Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Pact

A game for one to many players

If you can read this, you are one of us. Different. The blood within your veins is the same blood that drove shamans and sorcerors to treat with fae, demons and spirits. But that power? That ability to trade a promise for strength? That wasn't theirs to give. It was yours. It's still inside of you. Join the Pact, and you can be better, stronger, smarter then you were.

Each member of the Pact must give a Bond, a Token and a Boon. In exchange for their Promise and Token, they may draw upon the Boons of the other members of the Pact.

The Bond

A promise to do something, or to give something up. It must be a difficult thing. We get nothing from promises to breathe or a offer to refrain from smoking when you've never done it. It must be clear and specific; there should be no doubt whether or not you have broken your Bond.

    Example Bonds
  • Giving up smoking.
  • Working out every day.
  • Speaking a foreign language for 30 minutes every day.

The Token

A symbol that serves as the sign that you are committed. An empty promise is worth nothing; the Token is your sign that you will honor your Bond. It should be related to your Bond. Consider it a down payment.

    Example Tokens
  • Throw out a pack of cigarettes.
  • Work out til exhaustion.
  • Write a poem in a foreign language.


The Boon

You offer an attribute you have to the Pact. It must be an intangible, a quality that you possess and can offer to others.

    Example Boons
  • Patience
  • Endurance
  • Confidence

How to Play

  1. Decide on your Bond, Token & Boon.
  2. Put a brief description of your Bond, Token & Boon in the comments. It may be anonymous.
  3. Keep your Bond. As long as you keep your Bond you may call upon the Pact to give you power.
  4. When you want to invoke it, hold the Pact's symbol in your mind. Think about what specific attribute you want from the pact. Be as specific as possible. Think of all of the facets you want. You call specific Boons from other members of the Pact, or call up other attributes.
  5. Bad: I want to run this Marathon.
    Good: "I will have the endurance to keep running, the strength to run quickly, the mental fortitude to ignore pain, the confidence to calm my jitters..."
That's the basic play.
You may identify identify other members of the pact by our sign: a circle traced on your forehead with your finger.

When you talk with other members of the Pact, ask them if they have kept their bond. If they have, and you have, everything is good in the Pact. If they haven't, then proceed to the Ritual of Castigation. The more public the ritual is, the better.

The Ritual of Castigation
  • Use your most overwrought spirit voice.
  • Announce their weakness for all to see.
  • Decry their lack of willpower.
  • Deny them the use of the Pact's boon.
  • Demand they give a new token to renew their commitment.

Don't go overboard; the purpose of this is silly public humiliation, nothing more.

    To Do
  • Rework the pact symbol.
  • Give an example of the Ritual of Castigation.
  • Fluff it up a bit

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Your Kung Fu is Weak

A Sage Fight Variant for 4 players. 

Rules modified from Official Sage Fight Rules 

Divide into two teams. Each team should have a fighter and a caller. The fighter gets to wave their hands around like a Kung Fu master; the caller gets to overact and make up silly Kung Fu techniques. Figure out who is who. Also figure out which team goes first, by whatever method you choose.

1.The Fighters face off at about arms length distance and strikes kung fu poses. The Callers retire to a safe vantage point. 

2.The first team's caller begins by declaiming in their best Shaw Bros voice (NSFW) "You fool! Try my..." followed by whatever Kung Fu technique they can come up with. (E.g. "You Fool! Try my Backwards Crane technique! Hiyaaaah!") 

3.Both players switch to a new pose. You must keep your balance and not move after taking your new pose. Only one foot can be moved with each stance switch. In addition, the caller's teammate must try his or her hardest to demonstrate the technique. In the above example, they must do something crane-like and backwards. Only the Fighter on the same team must display the technique. 

4.Once the Fighters have assumed their new poses, play moves to the other team. They reciprocate with a new technique and yell, and so on.

Goal: Touch the other Fighter with the palm of your hand. If you want to make it harder, you can only touch them on the torso or the back of the palm.

Fighters: Display your caller's techniques. People are encouraged to be lenient about whether or not a technique is being displayed; Kung Fu is not an exact science. At least make the attempt. Failure to do so will result in a loss on account of Kung Fu Treachery.

Callers: Make up interesting techniques. Remember to yell at the end. Amuse everyone.

Some samples:

  • "You fool, try my drunken tiger stance! Waaa!"
  • "Well done, but no match for Monkey Riding Crane. Hwwwwaaa!"
  • " You Bastard! Tigers falls from Bamboo Tree! Whooopaah!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Halloween 2010 - A Digital Ghost Story

I've been putting on Halloween games with a friend of mine for the past 3 years. I may write more about the others later but Halloween 2010 was both the most technically ambitious and has the biggest cool factor so it'd benefit the most from being written down.

We wired several rooms of a friend's house with every laptop and webcam we could find. After a couple hours of troubleshooting and lots of swearing, we built a mini-Panopticon where the feeds from the webcams were fed into Skype and viewable from a single conference call feed. This was routed to a TV upstairs surrounded by yet more laptops.

The payoff? A ghost story. Our "ghosts" would sit upstairs and relay "hauntings" to the laptops down below. The black-clad GMs would toss about soda bottles, flicker the lights on and off and generally serve as the instrument of the ghosts' will. The ghosts were limited in what they could do to a small selection of powers. They could move objects around or finger paint in available materials, but not display the fine manipulation necessary to wield a pen. And there were four of them, so there is a certain amount of interference on the line...

It worked wonderfully, for the most part. The ghosts had a blast messing around with people. The "Poltergeist" of the group gleefully requested chairs pulled away, beer bottles chucked at heads (this was mimed), etc. The younger, more hesitant ghosts tried to communicate, but there were misunderstandings on both ends as the humans confused the message and the ghosts misinterpreted their response.

The humans were very creeped out by the strange things happening to them. They could have used a little more direction, however. They were at the mercy of the ghosts with no other goal in sight for too long.

More then anything else, this drilled home how important how important it is to have a community. Only because of the hard work by everyone involved is this a story about a cool thing happening and not a story about that time I went insane.

Thanks to:

  • The people who made delicious food. We GMs didn't have to lift a finger and yet tasty treats materialized at the right place at the right time.
  • The people who turned a nice house into an abandoned one and the homeowner who thought it would be fun to do.
  • The band, who only had about a months worth of warning.
  • The many people who lent us laptops or webcams.
  • Our friend the MS employee, who wrote the custom ticketing system that allowed the GMs to keep track of the ghosts' requests.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I've got one out of two blogs up and running. Hopefully that will prompt me to have enough output to fill both of them. The Trog Works is dedicated to ideas in progress. Finished and polished stuff will be migrated over to Robot Exhibitionist ("revealing my shiny things"). The focus of both will primarily be game design, either tabletop or digital. If you want more navel-gazing and theory stuff, point your RSS reader here. If you want cool little hacks to port to your own game, point it at Robot Exhibitionist. As a warm-up I'm going to talk about something awesome I did for a Halloween game a couple years back. Post forthcoming!