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Whispers in the Dark

Whispers in the Dark

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Published by Jacob Poss

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Published by: Jacob Poss on Apr 14, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Whispers In The Dark 
A Storytelling Game Of Life And Loss For Four People
By Jacob Possin
In life choices surround you. Often it feels as though we are sitting in the dark with only thevaguest notion of where to go, or what to do. This game attempts to show the different ways that a lifecan go. Will the story follow the path of the Mystic or the path the Magi? Will it involve self control or self destruction? You and your friends get to decide.This is a storytelling Game. That means that through the act of play you and the other playerswill create a story. This is not your story. This is the story of an, as yet, unnamed character. To play thisgame you will need: this document, the story sheet in the back, something to write with, a standarddeck of 52 playing cards plus one joker, three other people to play with, and a fair amount of imagination.When you sit down to the table, you will need to decide which Lantern you will play as. Alantern is a guide, showing the path. Each player will take the position of one of the lanterns. Each hasa goal in how the story turns out. The roles are The Will, The Doctor, Jack, and Coyote. Each will bedescribed more fully as the rules progress.Once you have decided on the roles the cards must be dealt. Coyote will shuffle, the doctor willcut, The Will deals five cards face down in the center of the table, and Jack evenly distributes theremainder of the cards. At this point there should be five cards face down in the center of the table andeach player should have twelve cards in their hands.Play will progress through four three trick rounds. Each round is called a season and representsa moment in the Character's life: Spring representing youth, Summer representing adulthood, Autumnrepresenting middle-age, and Winter representing old age. At each stage one of the players will flip thestory card over and announce the story event of that season. The winner of each trick gets to tell part of the story of that event, the beginning, the climax, and the fallout. At the end of all four rounds the player, or players, with the most tricks flip the last story card and get to announce the legacy of thecharacter.This is a Whist style game, meaning it is a game with trump cards. In normal play the personwho won the last trick goes first. The card the player lays is the card to beat. You must follow suit,meaning if the first player lays down a nine of clubs you must play a club if you have one in your hand.If you do not then you can play any card in your hand. Off suit cards count as less than suited cards,unless they are trump. Trump beats any other card except trump. If there is more than one trump laidthen high trump wins that trick.In this game trump changes depending on the season: Spring is Hearts, Summer is Diamonds,Autumn is Clubs, and Winter is spades. In each season the player who flips the story card and plays thefirst card is also different. In Spring it is The Will, in Summer it is The Doctor, in Autumn it is Jack,and in Winter it is Coyote.The Joker bears mentioning on its own. When it is played as a story card it acts as normal for astory card. But when it is played it cancels out that trick. Meaning the character will flounder in lifethere. When played the person who would have won describe what they would have liked to happen,then the one who played the joker tells how the character didn't accomplish that do to non action or fear of failure.
Creating The Story
Before the cards are shuffled or dealt, but after the roles are assigned. Write down who is inwhat role. At this time also decide on gender and name of the character and write those down on thesheet. Then comes the shuffling and dealing. Then spring begins.The Will flips over the top card in the story pile in the middle of the table. Then look up what
that card means in the Story Cards section. Use that description as inspiration for the first event in thecharacter's life. Then as each trick is won, the winner of that dictates how the beginning, the climax,and the fallout for that event go. Write each of these down in brief on the play sheet.The beginning is the character's initial response to the event. This leads up to the climax butdoes not cover it. The climax is the high point in the event. The fall out is how well the character is perceived by others. The character can try to manipulate them to seeing bad actions as good and viceversa.This follows with Summer and The doctor, Autumn and Jack, and finally Winter and Coyote.When all four seasons are complete, the one with the most tricks wins and gets to flip the last card andlook it up to find out what the legacy will be. They then describe it using the perspective of their role.If more then one person ties for most tricks then those that tied must cut the deck high card winsand that person gets to describe the legacy as before.
The RolesThe Will:
You seek to inspire the character to take control of his destiny. In every situation seek to bring the character's will into it. Never go with the flow. Yours is the path of hardshipand conquest.
The Doctor:
You seek to protect the character. Everything you do is focused on the safe path. Not always the easy path, but always the safe.
You seek to derail the character. Force him into self indulgence and self destruction.When you can get him to be as selfish as possible.
you are a teacher and pain is your best tool. You seek to put hardship in the way of thecharacter and to inspire that character to overcome that hardship. Always seek the harder  path, the creative path. Necessity is the mother of invention and you are the father of necessity.
Story CardsAce:
Something New has come about. Either new fortune, love interest, obstacles, or something likethat.
 Examples: Spring, new boy/girl moves in down the street(friendship/romance); Summer, thecharacter is in a new location(away from home for the first time); Autumn, the character hasinformation that would make their company a lot of money(insider trading, friend of a friend, or legitimate); Winter, Moved to an old folks home(willing? Unwilling? Does the character need it?)
two attractive people are after the character for something.
 Examples: Spring, two friends fromdifferent cliques both want the character to stop seeing the other one and join the “right” clique(what does the character do?); Summer, Two love interests are after the character for whatever reason(is thechoice clear and one of them just can't see it? Does the character try to string both along?); autumn,the character loves their spouse but the new person at work has been sending signals(does thecharacter respond? Feel flattered? Is horrified?); Winter, Stay with the character's family, or go to theretiremnt village in Boca? Both have their good points(what does the character do? In what manner dothey do it?)
A sudden unexpected turn. Either something the character thought was going well isn't or something they thought was going badly suddenly goes better.
 Examples: Spring, the bully befriendsthe character for some reason(blackmail, mistaken identity, something else); Summer, the character'sroommate suddenly leaves(now the character does not have enough for rent, why did the roommateleave, what happened?); Autumn, win the lottery(who tries to hang on, how does the character respond to this much money and attention?); Winter, A good friend, seemingly in good health dies(response,does the character have any other friends left?).
A moment of calm, the status quo continues. The character wishes for things to continue like thisforever. What will the character do to keep it this way?
 Examples: Spring, life couldn't be sweeter, thecharacter has friends they can depend on and a stable home life(what will the character do to keep that  going?); Summer: the character has a steady girl/guy, a decent place to live and enough to get by(How
does the character decide to move forward? Marriage proposal, buy a house, get a better paying  job?); Autumn: the character gets a promoted fairly regularly, if married the spouse adores thecharacter, people at work like the character(how does the character screw it up? What does thecharacter see as their greatest need?); Winter: A safe retirement, the character planned ahead and nowthings are where they thought they would be(is the character bored? Does the character wish to do something crazy?).
things change for the worse. Finances go bad, relationships sour. The character must respond tosomething personal outside of their control.
 Examples: Spring, the character moves right before someimportant event(how does the character respond?); Summer: the relationships in the character's life sour unexpectedly(who pulled away from the character? Why are they spreading rumors? What will the character do about it?); Autumn, the character is suddenly laid off(how will the character makeends meet?); Winter, the character's health turns for the worst(how prepared is the character? Doesthe character cling to life no matter what or accept what comes?).
some external force helps out. The character's friends or family are their for the character whether they are wanted or not.
 Examples: Spring, Parents seek to give the character the best experience ever, signing the character up for loads of extra-curricular activities(how does the character react?Outrage, acceptance, enjoyment, resentment?); Summer, the clingy significant other(response?); Autumn, the boss takes an interest in the character's life(how does this make the character feel, howdoes the character react?)
Betrayal and theft. People the Character trusted do wrong by the character.
 Examples: Spring, suddenly one of the character's friends is in a different clique(how does this change the relationship? How does the character react?); Summer: The character may not have had much, but what was thereis now gone, pawned by a “friend”(why did they pawn it? Will the character forgive? Will they presscharges?); Autumn, spouse is cheating on the character(what caused the spouse to go astray? Was it mutual? What happens next?); Winter, the grand kids are fighting over the will and the character is not even dead yet(respond)
the character feels trapped by the humdrum life. How does the character attempt to break free of the rat race?
 Examples: Spring, every day is the same, wake up , school, work on home work, goof off  for an hour, bed.(how does the character break free? What happens to the character next?); Summer,College and a loser late night job, barely awake, seeing the world pass by(does the character have the fortitude to stick it out, or do they drop out and do something less conformist?); Autumn, working at the same dead end job for years, six bosses, TPS reports! Something must be done(what is the dreamthe character seeks? What is the tipping point at work?); Winter; every day the same routine, nothing changes. Then one day it stops, death(how does the character stave off depression? What makes them feel alive?)
Illness, either the character gets sick or someone close does.
 Examples: Spring, The character has a rare condition that is chronic and separates them from the other kids(how does that make thecharacter stronger or weaker? How does the character compensate?); Summer, A parent gets cancer(isthe other parent still involved? Do they care? Can they make enough money to get by? How does thecharacter help? Do they help?); Autumn, the character needs to take care of elderly parents(do they goin a home? Can the character do it themselves? Are there siblings to help out or interfere?); Winter, thecharacter is in chronic pain all the time from the various maladies that afflict them(how do theyrespond?)
Multiple problems hit at once. Look over the list and pick three problems, all of those happen atonce. How does the character react?
 Examples: look over previous for now.
A child shows up. How does the character React?
 Examples: Spring, baby sibling(was thecharacter firstborn? How do they react to the loss of attention? Was the baby planned? Does thehousehold expenses affect the character?); Summer, the character or the character's significant other  gets unexpectedly pregnant(does the character have the means to take care of a child? What happens

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