I Like You!

I Like You!

A nano-larp for a group of people of different genders

0. What you need

If you can, get a bunch of little paper hearts. Have everyone write their name on 5 hearts. Have more hearts available, in case someone needs more during the game.

1. Setup

Divide the group into two factions, based on real-life experience, with this question:

«Hands up those who have experienced unwanted emotional or sexual attention during the past week».

If less than half have their hands up, ask about the past two weeks. Continue expanding the time window until about half have their hands up.

The people with their hands up will play the faction of the Undesirables. The others will play the Desirables. To make them easy to tell apart, let the desirables put a heart on their chest, for instance.

2. General rules

Nobody is allowed to initiate contact with an undesirable, not even those who are undesirable. (Desirables can contact other desirables to talk.)

Everyone needs to team up with another player from the opposite faction before the game ends. Those who don’t, lose the game.

There are no actual characters in this game. Everyone plays themselves. If you’re asked to tell anything about yourself, that means you, the player.

3. Phase one, 5 minutes

Undesirables lay their hearts on the line!

To initiate contact with a desirable, the undesirables need to give them a heart and tell them a truth about themselves. This must be something that leaves them vulnerable.

During this phase, desirables must consider the different undesirables in order to find out who they might want to team up with.

Desirables: You don’t have much time to find your ideal mates here. Remember, you have to wait for them to contact you! Don’t waste time if you’re talking to someone who’s not what you’re looking for.

4. Phase two, 1 minute

Desirables reciprocate to potential mates!

Desirables are now allowed to give away hearts as well – paired with a truth about themselves. Remember, desirables have to wait for the undesirables to contact them!

Undesirables should continue to initiate contact and spread their hearts as in phase one. Make sure to approach those you believe might reciprocate!

Desirables: Time is really running out now! Don’t waste time on those you don’t want to team up with!

5. Phase three

Desirables make their final choice!

Desirables, stand in a row.

Undesirables, if you have received a heart from one or more desirables, walk up to one of them and stand face to face. If you haven’t, sit the fuck down.

Some desirables may now be facing multiple undesirables. Desirables, if you have several undesirables in front of you, push them away until only one remains.

If you get pushed away, sit the fuck down.

6. Winners and losers

Anyone who’s still standing – that is, teamed up heart to heart with someone from the opposite faction – wins. Hold hands and smile while other winners applaud you.

Everybody else loses.

7. Debrief

DEFINITELY debrief after this game. For some, it will be a fun experience. Others might be pissed off. Others again might feel hurt. Sit in a circle, tell each other how you’re feeling, discuss the game.

20.000 Little Islands

“I have, with no exaggeration, lost track of Archipelago. There are now hacks and translations that I only find out about by chance, and I don’t remember all the stuff that’s been done with it.

All is as it should be. The game is officially out of my hands. Who would have thought it.”

–        Matthijs Holter

Archipelago is a story/role-playing game where each player controls a major character. Players take turns directing and playing out a part of their character’s story, leading them towards their selected point of destiny, while other players interact with and influence that story. The latest edition also utilizes fate and resolution cards, as well as the ritual phrases.

(The majority of the games and downloadable documents linked below are for free download, as usual here on Nørwegian Style):

Playsets

In other languages

Hacks, expansions, adaptions

Summary

It’s hard to know with these things.

Put together, the Archipelago II and III main landing pages have gotten 19.650 page views since 2009. Dropbox doesn’t provide download statistics, which would be even more “proof of the pudding”. Many sites link directly to the Dropbox documents, so we just have no way of knowing the exact # of downloads over the past seven years.

If we missed your favorite hack, adaption or translation, please let us know in comments.

Cover photo: Høgåsen, Hidra/Hanne Feyling/Visit Sørlandet (CC BY-ND 2.0).

 

 

 

Shrine Master

shrine1

Itsukushima shrine, torii gate. Photo: Joe deSousa/Flickr (CC0 1.0)

Of course he knew the Empire was built on airy, at times vulgar, symbolism. He was, after all, an educated man. He knew how to interpret the Laws of the Elders. Could equally well listen to the speech of the stars as kiss one of his concubines below. He believed neither in ghosts, nor in symbols as anything other than representations.

Still, a part of him; one might say the child, believed firmly in the virtues:

1. Fidelity to the large and the small family. Even when the decisions of the concubines or the Emperor seemed enigmatic.
2. Friendliness and good will towards strangers.
3 . Ritualized blasphemy by the altars along the roads, at night.
4. That you will reap as you sow.

Now he was standing by one of the altars, on the road to the Imperial City. The sunset painted the sky in shades of gold, pink, violet and orange. But not red, that color had been forbidden by the Emperor.

Soon the star-song would begin.

The altar was a scrawny, ancient spike of stone. The little roof that was supposed to protect the sacrificial gifts; fire, incense, beautiful stones, blood, flowers and perfume, against wind and weather would probably break down completely in a few hundred years.

He left a small, twelve-sided die for the enjoyment of the altar-eaters. Said a silent prayer to The Guardian of the Road that the ghosts he didn’t believe in would leave him alone this night.

On the long way home.

Shrine Master is about building those wayside shrines. It uses the Soft System.

The Soft System

Character set-up
Goal
Problem
Relations (max 3)
Background
Occupation/Skills
Twists/ story seeds/ complications/ intrigue magnets

Skill/ability check results

On a modified roll of 1d12:

12. Critical hit
11. Yes, and
10. Yes, and
9. Yes, but
8. Yes, but
7. Yes, but
6. No, but
5. No, but
4. No, but
3. No, and
2. No, and
1. Conflict escalates

With a table you can add modifications to die roll results. E.g: you have a relevant ability = +1, bigger chance of yes-roll. Very difficult task = -1, etc.

The results are interpreted by another player (one who’s character is not attempting the action. Everyone can make suggestions.)

Whimsy

At the beginning of each session, the players get one Whimsy card each (draw two cards, keep your favorite). They can be played at any time during the game, the player interprets the result. Inspiration can be used to buy more whimsy cards, at the rate of 1 Inspiration point = 1 card.

Original whimsy cards: http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/systemdesign/cards/whimsycards.html

Inspiration points

Any player or the GM may award one (1) inspiration points to another player during a session. These can be spent [in interesting ways] to hack the narrative, setting or outcome of die rolls.

They are awarded when:

– A player does or says something unspeakably cool.
– A player acts in accordance with Goal or Problem.
– A player complicates matters in interesting ways.

The inspiration points are awarded immediately.

Inspiration points are dialed back to zero at the start of every new session.

Can be used to make small additions to the GM’s descriptions, add detail to the setting (the GM forgot to mention), auto success, introduce (useful) NPCs, buy a new whimsy card, etc.

Principles

Listen
Give others a chance to speak. Hear what they say. See how you can build or act on the information they impart to the story.

Accept, and add
If something is stated or established in the fiction, it’s probably true. Characters and ghosts may lie, and you may forget details. But try to stay with what has been said. Add your own details as they come to you. Don’t try too hard. Say the first thing you think of. Reincorporate elements that have come up previously.

Decline, but offer
It’s perfectly fine for your character to refuse a suggestion, but try to come up with a counteroffer. Don’t block or stall the game. If you get stuck in discussion-paralysis; act. Make up something, like an accusation. Do something stupid.

Just pause. And breathe.

Reincorporate
Before you add a new element, consider: what has already been established? Can I re-introduce it into play? Will it create contrast, or shed new light this time around?

shrine2

The home village. Photo: dynamosquito/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Stay fluid
Be willing to discard your plan, or even better; don’t plan for a certain outcome. Pick up on the creative “balls” others throw out for you to play with. Go along with ideas. This is key to having fun in this game.

Let the story emerge
There are no true secrets here. There isn’t a prewritten plot to discover. This story will emerge during play, and you will see the totality in the end. Relax. Give your character and the ghosts time to play their hand, say their piece. Watch what the others do. Listen.

You don’t have to be funny or smart. Let the words come to you at their own pace.

Your little village needs a new wayside Shrine, the last one was torn down by the forces of nature. You play the Shrine Master and her henchmen. They will gather holy materials for the shrine, and build it where the last one stood.

Random story table (d12)

1. Another Shrine Master, searching for the same material as your group.
2. Sex in the City: your materials are located in a brothel in the Imperial City.
3. Sacrifice Emotion: you must recall and reenact a childhood memory to empower the Shrine.
4. An Infidel Demon tries to usurp your shrine. You must battle it with your wits.
5. Consumption: shrine building proves costly. You must get day jobs. It’s terrible after a life spent adventuring on the road.
6. Enabler: you meet a wrinkled old crone who offers to make shrine building easier if you make a sacrifice.
7. Tallest tower: an essential shrine component is located in the top of a near-inaccessible tower. It symbolizes our vain efforts.
8. Priestess: you must also recruit a priestess to cater to the shrinal needs. She must be a virgin, and very hideous.
9. A special kind of stone is required for the shrine. You must establish a quarry and safely transport the stone to your home village.
10. The Shrine Master’s concubines approach her for a favor, interrupting the quest.
11. Harmonious ritual: the group must create a ritual to empower the shrine.
12. Personal demons: the entourage have to confront and battle their personal, manifest demons in order to complete the shrine.

Game master instructions

Because all new indie games must be AW hacks:

Thunderous roar: Give brief, short descriptions that relate to the setting. “The crystal shines like crimson terror. It’s cold and hard to the touch. Electric fragrance in the air.”
Address the characters, not the players.
Show, don’t tell.
Abrupt change: every time your attention strafes something you own: a secondary character, an object, organization or relationship: consider killing, destroying or altering it for good.
Name everything, make everything human: create a list of names before the game. Give the secondary characters simple, understandable, human motivations.
Ask questions, build on the answers: “when did you first understand you’d be building a shrine? Why do you want to build the shrine? What does the new location look like?”
Give them what they want, reveal the consequence.
Be a fan of the characters: give them what they fight for, let them build their shrine… but only at the very end.

Support wheels

To be used if there is inaction or you’re stuck. Choose something from this list that will fit what has already come to pass. Shake things up, good:

Separate them.
Take a prisoner.
Give them a dilemma/tough choice: you can save one friend, not both.
Announce future threat: a great, big column of black smoke on the horizon. A nasty noise in the bushes. A rumor spreading.
An eye for an eye: hit them the way they hit your secondary characters.
Reveal your hand: state what you plan to do, execute.
Take away their stuff (except what truly defines them)
Activate their flaws.
Explain possible consequences and ask if they still want to go through with the plan.
Offer an opportunity that comes with a price.
Always ask: “what do you do?”

Other tips
Maps, handouts.
Ask follow-up questions: «yeah, tell me; what does it look like on the road? What will the shrine look like in the end?”
Digression and detail, sometimes.
Go around the table, give everyone spotlight.
Take breaks. Take your time.

Endgame

The game ends when the shrine components are assembled, and it’s erected by the road near the character’s home village.

Go around the table. Ask the players what their character added to the shrine, and how it looks in the end. Go in great detail, this was the goal after all.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Cat Wizard

C_W“You press “go”. Three other avatars start blinking dully on the screen. Looking up, you see three other faces peering over their bus seats. Looking around, trying to identify the other wizards. Your eyes connect. Finally one of you, a woman in her late twenties with a snake pattern tattooed on her neck, gets up from her seat. Approaches you, waves at the others. She leans in, smelling of cigarettes. “Are you ready to do this fucking thing”?

Cat Wizard is a roleplaying game about a renegade app and its maverick users. The app is banned from app stores in its current incarnation, but is still downloaded and put to use by those who want to affect change in themselves and the world. (…)”

Download the game here (PDF).

Cat Wizard won the competition Båtsj today. It had a setup similar to Game Chef: make a playable roleplaying game in a week.

As one of the authors, together with Trond Ivar Hansen, I must admit I don’t really think we delivered that. But it’s a nice concept sketch, with some good ideas we might develop further someday.

It’s the first time in a couple of years we’ve had a competition like this locally. Michael Stensen Sollien ran the R.I.S.K competition for about ten years, the last time was in 2013. It resulted in some of the earlier games you find on this blog, and created a good creative buzz in our tiny community of game designers.

Båtsj, this year’s new competition, was hosted by Christine Vean and the Facebook group Rollespill.info. 6 games were delivered by the deadline. By way of comparison, the recent international #Threeforged contest had 102 contributions. And the annual international Game Chef now runs parallel competitions in several languages.

For Båtsj, the games could be written in any of the Scandinavian languages or English. The winner, Cat Wizard, happened to be one of two English contributions. The other one was Bunker 13 by Wilhelm Person. The experienced Swedish game designer has promised he’ll develop the concept further in the coming months. Check out his contribution here.

It was fun and frustrating to try out this kind of challenge again, and I really liked the buzz it created in our teeny tiny scene. Just like the good old days.

Deal

1. it is possible there is love. let us pretend there is. but not in this game.
2. you still need love. or money. or something else. you need.

characters
your character wants something. they are driven by it.
they might admit it to themselves.
they might not.
you will play with one other person.
their character also wants something.
you have it.

examples
you want love, to be loved. you work hard and make money.
they want money. they can fake love.
you want to be good. you can provide a house, stability.
they want safety. they can fake that you’re a good person.

the lie
you never, ever, ever say out loud what you want. you never, ever, ever say out loud what you provide.
neither do they.

the scenes
1. you meet. you talk about whatever, do whatever.
underneath it all, the animals inside you sense that the other can provide what you want.
keep on talking about whatever.
do whatever.

2. you are apart.
the need.
you have found someone who can provide.

3. you meet again, and again.
let’s see some short scenes. montage. just sentences, vignettes.

4. now what?
how long do you keep it up?
let’s see some more scenes.
and more.
and more.

5. did you say it out loud?
did you mention it?
what happened?
what happens now?

6. can you live with each other, and with yourself?
this might be a happy ending.
or a redemption.
or splitting up.

7. epilogue
fun! will you fall into the same pattern?
will you break free?
who the hell are you, really?

Do You Want To Interact With Me At All We Are Adult Strangers Right Now !!!

These are two games with the same title. (Which I got from Jackson Tegu!)

 

1. First, the easy game. This is a short game for 4 players, which will take 5-15 minutes depending on your mood.

Two players will be the Commuters. They will be silent for the entire duration of the game. They will communicate with eye contact and facial expressions. As the game progresses, they may choose to become more physical, possibly touching.

Two players will be the Human Dream. They will do the talking, describing the inner life and soul of the Commuters – possibly a form of shared subconscious or dream. Sometimes, they will briefly announce stops and portray other passengers.

The game ends when one of the Commuters gets off at a stop.

The game goes like this:

– The Commuters sit facing each other on chairs. They both look down. Perhaps they have phones they’re playing with or papers they’re reading.

– At some point, their roaming eyes meet and lock. This signals the beginning of the game.

– One of the Human Dreams starts talking. They describe some image or thought that arises from the Commuters. Do NOT specify which Commuter; this might come from any of them, or both of them together. – The other Human Dream continues. This goes back and forth.

– Meanwhile, the Commuters can, if they choose, do little physical things. Put down phones, or scratch, or smile, or make facial expressions. Sometimes there are stops:

– After a while, one of the Human Dreams can announce a STOP. This means the train or bus or whatever stops and lets new passengers on. Say the name of the stop, and talk in that loud abrasive loudspeaker voice that all commuters know.

– The other Human Dream very briefly portrays one or more other passengers, saying a few words or lines that commuters might say when getting on the bus/train.

– At this point, any of the Commuters may choose to end the game by getting up and leaving. If not, the game continues, with the Human Dreams talking.

 

2. Then, the hard game. This is very simple, but also hugely challenging, and there’s no saying what it will lead to.

When commuting, try to find someone friendly-looking to sit next to.

Think back on your childhood, on what you used to do when you were on the bus or train.

Then start a conversation with this line: “I remember when I was a kid and rode the (bus/train), I used to…”

See what happens.

“Don’t Read the Comments!” (A new game).

A while ago, there were all these comments on Twitter about the different stretch goals for James Wallis’ “Alas Vegas” kickstarter. On a random impulse (both because I love James Wallis & his games, and because I like to make fun of all these Kickstarter campaigns that are everywhere), I wrote:

“If the KS for @JamesWallis‘ ALAS VEGAS reaches £20K, I write a completely unrelated mini game just for the hell of it and put it on the net.”

And it did.

So I did.

 

Oh no… you went and did it again. You’re sitting there reading the comments. The news article itself was actually pretty interesting… so why the hell didn’t you just leave it? Why did you enter this realm of trolling, strawmen, false dichotomies, badly concealed agendas, and ideological sewage?

It’s too late now. You feel yourself being drawn into it. Into the comment itself. That one, on the screen, there.

It’s not just somebody’s warped, malicious, imbecilic and ignorant idea anymore.

Now it’s reality. And you’re inside it.

Luckily, you brought your friends.

 

Read it here! (And feel free to comment, too!)