The Orc in the Well

This role-playing poem is playable in many forms – including two-player and forum variants.

There’s an orc sitting in a well. It can’t get out. The orc looks up at the sky. A bird flies past.

You, the players, will take turns telling this orc’s story, from different points of view. The game lasts 15 minutes. It covers approximately the same amount of time in the orc’s life.

When it’s your turn, you narrate something. You can do a short or long narration, whichever you like. You have to choose between narrating the EXTERNAL, the INTERNAL, or something from the PAST. External narration is about stuff that happens to or around the orc. Internal narration is about the creature’s thoughts and emotions. Narrating the past, you can narrate anything you like.

Note that none of these modes focus on what the orc does. It can be about what the orc has done in the past, or what’s being done to the orc, or how the orc reacts mentally… but action isn’t the main thing, really.

Players take turns, starting with the player to the left of whoever explains the rules. The first narration should be external.

After fifteen minutes the game is over. The last narration should be external, too.

Author: Matthijs Holter

6 thoughts on “The Orc in the Well

  1. This reminds me of assignments from creative writing classes I’ve attended. But what’s better about this role-playing poem is that I immediately want to try it out, that it makes my imagination sort of tingle. Maybe it’s because creativity is always better outside the classroom, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll try this as a sort of assignment for myself one day (that day will probably sooner, than the day I manage to gather enough interested people to try this, I’m afraid).

  2. Hi,
    I would like to adapt “The Orc in the Well” into French. It would be published in a free French webzine (La Saltarelle) and/or on my weblog.
    In 2011, I translated Catherine for Many people could then read it in French and they thought it was interresting.
    Do you allow me to adapt “The Orc in the Well”, please? Thank you
    Greetings from France

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