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General Forge Forums => Last Chance Game Chef => Topic started by: Jason Petrasko on April 07, 2012, 01:23:53 PM

Title: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: Jason Petrasko on April 07, 2012, 01:23:53 PM

Ingredients: Doctor, Lantern, Coyote, Mimic
Theme: Last Chance

So right, like I totally took the title from a short story in the Haruhi franchise. I doubt Tanigawa will sue though.

Snowy Mountain Syndrome

Its late in 1811 when your wagon train is forced to head up the mountain sides somewhere in the Oregon country's cascade mountains to avoid a particularly nasty storm, or at least that is what your scout and mountain man has told you. Now you try in a vain and futile way to take the load of furs and group of settlers through these mountain woods. The goal: to reach Fort Astoria where the Pacific Fur Company's ship Tonquin is waiting for you, payment on delivery. That's when the storm turns north and the snow traps you there in dense woods of evergreens with only the howls of the coyote to pierce the harrowing sound of the wind. After the first day, you find the smoldering remains of one of your folk, only no one is missing.

Under flickering lantern light the doctor asks his strange companion, the native turned white man, why he has tears in his eyes. His answer frightens you all: "One of us is the Coyote Spirit. One of us is a murdering trickster god, trying to do anything to return to the world in human form. We can't let it." Its the impossible words of a mad man, or so you all thought that second day. However, now its the fifth day and stranger things keep happening. Surely this is your last chance to escape this madness and return to the world of the sane, if only the snow wasn't so deep and your feet weren't so cold...

Ok, so I think I have a solid idea, now its a matter of like just making the game work. Its going to be a pre-established mystery, so its only playable once unless you want to create an alternate ending. The character that has been killed and replaced will be predetermined, along with a few other elements of the mystery.

More to come as I progress.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: jackson_tegu on April 07, 2012, 03:40:14 PM



Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: BlazmoIntoWowee on April 07, 2012, 06:20:25 PM
Sounds like a fantastic seed.  Could be amazingly atmospheric.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: UserClone on April 08, 2012, 09:31:27 AM
I LOVE these kinds of games, and the setting you've chosen is FANTASTIC. I think this is probably my favorite combination of Coyote and Mimic so far, but be careful not to just leave Doctor and Lantern as weakly represented as they currently are (or else use one or two of your random threads to shore up the missing ingredient(s)). I like what I'm reading. Get to work! :)

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: mcdaldno on April 08, 2012, 11:06:15 AM
I agree that Coyote and Mimic are spot on here, but Doctor and Lantern run the risk of being "just colour" in this scenario.

1.) What were your four random threads? Did any of them have mechanical or structural ideas that you could steal for this awesome scenario?

2.) Why is the Coyote Spirit a pre-determined character in a pre-determined mystery? There are a number of games that randomize who the betrayer is, and they function really well - Battlestar Galactica (the board game), Shadows over Camelot (the board game), The Mountain Witch (well, it has "Dark Fates"), etc. Having that be randomly generated could allow players to create some awesome mysteries themselves.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: Jason Petrasko on April 08, 2012, 01:30:36 PM
Jackson, clearly yes. The mere thought of the game has already broke your brain. Not that anyone was surprised! :D

Blazmo, thanks! I spent a few hours reading about historic Oregon and the atmospheric setup just kind of fell into place!

UserClone, if you saw my random threads, you would have died inside. I personally threw up for an hour and then spent the next cursing the Forge. Then I erased those bastard links forever and decided to press on without them. I never did personally get much constructive feedback on the Forge...

mcdaldno, see above for the answer to #1. I like the ideas of #2, but isn't this all about Last Chance? Walton comes out and says: Design your game like its meant to be played only once. That sure sounds like an established mystery and the depth it can offer is warranted. I dunno, I've been fighting with this since I started narrowing down my ideas.

Now, to offer a further glimpse into Snowy Mountain Syndrome such that the fears about Doctor and Lantern may be pushed aside!


As you play Snowy Mountain Syndrome, you must abide by a few rules when creating your fiction. These are called the game's precepts:

  • Scenes always take place in the absence of light. During the day the group is trying and failing to escape their wooded, snowy mountain prison. This isn't a game about their failure.
  • During each scene, one character will hold the lantern. This player of this character has special fictional abilities in that scene and responsibilities. The lantern bearer cast light upon the mysteries of the situation, and they are the driving force leading each scene.
  • On day six, when you start play, the doctor has also gone missing. He is the oldest and most respected of the group at large. Players may make their characters take a moment  to recall something meaningful they shared with the doctor at some point. When they do so, they can let another character recover their wits.


Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: UserClone on April 09, 2012, 02:34:45 AM
Lovely! Both key words give you special powers within the fiction, so that wraps up that concern neatly!

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: jackson_tegu on April 10, 2012, 01:03:51 PM
Hey there Jason.

I wanted to be a conflicting voice to what mcdaldno said above - i think it's totally choice to hand people a scenario & then they'll play it. If, later, you want to revise it and add a "this is how you make your own scenario" thing, cool, but totally not necessary for a game chef entry, or a game. And, as you point out - the point in this situation is for people to play it once.

Also, the fact that the Forge threads were disappointing to you, or showed an example of humans treating one another poorly... i mean, THAT's what that thread is about. So if you want to incorporate "terrible communication", "talking down to a hopeful new arrival", or "academic posturing in a niche field of interest" into your game, well, you can count those threads as being really relevant to your game. As i like to say, Let's get meta.

Also, if you want to go ahead with the four ingredients and you feel that they're serving you, thumbs up.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: UserClone on April 10, 2012, 01:53:05 PM
I definitely agree that one single scenario is the way to go with this year's theme. You certainly can only play it once meaningfully.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: Jason Petrasko on April 10, 2012, 02:17:59 PM
I'm actually going to turn that on its head a bit, because I do like some randomness. So imagine there is a page of slips/tokens to pull out and cut up with numbers from one to twenty. Then you take the events in random order each game, and since different end events are in the shuffle, you reach a random end of the provided ones. :D

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: Jason Petrasko on April 10, 2012, 04:08:58 PM
Struggling a bit to define the 12 character roles available for play, so far I have this but some are uncertain: The Mountain Man, The Aging Pioneer, The Brash Gunman, The Understanding Native, The Struggling  Merchant, The Wealthy Wife, The Curious Daughter, The Retired Sheriff, The Thoughtful Boy, The Eccentric Banker, The Quiet Stranger, and The Odd Foreigner.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: BlazmoIntoWowee on April 10, 2012, 04:22:03 PM
That doesn't sound too much like struggling; sounds like fruitful creativity to me.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: Jason Petrasko on April 10, 2012, 05:43:48 PM
The struggle is more time related, since my ideas for the game keep expanding. I need to prune this tree soon before I miss the deadline entirely. I'm looking at scaling back the character definitions already (the character details) and possibly the twenty scene cues somewhat. Its hard to gauge how much one can just done in a week and all that.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: Jason Petrasko on April 11, 2012, 03:56:10 PM

draft text is almost written, though its rough!

now I just need History worksheets, Character definitions, and Scene cues!

current pdf for your reading pleasure: (

I'm pretty damn excited, its shaped up into quite a game. Though, keeping it under 3k words will be serious work.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: DevP on April 11, 2012, 07:33:00 PM
Word count: it pains me to say it because the prose is really nice. But: for a GC draft, you may well replace some prose with a less verbose version if you're way over. (Maybe have a GC and Verbose edition both available, as per the Judge's whim.) In any case, the prose works for me. I'm impressed that, in this short time, you have a text that is looking to be legible by non-gamers.

I'm excited to see the individual characters and presumably some tables that will be rolled on to generate scenes. The game works with a smaller number of players, correct? Perhaps only having a few character roles ready for the GC edition is a worthwhile limitation.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: Jason Petrasko on April 12, 2012, 08:53:19 AM
Thanks for looking it over! It is just under 3k words now, and I have to talk about two or three parts of play yet, so some of the important fluff will be trimmed on the first page most likely.

I too am looking forward to the supplemental material, as that is what I'm going to crank out today. I think I'll be able to have the full 20 scene cue sheets, 8 history worksheets, 12 character definitions, and the tracking sheet ready for this version. If not, I'll try and trim down the history and character definitions. I don't think I can go less that 20 scene cues, and it would also break the die roll system for getting random cues ;)

Really though, I'm most impressed with the way the rolling system and currency tracks just slipped right together. I only hope I explained it satisfactorily in the limited word allotment :)

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: BlazmoIntoWowee on April 12, 2012, 01:13:10 PM
I noticed some typos/errors:

"That's when the storm turns north and the start to pray.

 "In order to get started, you’ll need some gear. a single six-sided die. First you need a single six-sided die, this is the cube that comes in your common game boxes, and a twenty-sided die."

"and spend a Wits or Spirit to treat the roll as a success"

Also, to save words, why not skip the explanation of d6 and d20.  If you want to market it later you can put it back in, but everyone who might download it will know what those are and how to get them,

I found the "die" and "many-faced die" terms sort of confusing.  When I'm skimming or referencing I'd much rather see d6 or d20.

Overall seems pretty clear so far!

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: Jason Petrasko on April 13, 2012, 08:13:53 AM
Thanks! I hope I'll have enough time before the deadline to give it a solid proofread and a bit of a rewrite!

I think there is some confusion about how you handle some of the specific mechanics cued situations (Epiphany, Crisis, when things go horribly wrong, and so on) but these are supposed to be works in progress after all, not ready-to-publish texts. Also, I'm running out of words :)

The thing I hope if that once you can see all the supplementary play sheets, that all the themes will be totally obvious. I mean the fruitful void I'm targeting here is the breakdown of society when faced with a no-win scenario and in specific, what shakes loose ;) There is already plenty of fiction that explores this, mostly horror genre, like King's Dreamcatcher and Carpenter's The Thing and so on - I could list pages I'd wager if I thought hard enough.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: Jason Petrasko on April 14, 2012, 03:54:06 PM
Ok, so I've started on the supplementary material needed to print out and play. Here are the first two character definitions. (

Are these enough of a stub to make them playable and spark creativity? I think so but I'd like opinions.

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: Jason Petrasko on April 14, 2012, 03:57:57 PM
If you are PDF allergic, here are images: ( (

Title: Re: Snowy Mountain Syndrome
Post by: Jason Petrasko on April 15, 2012, 07:16:25 PM
In before the bell! 45 minutes to spare in EST :) Its 3300 words, best I could manage to cut it too :( With supplementary material though its 45 DAMN PAGES. DAMN. DOUBLE DAMN. Well if quantity wins I think I'm in the running <.< (