about the scene using at least two senses
During scene -Reveal additional details during the scene
Give up you kingdom when you hurt someone you love

Crown
When you invoke  Crown;
-Say who is in the scene
-Say why they are there
During scene -Play the supporting cast
Give up your crown when your trust is betrayed

Riches
When you invoke  Riches;
-Say what opportunity arises
-Say what the cost is
Give up your riches when your will is defied.

Sword
When you invoke  Sword;
-Say what happens
-Say what the irrevocable consequences are
then -End the scene.
Give up your sword when your followers lose faith in you.

Losing Regalia
When you give up your Regalia, it passes to another character in the scene. Be generous with the losing conditions, don’t try to preserve your power, but don’t give it up too quickly, not more then one regalia in a scene.

5. Prepare the Stage
Each scene is begun and ended by invoking Regalia.

6. Playing a Scene

Play your Part
You job is to play your part by telling us your thoughts, speaking your words, and describing your actions. When you describe your actions, go ahead and tell us how you want them to turn out, but know that until the scene ends, everything we say can be added to, changed, or challenged by the actions of the other characters.

“But when…”
To challenge another player’s action say “But when…” then say something that either escalates the situation, offers stakes, or invokes their nature.
You cannot invoke someone’s private nature unless it has been revealed to you.
For example
Perrin Earl of Cambridge: I cut of your head with my sword
Dorian Prince of Dunharrow (invoking his honor): But when as you draw your sword you realize that I have nothing to do with your father’s murder.

“Never again…”
To take back your action you must forswear something, when you forswear something, say “Never again…” then say what it is you forswear. Then you must abandon your nature. Choose one of your nature’s and cross it off.

For example:
Perrin: The sword falls from my trembling fingers, “Dorian, forgive me!”, I kneel beside you clutching you to me, “Never again will I take up arms against thee.”

Continuing on
You can choose to accept the action as it is and continue on with play. If you do.




7. Ending the Game
When the King loses their final regalia, the game ends after the next scene.

A Serpent’s Tooth
Version 1.0
Designed by Ross Cowman
July 15-25 2011
For Game Chef 2011 Competition
Using the theme Shakespeare
And the ingredients Exile, Forsworn, and Nature
Developed with Orion Canning

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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2011, 02:27:28 AM »

I don't have any constructive feedback right now, but I wanted to let you guys know this looks really promising and cool to me. You've got the theme all up in there and it looks playable.
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Ross Cowman
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I like games and music


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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2011, 03:59:54 PM »

thanks jason, I am banging my head against the mechanics as we speak. I'm considering doing away with the map and chess pieces, would any of you be broken-hearted?
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2011, 04:22:32 AM »

Of course not, make the game the way it wants to be made. I try to ask myself "is there an easier or less gimmicky way to do this?" Sometimes I listen to the answers, too.
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Ross Cowman
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Posts: 23

I like games and music


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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2011, 11:26:47 AM »

-getting closer, here is the doc I will be going into playtest with. I'm open to any feedback or observations.


Serpent’s Tooth

“How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
to have a thankless child!”
-King Lear

Introduction
Serpent’s Tooth is a story game about an old King in the twilight of his life, watching his power give way to ambition. You will take on the role of King, who begins the game with vast powers of creative authority, the other players take on members of the King’s family and court, each with their own relationships and nature. To play you will need 3-5 players, and about 2.5 hours of time.
We will act out a cycle of scenes around the table, each of us taking up these roles, and creating other supporting characters when needed.
Over the corse of the game the King loses his power to the younger generation, until, Kingdom divided, he meets his end.
What follows are the steps for playing this game.

Prepare the stage
Before you play, gather the following

-A deck of cards separated into face cards (A-J) and numbered cards (2-10)
-Pens
-Paperclips (no more then 10)
-Notecards
-Printouts of the Character Sheets (you need one for each player other then the king)
-Printouts of the 3 Regalia

Act I - Prologue
1. Introduce the Game
Text in italics is intended to be read aloud to the players gathered at the table to facilitate teaching the game.
Welcome to Serpent’s Tooth, in this game I will take on the role of an elderly King in the twilight of his rule. You will take on the roles of members of my family and court.
Our game has three act. Act I, which has already begun, is the prologue. In it I shall introduce the game, guide you to create a character, and go into more detail about the powers of the King. In the second act,  we will play out a cycle of scenes. At the start of Act II, I wield vast power and creative authority over the fiction we create together, but as we play, my authority will erode as the kingdom is consumed piece by piece.   Act III, the epilogue, is triggered when I have been stripped of all Regalia and authority. The game then concludes with a parting scene.

2. Create Principal Characters
Pass out a character sheet to each player besides the king.

To create a character we will each decide our nature, our relationships, and our title. These characters will be the principal characters in our story. You will control them and get to decide their fate. I will ask you some questions and use your answers to create the supporting characters. We will write our answers on these character sheets and then fold them into tents that stand on the table. Make sure to write clearly so we can all see your answers.


i. Nature
Lay out the numbered cards in the center of the table where everyone can reach them.
Each of these cards represents a set of opposing natures, when you are ready, choose one, then decide which is your public nature, and which is your hidden nature. Your public nature will be how your reputation, your hidden nature will be your true self.  Be cause it is your true self, and because it is hidden, the moment you reveal your true nature, will be a pivotal moment for your character in the story.
Put the cards away after the players have made their choices.

2- Traitorous / Loyal
3- Confidant / Jealous
4- Loving / Hateful
5- Foolish / Wise
6- Brave / Cowardly
7- Insane / Rational
8- Honest / Deceptive
9 - Noble / Savage
10 - Passionate / Cold

ii. Relationship
Lay out the face cards where everyone can reach them.

These cards represent relationships. You will each have two relationships. One is a current relationship, called a relationship to the court, the other is called your relationship to the past. This is an old relationship that has ended or changed.
Now we will take turns, when it is your turn you will select a relationship and give it to someone who does not have two relationships. They then decide if it is with the court or with the past and tell us why. The rank of the card shows who the relationship is with. The suit show what kind of relationship it is.  I am the King, the character to my left is the Queen, and the character to my right is the Jack, an Ace, can mean any of us.  Hearts show you are loved, Clubs show you are trusted, Diamonds show you are favored , Spades show you are protected.
On your turn, you can also force someone else to make that choice. Do this by giving them a relationship to themself. They must then pass it to another character. For instance if anyone gives the queen the Queen of Hearts, she does not keep it, instead she choose another character to give it to.  Then we continue taking turns as normal. Note that this is the only time you may pass a relationship card to the King.
When everyone has their relationships written down, take back the cards.

iii. Title
 I am King, the person to my left is my eldest daughter, and the person to my right is either my advisor or eldest son. The rest of you are either lords and ladies of other lands in the Kingdom.
Pick a name, and an honorific, if you are a lord, a lady, or a married princess, you have land, add this to your title, also write your land down on a notecard. I will decide where my castle is and write that down. This is the capital of the kingdom.

iv. Populating the Map
Put the castle in the center of the table.
Now I am going to go around the table and ask some questions about where you live and who is in your life. We can create new elements of the story, and integrate other characters into our lives, with our answers, however, whenever we integrate other characters into our lives you should do so in the form of a question, and leave them to decide if that is true.

Go around and ask these questions, and do these things…

When someone introduces a new character,
-give them a name
-write them down in the supporting cast.

When someone introduces a place, write it on a notecard and put on the map,
For each place decide ask ’Is it easy to get to from  the Capitol?’
-If so place it near the capitol. Ask ‘what connects it?’
-If not, ask ‘What is in the way?’ Place that on a card and put it between the castle and the place.

For Princess’
Ask ‘are you married?’
if so ask ‘who is your husband?’  ‘Do you have children?’
If not ask ‘how many suitors do you have?’ ‘what lands do they rule?’

For Princes
Ask ‘are you at war?’
If yes ask ‘where are you fighting?’
If not ask ‘why not?’

For Lords and Ladies
Ask ‘who is your spouse?’
Ask ‘do you have any children?’

3. Introduce Regalia
Place the Regalia before you. Each of the Regalia grants you an authority.  When you introduce regalia, place your hand on it and say what follows.
I carry these Regalia, as symbols of my power.
This is my Castle, the center of my monarchy, from which I pass laws and rule my kingdom,  The Castle grants authority over the details of the setting.
This is my Crown, symbol of my personal authority and power. The crown grants me authority over the people in my kingdom.
This is my Sword, symbol of the armies and knights who enforce my will with their steel. The sword gives me the power to bring a scene to its resolution.

Invoking Regalia
Invoking regalia always takes first priority over all other acts. When you invoke your regalia, place your hand on the regalia and say what follows.

Castle
When you invoke the Castle;
-Say where we are
-Say 3 details about the scene using at least two senses
-Reveal additional details during the scene

Crown
When you invoke the Crown;
-Say who is in the scene
-Say what they are doing

Sword
When you invoke  the Sword;
-Describe the aftermath then end the scene.

4. Introduce Character Moves

Play your Part
You job is to play your part with integrity. Telling us your thoughts, speaking your words, and describe your actions.
When you describe your actions, go ahead and tell us what happens, when our actions influence another character, tell us what you are trying to do but stop short of describing the effect, we look to them to tell us how the story proceeds.

These are the duties of the King,  to listen to my subjects, and to give up my power. These are the duties of the people, to be true to your character’s nature, to peruse their ambitions.

Play your Part
When you play your part
-Tell us your thoughts
-Speak your words
-Describe your appearance
-Show your actions

Resist Influence
When an action influences you, choose one;
-Accept the influence
-Say “But when…” then escalate, or offer a cost
-Describe the aftermath

Reveal your Nature
When you reveal your hidden nature
-Flip your character sheet
-Show your action
-Describe the aftermath

Your nature is now  revealed whenever you are in a scene with that character,
 you may not reveal your nature if it is already revealed

Regalia can be Seized or Relinquished

Seizing Regalia
You may seize regalia as part of describing the aftermath, if it follows through with the causes in the fiction.
Relinquishing Regalia
When you relinquish your regalia
-describe your action,
-give the regalia to another character

Act II
This is the body of the game, the first scene begins with you, the king, invoking your Castle to create a setting, then invoking your Crown, to tell us who is there and what they are doing. Then the scene opens up to everyone playing their parts. This kind of play is more like a conversation, it goes back and forth with people jumping in and adding details, and maybe changing things that don’t quite fit.  At the start of the game you are in charge of the setting and all of the npcs. When you set scenes, start small, one or two characters at a time. Try and mix it up so every character gets good screen time. You can include yourself in a scene or not if you like.


Passing of the seasons
Every three scenes, the season advances. We begin in the summer.
Summer - the king may not lose regalia
Fall - the king may lose up to one regailia / scene
Winter - the king must lose or relinquish one regalia / scene

Playing your part - in detail

Say “But when…” then escalate
When you do this, you get to add detail to the scene, it does not have to be linear, I could say,
“I cut off your head with my sword.” And you could say
“but as you draw your sword, you see our father looking on from the balcony.”
This does not negate your statement, regardless what happens, you think you cut my head off with a sword.

Describe the Aftermath
When we describe the aftermath we accept what has just been said and then describe the effect.
For example,
 I could say, “I enter the room and you are so stricken by my beauty that you instantly fall in love with me.”
And you could respond “But when I come closer you see is the Dutchess of York who stands just behind you that I greet.”

What if I Die?
If you die, you die, but it won’t happen without your consent. Remember their truth ends at your perception. If they say, I cut off your head with a sword, that won’t be final until someone describes the aftermath. If you describe the aftermath, you’re only beholden to the fact that they think they cut off your head with a sword. Maybe it wasn’t you? Of course if they cut off your head and you let them describe the aftermath, then all bets are off.
So, if you do die, you can still appear in scenes, you’re just, well, dead.

Act III - Epilogue
When the King loses their final regalia, the game ends after the next scene.

fin.
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OrionCanning
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2011, 08:42:44 PM »

This game is fun. I actually wanted it to go longer.
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Ross Cowman
Member

Posts: 23

I like games and music


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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2011, 11:43:31 PM »

A Serpents Tooth - A King in the twilight of his life loses his kingdom (and GM Authority). A game for people who always wanted to do in the dungeon master.

www.storygamesolympia.com/files
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Ross Cowman
Member

Posts: 23

I like games and music


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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2011, 09:16:18 PM »

I'd like to personally thank, woodelf, nolan callender, paul beakley, and ashly for taking the time to review a serpent's tooth. I've gone through your reviews and cut and pasted the tasty bits together in a document for me to work off of for the next revision. 
super helpful stuff, thanks!!
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