[Game Chef 2011] One Eye Between Us

Started by Sp4m, July 18, 2011, 11:31:01 AM

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One Eye Between Us
A Role Playing game of Violent Tragedy for 3-6 Storytellers

     Players play the role of a coven of witches bent on bringing a tragic fate upon those who deserve it. Using powers of inimitable illusion and influence, they reshape reality to manipulate the characters of their drama, such that they bring about their own tragic end.
     The game is played out over five acts, and each act is punctuated with a Plot Point: a dramatic goal determined at the start of the game that will provide storytelling queues for the players. In each act, players are given one scene to accomplish this goal, otherwise their plan will go afoul, and their tragic lesson could turn into a comedy.

Paul Czege

I like the concept. How much of the mechanics have you worked out?

"[My Life with Master] is anything but a safe game to have designed. It has balls, and then some. It is as bold, as fresh, and as incisive  now as it was when it came out." -- Gregor Hutton


It's 90% right now and I have a play group set up for Weds night.
The mechanics are adapted from a "Holiday Spirit" role-playing game I ran quick and dirty over holiday break.

Quick and dirty: The core mechanic is a role-reversal between players and GM. Players are given the power to create any reality they choose, and possess any character in the cast, reducing the GMs role to just playing the lead characters, and reacting to the players. React quickly, honestly, and consistently, and your players will have a great time.


I don't want to reveal all of my secrets so soon, but the mechanics based around a Player/GM role reversal. The players have powers, right? Why not give them ALL the power?

But not all players are also GMs, so you can't open the door to a void, and expect beauty every time. The game provides "nucleation sites" to help the players create a beautiful story, without controlling the story or telling the players what to do.

Current challenges are
*Tweaking the numbers to provide enough guidance to players without telling them WHAT to do
*Providing challenge and rivalry in a diceless system

I have plans for the battle, and tomorrow night's playtest will help me get some solid data.

I have a *very* short attention span, so I want to keep this as far below 3000 words as I can.

With the game text nearly complete, I'm hoping to have time to add custom art to the book(let).

Tomorrow's Test Game will have the following battle plan, and will be punctuated with informal surveys:

Act 1: minimum "nucleation sites" minimum GM control
Act 2: medium "nucleation sites"  maximum GM control
Act 3: maximum "nucleation sites" minimum GM control
Act 4: minimum nucleation sites, minimum GM control
Act 5: Sticks for Hands, and Raped to Death

For anyone else looking to host a "Beta-test" of their game, I will let you know how this strategy played out.


Last night I hosted a Test Run of One Eye Between us, and it was a highly mitigated disaster.
A Lot was learned, and I have some good ideas to repair this game. Had Break Through Design idea in the morning, that adding competing element (faeries/comedy) would make the story richer.

Here is a Break Down of last night's lessons.

Act 1: Ran "Traditional" Rules
    Players Had Fun. Had to stretch their feet to get comfortable.

Act 2: Ran 2 groups, Faeries (with a comedy plot point) And Witches (with a tragedy)
    Though a bidding System was in place, the Witches managed to take the political roles (King, Guard) and were able to over power the Faeries' influence for the scene. Players Had Fun. Players invented too much back story, and made the Lover the prince's sister. The way this COULD have played out is to allow the action, but remind all players that it is NOT true (according to the relationship chart). It was a plot point "dark secret revealed" so I allowed it to be "true," for science.
     Solution: Have specific Secrets that can get revealed, that won't sabotage one group or the other. Cards to turn over.

Act 3: Ran 2 groups, Faeries (with a comedy plot point) And Witches (with a tragedy)
    This scene was an unmitigated disaster, with faeries and witches yelling across the table, trying to get The Lead to accept their plot points. Requiring an action on The Lead's part made it difficult, BUT I think is necessary, otherwise players are focused more on just getting words out. The Lead was pulled in every direction, and on both sides, and all characters appeared untrustworthy.

Act 4: Ran 1 Group, all Witches. I wanted to see if things were more fun with less bickering.
    Answer was yes, but the witches were more focused on getting their plot point met than telling a "story." that IS the "scoring" for the game after all.

Act 5: The Bitter End
    All Players Cooperated to Reach The Goal: All Cast members in the Scene Die. It was designed as a trap, where they all simply drink poison. Felt out of the blue, and undeserved. No "tragic lesson" was learned, and their fate did not, ultimately, feel deserved. If the Lead Characters had Tragic Flaws  (rather than random Natures) they might have been better suited to die in tragedy. If Plot Points have been more cohesive (rather than random) the story would have built better.

Over All...
Players never used Magic to embellish the scene.
Players felt trapped in their host bodies.
A Powers Demonstration Session would be useful.

Players were more driven by a desire to reach a plot point than an over arching story. The story was more a series of logically connected random scenes, severely damaged by the players "inventing backstory."
A GM Role is necessary to describe setting, guide the story (setting from scene to scene).
GM Assigning Cast Members to a scene doesn't greatly reduce creative potential, and allows MORE story to be told.
Plot Points may *need* to be act specific, AND be related to generic story structure, so each side is forced to BUILD UP their story (Tragedy starts by showing that the prince is good, and admitting/agree that he has a lot to lose, Comedy starts by showing that the Prince is good, and having him admit or agree that he has has an unjust struggle to overcome).

     having 4 GMs with the hands in the cauldron, all focused on 1 player was like watching a tempest in a teapot. What ever that is like. Not as productive as just doing the dishes. The Game moved along swiftly enough, I think it could work well to have 2 scenes per act, and give each side, one "unhindered" chance at interacting with The Lead. Teams can bid for turn order per act, as well as characters (same pool of chips).
     Rewarding Good Role-Play I think there is a benefit to rewarding good role-play, and bidding chips can be handed out mid-act.

This was a VERY instructive lesson.


I've got another play test scheduled for tonight.
Planned changes:
Competing Teams, operating alternately pushing "The Pawn" towards Tragedy (coven of witches) or Tragedy (Faeries).
More structure for the players to build their narratives. Plot points that strike home on the structural similarities between comedy and tragedy.

Running without a GM was a... bold idea. Even experienced players require

Allowing the use of powerful narrative devices such as declaring secret brotherhood or mistaken identities, not through player whim, but by being awarded "Dramatic Power Cards" by completing optional, secondary plot points.

To encourage better story telling, players are not allowed to interrupt a dialogue in progress. Once per Scene, a character may Spend a Fate Token to "Steal the Spot Light" and interrupt a dialogue in progress.

Once per game, a witch may "invade" a faerie dominated scene, and vica versa.

Concerns addressed:
Team Competition made cohabitation of scenes less fun.
Is the inclusion of the spot light and Structural Plot Points enough to recover?

I will find out tonight, as Acts 1 and 2 are played separately, and Act 3 and 4 are done together.
Return to my page busy chefs, and hopefully my experience can make our small community richer.
Outstanding questions


Play Test Tonight was immensely successful.

Witch and Faerie players are together in every scene.
Players need to spend bidding tokens to interrupt or "upstage" each other. -this was HUGE.
     My second playthrough had no bickering, because no one wanted to PAY for it.

Acts 1 and 2 the witches and the fae basically cooperate to build the setting and conflict, and it's not until the later acts that they start killing each other.

Next 2 days I get the rules updated, some cover art, add some more cards, and then take a break.

I've been in Manic Game Dev mode all week, and I'm very nearly burnt out. but this has been a nice distraction while at work.


This game has Metamorphosed into something far greater than it's original idea. Moving from a diceless, collaborative game of forced violence to a competitive Tabletop LARP. There are some things that I am said to let go.

One of these is my Story Intro. So Let me share this with you.

The Lovers' Fate

There was a monarch, all the kingdom knew
for noble deeds and conquering of nations.
But in his household, there a tension grew
because his son had humbler aspirations.
The wistful prince did wish to take a wife-
a commoner the king did not endorse.
The king, to save the crown, did risk his life
by trusting in an unfamiliar source.
He'll make a plot to sabotage the prince
that soon will spiral far out of control
to tragic ends - so here I will convince

the Players to assume this crucial role.
We'll teach the king - when you try to subdue
the hand of Fate, then it will master you.


I present my final entry for Gamechef 2011:

The Fair Folk and the Wyrd Sisters; A Tragic Comedy of Love and Death

Game Manual
Plot Decks

The Lovers' Fate
There was a monarch, all the kingdom knew
for noble deeds and conquering of nations.
But in his household, there a tension grew
because his son had humbler aspirations.
The wistful prince did wish to take a wife,
a commoner the king did not attest.
The story of the prince and lover's life
will be resolved by he who tells it best.
The fairies want an ending to be glad,
wherein the prince and his young love would wed.
The witches want the story to be sad
with all the characters disposed or dead.
So two opposing forces will contend
for to achieve the story's valid end.

Jonathan Walton

Do you plan to actually submit this game on the Game Chef site? Please do!