Elizabeth's game thread

Started by Elizabeth, September 11, 2010, 09:05:11 AM

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So Shreyas and I have been talking FOR YEARS about how to make a sweeping, emotionally-resonant two-player game about the hero's journey that anchors in the players' real sense memories. And then Ron blew open how to make two-player games about heroes with S/lay w/me, and we were like "Man, we should really hack that for our game," but didn't. And then Game Chef and ARGH OMG THOSE INGREDIENTS ARE PERFECT. So I've been thinking about this for a long time, but haven't done any work on it, and now's the time.

Basic thoughts:

- Two players, the Hero and the World. Like in S/lay, each person plays a Hero and each person plays a World.
- There's a deck of memory cards with questions on it, like "three sense memories of your first crush," or "what did you admire most about your parents as a child?" Before each session of play, the World draws three of the cards and gets the Hero to answer, and writes down the answers. The World incorporates these into their descriptions of the World, at least one per session. The idea is that you slowly build up a bank of resources to tie to the fiction, and that anchor the player's fictional experience into their real lives.
- The basic structure is sort of Dark Tower-y, in a desert world that's moved on, making hard choices and sacrifices, leaving behind things that are important in order to have a shot at things that are necessary.
- It's not about monsters and lovers; each place the hero travels to has a problem and holds something dear to him or her, and it's about solving the problem, getting closer to the Hero's original goal, and protecting the thing dear to him. But he can never do all three.

So yeah. That's where I'm starting.


very cool tale on the journey theme. i was going to use the heroes' journey myself but went with something else. so i saw journeys and desert, what other ingredients are you incorporating.


Yeah, I'm looking forward to trying this one.



Quote from: masqueradeball on September 11, 2010, 10:38:45 AM
very cool tale on the journey theme. i was going to use the heroes' journey myself but went with something else. so i saw journeys and desert, what other ingredients are you incorporating.

Well, I'm thinking there are no cities, not any more. You're probably leaving what was the last great city— which is now mostly a shell, with a small surviving populous at the heart of it— and the endless desert is creeping towards your home, and you're being sent to stop it, and to bring water back to your land. So though it's not spelled out, it's all about crossing the threshold between what's left of the world and the edge of the desert reaches, and driving back that edge.

I'll probably call it A Dry And Thirsty Land, because my first thought on reading the ingredients was immediately Psalm 63: "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is."

(I would have gone with "Portions for Foxes" but that's already the name of an awesome Rilo Kiley song.)

Ben Lehman

Darn it, you can't be writing a game for Shreyas; I'm already writing a game for Shreyas.


I don't know if "FOR Shreyas" and "Because Shreyas is too lazy to do it himself" is the same thing.

Ben Lehman

I'm basically doing the latter (re-doing D&D with a skin that his hippy friends will play with him), so...

Jason Pitre

Love the concept.  Would there be a set collection of cards, or would you include a mechanism for participants to write their own cards?
Genesis of Legend Publishing
Telling New Stories around the Digital Fire

Lance D. Allen

Anything inspired by the Dark Tower has my interest.

I'll be following along.
~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls


During the course of the game, in trying to figure out how to bring water back to your land, you find a bunch of small, dusty towns or larger settlements with deep-seated problems of their own. You get wrapped up in them and help on your way to figure out how to save your city. If you are the Hero, you get dice when you:

- Show compassion to those in need of help
- Risk something dear to you
- Give a gift and accept nothing in return

If you are the World, you get dice when you:

- Incorporate a sense memory into a person or place
- Convince the Hero to delay his trip
- Remind the Hero of his mission

I want a list of five each, so I've got to keep thinking.


The system has, of course, changed since I wrote my last post.

There are four types of dice, segregated by color: white (Keep), black (Break), gold (Understand). The Hero always starts with a dice pool of 1d6 in each color. Every time the Hero accomplishes something on their list, the Hero may add or remove one die to one of the colors. Every time the World accomplishes something on their list, they may change the size of one of the die colors— either to d4, d6, or d8.

The target number is always four.

One success: it is safe from further harm
Two successes: it wants to go with you

One success: it is fundamentally changed
Two successes: it is inoperable

One success: you learn something new about it
Two successes: you learn something about your quest from it

And here's what I've got written so far. https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=1hZATme5P91GT3TB7cdaAXIydreM40QLKBao__fTUU6U&hl=en&authkey=CKzFlrgF


If I wasn't trying to talk my wife into playtesting my games I'd be very tempted to playtest this with her.

What's in your deck of memories so far? 

Hopefully constructive feedback:
An Artifact doesn't have as much "juice" as a Lover...how about an Important Person - sometimes a Lover, sometimes Friend, Family, other?