Three poems

Lasse Lundin and Erlend Bruer sent me these three poems!

Tesco Hell is a light-hearted, fast-paced game about walking around in the Tesco store and trying to avoid cursed groceries.

Mystery loves Company is a sitcom-like game about the superheroes Mystery and Company, their kids, and their arch-nemesis Disgusio – master of disguises!

A Trip Through Time Seen Through The Eyes of a Fir Tree is a slow, immersive game about trees telling a story. One of my favorite role-playing poems.

Download them here:




A plethora of poems

At this year’s HolmCon, Tomas Mørkrid arranged a “poetry slam” – an unformal competition where participants designed one role-playing poem each in one hour. The results are so far only available in Norwegian (here), but highlights include:

The Endless Meta Spiral, where players play themselves two minutes ago. Two minutes into the game, they play themselves two minutes ago, playing themselves two minutes ago. Two minutes later, they… well, you get it, right? Challenging and fun, and with an unexpected ending.

A Trip Through Time Seen Through The Eyes of a Fir Tree, where players are big trees, talking slowly and making whooshing noises. Very much an experience; very little a game.

Løken Committee to Evaluate Cultural Grants, where players are bureaucrats in the Committee, discussing relevant questions – first, of course, cultural grants; but later questions can be “Why doesn’t anyone want to make love to me?” or “Is there life after death?”. All questions are discussed in the same detached, bureaucratic tone. Wonderful.

Standing by the Window


Matthijs Holter


This is a remake of a game I wrote for Imagonem some years back, rewritten in the form of a role-playing poem. It’s based on the slow black-and-white TV drama from my childhood (early 70’s), where people would stand and stare into the distance for ever and ever, talking about their emotions and never actually doing anything.



Stoke-Birmingham 0-0


Tomas Mørkrid


This is a role-playing game for 4 players. The game plays for 15 minutes, as a role-playing poem. You take the role of Norwegian Stoke supporters. They’ve all been supporters of their team for a long time.

Once a year the characters fly over to attend a match in England, between Stoke and another team. This year they have seen Stoke holding Birmingham to a draw. It was a dull affair. No goals, next to no excitement, nothing much to talk about.

Do not under any circumstance make any queer or interesting remarks. Be ordinary. Let silence speak if you find nothing to say. 15 minutes may be very long in a dull life. Try to stay in there till the end.



Role-playing poems

Tomas HV Mørkrid

A “role-playing poem” is a very short game, where the idea is to investigate a mood or scene or something else of limited scope. The reason I created this genre is that ordinary role-playing games tend to shun certain moods or scenes. This is done by good reason, usually. A lot of ordinary moods and scenes of a human life is not suited for a ordinary role-playing game. Still I believe that many of these moods may be interesting to sniff at, and have created “role-playing poems” to facilitate that.

The game “Stoke-Birmingham 0-0” is an excellent example of how the poetic idea of these games may be promoted. My very first play session with this game created 15 minutes of pure magic; a sore and anxious mood with surprising depth. The players all experienced that their head got heavier and their backs more bent during the game. The lack of energy in the characters dominated the players and their interaction. It made for a strong experience.

“Role-playing poems” are very simple to create. A set-up for 15 minutes of play is all you need. The very first time I wrote such a poem, I immediately wrote two more. One day after posting the idea on the web, three more designers had made their first “poems”. The simplicity of it makes it ideal for both novice and experienced gamesmith. Try it out! For the novice it is a great experience to actually finish a full game design, and to see players enjoy it! For the old fox it is a great oportunity to experience with all and everything you know about games design.

And yes; I am a published poet too, so the idea did not come out of thin air.

Yours sincerely, Tomas HV Mørkrid

Star Moss


Matthijs Holter, based on a game by Tomas Mørkrid


“Muu likes Muu. Muu is afraid of Crow. Muu lives under Whole Tree. Muu is empathic, and often feels the same. It can be hard to separate Muu from Whole Muu. Today is a nice day. It’s today!”

Star Moss is a role-playing poem – a game to be played in about 15 minutes.