I ran a game of 1001 Nights at SteveCon Paris IV on Saturday. We were sitting in the back bar of the Mayflower pub up in the Left Bank 5ieme arrondissement. The three other players had not played the game before although a couple of them had experience of Polaris and other indie games.
The characters chosen were a low-class cook(F), a frightening executioner (M), a playboy composer (M) and a bright mathematician (M). Character generation went pretty well and it was quickly picked up that the senses could be interpreted methaphorically, although the executioner did go for very literal 'powers', stating for example that he could smell fresh blood withing a kilometre radius.
We managed three rounds of stories. I started with the tale of the Three Monkeys, these being blind, deaf and limping respectively. I didn't have too much direction at the start but player suggestions about curses lead to a story about an army of monkeys under a purple banner trying to besiege a city of monkeys under a yellow banner. Our three brave monkeys managed to overcome their infirmities and using team work managed to get the ingredients from a Djinn to reform the monkey nation under a single yellow/purple banner. At which point the curse was lifted and the monkeys became whole men. The moral of the story was that personal circumstances are nought in the face of cooperation and the input of all is equally valued.
The second story was about the Merchant and Death. I played the wife. The merchant saw death, looking at him in a puzzled way, early one morning in Baghdad. He found out he was to die that evening and tried to bargain with death. His wife found out that the solution lay many miles away in Samarkand. The merchant called in favours to get a magic carpet but once in Samarkand was imprisoned by a creditor. The merchant had told the creditor that he had seen death looking at him and could save him. The creditor said fine, if I'm dead in the morning then I'll wipe your debt away, if not, you die instead. In the meantime the wife found a beggar who wanted to die, bathed and fed him, gave him a pleasant day and asked Death to take him instead. But Death said that the beggar was not important enough to the wife for it to be a fair exchange, so she slept with the beggar making him acceptable to death who killed him. It transpired that the beggar had been scheduled to die the next day so the wife only got a day's grace for her husband. In the end the creditors daughter was taken ill and the merchant exchanged his life for hers, although his creditor allowed him to spend his last day as a prince. And that quizzical look from death, he was wondering why the merchant was in Baghdad when he was schedulued to die in Samarkand.
The final story was the Fall of Baghdad. The Mongols were outside the gates but their hordes had not yet overrun the city because the Mongol King loved the Queen of Baghdad. The other player was the Queen's kinght. This game was played in a hurry and a bit more for laughs because the Mongol King had to go home. The knight managed to summon up enough courage to defeat an illusionaty snake and drown the Mongol hordes in a great flood.
Overall the reaction was very positive, comparisons were made to Polaris and it was noted that whilst there were more opportunities for creativity in 1K1N, it being less constrained that Polaris, that this was also quite scary. Players also said that they would have liked to have seen more direct impact of the PCs' senses on the game. Everyone really liked the bit at the end of the story in which the story was related to events at the Palace. Two of the four PCs died. I got my first ambition to be seen as a creative equal to the composer and my second was to sleep with him. His was to sleep with the Sultan's wife. It transpired that he managed to sleep with her but I found them together and out of jealousy told the Sultan who had us both killed. Him for his actions and me in case I revealed what had happened.
The other two players had been concentrating more on liberty and the mathematician almost managed to start his own college.
In all a very enjoyable evening.
Wonderful! Thanks so much for letting me know how it ran. I've been thinking about the senses, and how ti make them more integrated, but I have yet to hit on a good solution.