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[Challenge: Play This!] Rebellion in the Mushroom Kingdom

Started by Marshall Burns, June 18, 2009, 11:22:13 PM

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Marshall Burns

This is a contest. There won't be a prize, because I can't afford to put one up, but it's still a contest.
It's a play contest, you dig?

Do at least one session of roleplaying using the Setting, Characters, and Situation below, and post an AP about it. You may use any System you like, and you may tweak Color to taste. Just make sure you're prepared to explain the System if it's not one that I'm familiar with, k?

The AP doesn't have to be super-detailed fiction-wise. Just gimme the major plot points, and maybe one good vignette. What I really want to know about is how you applied the System, because of...

You will be scored based on your choice of System, and how you apply it: I'm looking for how well it interfaces with and supports the thematic elements present in the stuff below. This means that, during the AP or a following discussion, you must describe the actual de facto System used in play!

Fiction itself will only enter into scoring as a tiebreaker. In that case, I'll be looking at the awesomeness quotient of the fiction, based on nothing but my own tastes. Which are incredibly varied, so don't sweat it; just do your thing honestly.

Obviously, custom hacks will be at something of an advantage here, but that's okay because they're harder to make.

Lord knows that it can take a while to organize some play, especially if it's something weird like this, so the deadline to have your APs posted is midnight (Central US Time), August 1st.

This Setting is basically the Mushroom Kingdom from the Super Mario Bros. series of video games. If you're not familiar with it, don't worry. Research it or fill in the blanks with your own imagination. It's basically just a fantasy thing anyway. You know how to do fantasy, right?

The Mushroom Kingdom is large and contains many different sentient species. The ruling class are the Mushroom People, led by the divine-right monarch, the Mushroom King. They are rich and civilized, and grown fat off the labor of the other nations. They rule with an iron fist, and all the other peoples chafe under their yoke. The Goombas, for instance, are working-class mushrooms, and are little more than a slave class. The Pidgits are Sufi-like mystics, forbidden to practice their religion. The Flurries of the frozen north are a theocratic tribe that worships the great whales – whales which are being fished into extinction. The Dry Bone Clan of the proud Koopa Nation are the caretakers of the ancient remains of the Koopa ancestors, whose tombs are being defiled in excavations for mineral resources. Get the picture?

The Koopa Nation are the second largest population (the first being the Mushroom People). Although subjugated by the too-numerous Mushroom People, they are a proud, warlike culture. They evolve rapidly, and natural selection is the crux of their culture. Their strongest member is always elevated to chief – partially because he could kill and eat anyone who opposed him, but mostly because that's the way they want it. Their chief is, in effect, an elected official, in that he governs with the consent of the governed.

Princess Peach is a human who entered this world through some strange circumstance as a baby. She was raised as a Mushroom Person and adopted by the King. They called her Peach because of the tone of her skin relative to the fungus white of the Mushroom People.

Bowser is the most highly-evolved of the Koopa yet, and has been proven through lifelong struggle to be the strongest and most ruthless. By their customs, this entitles him to be chieftain. His rule is hard and ruthless, because that's what the Koopa WANT.

Kamek, Bowser's advisor, is the only known sorcerer in the world, and a socialist with ambitions of political reform. He is low on the evolutionary ladder, and if not for his mysterious power he would be a third-class citizen of the Koopa. He sees in Bowser the tools for change and convinces Bowser to ally with the other oppressed cultures (who put aside their differences to unite against a common foe) and secede from the Mushroom King. Bowser names himself King of the Koopa, and the rebellion begins.

Of course, as happens in all the games, Bowser has just kidnapped Princess Peach. But here's why: unaware that Peach is not a fungus, he sees her and interprets her differences as evolutionary advancements. He sees in her the only woman in the world as evolved as he is, his only equal. She becomes an obsession, and he kidnaps her (at great personal risk) because he intends to marry her.

Enter into all of this Mario, who is just a plumber from the human world that ended up here by some strange circumstance. Taken in by the Mushroom People and fed on their power mushrooms, he grows to twice his normal height and his strength increases tenfold--making it second only to Bowser's. Toad, the King's chancellor, sees in Mario their chance to retrieve the Princess and turn the tide of the war. Filling Mario's head with propaganda, he convinces Mario to take on the role of champion of the Mushroom people. Trained in the use of the deadly fire flowers and power stars, he is sent on his mission.

Mario, Bowser, Peach, and Kamek are the PCs. If you want to bring Luigi or Yoshi into it, then do so, but they have to be NPCs.

Mario's desire is to do the right thing, his goal is to save the Princess, and his issue is power--he's just been granted a ton of it, way more than he had as a plumber, and must learn to use it with prudence.

Bowser's desire is to achieve the independence of his people, his goal is to marry the Princess, and his issue is mercy and discretion--he's one helluva hammer and EVERYTHING looks like a nail.

Peach's desire is also to do the right thing, her goal is to escape from Bowser, and her issue is class--seeing herself as superior to everyone else and seeing Bowser as an upstart, ungrateful vassal.

Kamek's desire is equality, his goal is to effect political change, and his issue is confrontation--because he fears direct conflict, he is attempting to manipulate a dangerous person, a person who does not even share his ideals, to get his goals. (I suggest but do not require that Kamek's magic be accomplished through some sort of foreign agency, such as familiar spirits, such that even when using THAT he still is not approaching things directly.)

So, that's the thing. Now go do it!


Eero Tuovinen

Why pre-determine the PCs? Seems to me that it'd be better to let the players fit the scenario into their system of choice by looking at it and deciding for themselves who are the interesting characters to play.

This is a very bad time for this sort of contest, at least for me. I'd really want to participate, but I'm tied down with the impending Gencon.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.

Joel P. Shempert

Bitch, bitch, bitch. It looks like a fun challenge, I'm quite interested to play, and honestly. . .no contest will ever have exactly the parameters you want. For any given designate of "you." A contest or other event could always have had different parameters, or been held at a different time, or whatever, etc. etc. ad infinitum. This Play Challenge is what it is. Participation is self-selecting. Can't people just either like it or not, and move on?

Marshall, have you posted that Setting/Situation dealie somewhere before? It sounds familiar. I love it; it's like Wicked for Mario Bros. i hope to play something with this sometime this summer.

Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.

Marshall Burns

This contest is about implementing a system to deal with particular sorts of issues and conflicts. In order to compare implementations, the [starting] conflicts & issues need to be the same for all contestants; ergo, predetermined setting, situation, and characters.

And, don't worry about being tied down. I plan to do more challenges like this.

Yeah, I've posted a version of this scenario on Story Games once.
And also, thank you! Wicked for Mario Bros. was exactly what I was going for!

Joel P. Shempert

I played it! I played it!

It was quick and dirty and awesome. I actually used my own beta-test system, Spectre of the Beast, Worked like a charm. I'll be posting a report soon, possibly on Story Games.

Thanks for the challenge, Marshall! My friends and I loved it!

Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.

Marshall Burns

Ah well. Deadline's well past, and no APs. Happens.

But anybody's still welcome to try it. And, Joel, I still expect to see your AP :)

Joel P. Shempert

AP's up! I posted it on over on Storygames in the hopes that all the Mario craziness would appeal to that crowd. The bottom line is that I used my own game, Spectre of the Beast, it was a great fit, and we had a blast!

Thanks for the idea, Marshall! i'll look forward to seeing your reaction.

Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.