Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

Son of Iron Game Chef!

Started by Mike Holmes, April 12, 2004, 03:29:35 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals


Please note that under the section Counters you should add:

If using the Official God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals [/b]Character Sheet you may use the symbols at the bottom for Influence Stashes.
"We know what we know because someone told us it was so."

Ben Lehman

I read through my text last night, and noticed a metric ton of typos, continuity errors, and not-entirely-followed through terminology changes.  Uch.

I'm in the process of cleaning this up, but I won't get it in before deadline.  But there is one typo so appallingly glaring that I need to correct it.

In the background section "the Mistake in Time," one of the final paragraphs is supposed to say that some people think that the transformation of the dawn into the sun is a natural process, and that the various events around the time may be considered the actions of an ignorant people in the face of great natural change.

What is actually written is "the transoformation of the dawn into fun."  This is not the intended meaning.  At all.


P.S.  I don't think the smart money is on me.  Who do I think it's on?  I'm not going to jinx the designer.


Racing around in a white hat, desperately trying to serve out the dishes as the clock ticks:

It was almost done, so, despite the fact that I should be doing something else, here we go.  In, appropriately, at the last minute, with the admission that this is really Horror--Fantasy Horror, but there you go.  


On the very edge of night a handful of outrigger canoes ride the dawn-winds, chasing the dark ice-islands on which they hope their loved ones still survive.

Imagine a world like the Pacific.  The endless sea is dotted by semi-tropical islands—small, lush paradises populated by isolated societies, each slightly different from the next. Fishers and farmers, they are proud people, mostly peaceful, sometimes warlike.  There the days are long—very long, weeks by our standards, the dawn coming no faster than a swift-sailing outrigger canoe—and the nights, longer still.  And now, in the night has come a horror, unseen or unheard of before, a horror which has ripped the tribe to shreds—huge islands of ice, swarming with the dead.  From the ice the dead creatures descend on the islands and carry away the living, carry them away into the endless night in which the islands sail.

What is Dawn-Winds?

Dawn-Winds is a cooperative GM-less story-telling game of terror, desperation and love for 4-6 players.  

Who are you?

In Dawn-Winds you play an islander tribesman or tribeswoman, racing into the edge of night in a frantic attempt to catch up with the ice-islands and rescue the loved ones who have been stolen away from you.

What happens in the game?

The game takes place just prior to the final assault on the Ice-Islands.  The characters tell each other stories of their lives before the Ice came, and remember the hardships and the terror of the chase; then they play out their last rescue attempt and its joyful or bitter aftermath.

How the Game Plays
The game has two main stages: Tale-Telling and Final Assault.  Tale-Telling forms the bulk of the game, taking the place of both background and character generation.  It builds the characters mechanically and fleshes them out at the same time, allowing you to start play immediately.  Finally, it aims to build tension and motivation, such that the comparatively brief and very deadly Final Assault is not a simple Gamist exercise, but is driven by the emotions of the characters.

The Tale-Telling builds up a set of attributes both for each surviving Rescuer character and for the Final Assault as a whole.  Rescuers have the following set of attributes, which are either pools or traits.  Using dice from a pool reduces the score in that pool.  Traits are static no matter how many times those dice are used.

Resolve Pool: The Resolve Pool is the Tale-Teller's most important resource, it represents your determination to rescue your loved one and provides a pool of dice for all actions during the final assault.  
Knowledge Trait: Your knowledge of the Dead and the labyrinthine tunnels of the Ice-Islands, it is only gained by the experience of previous assaults  
Weariness Trait: The fatigue of the catching the Ice and wounds from battle, which provide dice to the opposition during the Final Assault.  
Despair Trait: The longer your loved one has been on the ice, the less chance that he or she survives.   

There are two communal Pools: the Loyalty Pool and the Dead Pool.  The Dead Pool starts with a number of dice in it equal to the number of players.  The Loyalty Pool is empty.  

You' either want a very large number of one sort die—I suggest six-sided—say two hundred, or you will need to keep track of these stats on paper or with stones or something, and draw dice at the end.


Islanders: The islanders are very like somewhat stereotypical Pacific islanders--tattoos, grass-skirts or breechclouts; armed with clubs with embedded shark's teeth, spears, or sharp-pointed hardwood paddles; and sailing swift outrigger canoes.  If it suits your group you may introduce super-natural elements derived from your people's worship of the sea, sky, volcano and so on, but mechanically it makes no difference.  Three different groups of Islanders appear in the story.

Tale-Teller: The character who narrates the background scenes in Tale-Telling.

Rescuers: Each player controls one main character, one of the Rescuers who takes turns with the others as Tale-Teller and makes the Final Assault.  

Companions: Companions are the other characters who accompany the Rescuers on the rescue mission.  They may be seeking their own or the same loved ones, be in search of revenge, or be accompanying the Tale-Teller because of some loyalty to him or her directly.  Companions have only one attribute: a Loyalty pool which increases at the end of each scene.  More importantly, however, Companions have a tendency to die, often in extremely unpleasant ways, and this increases the Tale-Teller's Resolve.  Every scene gives an opportunity to replace fallen companions with new ones.  You play no more than one companion in a scene.

The Taken: The Taken are those islanders who have been stolen away by the Dead: your loved ones and the loved ones of others. Hundreds are taken; few survive—pray that they are the ones you love.

Loved Ones:  The reason for this quest.  Someone (you think) that you would give your life for.

The Dead: The Dead are the center of the horror in Dawn-Winds.  They come in any shape and size that seems appropriate to the players, but we recommend mindless shambling zombies, the flesh rotting on their bones; emaciated, leather-skinned ghouls filled with a craving for human flesh; terrible-batwinged humanoids who swoop down and carry off victims onto the Ice-Islands; and hollow-eyed dead wizard-priests mumbling incantations and summoning up storms and creatures from the deep.

The Power of Names: Names have power in Dawn-Winds, because naming the Dead gives them power.  As a result, the only characters with names in the game are the Rescuers and their Loved Ones.  The Rescuers cannot name their former companions who have died or abandoned them because that might bring them back to haunt them, and so must make do with descriptions instead—'my sister's son'; 'the old shaman'; 'that fierce warrior.'  At the same time, Tale-Telling is specifically remembers their loved-ones by name in the hope that this will give them the strength to stay alive.  Each time you forget this rule and name someone else, add one to the Dead Pool (see below).

Part One: Tale-Telling

No-one knows how long they have been chasing the ice-islands.  The outriggers—sometimes a handful, sometimes only a one or two—have been skimming the edge of the same Dawn seemingly forever.  The only way to count time is by meals snatched, naps taken, ravaged islands passed, assaults make, boats lost, companions lost.  The rescuers spend their time telling their pasts to their companions, companions who are often strangers after the hardships of the chase.

There is no separate Character Creation stage in Dawn Winds, instead, the players create their characters during the Tale-Telling, by remembering the events that brought them to the moment of the final assault on the Ice-Island. In doing so, they generate the traits which will allow them to resolve the Final Assault.   The aim of Tale Telling is to create cooperatively exactly what is at stake for each character in the Final Assault.  The process of remembering and describing the capture of the loved one, the hardships of the journey, and the companions lost along the way  

Order of Scenes:
The players take turns as Tale-Teller, clockwise round the table, each Tale-Teller being responsible for a given scene.  Choose one player to be the first Tale-Teller by any method that seems appropriate.  That player begins the game by describing the first scene.

Once a scene has finished, the next player clockwise either becomes Tale-Teller or passes.  If they choose to run a scene, they consult the next scene section of the previous scene and stage an appropriate scene.  If they pass the option to be Tale Teller moves to the next clockwise player until a scene is staged or every player has passed in turn, at which point the Final Assault begins.  

Who Narrates What:

In each individual scene, narration is communal—both the Tale-Teller and his companions narrate events.  The Tale-Teller is responsible chooses the setting (the template for the scene), names his companions, and frames the scene. The characters then work though the scene together, taking turns narrating events.  The players of Companions have control over if and when their companion dies.  Otherwise, in the case of a disagreement of how the scene proceeds, the current Tale-Teller has final authority.

Each scene of a given Tale is set in one of three types of location, which provide structure to the story and which generate different mechanical changes to your character.  Keep in mind that in any scene, only the Tale-Teller and the communal pools are modified.  Any primary character present as a companion is not changed.

Framing your initial scene

The first scene you frame as a Tale-Teller introduces your Rescuer as a character.  This can either be a previously described companion, or a newly introduced character if your last companion just died.  Then, you can introduce your own companions who may or may not include other player's primary characters.  Remember that those primary characters cannot die, so you can only hope to gain Loyalty Dice from them.  We suggest that at least to begin with you take advantage of the different boats chasing the Ice to keep the final Rescuers separate, and only as the scenes progress bring them together.

At the end of each Tale-scene gain:
Resolve: +2 for each dead companion.
Loyalty: +1 for each surviving companion.
Dead: +1 for each dead companion.
Despair: +1
(This is included again in the scene summaries)

Losing Companions: In Dawn-Winds Companions die or abandon their friends regularly.  The losing companions section provides a set of suggestions for what might go wrong.
New Companions: Likewise, in each scene there are opportunities to introduce a new companion if your previous one ahs, as is likely, suffered a misfotune.
Scene Order: The next Tale-Teller must use an appropriate scene.

Scene Templates:

Islands—A Moment of Respite
In an Island scene, the Rescuers encounter and decide to stop at a set of islands during their chase of the Ice.   They fall off from the winds that blow on the very edge of Dawn and turn away from their course into Day.  This gives them the opportunity to rest briefly, gather provisions, and encounter the people of the islands., who may or may not have been attacked by the Dead as well.
Resolve: +2 per Dead or Abandoned Companion
Dead: +1 per Dead or Abandoned Companion
Loyalty: +1 per surviving companion who continues with you.
Weariness: -1
Despair : +1
Losing companions: Hostile tribespeople; Dead still on the island; natural hazards; decides to abandon the attempt at a rescue (in despair, in fear, falls in love); fails to return to the boat in time.
New Companions: Islanders join the chase.
Next Scene: Chase Scene.

Chase—Sailing on the Edge of Dawn
The Rescuers chase the Ice.  They slowly work up after on the Dawn-Winds which blow from the edge on day into night.  
Resolve: +2 per Dead or Abandoned Companion
Dead: +1 per Dead or Abandoned Companion
Loyalty: +1 per surviving companion who continues with you.
Despair : +1
New Companions: From Other Boats
Losing Companions: Sharks or other sea creatures; suicide; starvation; thirst; storms; lost overboard; fights between crew-mates.
Next Scene: Assault, Chase or Island Scene.

Assault—Battle on the Ice
Previous, but never completely successful Assaults on the Ice.
Resolve: +2 per Dead or Abandoned Companion
Dead: +1 per Dead or Abandoned Companion
Loyalty: +1 per surviving companion who continues with you.
Knowledge: +1
Despair: +1
Weariness: +1
New Companions: The Taken.
Losing Companions: Fighting with the Dead, becomes one of the Dead, drowning, turning back because they have rescued loved ones.
Next Scene: Chase or Island Scene.

Part Two: The Final Assault

The Final Assault uses the traits determined during Tale-Telling to resolve the rescue attempt. Each character's Resolve, and the communal Loyalty and provide pool's dice for the characters.   to succeed, Despair and Weariness provide determine the opposition.  The Final Assault proceeds through a series of stages: first the characters Race into the Night together, in an attempt to catch the Ice-Islands.  Then they fight through the Dead, rescue their Loved One, and escape back to the boat.  Or maybe not.

Rolls: All rolls are dice from Resolve or Loyalty Pools + Knowledge vs. Despair + Weariness. Read the dice as Sorceror dice—look the highest die in each roll wins, remove ties and check again until a winner is found.  Count successes and compare to the chart for each scene.

Resolve: Resolve dice are your main resource.  You may use as many dice as you like on any roll.
If a player reaches zero Resolve, the character dies.  Using the last of your Resolve causes the character to die, but that does not prevent your last action from succeeding—it may be worthwhile to spend that last Resolve to free your Loved One.  Note that this means that characters only die if the player chooses, and don't forget to add one to the Dead when someone dies.

Loyalty: You may draw dice from the Loyalty Pool to add to your roll, though you may never use more Loyalty Dice than Resolve Dice.  First, name the number of dice you would like to draw, then ask the other players for permission.  You must receive permission form at least the same number of players (other than yourself) as the number of dice have asked to draw.  If you fail to receive the necessary number of votes, you receive no dice.  

Betrayal: On your turn, in any Fight with the Dead or Escape from the Ice scene, you may use Loyalty Dice up to the number of players without consent, by betraying them—you run, leaving them to fight the Dead.  

Desperate Measures: You may attack another character in the boat.  Both players commit dice from their Resolve pools.  The winner may kill the opposing character, that characters' loved one, or both of them.


Race into the Night: This is a communal scene.  The rescuers abandon the Dawn-Winds, take up their paddles and strike out into the darkness as they attempt to catch up with the Ice.  Resolve or Loyalty vs. Total Weariness.  Keep spending and rolling until the group gains at least one success.

On the Ice: Take a piece of paper and cut it into a nice jaggedy shape to represent the Ice- Island.  Make something else to represent the outrigger.  Now take the dice from the Dead Pool and put them in a ring around the Ice--we suggest nice black pebbles or dice for the Dead.  Finally you'll want something to represent the Rescuers and maybe something for their Loved Ones.  With this setup you should be able to keep track of where everyone is: Waiting in the Boat, amongst the Dead (Fight with the Dead, Escape from the Ice), or in the Ice tunnels (Search and Discovery).

First on the Ice: Bid and pay Resolve to be first on.  Nobody on until somebody pays Resolve.  After that, take turns clockwise.  Follow the scenes below, starting with Fight with the Dead (though I suppose you could just Wait in the Boat if you are a complete coward.)

Fight with the Dead:
   You attempt to battle your way through the hordes of dead waiting on the Ice, and into the tunnels within it.  (This is essentially the same scene as Escape from the Dead, except here you are trying to get into the Iceberg.)
   Fail:  Add one to the Dead.  Either Fight with the Dead or Escape from the Ice. Succeed: Reduce the Dead by your successes.  You may go to Search and Discovery if you score 3+ successes or all the Dead are dead.  Otherwise, Escape or Fight again
Next Scene: Search and Discovery, Fight with the Dead or Escape from the Ice.
Search and Discovery:
   You race desperately through the tunnels searching for your Loved One, hoping they are still alive.
-2 Successes or less: Undead: Despair +2. Go to Fight with the Dead and add 1 to the Dead.
   -1 Successes: Dead: Despair +1.  You find their corpse
0-2 Successes: Nothing yet. You may Search again or Escape from the Ice (+3 Despair if you have not found your Loved One.)
   Succeed: Resolve +(No. of Successes).  
   Next Scene: Escape from the Ice or Search again.
Escape from Island:
   You attempt to battle your way through the hordes of dead waiting on the Ice, and onto the waiting boat.  (This is essentially the same scene as Fight with the Dead, except here you are trying to get off the Iceberg.)
   Fail:  Add one to the Dead.  Either Fight with the Dead or Escape from the Ice.
   Succeed: Reduce the Dead by your successes.  You may go to Set Sail or Waiting in the Boat if you score 3+ successes or all the Dead are dead.  Otherwise, Escape or Fight again
   Next Scene: Set Sail, Waiting in the Boat, Escape from Island or Fight with Dead.
Waiting in the Boat:
   You hang on, waiting for your comrades, fending off the Dead as you do so.
Pay 1 Resolve or Loyalty each turn to wait.  If all Rescuers in the boat are dead
   Next Scene: Waiting in the Boat or Set Sail.
Set Sail:
You set sail, and leave the others stranded on the Ice.  Anyone who is not on the Outrigger is dead.  
Next Scene: Aftermath.
   If you and your Loved One are in the boat, or even just your Loved One and your dead corpse, then you've won.  If it is just you, maybe the success of your companions is consolation enough.  A terrible fate awaits those left on the Ice.

Rich Forest

Deadlines. Gotta love 'em.


Trouble in the Island Kingdoms

There's trouble in the Island Kingdoms. Elfin princesses are being kidnapped, troll gatekeepers are not showing up for work, and shopkeepers are making customers promise to return the items they get from the shops! Everything is topsy-turvy, the fair folk are flustered, and there's only one explanation—there are bogies about.

Bogies—those ballybogs and bogarts, bug-a-boos and bogeymen, boggans, hobbers, gobs and gobelins. Call them whatever you like—it all means the same thing—trouble.

There have been rumors going around of all out bogie assaults on some of the islands, and the old folks have been warning that it's only time before they get to us. Most of you didn't believe it. Why, Big Snowy Mountain? Who would expect those old hobbers to bother a place so wonderful! No, it's much too wonderful by far! They wouldn't dare.

But this morning when you went into the kitchen... the milk was spilt, all over the counter. The pigs were wandering around in the snow and their gate was open. The laundry was all pulled down from the line and scattered all about. And when Mrs. Butterchurn across the road rushed out into the snowy street and cried, "Somebody's pinched my baby!" you knew those gobs had come even to Big Snowy Island.

Oh what to do! You knew there wasn't much time, because grown up elves and trolls can get boggled oh so easily. And the young ones are still too giddy and silly to know what's going on. No, it's up to you. At fifteen, you're old enough to stop these things and young enough to resist being boggled for long.

Why, you might be the island's only hope!

Who are you?
Answer these questions.
Question 1: Are you an Elf or a Troll?
Question 2: How strong, quick, and crafty are you?
Question 3: What's your name?

Are you an Elf or a Troll?
There are two kinds of people in the Island Kingdoms—elves and trolls. Which kind are you? Elves are kind of small, kind of nice-looking, they like a little mischief, and they can be very, very quick. Trolls are kind of big, kind of lumpy, they like a little mischief, and they can be very, very strong. Elves and trolls get along fine. In fact, they live together and work together and go to the bars together and, well, you get the picture. As fair folk, they're also very resilient—they are mostly of the stuff of magic, after all—and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are stocky, bearded trolls and tall skinny trolls, broad-shouldered elves and elves with cool sideburns. Feel free to personalize the appearance of your elf or troll.

Your elf or troll can also be personalized by choosing a sub-type and a job. There's no list of sub-types because there's an infinite variety of elfin and trollish sub-races. There are lava elves and snow elves, forest trolls and wood trolls, wolf trolls, shoemaker elves, and so on and so on, and for every type of elf there is likely to be a troll of the same kind. Before you choose a sub-type, ask the GM what the theme of the island is. Every island in the Island Kingdoms has a theme, something like ice, volcano, jungle, etc. This theme will give you a good idea of the range of elfin and trollish sub-types that would fit the island. You can also have a job if you want—but you don't need one. The best job choices are the kinds of things simple folk do, things like barkeep, butcher, carpenter, farmer, fisherman, miller, miner, sailor, smith. Choosing a job doesn't have any game effect, except that it might encourage you to choose certain attributes.

How strong, quick, and crafty are you?
Characters are described by three attributes: Strong, Quick, and Crafty.

Strong is used for things like fighting, pushing, smashing, and lifting.
Quick is used for things like running, jumping, climbing, and dodging.
Crafty is used for things like sneaking, solving puzzles, unlocking doors, and disarming traps.

Attributes are rated by the number of words assigned to them. An attribute can have between zero and three words in it. Any attribute that is not assigned a word is assumed to be average. The more words you have in an attribute, the better you are in it, and three words means you're one of the strongest, or quickest, or craftiest on the island. Only trolls can have the full three words in strong. Only elves can have the full three words in quick. But anyone can have three crafty words. Yes, both elves and trolls can be very, very crafty. And remember that zero is average—just because you have a zero crafty, that doesn't make you stupid or obvious or unsubtle or anything like that. And while you certainly can play a dumb troll, they're no more common than dumb elves—trolls in the island kingdoms are just as smart as elves.

Starting characters begin with three words worth of attributes. You can use these words all up in one attribute, you can split them by putting two words in one attribute and one word in another, or can spread the words out evenly with one in each attribute.

Here are some sample words appropriate to each attribute to get you started. You can choose from this list or create your own words, as long as you're clear about whether the word is assigned to strong, quick, or crafty. No claiming that the word you choose should work for more than one category, or anything like that.

[*]Strong: Adventurous, athletic, big, bold, brave, brawny, broad-shouldered, courageous, daring, durable, enduring, fierce, hearty, huge, iron-willed, mighty, monstrous, muscular, powerful, sinewy, solid, stalwart, stout, tenacious, tireless, tough
[*]Quick: Acrobatic, adept, agile, cat-like, deft, dexterous, energetic, fast, fleet, graceful, instinctive, lithe, nimble, smooth, sure-footed, swift
[*]Crafty: Acute, alert, artful, astute, calculating, canny, clear-headed, clever, cunning, ingenious, keen, patient, observant, perceptive, sharp, shrewd, skillful, sly, sneaky, subtle, tricky, wily, witty

What is your Name?
Well, what is it?

QuoteExample Characters
Lee decides to make a jack-of-all-trades type young elf hero, so he puts one word in each attribute. The GM has told him that the island name is "Big Snowy Mountain," so he also choosing an appropriate elfin sub-type. He can't imagine his character with a job, though, so he doesn't pick one.

Answer 1: Elf... Snow Elf
Answer 2: Enduring, Fast, and Cunning
Answer 3: Lief

Or "Lief is an enduring and fast snow elf with a cunning nature."

Scott decides to make a troll, and to make him a strong as he can be, so he puts all three words into strong.

Answer 1: Troll... Ice Troll Gatekeeper
Answer 2: Big, Bold, and Tough
Answer 3: Sod

Or Scott might have written, "Sod is a big, bold, tough troll. It's time he went out and saved the world."

Mary doesn't see the point in writing out the answers in a list like Lee and Scott. Instead, she just writes:

"Melody—nimble, alert, and witty elf."

She decided to put one word in quick, and two in crafty.

As you can see, characters start out very simple. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that the system is pretty grainy, so fine differences between attributes aren't necessary. Another is that platformer characters in particular, and many console RPG characters as well, just start out with their abilities and nothing else. In play, they might gain a variety of items and a bit of magic to help them through their adventures. The same is true of this game. The final reason is speed. You don't need much time to make a character and get started. The only time it takes long to get a game started is when you first design an island, and the GM usually does that. But the first time you play the game, using Big Snowy Mountain, you can get started right away.

Option: Gnomes
The number three pops up over and over in this game, and one of the playtest groups suggested adding a third race to exemplify craftiness. If you're looking for symmetry, you can introduce a third race to the Island Kingdoms—Gnomes. Gnomes are kind of small, kind of lumpy, they like mischief, and they can be very, very crafty. If you use Gnomes, note that Elves and Trolls will have to be limited to two words in crafty.[/quote]

What do you do?
There are four ways to play Trouble in the Island Kingdoms:

[*] Traditional RPG Play: One player is the GM, the other players play characters
[*] Free for All Play: There is no GM, there are only players
[*] Board Game Play: Like Free for All, but without the roleplaying
[*] Solo Play: It's ok to play a video game alone against the computer. So why not?

This version of the rules just covers traditional RPG play because it's the only one that's been playtested so far, and the other methods need a bit more work. They'll be in the expanded rules.

Right. So what do you do? What kind of game is this?

Inspiration and Goals
Super Mario Brothers, the Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong Country, Super Smash Brothers, Mario Cart. I love platformers and hybrid console RPG/platformers. If you know your Nintendo, you 'll have noticed that this game is heavily influenced by Shigeru Miyamoto. If it manages to capture half the wonder of any of his games, I'll be very happy indeed.

Some design goals: What I'm trying to do here

[*] I've tried to make this game fast in every way—fast character creation, fast action resolution, and fast game set-up.
[*] I've tried to translate some of the wonder and fun of platformers to tabletop RPG play while taking advantage of the strengths that tabletop gaming offers.
[*] I've tried to make a game that re-allocates player and GM responsibilities in interesting ways, and that is pretty clear about how it's doing that.[/list:u]

I'm a player. What do I do?

[*] Overact and do it with passion. This is not a subtle game. Be obvious, but be consistent. And remember, your character may be silly, but it's even more fun if he believes in himself and in what he's doing, and he doesn't think there's anything strange about the way he acts. And then he's silly.
[*] Don't worry so much about the whole "what would my guy do" issue. Just let loose. Send your guy in to go save the day, danger be damned. Stop being so cautious. Grab right ahold of the island's challenges and take them on in whatever order they come.
[*] On a related note, don't worry so much about who is in control of the story. Nobody is. There might not even be a story when you're done. But trust me, you'll still have plenty of other choices to make.
[*] Engage in a friendly competition with the other players to gather the most points my the end of each level, in the form of motes (bits of free floating magical energy). [/list:u]

It's still me, the player. Now, what does my character do?

[*] Explore the island and get into madcap contests, fights, and races with the bogies that are assaulting the island.
[*] Gather up motes and keep them out of the hands of the bogies. Save the island and avoid being boggled like many of other people of the island.

I'm the GM. What do I do?

[*] Create the island
[*] Set up the stages
[*] Describe the challenges
[*] Hand out the goodies
[*] Run the NPCs with a colorful, cartoonish gusto.
[*] Don't worry so much about the story, either. Let loose, let the reins go. Have some ideas about what the real story is behind the bogie assault and who the big bad boss might be, but don't sweat it.
[*] Don't cheat. I mean it. Don't fudge your rolls. Roll in the open.
[*] Here's something else you don't do—you don't decide how difficult an action is. The dice to that for you. That frees you up to emphasize the experience of living on the island in nice, bright, primary colors.

The rules of the game: What the player needs to know.
Nobody knows for sure where the bogies come from, but when they show up, they come with lots of magic. They're way more magical than normal elves and trolls, and when they're nearby, normal elves and trolls start acting crazy—especially adult elves and trolls. That's what it means to be boggled, and it has something to do with all that magic that is about. Well, the young are still immune  to being boggled for long, so it falls to them to take back the magic from the bogies. And that's where motes come in.

Motes are small, floating, glowing bits of pure magic. Sometimes you can find them just floating around—hidden under rocks, and in caves and dark places, floating over streams or in favorite pots and pans. They could be anywhere, but the bogies are very good at grabbing them up, and bashing a bogie is a great way to knock the motes out of it. A lot of what the players and characters do is in the interest of getting the motes, though they may have different reasons for grabbing them. For the characters, gathering motes is a way of freeing them up from the bogies and also hoarding them up for later need when they get  to the boss bogie—the main big bad boss bogie has to be stopped, otherwise the island will be lost.

For the players, motes have another value—they're worth points. At the end of the game, the player with the most points worth of motes gets bragging rights for having gathered them up. It's not hardcore, everyone against everyone, tooth and nail competition, but it's a friendly rush to get the most motes. There are three kinds of motes, each rarer and more valuable than the last.

Star Motes are worth 1 point, and are the most common.
Moon Motes are worth 3 points, and are a bit harder to get.
Sun Motes are worth 6 points, and are the rarest of all.

Get all the motes you can. They're your ticket to victory. Also, it's not a bad idea to get various candies for keeping track of motes. Characters can choose to burn their motes for greater chances of success, something  that's rarely worth it with moon and sun motes but more often worthwhile with star motes, and it's convenient for the players to eat up the motes when their characters burn them.

Ok, so you're after motes. How do you get them? By entering stages and facing challenges. A stage is something like a typical level in a platformer game. You fight and jump and sneak your way through it, overcoming obstacles and gathering all the motes you can on the way. Challenges are the troubles and enemies and obstacles that give you motes. When you encounter a challenge, the GM will tell you two things—first, what it is, in the form of a description. And second, what attribute you can use to overcome it. Some challenges can only be overcome with one of the three attributes, while others can be overcome by two of the three attributes. Don't worry if you put all three of your words in one attribute and none in the others—there are items to be found that can stand in for your other attributes, and the distribution of challenges and items doesn't overly favor any single choice in attribute allocation.

Meeting a challenge
Often when you meet a challenge, more than one player (or everyone) will try to get to it first. In this case, the player who rolls the highest on 1d6 gets the initiative, then the second highest, etc. Ties are rolled off to see who wins among the tied participants. Thrown weapons (See Items, Rule #3) can be used to grab initiative.

When you meet a challenge, the GM will reveal how big of a challenge you're facing. This is done simply by description, much like your attributes. Any challenge basically can be on four levels of difficulty: Hard (one word), Very Hard (two words), Very Very Hard (three words), and Boss (special). What words the GM uses will vary based on what kind of challenge he's describing. Only adjectives, adverbs, and other modifiers count toward difficulty. The main thing itself (the bogie, or the chasm, for example) doesn't count as one of the words.

QuoteFor example, Lief is in the Frozen Crystal Caves when he comes to an icy chasm.

GM: "Running along through the crystal caves, the torchlight suddenly reveals a wide chasm in front of Lief. (quickness)"
Lee: "Lief makes a fast jump[/u] across the chasm."
GM: "Ok, that's equal to the difficulty (the chasm has one quick difficulty, and Lief has a one quick attribute), so you roll at +0."

Ok, what just happened? Well, the chasm had one quick difficulty, and Lief had one quick attribute, so his attribute was equal to the difficulty of the chasm. That means he rolls the d6 and has no modifier to the roll. Here are the rules for rolling and difficulty.

[*] If your Attribute is less than the difficulty, roll d6 and subtract 1 from the roll. Less Than: d6-1
[*] If your Attribute is equal to the difficulty, roll an unmodified d6. Equal To : d6
[*] If your Attribute is greater than the difficulty, roll d6 and add 1 to the roll. Greater Than: d6+1
It doesn't matter how much greater than or less than the difficulty your characters attribute is. A three word attribute used on a one word challenge still only gives a +1 bonus to the roll. A zero word attribute used against a two word or even three word difficulty still only puts a -1 penalty on the roll.

Now what is a success, and what is a failure? The following table is all you need to know to know whether some degree of success or failure was achieved:

Did I succeed?
1-2 No
3-4 Not Yet
5-6 Yes

"Not Yet" always means the same thing—your action has no effect this round, but you can try again next round. In the case of jumping a chasm, it might be that you got to the edge and decided you'd better stop and try for more of a running start. In fighting a monster, you may have hit him but not hit him hard enough to have an effect. Why is a "Not Yet" result a big deal? It's not, except that it means the other players now have chances to take out the monster, and that's no good because the motes go to the character who lands the first telling blow.

Ok, so "Not Yet" always means the same thing. But "No" and "Yes" don't always mean the same thing. Oh, they always indicate absolute success or failure. But there's one other twist to action resolution that affects how "No" and "Yes" results are interpreted.

Let's check back in with our previous example, and see what happens next:

GM: "Running along through the crystal caves, the torchlight suddenly reveals a wide chasm in front of Lief. (quickness)"
Lee: "Lief makes a fast jump[/u] across the chasm."
GM: "Ok, that's equal to the difficulty (the chasm has one quick difficulty, and Lief has a one quick attribute), so you roll at +0."
GM: "How many tries do you want?"
Lee: "Uhm, Two." *the die clatters on the table* "2, that would be a No. But not this time—I still have one more try. 5! Yes!"
GM: "You clear  the chasm and grab two star motes that were floating above it! Add two star motes to your sheet.
Lee: "Yeaaah..."

So what happened? Well, before you make any roll you have to declare how many tries you want—how many chances you want to have to get a success. The more tries you give yourself, the less likely you are to fail. But, the more tries you give yourself, the less the reward of a success as well. Three tries is the most cautious, Two tries is the middle, and one try is the most risky. The interpretation of "No" and "Yes" results depends on your cautiousness or riskiness. Here's what the results mean, depending on how many tries you take:

-- Three Tries --
No, but it's not too bad: You Get Bonked. You miss, get hit, or get confused. Lose your next turn.
Yes, but it's not so great: You Hit, but you only get one star mote per level of the challenge as a reward.

--Two Tries--
No: You get Bashed. You really miss, get hit hard, or otherwise mess up. You lose the next turn and one star mote per level of the challenge is knocked out of you. You lose these points.
Yes: You Thump the challenge. You're going to get a bonus item or motes out of it. How much the reward is depends on the level of the challenge. The GM will roll for this. (The GM section contains the relevant table for this.)

--One Try--
No, and it's pretty bad: You get Boggled. Lose your next turn and a bunch of motes. How many depends on the level of the challenge that you failed. (The GM section contains the relevant table for this.)
Yes, and it's great: You Wallop the challenge. You get a major bonus of items or motes. The greater the challenge, the greater the bonus. (The GM section contains the relevant table for this.)

So here's a review:
When you face a challenge, the GM will describe it and tell you which Attribute or Attributes are appropriate for overcoming it. If you have a choice of which attribute to use, you still only can use one of the listed attribute categories. And attributes never, ever stack.

If your attribute is greater than the difficulty, you have +1 to your roll.
If your attribute is equal to the difficulty, you have +0 to your roll.
If your attribute is less than the difficulty, you have -1 to your roll.

When you roll, you always roll 1d6, and you always only need to succeed once, but before rolling, you decide how many tries you want. You can do it in one try, do it in two tries, or do it in three tries. That's the choice you make. Taking more tries means you have a better chance of success. But if you do it in two, you'll get a greater effect, and if you do it in one, you'll get the best results. It doesn't matter which try you succeed on—it matters how many tries you said you wanted. If you say, "I'll do it in three" and then get a 6 on your first roll, you still did it in three.

A roll of 1-2 is some kind of No
A roll of 3-4 is not yet, but you can keep trying next round
A roll of 5-6 is some kind of Yes

Here's what the die roll looks like in the form of a table:
Roll---3 Tries---2 Tries---1 Try
3-4----Not Yet---Not Yet-----Not Yet

QuoteNow let's see what might have happened to Lief if he had only tried once that last time:

GM: "Running along through the crystal caves, the torchlight suddenly reveals a wide chasm in front of Lief. (quickness)"
Lee: "Lief makes a fast jump[/u] across the chasm."
GM: "Ok, that's equal to the difficulty (the chasm has one quick difficulty, and Lief has a one quick attribute), so you roll at +0."
GM: "How many tries do you want?"
Lee: "Uhm, One. Yeah, I'll do it in One." *the die clatters on the table* "2. Uh, ouch."
GM: " Lief springs into the air but the wind catches him and tosses him down into the wide chasm, where he is smashed against the rocks at the bottom. You're Boggled! Lose 3 stars and one turn as you drag yourself back up the cliff, battered but not broken.
Lee: "Oooowwww..."

Yep, he fell down the chasm and was smashed against the rocks, but he didn't die. That's because nobody dies—they just lose their motes and a turn. These are fairytale creatures we're talking about here. There not fragile like you and me. But trust me, an extra lost turn can keep you from being able to gather motes, and the motes you lose by being boggled can add up—all the more when you're facing bigger than one word challenges.

As I mentioned earlier, there are six types of Challenge. Each can be overcome only by using certain Attributes. Some can only be taken on by one specific attribute, while with others you have a choice of which attribute to use. Here are the six types of challenge, what kinds of things they represent, and the attributes that can be used to overcome them.

[*] Obstruction: Large piles of rocks, overgrowth, trees, a square block filling the hallway, obstructions are just about anything that blocks the way and can only be overcome by pushing/moving it aside or smashing it (Strong). Bogies that you can only get past by fighting are also considered to be obstructions.
[*] Obstacle: Chasms and pits, moving platforms, sheer walls to scale, anything that must be overcome by running, jumping, and climbing (Quick) Bogies that you have outrun or jump past are also treated as obstacles.
[*] Puzzle: Riddles, odd puzzles, teleporting loops, mazes, splits in the road, magical runes of protection—anything that you can only overcome by solving the puzzle, trickery, or sneaking around (Crafty). Bogie guards and watchers and other bogies that must be snuck past or tricked count as puzzles.
[*] Hazard: Lava pits, water that sweeps you away if it catches you and can knock you over, gouts of flame shooting out of the wall at a regular beat. Overcome by running and jumping (Quick) or by enduring the hit (Strong). Charging bogies are good choices for hazards.
[*] Trap: Sudden spikes that pop out when you set them off, spear traps, pits that are hidden, anything that you can to overcome by dodging (Quick) or disarming or not setting off the trap (Crafty). Bogie ambushers and bogies that swoop down on you fall into this category as well, as may  invisible bogies, magicians, thieves.
[*] Barrier: Barred gates, magically sealed areas, cells, obstacles with secret levers and switches attached, and anything that can be overcome by pushing/moving it aside, bending or smashing it (Strong) or by figuring out a way around it or unlocking it (Crafty). Some bogie guardians and sorcerers fall into this category.[/list:u]

The other reward for fighting bogies and overcoming challenges is items. Items are described using words, just like characters and challenges, and all items are either Strong, Quick, or Crafty items. Here's an example two word strong item: Brand New Shovel. Note that words are counted the same way as they are for challenges.

Items are also limited by the number of uses they have:

One word items have 6 uses when you find them.
Two word items have 3 uses.
Three word items have 1 use.

[*] Item Rule #1: All characters can carry three items, regardless of how strong, quick, or crafty they are.
[*] Item Rule #2: An items can be used in place of a character attribute. An item does not stack with an attribute, it simply replaces the attribute for purposes of determining difficulty. Yes, this means that if the item has the same or less words than your character in some area, the item isn't much use to you. (With a special exception for 1 word items, below). If you get an item that you don't want, you can always try to trade it with your fellow party members.
[*] Item Rule #3: One word items, and only one word items, can be used as projectile weapons. An item thrown or otherwise used as a projectile weapon allows a character to potentially grab the initiative and get the first chance at an opponent, by adding the number of remaining uses in the item to the initiative roll. However, any item that is thrown is used up, regardless of how many uses it had left.[/list:u]

Some sample items:
Strong: Swords, daggers, and other weapons; shovels, heavy hammers and picks
Quick: ropes, good boots, magic boots, magic foods
Crafty: special tools, magical runes, potions (possible for anything)

Special action: Grabbing an item
Sometime when going through a stage, the GM will present an encounter that is not a challenge—it is an item found along the path. In this case, all players who wish to grab the item first make an unmodified roll—no attributes or items or motes can affect this roll. The players still have free choice of how many tries to take. The player who gets the best result on this roll grabs the item first.

Rich Forest

The rules of the game: What the GM needs to know.
Everything the players know, first of all. And a few other things. The GM needs to understand how to create an island (which can be done with the players, but need not be), how to use the tables to generate encounters, and how the GM's job differs in this game from other games—how to take advantage of what the game does for you.

When you enter a Platform or Race level (race levels will be detailed in a later edition of the game), your first job as GM is to set the stage by describing the environment. You present the world to the players—you bring it to life, and you have the deepest familiarity with it. Plan for your descriptions. Draw on the word lists that you will have produced during island creation (which is discussed in greater detail below). Bring it to life. You don't have to worry about setting difficulties—they'll be set for you by the encounter engine. Trust the random tables to do their job, and focus on doing yours—transforming what is given by the random rolls into something the players can imagine. Think video games and Samurai Jack and you'll have a good start for setting the stage and introducing elements to the shared imaginary space.

Here's how challenges and encounters work. Every stage of the island is like a level in a video game. It is filled with challenges and items, but it's of limited length. You have some over the pacing of the stages because you control how many changes of scenery occur. I recommend starting out with 3-6 changes of scenery for a stage, preferably starting on the low end. After some time spent playing the game, you'll find the sweet spot of changes of scenery for your group. A change of scenery is just that—it is a new description of the environment and a pause from the otherwise somewhat relentless tide of encounters. When the final change of scenery has occurred, introduce the stage's boss monster. It is the final challenge of the stage, and it is treated as a four word monster of its type (whichever type this is can be rolled randomly)—which means that no pc can have enough words in any attribute to have a +0 die roll modifier. All PCs will be at -1, on equal footing with each other, and in an equally disadvantageous position with respect to the boss monster. Now the question becomes: knowing that the boss monster is worth great rewards on a great result, will the players be willing to take the risk of attacking it in one try?

Until the introduction of the boss monster, the following tables are used to establish challenges and difficulties. They're designed  to interact with the ability levels and the items of the characters to increase the likelihood that everyone has an equal shot at getting motes—if you work around them by simply putting in encounters in the traditional GM decision way, you have to be very careful or you may unintentionally fall into a pattern that favors certain attribute spreads.

I strongly recommend using the tables. Not only do they provide a good encounter frequency—they also free you up as GM to focus on bringing  the results of the rolls to life.

Immediately after setting the scene, roll for an encounter on Table 1.1. After each encounter, return to table 1.1 and roll for the next encounter. If after a certain number of encounters you feel that the

Table 1.1—Encounter Type—roll 1d6
1-3 Challenge: roll for Encounter Level (Table 1.1) and Challenge Type (Table 2)
5 Item: roll for Encounter Level (Table 1.1) and Item Type (Table 3)
6 Change of Scenery (if you roll this twice in a row, treat the result as a Challenge)

Table 1.2—Encounter Level—roll 1d6
1-3 One Word Challenge or Item
4-5 Two Word Challenge or Item
6 Three Word Challenge or Item

Table 2—Challenge Type—roll 1d6
1 Obstruction (Str)
2 Obstacle (Qui)
3 Puzzle (Cra)
4 Hazard (Str, Qui)
5 Trap (Qui, Cra)
6 Barrier (Str, Cra)

Table 3—Item Type—roll 1d6
1-2 Strong
3-4 Quick
5-6 Crafty

These tables produce entire stages. However, they do not  tell you what the items or challenges are, nor do they tell you what specific words to use to describe them. You control that. This is one of the major GM jobs, so prepare word lists of appropriate items and options for the various stages of your island.

What kind of success? What kind of failure?
These tables detail the results of successes and failures on player rolls depending on the level of the challenge and the degree of success gained by the player through caution or risk.

When a player gets a yes result on a challenge—any yes result—the challenge or bogie is overcome or defeated. At this point, if it's a challenge that the player has circumvented by being quick or crafty, the rewards may be found items or free floating motes that the character manages to grab in passing, or they may be items or motes that are offered up by the opening of a puzzle. Alternately, they may just pop out of crushed rock piles or other items, and they definitely pop out of bogies (or out of their pockets, if you'd prefer) when the bogies are beaten. The player who scores the success automatically gets the reward—other characters can't scoop up the reward before the successful character does, no matter what they try.

Now for the rewards:

Level 1 Challenge
1-3 Item

Yes: gain a 1 word item
Yes, and: gain a two word item
4-6 Motes
Yes: gain 1d2 star motes
Yes, and: gain 1d3 star motes

Level 1 Challenge: Boggled
No, and: lose 1d3 star motes

Level 2 Challenge
1-3 Item

Yes: gain a 2 word item
Yes, and: gain a 3 word item
4-6 Motes
Yes: gain 1d3 star motes
Yes, and: gain 1 moon mote + 1d3 star motes

Level 2 Challenge: Boggled
No, and: lose 1 moon mote

Level 3 Challenge

Yes: gain 1d2 moon motes
Yes, and: gain 1d3 moon motes

Level 3 Challenge: Boggled
No, and: lose 1d3 moon motes

Boss Challenge

Yes: gain 1d3 moon motes
Yes, and: gain 1d2 sun motes and 1d2 moon motes

Boss Challenge: Boggled
No, and: lose 1 sun and 1d2 moon motes

Island Creation
This is a pretty big job, and one that can be fun to involve the players in if everyone wants to take a session to do it. Involving the players helps divide the labor, but it also helps establish player interest in the island. They'll be even more interested in saving it if they've helped to create it. This description of how to create an island will assume the players are involved as equal partners. If you want to do this alone just as the GM (and it's certainly can be a lot of fun this way—the GM gets to create, an the players get to discover the place through play), it's very easy to follow this format and simply ignore the parts that involve the players. So, let's create an island.

Islands are at the heart of game play. The island is both the home of the characters and the board for game play. One island can last for many sessions of play, and creating the island can be an enjoyable focus for the first session. Depending on how much detail you predetermine versus how much detail you leave for improvisation during play, island creation may take up an entire game session. It's also a chance for players to take part in some of the fun that the GM traditionally has—worldbuilding.

The first rule of island creation: The first rule of island creation is that someone always has the final say. The GM can take on this role consistently, or it can be shared evenly among the players and GM. This arbiter role entails two responsibilities: start and finish. The arbiter gets people going on whatever level of island creation is currently on the agenda. The arbiter also has the final say if there is a decision to be made. If this role is being shared, everyone rolls one die at the beginning of island creation. Whoever rolls highest is the first arbiter. If there's a tie, the tied players re-roll until there's a high roll. At the end of each level, the arbiter passes to the person to the left.

Level 1: Theme
There are thousands and thousands of islands in the Island Kingdoms, and every one of them has a theme. Choosing a theme for the island is the job of the first arbiter. The arbiter can just name a theme immediately, or he can entertain suggestions from the other players.

So what is a theme? The theme is an environmental or geographical keyword that gives the island its main character. You know how every platformer and console RPG has a variety of themed areas? Well that's what we're talking about here. Take advantage of all the themes you know and love from video games—the snow and ice stage, the volcano and lava stage, the jungle stage, the haunted house stage, the underwater stage, the desert stage, the mountain stage, the cloud and rainbow stage, the dark cave stage, the clockwork stage. You can use one of these as an initial theme, but don't feel limited to them—feel free to create your own.

The theme can be straightforward, or it can have a twist. One easy way to do a twist is to mix two main environments to get the theme, say fire and ice. The elements don't have to make sense together—it's a very magical place, after all—but the players do have to be able to work with the combination. Another easy way to add a twist to the theme is to mix a "cultural theme" with a clashing environmental theme. For example, mixing Egyptian and ice as keywords. If no cultural theme is chosen, the default assumption is a kind of generic fantasy culture—generic fantasy is the dominant culture of the Island Kingdoms, after all. Twists are most useful when you've already used a theme for a previous island and would like to put a different angle on it to keep things fresh.

Lee, Scott, and Mary get together to create their island. They all roll, and Lee gets the high score.

Lee: "Ice. The theme is Ice. Done."
Mary: "What about candy, like 'Candyland.' I've been wanting to play an island like that.
Scott: "Hey, that's a good idea. Or like a chocolate factory, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Lee: "Sorry, I like that, but it's ice this time. Mike couldn't make it but he's going to be here next time, and he asked me to use ice. Oh, and there's no twist. We've never done a snow and ice level, so let's do it straight up this time."

Level 2: Brainstorming
Once a theme has been chosen, the player who chose the theme should write it down at the top of a sheet of paper and pass the paper to the player on their left. That player is now the arbiter and is in charge of getting the brainstorming started and deciding when they've generated enough ideas and it's time to move on.

The player starts by writing down one word that is related to the theme and then passes the paper on to the next player. As a group, you should continue writing down words until you have a good list of ideas that are based around the theme—don't worry about whether all the words make sense at this point, just focus on getting down as many ideas as you can. If it works better for your group, the current arbiter can volunteer to write down all the words and everyone can shout out ideas to list on the sheet. At this stage, anything that you can think of that is related to the theme is fair game. Synonyms for the theme, monsters that might fit the theme, or even famous people you're reminded of by the theme. Go crazy and get a good list. At the end of the brainstorming, before passing the arbiter responsibility to the next player, the current arbiter chooses a name for the island.

QuoteExample: Now Scott is in charge of brainstorming. He writes down "Snow," and passes the paper on the Melody. She writes "cold," and passes it to Lee. They continue until they get the following list of words:

Snow, Cold, Hot Springs, Pine Trees, Ice Skating, Tundra, Ice Cream, Freezing, Yeti, Abominable Snowman, Blizzard, North Pole, Alaska, Penguins, Polar Bears, Scarves, Mittens, Hot cocoa, Fireplace, Mountain Pass, Christmas, Sled, Sleigh, Mountain, Icy, Rabbits, Snowmen, Frozen, White Foxes, Chilly, Disaster, Cold, Snowshoes, Snowfall, Snowstorm, Slush, Snowflake, Reindeer, Flurry, Whiteout, Crystal, Frost, Hail, Sleet, Snow Cones, White, Clouds, Water, Hot Spring, North, Furs, Snow Woman, Avalanche, Winter, Huskies, Skiing, Dogsled Race, Mountain Climbing, Hockey Game, Ice-skiff Race, Ice-Fishing, Snowball Fight, Beauty, Solitude, Wolf, Snowburst, Hawaii...

This is where Scott decides they have enough words—they're running out of ideas. He also chooses a name for the island: Big Snowy Mountain.

Level 3: Creating the Stages
The arbiter responsibility passes to the next player to the left. That player gets out a new sheet of paper and makes three columns on it, with the following headings: Haven, Platform, and Race. Using the list of brainstorming words, players take turns suggesting possible stages—areas of the island where the characters can get into adventure and fight the bogies and do whatever they can to save the island. Here is an explanation of each type of stage:

Haven: A Haven is a safe zone. There are no bogie encounters in havens, and players can socialize, regroup, and exchange items for other items of equal value in a haven. Most havens are towns and villages, but they can also be lone buildings like inns out in the wilderness.
Platform: A platform stage is filled with bogies and other dangers. It's the main type of stage where adventures happen and the characters face the bogies. Platforms can be centered around a geographical area or some kind of fortress or building, and they can even be centered on a town—in which case the town is clearly not a haven.
Race: A race stage is an all out dash to the finish line. It can be a footrace, a race on horseback, a wagon race, a ship race... anything you can think of that fits the theme is fair game.

You can take turns or work together to come up with the names of the stages. The more stages you create, the longer the game—if you have many stages, your island may take multiple sessions to play.

QuoteMelody is in charge of getting this going and making the final decision on the stage names. She starts out with "Cold Water Town." As a group, they come up with the following areas:
Havens: Cold Water Town, Snowflake Village, Great Pine Station, Polar Town, Soft White Lodge
Platforms: The Wolf Blizzard Express, the Seven Rainbow Pools, Avalanche Pass, Snowstorm Cloud, the Great Pine Wood, Frost Crystal Cave, Icicle Palace
Races: The Soft White Slopes (ski race), Very Cold Tundra Dogsled Race, Polar Ice Skiff Race

Level 4: Mapping the Island
With the arbiter responsibility passed to the next player, you're ready to map the island. You can either make a text-map or a full map—both are functional, but full maps are fun to have. For a text map, the next arbiter chooses the opening stage, which must be a haven. Villages make excellent opening stages. They then choose the final stage, which must be a platform, and write a 10 by it. Then the player passes the sheet around, and everyone takes turns filling in the order of the stages. It's best to alternate platforms, races, and havens so that you don't have too many of one kind in a row. A classic island will have mostly platforms, a couple races, and a few towns in between.

For a full map, you'll need a big sheet of paper, some colored pencils, and a black pen. After you've created a text map, you then take turns or work together to sketch out your island. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it can be as fancy as you and your group want and want to spend time on. For the first session, it may be useful just to sketch the outline and locate the stages. In between sessions, someone can fill out the rest of the map.

QuoteLee is arbiter again. He writes "Big Snowy Island" at the top of a piece of paper, then he writes "Snowflake Village" as the opening stage and chooses the Icicle Palace as the ending stage. He passes the paper to Scott, who says since it's the first time he's playing he'd like just a small wood nearby for testing out his character. So he writes "Snowflake Woods (platform 1)," a new place he's just made up, and passes it to Melody. She adds a town next, and they create this text-map:

[*] Snowflake Village  (haven)
[*] Snowflake Woods (platform)
[*] Cold Water Town (haven)
[*] The Soft White Slopes and Soft White Lodge (ski race)
[*] Very Cold Tundra (platform)
[*] Very Cold Tundra Dogsled Race (dogsled race)
[*] The Seven Rainbow Pools (platform)
[*] The Great Pine Wood (platform)
[*] Great Pine Station (haven)
[*] The Wolf Blizzard Express (platform)
[*] Polar City (haven)
[*] The Polar Ice Skiff Race (ice skiff race)
[*] Base Flurry (haven)
[*] Avalanche Pass (platform)
[*] Steam Springs Resort (platform)
[*] Frost Crystal Cave (platform)
[*] Icestorm Station (haven)
[*] The Snow Giant's Cloud (platform)
[*] Icicle Palace (platform)

After creating the text map, they take some time to sketch out a full map of Big Snowy Island.

Filling in the details
At this point, you have enough to play the game. You can do more, however, to really prepare yourself for improvisation—repeat the process of world creation at the level of stage. Brainstorm or choose words from your brainstorming list to produce bogie generators and specific example challenges of each type and word combination, similar lists for items, and potential scene changes within each stage. For me, this is also a lot of the fun of the game. Ironically, I don't have time to do it for this draft of Trouble in the Island Kingdoms. It will certainly be included in the final drafts.

Getting the most out of the game
A Note about roleplaying
Don't hold anything back. I can't emphasize this enough—it's an important part of the fun of playing Trouble in the Island Kingdoms. If your character is subtle, you should act subtle, but you should not be subtle. It should be obvious that you're acting, that you're playing the "subtle" character. If the other players can't tell that you're acting subtle, then you're not acting subtle enough! Exaggerate everything and really give your character the love they deserve. This goes for NPCs as well. Play those personality traits. And remember, this is absolutely everyday normal for the characters. They won't notice that someone is trying to trick them just because it's obvious to you as players. No, for the characters this is just common everyday behavior. A lot of the fun comes from watching your characters get into crazy situations and knowing all along that they really shouldn't believe everything they hear.

A note about planning
Don't bother—this game does not reward getting together as a group and carefully planning your assault on the keep. You can spend a lot of time doing this kind of planning, but it will have zero effect on your actual assault on the keep. It will be time better spent playing, in the case of this game. I

What are my chances, anyway?
So what is the chance of getting some kind of a success, anyway? I'll tell you the basis (+0 modifier to the roll) and you can work out the rest from there:

[*]If you give yourself three tries, you should get a "yes, but" result a little over 70% of the time, but you are very, very unlikely to get a straight out no result, and even then, it's not so bad to geta "no, but."
[*]If you give yourself two tries, you should get a "yes" result around 55% of the time, but it'll be better quality than with three tries. You're still reasonably safe from a "no" result.
[*]If you give yourself one try, you will get a "yes, and" result 33% of the time, but you have equal chance of getting a "no, and" result.[/list:u]

I have three strong words—why can't I carry more stuff?
For the same reason that the character with three quick words doesn't have an initiative advantage—I have no idea how carrying more items would balance out with getting initiative, but I doubt it would be fair. And anyway, then I'd have to figure out something to give the clever guy.

Imagining the challenge
The first time you play, you may have to re-orient yourself to what rolling means. In all challenges, only the players roll. That doesn't mean the bogie isn't attacking you. It is, and it's the GM's job to make sure you know that it is. Whether it hits you or not isn't dependent on it rolling well, though—it's dependent on you rolling poorly. So think of your roll as not just your roll, but a roll for the entire round of actions you and the challenge are undertaking (if the challenge is active). You probably didn't get boggled because you slipped and fell on your own sword. No, it's probably because the bogie slipped his sword in and fell upon you with great and furious anger.

Player initiated rolls versus system initiated rolls
If you initiate a roll as a player—say you'd like to track a bogie through the village, which is not a platform or race stage—you can initiate a roll. But the result cannot gain you any items or motes. Only system generated challenges can do that, otherwise players could initiate a lot of rolls in their specialty areas to try to scoop up extra motes. Don't let this stop you from initiating rolls, however. The yes and / yes / yes but / not yet / no but / no / no and results are more than sufficient for plenty of RPG fun outside of the platform/race structure. It's one of the reason that havens and towns are such a nice break—they're places where you can explore different aspects of the story or your character than those presented by platform and racing levels.

Words and actions
Say you're tracking a bogie in town. You initiated the action, so it's not a regular challenge. The GM says that it depends on crafty. It's the non-challenge equivalent of a puzzle. Ok, you have a crafty word... but it's "Stealth." How does that affect tracking? Does it?

Yes, it does. All crafty words work for all crafty actions, all strong words for all strong actions, and all quick words for all quick actions. That means now, you have to get creative. How does it apply? How can you explain that it applies?

How about this? "Ah, I remember my time working for the village guard as a night guardsman. I spent a lot of time skulking about and watching people trudging through the snows of the village. I remember some things."

If you have 3 words in strong, they apply to strong actions. Always. How?

You tell me.

Racing—a preview
Races are coming. Basically they function very similarly to platforms in that they include the same categories of challenges and items and everything. But they work slightly differently. In a platform level, when any one character from the group overcomes a challenge, it's gone, and they get the items or motes from it. The stage ends when a certain number of scene changes have occurred. In a race, there are X challenges (things like "oil on the road (hazard)," "a sudden sharp curve (trap)," "a straightaway (obstacle)" that every single character in the race has to pass, but instead of gaining items for good results they gain progress (x free hazards bypassed). The first one to pass all X challenges is the first to cross the finish line, and wins the race and gets the bonus motes for being in 1st place.

What's the story with these bogies? Where do they come from? What do they want?

I don't know. But when you find out, let me know, will ya?


Wow. That needs serious revision. But there it is, playtest draft 0.3. I still have a bunch of "how to get the most out of this game" comments from playtesting that I'd like to have gotten in there, and I'm sure balance issues remain. I still have to go through the methods of board game play, no GM play, and solo play. But I have been typing for too long now to go back and revise and work them in, and there's no time anyway.

Ah, feels good to submit this game. Feels good. All typos and weirdness are officially due to lack of sleep—I take no responsibility for any of them. Yeah...

Now if I could only get the Super Mario Brothers music out of my head.



Wizards of Ice and Twilight v1.0

by Alan Barclay

I. Introduction

Wizards of Ice and Twilight requires two to four players with paper, pencils, a handful of six-sided dice each, and a comfortable place to sit for a few hours.  During those hours, they will together create imaginary events in an imaginary world.  The objective is to explore interesting themes and enjoy the creative process.  

One player will take the role of gamemaster, in charge of setting scenes, determining the actions of supporting cast, and participating in story negotiations and challenges.  The gamemaster can find enjoyment in coordinating the creations of players and inserting crossovers, complications, and quirky supporting characters.

The remaining players take the role of a Wizard, describing the character's actions, motivations, and perhaps acting dialog and gestures.  Wizard players participate in collective authoring of imaginary events, with a special focus on the actions of their Wizard.  In the fantasy, Wizards may pursue separate goals in separate locations, or they may work together to face some great challenge.  

In the world of The Islands Between, Wizards travel, solving the problems of the simple inhabitants, acting as mediators, catalysts, and, when the need arises, champions against the creatures of chaos and even the unreason that a chaos infection can cast upon a people.

II. Situation

II.1 The Islands Between Fire and Chaos

The world is ocean, bounded by the ever-changing, unstable stuff of shadow.  Within the ocean are many archipelagos, scattered between the four cardinal points: Fire, Ice, Twilight and Dawn.  Humans lives on almost every island. humankind.  

The usual life of most island dwellers is simple.  Both technology and social organization are simple.  Technology works mostly in stone, wood, and copper.  The rare ironsmith is a rare individual, often revered almost as much as a Wizard.  Heavy work is done by manpower, oxen, and clever windmill devices.  Commonly, trade is made by barter – larger trades may be made for bars of precious metal, while small trades may be paid with symbolic necklaces of shells.

Seamanship, navigation by stars, and fishing are common skills, and many small ships travel the placid Ocean.  Trade in handicrafts is common, as is trade in goods that cannot be grown on smaller islands, or hotter or colder climates.

Empires are unknown in the Islands Between.  Such would be considered an unhealthy obsession, probably driven by a Shadow.  Hereditary rulers are unknown.  In the most complex societies, leaders will be chosen from a group of thanes, from elders, or even by lot.  Some communities even eschew leadership completely and rule by vote of a general assembly.  In the smallest communities, respected individuals may take ritual or informal roles of leadership; but in this case, they lead not by fiat but with the agreement of those governed.

Beyond the ocean, strange forces of ego, emotion, and power lurk in the chaos.  Sometimes these things creep out across the ocean, reaching an island and skulking within the dark places of the hills or men's hearts.  Sometimes, a whole community will be infected with chaos – which may manifests as unhealthy fixations, obsessive community projects, as well as straightforward arguments and violence.  

This is the world in which your fantasy adventures will unfold.

II.2 Wizards of The Cardinal Powers

At the center of the world, on the Island of Erd, resides the College of Wizards, where those Shadow-Touched are trained to turn their chaotic powers to aid the communities of mankind.  Children from every island arrive at Erd to apprentice at the wizard school.  Between the ages of 17 and 21, they are graduated to Journeyman status and sent to wander the world, bringing balance and fighting back the shadow of chaos.  

While Wizards are taught to use their deeper understanding of the Four Cardinal powers to resolve problems, they can, in times of need, call upon the Shadow within to perform magic.  Gradual exposure to such forces changes them, taking them on a journey into their own psyches while at the same time extending their lives indefinitely.  However, many a powerful wizard risks losing touch with the material world and transcending form to become an angelic being.  This apotheosis is the last any human ever hears of a Wizard.

Each player, except the gamemaster, will take charge of authoring the motives and actions of a Wizard he or she creates.  The Wizard will set about to help others, face his or her own Shadow, weave spells, and risk Apotheosis.

II.3 Situation Preparation

The gamemaster, or the players together, should create a map of islands and archipelagos with a scattering of suggestive features, perhaps three per participant.  Don't go into any great detail.  Detail will be discovered in play.

III. Adventure Cycle

A game of Wizards of Ice and Twilight cycles through several phases.  Both Character Preparation and Session Play are group activities and should be done will all players present.  Adventure Preparation is undertaken by the gamemaster between sessions.  
    [*] Character Preparation
    [*] Adventure Preparation
    [*] Play Session
    The Adventure Cycle should be repeated until each Wizard has had a chance to Defeat a Shadow.  Aim for this to take 3 to 5 Play Sessions of three or hour hours.  To keep creative momentum, it's best to get together a play session once a week.  Once a Wizard has faced the Shadow, he may be changed or retired.  A new cycle can be continued, either with new Wizards, or old – and perhaps a different player taking the role of gamemaster.

    III.1 Character Preparation

    III.1.1 Wizard Creation

    Character Preparation are group activities and should be done will all players present.  Feel free to exchange ideas, brainstorm names and backgrounds, and coordinate other details with other players.  You may wish to commit 2-3 hours to collective creation of Wizards and their background.

    To create a Wizard, the player must set 3 Wisdom scores, 4 Cardinal scores, and choose four to eight Descriptors.  You'll also be asked for a little background information and offered the chance to have Ties with allies and enemies.

    The character's Wisdom draws from three sources:

    Skybound – Actions of Intellect; Magic of Sky & Fire
    Earthbound – Actions of Body; Magic of Earth & metal.
    Waterbound – Actions of Emotion; Magic of Water & Flesh

    Distribute 12 points between these.  No score may be less than one.

    Shadow Score
    A Wizard balances out the encroaching power of Shadow, but a powerful Wizard also must be balanced by Shadow.  Each Wizard has a Shadow score which represents how strong the Shadows he or she will meet will be.  Shadow always equals the Wizard's highest Wisdom score and any time Wisdom changes, so too does Shadow.

    Inspiration Score
    All newly created Wizards start with an Inspiration score of zero.  Wizards in play may carry over Inspiration not spent in previous sessions or adventures.

    The character's Cardinals are

    Ice, Fire, Dawn & Twilight

    Distribute 6 points between Ice and Dawn.
    Distribute 6 points between Fire and Twilight.

    No Cardinal may score less than 1.

    For each Cardinal score of 1-3, choose one Descriptor.
    For each Cardinal of 4-5, choose two Descriptors.

    Descriptors for a particular Cardinal must be chosen from the list for that Cardinal.  Note also that Descriptors in the same row are exclusive: for example, you can't choose both Swordmaster and Staffmaster.

    DAWN          FIRE          ICE           TWILIGHT
    Bodymaster    Swordmaster   Shieldmaster  Staffmaster
    Midwife       Surgeon       Herbalist     Undertaker
    Researcher    Experimenter  Conservator   Historian
    Inspirator    Orator        Wit           Debater
    Artist        Engineer      Architect     Archeologist

    Decide on a name, gender, and appearance for your Wizard.  

    Name the island you grew up on, and create a few details about it.  Is it mountainous or flat?  Is it noted for any ruins?  For any product, handicraft, art or skill?  Is it near the Edge of the World?  If so, which one: Fire, Ice, Dawn, or Twilight?

    Every Wizard has an unusual story of their contact with the Shadow of Chaos that gives them the seed of magical power.  The event may have happened while still in the womb, or at a later age.  Very few who are Shadow-Touched after puberty every acquire magic – instead, they suffer the infection of the Shadow, manifesting evil behavior.

    Starting Location
    Each time a new Adventure cycle is begun, each player should indicate a starting place for their Wizard, and perhaps some idea for a situation for the Wizard to face.

    III.1.2 Change a Wizard

    Once a Wizard has Faced the Shadow, his or her player may choose to transfer one point f Wisdom or Cardinal to any other Wisdom or Cardinal, provided no Cardinal is ever reduced below 1 or raised about 5.  If this makes the Wizard eligible for another Descriptor, the player may choose a new one, subject to the standard Wizard creation rules.  Descriptors are not lost if a Cardinal drops.

    III.1.3 Retiring

    At any time, a player may decide to retire his Wizard.  If the Wizard has never faced and defeated Shadow, the Wizard returns to the School on Erd for meditation and further training before someday striking out again on the great journey.  If the Wizard has defeated Shadow, the character may take a position as Doctor of Magic in the School of Erd, or be permanently posted as the caretaker of a particular island.

    Once a player's current Wizard has been retired, the player may create a new Wizard immediately.  Alternately, the player may bring a previously created Wizard out of Retirement.

    III.2 Adventure Preparation

    Before the first session of play, the gamemaster will need a few hours in which to prepare.  He or she should prepare notes on a situation where each Wizard currently resides.  This situation should involve some social ill, and perhaps some monster or blight of Chaos behind it all.  Remember that people will expect a Wizard to address difficult problems, supernatural or not.  Lists of names are useful for making up supporting cast members on the fly.  Also take some time to consider several different scenarios that might offer a particular Wizard (and the player) difficult emotional situations to respond to, leaving the responses open and unrestricted for the player.  Make lists of these "bangs" and have them ready for slow moments during play.

    III.3 Play Sessions

    Each play session unfolds in a series of scenes, where players author and act out contributions to unfolding fantasy events.  

    III.3.1 Scenes

    Any player may request a scene.  To do so, he or she just asks the gamemaster for a scene and indicates the location, and perhaps characters present and what they are doing when the scene opens.  The gamemaster then may negotiate with the player to modify the request, or to delay the scene for another, as he or she judges a valuable addition to the shared fantasy.  The gamemaster also may frame scenes without player request.

    Framing a scene involves describing where and when it is occurring, who is present, and what they are doing.  Usually, a Wizard is present or enters before scene framing is completed.  In some cases, the gamemaster may wish to declare an audience revelation which will be a short scene showing the unfolding plans of a villain or the consequences of Wizard actions.

    The gamemaster controls the pace of play, but opening scenes, cutting between them, and ending them.  He or she should remain sensitive both to the player's desires and to the dramatic possibilities of ending a scene crisply, cutting between scenes to juxtapose actions, etc.

    Each player may have one open scene at a time.  The gamemaster may choose to cut back and forth between open scenes as he or she likes.  When the gamemaster feels a scene has completed a dramatic purpose, he should end it.  The player who requested the scene can ask for continuation and the gamemaster should honor that request in most cases.

    III.3.2 Contributing to a Scene

    The gamemaster regulates the contributions of players, ensuring that each player, whether  they have a character in the scene or not, has an equal chance to contribute.  For their part, players not present should allow those that are to lead.

    In routine play, players create the actions, dialog, thoughts and feelings of the Wizard they control.  Based on these creations, they propose additions to the shared fantasy – by describing something to the group.  There are two things that can be described: Statements of Intent and Proposals of Effect.

    Statements of Intent
    A player describes how his or her Wizard tries to influence the shared fantasy world and the character's in it.  Each time a player makes Statements of Intent he or she may pause and wait for the gamemaster to determine the Effect, or the player may continue with a proposal.

    Proposals of Effect
    The player proposes the effect he or she would like the Wizard's action to have.  This proposal should be phrased in positive terms, as if the player were describing a successful action, even though it may be written by Negotiation or Conflict.  After a Proposal of Effect, all players, including the gamemaster have a chance to Negotiate or Declare Conflict.

    All Proposals of Effect should remain within the capabilities of a highly skilled human, unless the Wizard chooses to use Magic.  Magic may create effects impossible for a human.  Except for the most trivial use of Magic – for color or minor cantrips, all uses require the Declaration of a Conflict.

    In routine play, players may continue to make statements of intent and proposals of effect as long as the group continues to give tacit (unspoken) approval.  However, in some cases, another player may wish to add or alter the proposal.  This can be done with informal negotiation.  The player who made the original proposal has final say in framing a proposal.

    The Power of Effect
    The gamemaster alone retains the right and power to describe the actual effect of a statement of intent – with one exception, which we'll discuss in the next section.  Actual Effect is what will be added to the shared fantasy and understood to be "real" within that fantasy.  When formulating an outcome, the gamemaster should take the player's statement of intent, proposal of effect, as well as dramatic opportunities into account – always keeping in mind that the Wizards are skilled, capable, protagonists – each the focus of their own heroic saga.

    Declaration of Conflict
    Any player may declare a conflict.  Both the gamemaster and players should be alert for opportunities for the dramatic use of conflicts.  A Conflict can be used to expand an important dramatic conflict with unpredictable twists and turns.  Also, any magic of greater than Trivial Scale requires a Conflict.

    Now, here's the one exception to the gamemaster's Power of Effect: a player may call for a Conflict if he or she wishes to rewrite the gamemaster's declared outcome.

    A Conflict uses dice to resolve the direction of the fantasy events and the Conflict processes' Power of Effect trumps that of the gamemaster.  Note however, that the group has the power to veto a Declaration of Conflict, if the majority feel overuse is harming the enjoyability of play.  Finally, the outcome of a Conflict also may not be subject to further conflict challenges.  

    For more on Conflicts, see III.3.4 Conflict Resolution.

    Entering a Scene
    If a player has no Wizard present in a scene,  he or she may ask the gamemaster for permission to enter the scene in one of two ways.  Either, his or her Wizard shows up.  The gamemaster should judge this request, not on the physical probability of the Wizard traveling to enter the scene, but on the dramatic possibilities of the character's appearance.  Likewise, a player may offer to play one of the Supporting Cast that is present – or even have one enter the scene.  All scene entries are at the gamemaster's discretion.

    III.3.3 Using Magic

    Any time the Wizard wants to use magic, the player simply declares the fact and describes a Statement of Intent and the hoped for results in a Proposal of Effect.  If a Conflict ensues, it is processed as normal, except that any Magic Rules are enforced.

    The Pace of Conflict required by a Magic feat is determined by the Scale of the effect.

    Trivial-- The effect is something an ordinary human could achieve with little effort, it just looks spooky.  Requires no conflict.

    Human -- The effect has a major influence over a single individual, causes rates of travel, damage, and minor miracles on a human scale. Requires a Simple Conflict.

    10x Human -- Affects squads, tribes, small villages, boulders.  Requires a Broad Strokes Conflict.

    100x Human -- Affects mobs, buildings, villages, small monoliths.  Requires use of a Wisdom of 6+ and a Broad Strokes Conflict.

    1000x Human-- Affects towns, edifices, small mountains.   Requires use of a Wisdom of 8+ and a Detailed Conflict.

    III.3.4 Conflict Resolution

    Conflict is always resolved between the gamemaster and a single player.  If more than one player wants to be involved in a given conflict, the new player declares a separate goal and rolls separately with the gamemaster.  When results are interpreted, the Wizards act in order of fewest number of successes to highest – and in order of lowest Cardinal to highest if that ties.

    When a player or gamemaster declares a conflict:

    The declaring participant:
      [*] describes the overall goal of the conflict
      [*] chooses which Wisdom will be used
      [*] sets the Pace of the Conflict.

      The other participant may adjust the Pace one step up or down.  There are three levels of conflict:

      Simple – the whole Goal is resolved by a single roll of the dice.
      Broad Strokes – several exchanges are passed before the conflict is resolved.  This requires at least two rolls of the dice without suffering a Total Failure.
      Detailed – a blow by blow exploration of the conflict.  This requires at least three rolls of the dice without suffering a Total Failure.

      Intent for the Coming Roll
      Next, the player chooses which Descriptor will be used, then makes a Statement of Intent, describing the Wizard's actions, and a Proposal of Effect.

      Finally, the gamemaster assesses everything and describes the nature and severity of any likely Consequences.  The player then has a chance to reassess and alter the Statement or Proposal.  Also, if this is the opening roll of a conflict, the player may also adjust any choices available in his or her conflict declaration.  When everyone is satisfied, the action is considered in play and the dice are prepared.  

      Consequence Dice
      If the Wizard attempts a particularly powerful spell, the gamemaster may apply one or two Consequence dice.  Also, Consequence dice may apply as a result of previous Conflicts, or rounds of the current Conflict.

      Rolling Dice
      Only the player rolls dice.  He or she may choose to roll one, some, or all of the designated Wisdom score, getting one die for each unit of the score.  (For magic spells, the player MUST roll ALL dice.)  If the gamemaster determines that the player's chosen Descriptor doesn't apply, half the number of Wisdom dice available (round up).

      The player rolls the dice along with any Consequence dice.  

      Check the result of each Consequence die and match a Wisdom die of the same number.  Both dice are removed from consideration.

      Each remaining die that shows a number less than or equal to his chosen Descriptor's Cardinal score counts as one Success.

      If all remaining dice show a "6", the Conflict ends in Failure.  (See Setback below).

      Using Inspiration
      Each point of Inspiration pertinently expended provides an extra die to roll.  Alternately, you can remove a Consequence die from a roll, and so preserve the Wisdom die that would otherwise be removed.

      If one or more dice show a "1" the player may shift one point from any other Wisdom to the one just used.  If the Wizard is using magic, and a "1" appears, the player MUST shift one point to the one just used.  However, no Wisdom may be reduced below 1 until both are at 1.  If two Wisdom scores are at 1 AND a Wizard uses his or her highest Wisdom to cast a spell AND two "1"s appear, the Wizard automatically wins the whole Conflict and is translated into an angelic being and retired permanently from play.  If only one "1" appears in this situation, resolve the round as normal.

      Reading the Dice and Declaring Effect
      The result of an round of conflict is determined by the number of successes the player rolled:

      0 – Setback (or Failure)  Gain 1 Consequence die for this Conflict.  The player determines Effect and describes how the Wizard suffers a setback (or failure) in achieving the declared goal.

      1+ Progress!  The gamemaster describes how the Wizard progresses towards his goal.

      If there's no Failure AND not even one Progress AND the minimum number of rounds required by Pace are not met, the player may accept failure and end the conflict – OR engage in another round.  Return to Intent for the Coming Roll.

      If the Wizard has survived the required number of rounds without Failure AND scored at least one Progress, he or she achieves his conflict goal.  The gamemaster describes how this happens.

      Long Term Consequences
      When a conflict is over, the player must assign any Consequence dice to his Wound Record.  All Consequence dice from a single conflict must be assigned to a single Wound.  Wounds must be associated with one element of the Conflict: either the Wisdom used, an Individual or Group involved, or a significant place or thing involved.  Any time the chosen element is involved in a future conflict, the Wizard suffers the associated consequence dice.

      Alleviating Long Term Consequences
      Consequence dice must be healed in a new scene; they may not be healed in the same scene they were acquired.

      Consequences associated to People, Locations, and Things may only be alleviated by a new Conflict.  This Conflict can have any Goal, but must involve the associated items.  Each Progress earned in such a Conflict reduces the Consequence die penalty by 1 permanently.  Wounds associated with people, locations, and things will not reduce over time.  

      Wounds to Wisdoms may be healed as above, or they may be eradicated by time or an appropriate plot event.

      III.3.4 Shadow Conflicts

      Three special conflicts, all regarding the nature of the Shadow in the current situation, help shape the story arc of an Adventure Cycle.  If Wizards are pursuing separate situations it's perfectly all right to have more than one Shadow going at once.

      Note that, unlike normal conflicts, the player determines the outcome of these three kinds of Conflicts in both success and failure.

      Naming the Shadow
      After the first session of play has proceeded at least two hours, any player may attempt to Name the Shadow – identifying the underlying source of corruption.  Each player may attempt to name any existing shadow only once in a single play session.  Naming the Shadow must involve some kind of Simple conflict, but naming the shadow need not be the goal; the naming may occur serendipitously.

      If the Wizard wins a Simple Conflict, the the player describes the general nature of the Shadow.  The Shadow named is given a score equal to the naming Wizard's Shadow Score.

      If the Wizard fails, the  gamemaster should immediately cut away to a Audience Revelation scene and the player describes further corruption and complications spread by the unnamed Shadow.  No Wizard may appear in this Audience Revelation scene.  

      Any Consequence Dice acquired in the conflict are associated with the Shadow and are retained until after Claiming the Shadow.

      Claiming the Shadow
      In any session after a Shadow has been named, it may be Claimed.  If successful, the Claiming Wizard realizes the reflection of the Shadow within himself or herself and earns insight into how it may be defeated.  Each player may attempt to claim any existing shadow only once in a single play session.  Claiming a Shadow must involve some kind of Broad Strokes conflict, but the claiming need not be the goal; it may occur serendipitously.  Consequence dice from Naming the Shadow do apply.

      If the Wizard wins, thethe player describes how his or her Wizard is deeply connected to the Shadow.  The player may also declare how the core of the Shadow may be found OR how it may be defeated.  However, in claiming the Shadow, the Wizard also establishes himself or herself as the only character who can Face it and eradicate it completely. Any Consequence Dice acquired in this conflict are associated with the Shadow.

      If the Wizard fails, the player should describe how his or her Wizard is incapacitated in a way in keeping with the Wisdom used for the roll.  However, all Consequence dice associated with the Shadow are eliminated.

      Facing the Shadow
      In any session after a Shadow has been Claimed, when the heart of the corrupting Shadow is found in play, the claiming Wizard may Face it down in a Detailed Conflict.  This is the battle royale, either in spirit, intellect, or brute force.

      If the Wizard wins, thethe player describes how his or her Wizard defeats the the Shadow and gains Inspiration.  The Wizard immediately adds the Shadow's Shadow score to his or her Inspiration.  In addition, every other Wizard in play may immediately

      If the Wizard fails, the player should describe how his or her Wizard is incapacitated in a way in keeping with the Wisdom used for the roll.  The Player may also choose to have the Wizard die at this point.  The Wizard may not defeat this Shadow until a new Adventure Cycle.  However, another Wizard may now Claim the Shadow.

      Whether the Wizard succeeds or fails, all his or her Consequence wounds associated with the Shadow are eliminated.

      III.4 End of Adventure Cycle

      Play sessions are repeated until at least one Shadow has been Faced, whether the result is success or failure.  The group may continue if they wish, but if they do, the Cycle must end when each Wizard has Faced a Shadow.

      When the Adventure Cycle ends, the group may continue play at III.1 Character Preparation.

      IV. Inspiration & References
        [*] The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Leguin
        [*] Sorcerer and Trollbabe by Ron Edwards
        [*] My Life With Master by Paul Czege
        - Alan

        A Writer's Blog:


        weird, I just noticed that the times of all posts change when you log in. how will this affect the deadline?

        Quote from: Ben LehmanI read through my text last night, and noticed a metric ton of typos, continuity errors, and not-entirely-followed through terminology changes.  Uch.

        buddy, I wrote a good-sized paragraph about "the Bobility". whatever *that* is.

        I'm going to let it slide.
        John Laviolette
        (aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
        rpg projects:


        I live in CST, and by my watch, you have about 10 minutes.  The Forge time stamp on my machine is 5 hours ahead of CST.

        Get crackin' kids.

        So, who wants to place a bet?  Seriously.  I may start a pool with a $2 entry fee via PayPal.  (I'm not sure it is entirely legal, so we'll call it... donating... yeah, that's the ticket)

        Anyway, I'll set it up tomorrow if people want in.  1/3 will be shaved to kick back to the winner, something like 40 cents to the PayPal.  I'll set odds based on votes and such (y'know, standard bookie racket).

        I can invite Ernst&Young to officiate, but frankly, fuck 'em.


        Walt Freitag

        The Arabian Nights ON ICE FAMILY SPECTACULAR

        Conflict Cards: Core Set

        Note that this must necessarily be a representative sample. In this game the Conflict cards take the place of adventure modules, monster compendia, and setting encyclopedias. A complete set of approximately 100 or so cards would be somewhat beyond the scope of an Iron Game Chef meal.



        You have broken Solomon's Seal on a strange bottle, and set free a wicked and powerful djinn. Your only hope is to convince the djinn to spare your life.

        Jumps 4
        Footwork 1
        Spins 2
        Synch 2
        Spirals 3
        Lifts 4

        Bonus: The djinn grants you one minor wish, Lifts + 3



        One of the less powerful ifrit is vexing you, giving you ill luck, stealing your possessions, posing as you and turning your friends against you, ruining your reputation.

        Adversity: 2

        Bonus: In the end, you've learned a thing or two from the Ifrit's trickery. Footwork or Synchronization, + 2


        Vengeful Husband

        Rightly or wrongly, this man thinks you've put horns on him. Unless you can convince him otherwise, or deal with him somehow, he's going to have you dragged into court, or take the law into his own hands.

        Jumps 2
        Footwork 1
        Spins 0
        Synch 2
        Spirals 3
        Lifts 1

        Bonus: His wife gives you a gift. Any Theme + 1


        Scheming Vizier

        You've stumbled upon a plot to usurp the throne. If the Vizier knew you know, he'd have you killed. How can you get anyone to believe your warnings of the danger, without becoming a target yourself?

        Jumps 3
        Footwork 3
        Spins 2
        Synch 2
        Spirals 3
        Lifts 3

        Bonus: The Sultan's bodyguard is grateful. Jumps or Lifts + 2


        Maigian Fire-Worshipper

        His evil magic tells him that the stars are right for gaining great power by sacrificing... you!

        Jumps 1
        Footwork 2
        Spins 2
        Synch 1
        Spirals 0
        Lifts 3

        Bonus: Your faith is renewed. Spins or Spirals + 2



        Camels seem strangely uncoordinated on the slippery cold sands. (Especially the back halves.) But you must cross the desert, at all costs.

        Adversity: 1

        Bonus: While suffering from heat stroke, you had a vision of starting a new major world religion. Footwork or Spirals + 2



        While in the Wilderness, you run low on supplies. You need aid, but all you can expect to find in these regions are wild beasts and bands of thieves.

        Jumps 1
        Footwork 3
        Spins 0
        Synch 3
        Spirals 3
        Lifts 1

        Bonus: Your ordeal has toughened you. Spins + 3



        You've suffered a terrible loss, Grief is often literally deadly in Arabian Nights tales, and dying on the ice is a common fate among grief-stricken ice skaters as well. You need to find solace somehow.

        Jumps 3
        Footwork 3
        Spins 2
        Synch 3
        Spirals 1
        Lifts 3

        Bonus: Your neighbors are sympathetic. Lifts or Synch + 2


        Death Sentence

        You've been comdemned by lawful authority to die. You are imprisoned awaiting your execution. You have no contact with anyone except your jailers and your fellow prisoners.

        Jumps 2
        Footwork 1
        Spins 1
        Synch 3
        Spirals 0
        Lifts 2


        Conflict Cards: The Island of Serendib




        You've been sold into slavery, carried across the sea and forced into the service of the Prince of Serendib. Fabulous riches surround you, but they do you no good while you are a slave here.

        Jumps 1
        Footwork 0
        Spins 3
        Synch 3
        Spirals 2
        Lifts 1

        Bonus: You know every secret room and passage of the Prince's palace. Footwork or Jumps + 2

        Use Island of Serendib cards for all complications.



        The most beautiful woman you've ever seen walked past you on the way to the docks on the Tigris, and you could do naught but follow. You followed her all the way to the distant Island of Serendib, by stowing away on one of her ships. She is a powerful princess and doesn't know you exist, but you cannot let minor concerns like that stand in your way.

        Adversity: 3

        Bonus: You have the respect of her family. Synch or Spirals + 2

        Use Island of Serendib cards for all complications.




        Elephant Hunting

        You must kill a mighty elephant, the most fearsome beast ever seen or imagined.

        Adversity: 3

        Bonus: A small fortune in ivory. Lifts + 3



        Someone you care about has been abducted and taken into the jungles in the interior of the Island. If you seek aid you'll lose the trail. Your only choice is to follow immediately into the unfamiliar wilderness.

        Jumps 1
        Footwork 3
        Spins 2
        Synch 2
        Spirals 2
        Lifts 3

        Bonus: You learn of medicinal herbs. Jumps or Spins + 2


        - Walt
        Wandering in the diasporosphere

        Eero Tuovinen

        Quote from: talysman
        weird, I just noticed that the times of all posts change when you log in. how will this affect the deadline?

        I believe that the system shows you your local time, as per what you have set for it. Thus it'll be in some other time (GMT?) when you are not logged in, and in your local time when you log in.

        As far as I'm concerned, it's Tuesday morning right now, and the competition has been over for five minutes. Or something, I'm not entirely cogent on exactly how many hours difference there's between GMT +2 and whatever that official competition time was.
        Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
        Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.


        I think that Mike set the time limit relevant to his own time zone... which, handily enough, is also my time zone.  By my watch, this body gave up the goat about 12 minutes ago.


        Mike Holmes

        First, apollogies for not being able to post for the last couple of days. When I do the next one of these, I'll make sure it ends midweek, so that I can be more assured of being able to respond to concerns.

        The contest is over now. There seems to be some strangeness as to the timestamping, but basically I'm going to assume that everything posted prior to this post is kosher.

        I'm thankful for the consolidations that were done. Per earlier competitions this if fine. That said, for those who did not do any consolidating, this will not affect the judging. It just makes it take a bit longer for me to get through everything. And, given the volume of material, it's going to take me a while.

        As for future formatting, Dav, it's my sincere hope that each of these games finds a form of publishing. Even if it's just webspace somewhere. Posting here can't do justice. This will undoubtedly take differing timeframes on each poster's part, so I'm not sure if we can organize links to them all in one thread or not. It may have to suffice that they all just get posted in the resources pages or somthing. Still, if someone wants to organize a central page or something, that would be really cool. (I'm also thinking that an anthology like the NPA might be cool - might get some of these published in salable form which has not been the case in previous competitions.

        So, a big thanks to everyone who participated. Thanks, too, to the people who split off threads to discuss matters elsewhere to keep this thread from becoming intolerably long. I'm off now to sample everything in detail and write up notes. Should be a really fun, if loooong task. I'll be posting the results to this thread when I have them. Good luck to each and every Game Chef who put in an entry.

        Member of Indie Netgaming
        -Get your indie game fix online.

        Jonathan Walton

        On that note...

        I'm going to be posting Seadog Tuxedo (in a somewhat revised form) as part of my RPGnet column next week, once Mike gets a chance to go through them all and announce winners.  There will definitely be links back to this thread, but I'd also like to link to any Iron Chef games that are posted on the web.  If all of the participants can get their games up somewhere in the next week (in whatever form they're in at that point), that's 20+ games for people to read and lots of positive attention for each of us and The Forge.

        If you don't have webspace, I can loan you some.  That shouldn't be an issue.  If you can't do HTML, that's cool.  I'll do it for you.  Send me the text formatted like you would in a Forge post, with [ tags ], and I'll do the rest.  I'd really like to get these games out there for people to gawk at.  It would give us all the opportunity to solicit additional feedback as well.  I could post author's emails (in a non-bot-friendly format) in addition to links to their games, so people could send you comments.

        In any case, PM or email me if you're interested, sending me the link to your page, if you're doing it yourself, or the HTML file, or the formatted text.  Let me know if I can post your email address.  Also, let me know your real name or a handle that you prefer to be known by.


        I put my game up on my website so it's easier to find.  The link is:
        --- Jonathan N.
        Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters


        Quote from: Valamir***News Flash***
        This just in....

        Dateline Kitchen Arena

        Son of Iron Chef is within just a couple of posts of being the single longest thread in Forge history, toppling at long last the dreadful ramblings of Knight vs. Samurai.  

        Currently Son of Iron Chef stands as the third most viewed thread of all time, although still a good ways behind the venerable "Driftwood Progress Report" for top honors.

        ***News Flash Update***

        Dateline Kitchen Arena

        Son of Iron Chef is now officially the most posted to and most viewed thread in Forge history.

        Obviously a lot of interest in culinary delight.

        For reference:

        Iron Game Chef - Simulationist is #4 in both posts and views
        24 Hour Game is #7 most posted and #10 most viewed
        Iron Game Chef Lives is #20 in posts and #14 in views.