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Long Pig the RPG: Would you play it?

Started by iago, April 16, 2003, 10:18:12 PM

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Great stuff, Dave, thanks!

Quote from: Dave PanchykA Deadlands game, once, in which the theme was thirst turning lost pioneers into critters. The GM turned up the heat in the apartment; when finally someone noticed, he rounded up all the drinks and restricted bathroom access.

"Dear Player, Please come to a special one-shot RPG I've prepared. I'll be providing [player's favorite food, determined beforehand], so be sure to come hungry."

The TV show Survivor's Reward Challenges.

...And everybody loves chocolate, right?

Oh, ouch.  My melting heart...


Here's my second run at the intro.

QuoteAre You Ready?

Can you see the humor in cannibalism? If you can't, this is not a game for you. Eaten recently? Not for you, either. The game is best played at least a little hungry. On a diet? The game uses actual food as part of play. When done best, it's tempting, but probably at least a little bad for you, food. Don't play it if you can't face it.

If you can see the humor in cannibalism, expect to giggle darkly.  If you haven't eaten recently, you'll find your character's appetite familiar and close at hand.  If you're not on a diet, snacks are on their way.

What's Long Pig About?

Long Pig is a role-playing game.  Chances are you know what this means.  In this particular case, we follow a pretty standard model.  There's a gamemaster who puts together a loose story structure for the players to wreak havoc in, and there are players who are definitely, clearly, obviously not playing people who are like themselves.  I hope.

The idea for Long Pig comes out of a certain caveat that I've seen here and there when playing games that use glass beads, poker chips, loose change, or what-have-you for counters: Don't Use Candy, Because The Players Might Eat Their Counters.

In Long Pig, however, that's exactly the point.  

To start with, your characters are cannibals, not to put too fine a point on it. They eat their own kind. Indeed, they hunger to do so.  Some may have only a minor appetite for the flesh of the living and can restrain their urges.  Others are overwhelmed by the desire and may seem more beasts than men.

Legends abound about the purposes and effects of cannibalism, and one of the first decisions to be made is which ones are true.  The act may be viewed as a simple madness.  It may be that a man can tap into a terrible power by eating his enemy.  The bones of certain people -- virgins, babes, rock stars, televangelists -- might be fashioned into potent magical items.  Everyone starts with a reason for their unique cuisine.

But ultimately, it comes down to the demands of one's appetite.  And once you eat long pig, you can never go back...

It is the gamemaster's job to play sadist, to some extent.  She tempts with one hand and stymies with the other.  The players will have some pretty straightforwardly driving goals, at the very least -- find viable foodstuffs (humans) and arrange the circumstances to eat them.  The gamemaster takes steps to see that this is not easy, and to make sure that the players are really feeling their characters' hungers.  

This latter bit is accomplished by representing the prey with "real life" temptations for the players.  What exactly those are might vary from session to session and from player to player.  For some it might be chocolate.  For others, salty snack foods.  Cookies.  Peanuts.

Regardless -- and this is where the player and the gamemaster have to trust one another -- the chosen food has to be something that represents a genuine "I have a hard time not eating that if it's in front of me" temptation for the player.  And it has to be divided up into units that do not, individually, fully satisfy the need.  You can't eat just one ... but one's all you'll get at a time.  More on this later.

This is not a game to take seriously.  However, the degree to which you play your characters "straight" is up to you.  On one end of the spectrum is a kind of gory slapstick, "Weekend at Bernie's" with a few serving platters and long knives.  On the other end of the spectrum is something where the characters are dark and damned, and the laughter rises out of subtler things, irony, satire, etcetera.  

Furthermore, it's possible to play this game without a single gory description, with all the violence implied, off-screen, or euphemized.  It's also possible to make it a full-tilt gross-out contest.  Neither one is better than the other -- as with the humor level, it's all about common taste.

It's your call as to where you'll set these options, but make sure your choices are agreeable to your fellow players.  This game only manages to be fun if everyone is into the idea of it being fun, and one dissonant choice can derail the whole thing for everyone.  It's important that you take the time and care to see that the dish that is served is one everyone's interested in digging into.

Spooky Fanboy

Straightforward without any undue coyness or shots at the gag reflex. I like it. Keep it.
Proudly having no idea what he's doing since 1970!

Rich Ranallo

Well, you've got the temptation to consume human flesh nailed perfectly.  But you need to add in the element of revulsion that soon follows.  There are two ways to do this.

First, pair each tempting food with a disgusting food.  Sixty seconds after the player gets his reward, he has to eat something awful, preferably a taste that'll linger for a long time.  Since no food is available otherwise, the player will strive to get the "good stuff" in order to wash away the bad taste.

Second, change it from snack foods to a really delicious meal, preferably with lots of meat and sauces (lasagna seems perfect here).  As the character chows down on his fellow species-mates, the player digs into his lasagna...all the while, the GM describes, in vicious detail, the grisly details of the human flesh being consumed.  If that doesn't make things hard enough for the player to eat, the GM starts to tell the player all the memories of the person being eaten...details of the victim's life, loved ones left behind, the beautiful details that will never be felt again, etc.  The further the player can go in this process, the more power the character gains from the corpse.

This is getting farther from being an RPG and closer to being a mad Communist psychological torture program.

I like it.
"Rock and Roll will be the new planetary culture, believe it or not."
-Prof. Michio Kaku


If you really want to push Rich's suggestion, you could also sometimes require people to eat, and then have (as he suggests) pasta or lasagna.  So late in the game, people are forced to eat yet another plate of spaghetti, leading to extreme revulsion and nausea.  And wacky hijinks ensue!  :p
Chris Lehrich


Actually, I might just go for a toned-down version of Rich's suggestion, in that the player is instructed to savor the reward they get, but it's the GM's job to describe things that create a clash of yuck image against yum taste.

As someone pointed out earlier, I don't want this to be a bank-breaker in terms of the investment of money in foodstuffs.