The Secret Room

A ritual to build a secret room in our mind’s eye.

For five, including you.

You, having read this, will lead the ritual. It is your responsibility to be the guide. Read this text a couple of times before you begin.

You need a candle. Perhaps some incense and music.

We always build secret rooms when we play roleplaying games. The intent of this ritual is to become more aware of how we conjure such illusions. How can we simultaneously experience something which doesn’t exist?

You are all seated around a table. You explain:

Together, we will envision a room. It’s a secret room inside ourselves. But we can all see it. We see the room with our eyes closed. We listen to each other, without interrupting the other participants.

If you happen to interrupt someone, it’s ok. We will pause briefly, before continuing. (You may have to remind the participants of this rule as you go).

The other rule is listening to what others add, being willing to let the inner vision change as we speak.

Everyone can describe anything in the room, but each player has a special domain (point at participants, or distribute notes with the words on): SOUNDS, SMELLS, COLORS, TOUCH.

Now close your eyes. We will rehearse listening to each other by counting downwards from ten to zero. Someone says “ten”, someone else says “nine”, someone says “eight”. If anyone speaks at the same time, we’ll start over. When we have counted from ten to zero without interruptions, we begin. Then we’ll be in the Secret Room. You answer my questions, and add your own details about the room.

(You light the candle).

(You count down from ten to zero).

Examples of things you can say and questions you can ask. Remember to pause.

(It’s good to wait awhile before saying anything. It’s good if one of the others start on their own accord).

We’re in the Secret Room. (breathe)

What sounds are there? (wait)

What does it smell like? (wait)

Is it light, or dark? (wait)

What objects are there? (wait)

(wait, don’t speak)

Can you see them? (wait)

Why is the room secret? (wait)

What has happened here in the past? (wait)

Are there still traces? (wait)

(breathe, don’t speak)

Something hangs on one of the walls, what is it? (wait)

What colors does it have? (wait)

Who is in the room? (wait)

Why is the room secret? (wait. You may start knocking slowly on the table while repeating the question)

Tips:

  • Take your time. You can let a whole minute pass without speaking.
  • Support initiatives.
  • It’s preferable to let the participants take the lead. It’s great if they start describing without your prompts.
  • Several statements in a row may be spoken without you saying anything. This is good.
  • If necessary, you can remind the others not to interrupt each other.
  • Breathe slowly.
  • Speak softly, but clearly.
  • Relax. Take your time.
  • Listen carefully to what’s being said. You’ll sometimes want to tie statements together.
  • You may also keep your eyes closed.
  • Ask follow-up questions. It’s better if another participant answers the follow-up.
  • Build on what has been said. Bring it back to the conversation.
  • Remind the participants that discussions are unwanted.
  • Remind them to listen to each other, not interrupting.
  • The ritual is over when it feels right. You will know.
  • (Breathe)
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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).

 

 

 

Italian Archipelago III playset

La spada e gli amori (The Sword and The Love) is an Italian adaption of Archipelago III, designed to let the players emulate chivalric literature!

Mammut RPG

lsega-coverUn paio di settimane fa, sempre su questo blog, chiudevo l’annuncio dell’edizione italiana di Archipelago con queste parole:

P.S.: Dato che non riesco mai a far stare fermo il mio cervello, vi comunico che ho già qualche idea per “sfruttare” il sistema di gioco di Archipelago per un certo tipo di storie.

Ed ecco finalmente è giunta l’ora di spendere qualche parola in più su un gioco il cui nome in codice è attualmente La spada e gli amori.

Cos’è La spada e gli amori?

La spada e gli amori nasce come hack di Archipelago, per raccontare storie tipiche della letteratura cavalleresca (in particolare del ciclo bretone, o arturiano). Il gioco, infatti, ha due illustri genitori: I romanzi cortesi di Chrétien de Troyes e Archipelago III di Matthijs Holter. L’atmosfera generale deve molto alle opere del primo, mentre le regole sono prese di peso dal gioco del…

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