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No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission in writing of the author, nor be circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

No Dice The Core Book
by Leo Stableford & Suzanne Jordan Illustrated by Justin Wyatt

Leo's Dedication It is only fitting that my dedication should be to Ian, who entertained many hours of conversation about plots, writing, entertainment and culture and has been unfortunate, or fortunate, enough to miss the birth of No Dice first hand. I hope he'll spread the good word down under. Justin's Dedication For my Mum and Dad for their continual support and encouragement. Without my father`s artistic genes, none of this would be possible. And for Damian, Glen, Mark and Simon, my original gaming buddies - the reason I am still gaming today. Sue's Dedication This one is for my kids, Abby and Jasmine.

A Brief Note About The Free PDF In case you weren't aware the No Dice Core Book is now, and will always be, available as a freely downloadable PDF. Not only is it freely downloadable it's freely distributable, freely copyable, freely say-how-cool-it-is-and-recommendothers-download-it-or-get-a-copy-from-you-able. We wrote this book because we believe that Role Playing is the best hobby in the world. It brings people together, it lights up their imagination, it gives them a little taste of abilities they can't really have, it allows them to succeed in deeds of heroism people rarely have a chance to perform. We also think that it should be an affordable hobby. But we can only live up to our own standards if those people who are interested in the product and who like the product tell other people about it, involve them, and get No Dice out there being played in game groups. We want to give you the tools to play great games and, further, to make your own great games too. So if you liked the PDF, if you bought the book, please get other people involved. Even if you know they're going to look at the PDF and no more. We're going to go on the record and say we don't care about piracy. If you're that much of a douche that you're going to enjoy our stuff while not actually rewarding us for our work then go ahead. We're not going to lose sleep over those people and we don't consider their patronage to be worth much of anything. What we do need is for the large majority of our audience who are honest and support our mission to hear about it and buy our product. Then everyone will be a winner. Thanks for reading,

Leo, Sue & Justin The No Dice Team

Table Of Contents
Preface Introduction No Dice Games Player's Guide Characters Host's Guide The Vanilla System Stats Randomisers Plots Non Player Characters (NPCs) Scenarios Traveller's Rest Revelation Point Treasure Of The Caesars Supplement: The Thirty Six Dramatic Situations For Players Supplement: The Thirty Six Dramatic Situations For Hosts
1 5 18 22 27 37 62 66 79 87 116 122 123 142 164 193 217

♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠

This core book seeks to cater for people who may previously have had no interest in Role Playing Games. Because of this, more experienced gamers may be tempted to skip sections to get to the good stuff (leaving all the noobs to wonder what counts as "the good stuff"). Meet The Author (And Some Thank Yous) If I were you I might *not* be thinking: just who the hell are you to be telling me how to Role Play? If you are, wow, aggressive! Even if I didn't have anger management issues, I might wonder where all this new stuff is coming from. I've read a bunch of role playing manuals. I love role playing manuals, particularly the ones that describe worlds and settings and characters; rules-heavy ones not so much, as you shall learn. I would rather read such a manual than any other type of book. Once I have read and taken in the manuals I tend to file them away, forget most of the rules and wonder whether anyone wants to play a game with that setting.

The problem with this is that the core book isn't just a repository for rules. I'm going to try to convey an approach to gaming that, while it is not new, has never really been written down. If we were going to get intellectual about this I would say that No Dice is an RPG that is also a philosophy regarding RPGs.

This isn't meant to be an intellectual burden so we'll leave it at that.


♣ Pure Role Playing ♥
Not that things were always this way. be able to tell you much. The Monster Horrorshow used a mechanic called When I was getting towards nine years "The Absolutely Anything Table" of age in the early eighties Dungeons & which, well, you can probably guess Dragons was just starting to show up on what it did. the radar as a hobby in the UK. Through various means I got hold of Back then I was desperate to play one the rule books and the old style of these games but I couldn't find a polyhedral dice that you had to colour group. Whenever I did find a group all in with a white crayon. I also looked at they wanted to do was roll dice and other systems like the old Middle Earth move pieces around on maps. That Role Playing game, Paranoia and minor wasn't the type of experience I wanted. paperback role playing games like I wanted to be a participant in a story. I Maelstrom and Monster Horrorshow. wanted to play a role. I know what you're thinking, and I did. I studied acting, I went to acting school but I didn't just do acting because at heart I wasn't an actor. I studied Drama & Education which teaches you a lot about improvisation and rolling with the punches. My study there wasn't meant to prepare me to teach drama or to educate actors. It was all about how to present a narrative illusion, techniques to help normal people engage in this kind of play for their entertainment. If you asked me now about the rules to any of these games I wouldn't actually And it didn't stop there.


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
I actually went to college to study media and made a few films but I'm not a film maker either. I've written novels, and will write more, but I'm not strictly speaking a novelist. I've designed out computer games (I am a programmer by day) but I don't want to make a computer game. played a bunch of No Dice. In its earlier days we also played some much clunkier versions (back when there were some dice) with Mike, Nick, Kath, Dave, Kenton, Clive and a bunch of others. Special mentions go to JC; whose game weekends gave us a first crop of willing testers; and super storybased GM Alex who, while he has I am a role player, a story teller, never partaken in early No Dice, has a someone who wanted to share a fiction healthy disrespect for crunch getting in game with the world. Those friends of the way of a role playing session (even mine who enjoy this pursuit number so the running time of his games are among them some people who would legendary but only because of their take an opportunity to role play like epic sweep). this before considering any other way of spending time. Finally thanks go to all of the players who've helped to test the system, Some of these friends have helped me offered help, suggestions, feedback, enormously in the development of this food and drink throughout the process, very game. One of them is my Justin, Sue and myself are all glad to wonderful partner, a woman who know you. wouldn't play Dungeons & Dragons unless you paid her a hefty sum. She is These happy few would rather role the one that proved to me Role Playing play than watch a movie, they would as a hobby could have a broader appeal rather role play than go out to a than it currently does. So in a way this restaurant, or bungee jump, or engage book is kind of her fault. in any other activity or distraction. These folk will roll a dice and play a As a team all at No Dice need to thank board game but will freely admit they'd John, Matt, Owen and Ben who have rather be role playing, with an


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emphasis on the "role". The game that my closest friends and I have been looking for has fewer rules than most other games. It helps the players play their character in situations as diverse as fighting, to finding the dirt on a politician, to having tea with the Queen. It introduces people to strange worlds filled with compelling detail. It would be a game that would be a head on collision between the imagination required to read a book and the freedom of thought allowed in a great movie. but such games have never been formalised. Usually a story game is another kind of game that has been altered or "hacked" to make it ruleslite. We all turn up, clutching our dice bags and we play the game the way we want to play it. Everyone rolls their dice a few times though, in supplication to the gods of role playing who demand such things. On With The Show

No Dice is the product of a history in love with role playing, movies, acting, writing and, most of all, great stories. The world didn't have that kind of We all hope you enjoy trying to tune in game exactly, many near misses but the to No Dice and wish you exciting and cigar has gone unclaimed. So I'm taking engaging adventures with your players. my shot at inventing one. Let's learn about the No Dice way of Not to say I haven't played in exactly doing things, shall we? the kinds of game I enjoy taking part in


Welcome to a very different role playing experience.

♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠

players and someone to chair the adventure, this person has the role of Host. If it is you Hosting a game then No Dice is not just a new role playing you will be in charge of introducing game, it's a new type of role playing your players to new worlds, strange game. This book contains everything characters and dramatic situations. If you will need to run a No Dice game No Dice was a board game the players (except maybe a pack of playing cards, would be the pieces and the Host but you can do without one in a pinch). would be everything else, the board, The advice in this book will guide you the chance cards, the fake money and, from the point where all you have is er, the dice, except there are no dice, thin air right through to the point remember? everyone's asking where to get hold of a copy of this awesome game. Anyway... The game is a Role Playing Game (AKA RPG) but if you're expecting wizards, goblins and trolls then you might be in for a surprise. This game is about whatever you want it to be about. It doesn't require swathes of free time as a satisfactory No Dice adventure could happen over an afternoon or an evening. Each game will consist of a group of Whereas each player in the game will be in charge of their character the Host is in charge of the rest of the game world. The Host is there to cater to the expectations the players have for their experience. That doesn't mean the players will get everything the way they want for their characters, rather it means the players will trust you to be impartial. Being the Host is something


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of a responsibility but don't worry, with a little coaching I know you'll be fine. traditional hobby has taken. I think I can offer some solutions to some of the problems current systems have but I can't really describe any solutions When the experienced role players see without describing some of the the next subtitle they may be tempted problems. That's where a little crash to look for the exit from this part of the course in Role Playing history comes show. I know it's tempting to leave the in. inexperienced behind to see Roleplaying 101 by themselves. To The thing is, you're probably at more of those people, have a read, it might an advantage with No Dice if you don't explain a few things about the rest of know exactly what role playing is, or the book to you that will help you historically has been. A long time decide if you're still interested or not. gamer might be tempted to draw a line between a murder mystery party and a Roleplaying 101 good old hack and slash slice of Dungeons & Dragons. A heavy line, in These days most game designers seem ultra bold permanent marker, that to assume that their readers will just shows the workmen where to put the know what role playing is and where it huge brick wall. came from. I designed this game, with the help of my wonderful testing elves, Trust me the murder mystery party to be an RPG with a more broad based enthusiasts are busy drawing that same appeal. Because of this I'm going back line. I would imagine neither side and reviewing where Role Playing has realise that the line connects them come from so that the past can form a rather than separating them. See, it basis for moving forward. turns out they've drawn it the wrong way. They should be standing at either I wanted No Dice to offer an end of it not on either side of it. It isn't alternative to some of the routes the really a line, more a scale.


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Your "hardcore" roleplayer has a name for a murder mystery party and that name is LARP, this is an acronym for "Live Action Roleplay". I think that people who enjoy a murder mystery dinner party not only have no idea they are role playing but might deny the fact if it came up in conversation. legendary Brick Wall of Role Playing halfway along they stand behind the Murder Mystery party mob looking off towards the even more remote world of acting.

Just to muddy the waters even further there are another group of people, known to role players but not murder mystery evening organisers, called LARPers who are the ambassadors for the concrete hobby of LARPing. They're the ones standing very close to the wall on the role playing side. There tend to be two main subclasses of LARPer: Vampire LARPers and Fantasy Combat LARPers, although there are many more sub genres. Vampire LARPs tend towards the Role Well, now we're getting into a whole new area of confusion. See, if you are Playing end of the scale and Fantasy reenacting a battle you know ahead of Combat LARPs... well... time whether you're destined to be covered in mud, blood and glory or You see, there are these dudes called reenactors, groups like The Sealed Knot reviled as the infamous losers of history. get together and, well, reenact historical events. Is this role playing? On our imaginary scale with the Similarly, if you find yourself in the


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shoes of King Duncan in Macbeth, probably best to cancel any long term plans. Also, there's no room for witty ad libs in an interpretation of the bard. But role playing is not acting. Knowing who's going to win ahead of time doesn't make you a reenactor any more than it makes you a professional wrestler (actually they only find out during the match who's supposed to win, but this is a detail). The fact is, if you ask the question “what is roleplaying?” then unless you have blinkers on the number of things that could satisfy the requirement is huge. If you then go on to ask who participates then I would guess roughly a third of humanity consciously participates in some form of role playing and the other two thirds... well, daydreaming you're a rock star is role playing of a sort... communal storytelling. The exact nature of this meeting has many similarities (and sometimes directly correlates with) the hobby known as table top role playing, with the bonus that by default the top of no table is actually necessary during No Dice. You can probably tell that this is the effect of having No Dice, the tops of tables being excellent locations for the rolling of platonic solids covered in numbers. I want to be quite plain on one thing, this game is about the story. Many similar games are about, well, fighting really and if you like your stories to be about fighting then those are the games for you; actually, this could be the game for you too, there's no prohibition on fighting in a No Dice game but it's just one of a number of No Dice options.

If you would like a story that might So, now that I've thoroughly confused possibly be about something other than you as to the nature of what I'm about fighting then you're definitely in the to ask you to do let me clarify. right place. This book will have an air When I talk about role playing I am of familiarity to the traditional table talking about a group of people coming top role player but although they'll together to participate in an act of recognise the places they may not agree


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
with the décor. No Dice is an option, not a prescription, not a lifestyle choice and not a panacea for all ills. It's just something a bit different that attempts to give a context to a richer experience for people who have role played before and a new and exciting experience for those who haven't. Before we get down to it, though, maybe I should draw the line between the old style RPG and this weirdo upstart in some greater detail, just so we all know where we stand. Where Role Playing Came From Table top role playing was born in the form of one Gary Gygax on July 27 1938. Not that anyone knew that role playing had been born at that time in the form of that individual. Not even Mr Gygax himself was aware of the bizarrely world altering destiny that awaited him. By the time Gygax was fifteen he had begun playing miniature based war games. These games are still played today and, as LARPs are the result of taking much of the number crunching, dice and table tops out of role playing, so wargames are what you do with what you took out to make the LARP. Wargames live on rules. They attempt to simulate a theatre of war and a battle between sides and emphasise tactics and precision statistic measuring to model war situations. Gygax loved this hobby and in his early twenties set up an International Federation of Wargamers and began to write rules for simulating medieval combat, this being a particular hobby of his. Wargamers love accuracy, they love history, they love statistics, they love... well they love wargaming. Dice are perfect as measurement tools for statistics in a wargame because there's no arguing with the results. You roll two ten sided dice and you will get a percentage readout that is exact. Dice are a number cruncher's paradise. In the 70s Gygax with a couple of business partners set up Tactical Studies Rules (Later TSR Inc.) which was the company that was to produce the first


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known Role Playing Game, Dungeons & Dragons. The formula of Dungeons & Dragons is straightforward and easily described. It's like a wargame except each player, rather than having an army has an individual character, each character is an adventurer who wanders into a "Dungeon" (or enchanted forest, weird cave, strange castle etc.) to hunt for treasure and "Dragons" (or orcs, or dark elves, or mountain lions, or vorpal bunnies etc.). The monsters guard the treasure and the treasure helps you buy new stuff which is better at killing the monsters. This means the character can wander into more dangerous settings facing more exotic beasts and collecting greater treasure. There was also a second currency in D&D known as "Experience". Your character was represented by a number of statistics and as you defeated more monsters and solved puzzles and evaded traps you gained experience points. These points would upgrade your character's very being with awesomeness that also helped in the bigger dungeons with the more exotic monsters. D&D is still played today, it is enormously popular (although much complained about). Gygax went on to a career of falling out with people who he let onto his D&D gravy train; getting death threats from people who wanted to blame his world of fantasy for their poor parenting skills; and tweaking out his original idea in various ways which sometimes escaped legal proceedings from his former colleagues and sometimes didn't. Everything you read in this book only exists because of this arcane and maths heavy quasi-wargame that owed more than a little to the imaginings of JRR Tolkien. If it hadn't been for Gygax no one would even know what role playing was, it may not even have become a term for excruciating business simulation training exercises or seedy activities involving leather and whips. There's something about the phrase that appeals to our psyche, even if the idea of Dungeons & Dragons isn't our


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
cup of tea, "role playing"... well, "role playing" sounds fun. Sure, it sounds fun. It sounded fun to me when I was a boy, but wow there were a lot of rules, and I never liked maths and Conan was not my reading material of choice. and lots of wonderful dice is exactly what Role Playing Games are all about, the more sides, the better. Sigh.

You see, here is the problem at the You know what I used to love? heart of the current hobby. Some of the people who were attracted to RPGs by Fighting Fantasy and Choose Your the use of the phrase "Role Playing" Own Adventure books. I used to love became somewhat disgruntled with the the idea that I was, indeed, choosing lack of opportunity to, well, play roles. my own adventure. These books were a I include myself in this number. fad, now amply satisfied in the realms of computer games. But if you chose to I, along with these others were assume you won all the fights and just unhappy with the idea that "Growth enjoyed the story they were the and Development" seemed to mean prototype for No Dice, particularly "Improved ability to slaughter things". Choose Your Own Adventure. We wanted to go a bit further. We wanted to actually explore a character, Weirdly, Fighting Fantasy spawned a with a history, and their own agenda. D&D style role playing game, why? We wanted to walk a mile in another Because unlike CYOA Fighting Fantasy man's shoes. We, well, we wanted to had, well, fighting in it and as everyone play some roles. has known right up until today table top roleplaying is about fighting. Oh, When people first began putting the and let's not forget the dice! Sure just a role into role play they had to contend few 6 sided ones, not even enough to with a subculture entirely consisting of make it look like a proper RPG but D&D players. This old guard were more than Choose Your Own perfectly happy navigating their Adventure for sure. And of course lots dwarven fighter through the Caverns


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of Thrung to face a final confrontation with the Death Hydra Lich of Upper Tooting. As D&D spawned in the fields of the wargamer they couldn't see a reason why a character might be more than a killing machine or what experience could be used for if it wasn't for defeating the enemy. There are a few, very few, fringe games that do attempt to do something entirely different.

This genuinely pioneering minority of games are now circulated in a kind of cellar dweller underground of storyobsessed gamers. Essentially the core of the hobby, historically, has been that if Thus it was that early breakaways used you want to make money then you words like "diceless" and "story based" have to provide combat, maps, like bombs to cause an intellectual miniatures all that jazz. guerilla war on the idea that violence was all role playing could describe. I have yet to encounter a roleplaying Systems that dealt with the issue of game that does not give a basing a game around factors other disproportionate amount of time over than wholesale slaughter in different to what happens if your player gets ways with varying degrees of success. involved in some sort of a ruck. The amount of time spent describing, the Some just suggested that you, you enemy, the weapons, the personnel is know, get out of the dungeon and go to always disproportionate to the amount a few parties and stuff before ladling on of time spent describing, the character, a heavy dose of the "this is the combat the role, the freedom of expression. system" which took up a third of the book. Others suggested that combat be Game designers seem unable to let go short-handed and that there were of the crutch of combat (a device used plenty of other military situations by an injured hero to defeat the Giant which might be explored. In all cases Bacteria of Gularb...). there is some element of the player vs. So What's The Big Problem? force x. Actually, this isn't quite true.


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
I don't believe that there's no market for a game that favours storytelling over slaughter. Hell, if you're reading this you are at least alive to the possibility that role playing may have more to offer. Many people in the world would disagree. So, the question that's begging to be asked is: Why? The answer to this is both complicated and simple. Here's the simple bit, if you think about these issues a little then you'll probably uncover the complicated part about it. This is not the case for many role players. The traditional model of role playing sets out that one should role play with a regular group once a week and that although you may skip from adventure to adventure or even system to system you should be doing so for the foreseeable, no time off for good behaviour.

This means that the vast majority of people simply don't have time to role play even if they wanted to. I only discovered this when I tried to set up my group and everyone was haggling 1) Role playing involves spending your over the fact that Tuesdays were out free time and Thursdays were optimum. The notion of taking *gasp* one Saturday I am a very lucky man. When I started every 4-6 weeks hadn't occurred to role playing properly I joined a group anyone. As it happens some of the of people who could be adaptable, who group have gone on to feed the monkey gamed in big lumps once a month every week in a separate adventure but instead of small lumps every week and a few still maintain the once a month could cope with someone not being rule. This is good and provides a variety able to make the odd session. Hence I for the hardcore addicts. didn't get guilted into spending time when I really wanted to be doing 2) You are expected to maintain a something else instead of role playing consistent alter ego and, besides, the demands on my time weren't outrageous to begin with. A lot of role playing rewards play with character based bonuses that help a


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character evolve over time. These days everyone's quite familiar with the concept of having an alter ego from the world of online social networking but for the longest time it's been seen as something a little bit... dirty. There's also the question of what happens if you only want to take on a role for the evening. games that deal with unquantifiable data are fine, but you have to accept that you won't need dice, or a sheet of numbers. You might just need you. Why No Dice Is Different

I bought a second hand game book not so long ago that described a game in which, once we started playing, we 3) Role playing makes copious use of discovered many of the numbers were dice and some maths just a distraction. After a while the character sheets were left behind I can count the number of role playing unused and unloved. People kept track games I know of that don't use any dice of their characters by being their (that I didn't invent) on the fingers of characters. We used a simple one hand. The point is that everyone arbitration device for matters of feels comfortable when there's some chance, a deck of cards, and we never concrete arbitration to help mitigate missed either the dice or the sheets. the tough breaks your character may experience in a story. The role playing game itself evolved away from the sourcebook I had The only problem with this is that the bought and is now a No Dice creation more dice and numbers are involved in of its own. One day you too may this process the more "tough break" is experience the wonder of this world, equivalent to "honkin' great monster". but the core of No Dice is about you There simply aren't the numbers to and your players and having your own deal with "your brother just got eaten adventures in your own worlds. In before you had (quantifiable) time to these worlds you may encounter do much of anything". Role playing honkin' great monsters or you may


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
encounter tricky moral dilemmas or dramatic situations, plot construction. you may solve crimes by solving fiendish riddles. The choice in No Dice You may get the feeling that I am is entirely up to you. reacting specifically against a certain set of ideas in the text. I hope I have explained in this introduction exactly what those ideas are. I am not excluding ideas of combat and partisan political structures but I will be according them only as much airtime as other ideas, maybe even less. I want, specifically, to cater for situations that have not hitherto been catered for. I want you to drop the dice, move away from the table top and, if you're really getting into it now, sinking to your knees, throwing your hands up into the air and crying: "Why? Why can't we all just... get This book is a support and a sourcebook along?" for ideas. There will be more detailed No Dice variants available to play a Too soon? Okay, maybe after you've particular game in the No Dice mould read a bit further. but the idea is that you get creative and that is what this book aims to support Book Overview you in. I don't just mean in creating a world, although I will certainly be No Dice Games - The book's going to helping you with that, but also with start with a basic look at the ways in the ideas of genre, conventions, which a No Dice game should run and


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what the players and the Host should expect from the experience. won't tell you how to, er, roll your own.

Player's Guide - A section follows for Randomisers - By which we could the players, this should also be read by mean dice, but we don't. Dice have the Host. been done. This is about other ways to introduce random resolution into your Characters - Essentially a player only No Dice experience. There are some need to know about characters, and then only if they're getting into a long subtle hints throughout the book as to the preferred method. term No Dice game. This section
provides everything such a player could Plots - No Dice has no default setting, need to know from the outset. your players could be pixies or cyborgs, Host's Guide - This section takes up the humans or gods, this section will tickle your imagination centres and get you rest of the book. The core No Dice book is mainly for Hosts, if you want to thinking about the story you'd like to be a player then this will just be mind Host. numbingly tedious to read through. Give it a miss.

Non Player Characters - As Host the cast of the entire game world is you. It The Vanilla No Dice System - If you're is best that you are therefore prepared the kind of person who's itching to skip with notes on those characters your player is most likely to encounter. This to this section and cover yourself in section tells you how. lovely rules be prepared to be underwhelmed. Samples - Just a push in the right Stats - No Dice also has no stats, well, direction with some little adventures that attempt to communicate some of none by default. That doesn't mean it the versatility No Dice has to offer.


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠


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No Dice Games
The Experience audience on such a product was high; although the show's fans would love If you are a seasoned role player you nothing better than to have adventures may have flicked through the book and in the world of the show; the RPG is looked for the rules for No Dice. You not that popular. Why? Well, in my may even have read through the opinion, it's because it doesn't feel like "Vanilla Rules" section and figured you're in the show when you're playing "that can't be it". Well, I'm sorry, yeah the game. It feels like you're playing it is. Here's the why. one of a dozen other RPGs with a funny moustache. I once played a role playing game based The major problem, as far as I could upon a popular cult SF television series. tell, was the rules. The show is one of the best regarded Science Fiction television shows of the You had six or seven attributes like past decade and has a rabid fan base. Strength, Charisma, Dexterity etc. The rhapsodic critical appraise of just (Although obviously not those because what made the show so unique and those are D&D attributes.) You had special was hyperbolic even for a field some Life Points or whatever, you had filled with hyperbole. I'll bet the some various themed skills and some people who wrote the RPG made their "Drama Points" which, er, you could money back, just. spend to turn tragedy to triumph and you earned by being, er, story focused, Thing is, although the crossover I think.


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The point is the character sheet and the things that resolved conflict didn't add to the atmosphere. As they didn't add to it, they necessarily obstructed it, hence they subtracted from it. The rules actually stopped the game feeling like the show. The GM was hindered by the things that were supposed to help them out. in your own games. In the meanwhile the parts of the Hosting guide that deal with rules will concentrate more on getting the Host to design their own. That's the way No Dice believes it should be. Playing

Although I'm going to describe how to The problem wasn't that the rules were play the game in more detail in the Player's Guide, and how to Host in the complicated, or fussy, or arcane, the Host's Guide I thought it might be problem was that they were boring. relevant to set you up for the There is a wild west game that has a experience. horror twist where magic is achieved by playing a hand of poker against the GM. Well, if I might just interject, yee- If you have role-played before then a lot of what happens in a No Dice game haw, that's atmosphere. A+ to those should feel familiar. A group of people game designers. It's little individual flourishes that help make a game stand sit together, the Host chairs the story and the rest of you contribute your out like that. character's ideas and reactions. Occasionally you may need to make a When we talk about specific No Dice test using some kind of randomiser games in rules supplements I'm going to offer up a whole number of themed (usually a pack of cards) to see whether rules to help create the atmosphere you your character is capable of a particular action. want. But I'm not going to start out with any more than the very basic of In the best games I have ever played the basics. Because the less rules I fill you become enthralled with the plot, your head with, the more things you can think of to increase the atmosphere involved with your character and


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engrossed in the unfolding story. Once you are done with a session you want to do it again as soon as possible. In the worst there may be some times when you want to die rather than carry on. Hosting Successful Hosting is one of the most rewarding experiences humankind has invented to date. I have written stories, and dabbled in film making, radio broadcast and a number of other creative endeavours with variable success. Nothing is so satisfying as running a good role play. For a start players will always do things that you can't predict, they will send the story spinning in unexpected directions, they will see things you missed and bring out hidden layers in the scenario. Watching players slowly get drawn in, argue, discuss, plan, and generally engage with the world and characters you have created is a fantastic feeling.

The hallmark difference I have noted is that bad games start to wander into the land of rules examination and number crunching. This is where I always get lost and want to fall asleep over the pile of rule books and calculators. Role play that is based on story, by contrast, may sometimes be a little slow but it's always enjoyable. Not to say such rewards come easily. Hosts have to do a lot of work. Even if So I hope that your Host can keep the you are only planning to run a basic numbers, the dice and the crunch away one off with one of the scenarios from your table (and maybe even keep presented in the core book you will the table away from your game). No have some preparation to do. You will Dice is the first game that wants to help have to read and prepare the materials. the Host do just that. You will have to obtain the player sheets, make sure you have cards in,


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
round up a posse of players and make sure you have enough finger food in. book is divided into two sections. A short section for players and a honking huge section for Hosts. Then there are Being Host means you run the show three example scenarios and two but unfortunately it means you actually supplements. If you are to be Hosting have to, well, run the show. read all of the above. Players just need to read whichever bits of the Player's Never mind all this preamble. Let's get Guide and Player's Supplement are on with the main event. The rest of the relevant to them.


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Player's Guide
So, you want to play No Dice? So as a player what can you expect from a No Dice experience? It kinda Okay, so maybe it's more like you are depends. Are you going along for a one amenable to playing No Dice and your time hit or have you decided to dip friend begged you to take part so they your toes in the murky waters of the could Host (whatever that means) and campaign and you'll see how it goes? you figured "how bad could it be? after Either way there are certain things you all they promised it wasn't Dungeons & should expect and this guide aims to Dragons". Well, good news. This isn't tell you what they are. Dungeons & Dragons. Bad news, your friend may still suck at Hosting. Give This introduction to being a No Dice them a break, they're probably new at player is here to prepare you for what it. Reading this could give you some should be one of the most fun things ways of helping them suck less, so pay you've ever taken part in. If it falls attention. short it's one of the few activities I'd suggest you try again, if you've played The fact they handed you this guide is a five No Dice games and still never had good indication that they're trying the fun I'm willing to concede this game best that they can to do the job of Host may not be for you, otherwise... well, properly. If you've been to No Dice prepare for it to invade your life, but in evenings that sucked in the past and no a good way. one ever gave you this guide to read, now you know. You, as the player, are about to step into a new pair of shoes. You are about


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
to become someone else. Other role playing games promise this but then deliver the package of someone who can pull off cool martial arts moves at the roll of 6 or better but who is still basically, well, you. No Dice is actually going to try to give you the tools to look at life a different way through a different set of eyes. Probably there will be cool things about your character, like they really are great at martial arts or they can shoot laser beams from their eyes, but those are just added bonuses. What's really different about these people is that they have different life circumstances, tricky problems to confront and different things they want to make them happy. It could be you're only going to play this person for one time only, and there are distinct advantages to that set up which I shall describe below. But it could be that you will be expected to craft a character who will take part in many adventures and will maybe appear to take on a life of their own. Don't worry, you'll have help in this. That's what the Host is for. The Host has taken on a big job. They're learning about the world your character lives in, they're learning about the dangers they face and the people who live there. They're learning history and they're learning about the present. They're learning how to describe to you the ups and downs of your character's journey, not just your character either but that of all the people playing this game of No Dice. The Host has taken on a mighty responsibility. The responsibility of keeping a handful of people engrossed and entertained in a story that exists only on a few bits of paper and in the group's imagination. You have to do your bit to contribute but the Host is the anchor that should tie the story world together. So it could be that they need a little help. Just remember that as you begin your adventure. The first good sign that they know how to Host effectively is that you are reading this introduction. The second good sign will be if they have let you


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know that the game will take some time to set up. About an hour in a one off scenario, about one whole session in a longer campaign. They may also have handed you a character sheet and a short guide to some basics about the game you will be playing. If they have done all of this then the signs are they're on the right road. So the check list is: game will be better if it's run properly. It might sound dull to sit around talking about the generalities of what you're about to do but in actual fact you are having a conversation about a fun shared activity you should both enjoy.

Some Hosts will worry that people don't want to talk in a one on one situation about their character. Let's be  this guide clear, you will have made this character  information about the set up in a campaign, let them know you are itching to talk about them. In a one off  extra hand outs specific to the the GM will probably have given you a game choice of some available characters in If they have not handed you the other shorthand, you've plumped for one that two then ask them why not. There's no sounds fun, and now you just need a reason to tie them to a chair and shine little five minute clarification to know what kinds of things are on your mind a light in their face until they crack under the pressure but there's no harm as the game begins. in checking out that they've not simply All this stuff is designed to give you forgotten. Hosts have a lot to think and the Host a flying start to this about. adventure. If you don't do it you might When you arrive at the game the set up find that after a brief period in which things seem to be a little slow you will should take place and then the game warm up to it. But sometimes buzz kills proper will begin. If the Host seems like confusion can, well, kill the buzz. eager to just get on with it ask them It will also help if the Host tells you a about the set up. Let's be clear, the


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
little bit about the kinds of things he expects your characters to do in the current adventure. An important factor is how physical activity is going to impact your character. If there is magic how does it work? Could you find a pacifist solution to the game's problems? Or will you be expected to just battle through? If you decide to be an ass to people will it likely come back to haunt you? Or is the game relatively consequence free? If you know all this going in you are not likely to make a mistake which makes your character pay through the remainder of the game. Neither of these attitudes is wholly appropriate but if you're a little nervous about this then you're probably doing better. Let me explain why. Role playing is not as easy as many people think. You're not supposed to be an Oscar wining actor but it does take some care and attention to get your part right.

The most important thing to remember is that, whatever the story, you are not the hero. You are a hero, sure, but it's a team effort. Sure, you probably want to do your best at portraying your Maybe your Host has sound reasons for character but you shouldn't be an ass leaving some of this stuff out. If so they about it. should fill you in. If not, well, this might still be okay, but you can't be as Most people over estimate how much they have to do to portray a character's sure as you can with a Host who's character trait. In movies a “character prepared. establishing moment” is just that. You realise all eyes are on you, you say or The Art of Role Playing do the thing that defines your So far you're probably either scared of character, you move on. looking like an idiot doing this or I saw a game in which a player you're thinking it's going to be dead portraying an annoying and easy and sort of fun. mischievous but brilliant engineer


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badgered another character to let him tinker with that character's weapon for fully two minutes. This left the other player personally irritated about the incident and won nobody any friends. If you want to have a character moment make it a moment. You are there to share the limelight with the other players not to dominate it and certainly not to give the other players a hard time. well worth it. Some Hosts will want to sort out with players beforehand how much interplayer strife is to be expected. This is a good thing. If you know another player doesn't want their character on the blunt end of your character's short temper come up with a character concept that means your character will dish it out to everyone except player x. It's not your right to make someone else's No Dice experience less pleasant. Okay, so enough with the serious, if you're only doing a one off, that's it, you can go, have fun you crazy kid. You can skim through the character stuff, it won't hurt, you might even be amused or pick up some ideas. It's not essential though. If you're in for a short campaign or a full blown saga you're going to want to The way to do this is to watch what delve deeply into the character section, you're saying and doing just a tiny bit make sure you know a bit about the more than you feel you should have to. kind of game you're playing first, It might be a bit funny to do at first but though, you don't want to bring a when everyone's complimenting you Shaolin Master to a gun fight, after all... on your awesome role play it will be


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠

One off or Campaign? a lunatic or a villain. You're only playing this character once, so you This seems like a redundant question, have some freedoms. I'll discuss this in but I know a few of you one off people more detail later on. For now let's will have snuck in here, so I'm going to assume you're taking on a longer term put down a few things for one off character, let's run through a few bits. players before we start. Although generally speaking the Host will create Love Your Character the cast of characters available in a one off it is possible that if you're an old If you're going to be playing your hand at this No Dice stuff maybe character for any length of time this is they've left it up to you to create your the most important thing about own. character creation. Your character should be someone not only that you're I think the major difference you should comfortable to play, but you need to bear in mind between wearing like them, a lot. You're going to be someone's skin for one evening portraying them for a good while. compared to a couple of month's worth of evenings is that in the one off So when you think of your character environment you can afford to make a concept ask yourself, seriously, why radical departure from the norm. You you like this person you're undertaking could be a complete jackass, or to play in the game. There'd better be a someone dysfunctional in the extreme, solid reason as well. I've seen long haul


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characters fade away because players were keen on them for five minutes and then they got bored or frustrated. I've also seen people find their characters extremely difficult to play. You have to find that angle that makes your character playable by you. NB: This is a completely separate issue from making them likeable to other people. Completely separate. convey. Older characters are often nuanced and experienced, they can present problems. Any character between the ages of about 23 and 48 falls into a "zone of meh" where their age only has a small effect on how others perceive them.

The Zone of Meh is where one would place a man or woman between the ages of 23 and 48 who weighs around nine stone (three or four more if male) Making A Character Interesting... is about 5'4 (6'0 if male) was brought up by a mother and father with a Most players I've ever come across find sibling who was older or younger by this the easiest thing. After all they about three years, who lived in one wouldn't have thought of the character place until they were about twenty and if they didn't find them interesting. then went on to some sort of trade they Interesting and playable are not the still work in today. same thing. Hamlet, for example, is all kinds of interesting, easy to play? Not I'm not suggesting this any kind of an so much. Similarly King Lear. I know average, I can count the number of these are characters in plays but the people this tedious that I know without theory remains the same. running out of fingers. The point is this kind of person has never had anything Is your character young or old? Or in interesting happen to them at all. Even between. A youthful character will this is kind of interesting in itself. have to live within the confines of their Someone who appears to have this kind own naivety, if you are new to the of background might be suspected of game world you may find this easy to covering up the truth, whatever that


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
truth may turn out to be. The point is if you stick to the Zone of Meh but add in a few bits of interest like, the individual was extremely intelligent and became a highly qualified academic at a young age, or the person was brought up by one parent, was an only child, this only adds limited interest and the Zone of Meh continues. Maybe you've made a sports star, fit, athletic, beautiful, popular but she lost her younger brother in a tragic accident when she was twelve and he was nine. She blames her own lack of action during the accident and this is what has driven her to become an Olympian. She is protective of the weak and those younger than herself, in addition she has difficulty becoming emotionally attached to people because of her fear of losing them. Now, that's an interesting character. ...And Lovable... What makes a character likeable in fiction is directly at odds with what makes people likeable in reality. In fiction heroes are capable and strong, in reality when we interact with peers we tend to like people we feel are less intelligent than us and maybe weaker. You have to keep adding things to your These statements are, of course, generalisations, exceptions always character until something interesting prove the general rules. However what happens, until they have a hook, a personality trait that you like and that this should tell you is that what may will be an interesting thing to portray make a character lovable in fiction may not necessarily make them likeable in a on a week by week basis. group environment.


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You should think about what makes your character strong, and therefore interesting first, but then think about what makes them weak, and therefore lovable. If everyone hates your character you're going to have a tougher time portraying them every week. Ironically, things you may throw in imagining they will make the character likeable may actually make them dangerous, or untrustworthy. Let's take our female Olympian. She loved her little brother and her own mode of relating to other people kind of got trapped at that stage when she lost him. She is goofy, funny, she will assume control in a gentle way but she just can't have an adult conversation. If she's facing off against someone she sees as an opponent she'll be cool. Ask her to commit to a relationship and she'll go to pieces. If this is your character you have to put that across. If that's not your personality you might find it a little tricky to live in those shoes. So when you start role playing maybe it would be best to stick close to home. Find something you think you can put across. Talk it through with the Host. If you do your best and you have fun that's all anyone can ask. Save the tricky role playing for when you've got a bit under your belt. But in all cases you want the character's strength, what makes them interesting and capable, and their weakness, what makes them lovable and part of the team. ..But Flawed... Out of both strengths and weaknesses come flaws. How you portray your character's flaws will make or break your role playing. Maybe you're just along for the ride; news flash, being along for the ride is a flaw if everyone else is trying to accomplish something. Or maybe you're keen but your character just has some priority that's not selfless or even particularly nice. Our Olympian, for example. We've already discussed that she's witty, athletic and fun to be around, she's the kind of person who you don't mind giving up leadership to. But on the flip


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
side she's scared stiff of being alone, she's flippant and sometimes her tongue's a little too sharp for her own good. These are flaws. Playing them genuinely is what good role play is all about. character's going to be worried about next. What's on their mind in the moment. A character's passion could be as prosaic as chasing after their next meal or snack, or it could be as complex as worrying about their relatives, partner or children all the time. It could be, probably would be, a mixture of these survival instincts and the wider concerns.

It's also more than likely that our Olympian is competitive as hell, a sore loser but a gracious winner. Playing this straight and sticking to it could land the team in trouble, or it could mean she goes the extra mile just to get a result. You have to think about your character on a normal day. What's their usual In the end it's up to the Host to reward concern. Who are their friends? How good role playing, but if you did a good many do they have? Do they live with job it's kind of its own reward. Doing their family? If not, how often do they some good role playing really gives you see their relatives? What do they do on a better experience and makes the a work day? What are their hobbies? hobby worthwhile. How worried are they about food? Do they have a special diet? Or are they ... With Convincing Passions... just hungry all the time? What about physical comfort? Is that important to What we've talked about so far is all them? How do they relate to strangers? long term stuff, the foundations of a How do they feel in a crowd? character. That's all good to know and is going to help with the way the All of these factors, these drives, character presents themselves to the desires, hungers and passions make the other players. However, there's a character what they are on a moment minute to minute problem of what the by moment basis. How do they deal


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with problems? Do they let everyone know they're feeling inconvenienced? If so are they vocal and whiny or are they a martyr on certain topics? Part of your job as a player is to communicate to everyone else how your character is. When you start playing you aren't there any more, now your character is taking centre stage. How similar or dissimilar that character is to you is up to you and what you show the other players. appropriate. You may not know all three for all three levels right away, this is a signal you haven't quite got to know your character yet. Go through the other parts, their history, their demeanour, their fears, their flaws and see if you can add in a little something that will fill in the blanks.

These general topics of conversation need to be quite broad-based. You might make a character and think always talking about the weather is a good idea for people that character There's a technique to be used here for doesn't know well. This is fine, but it's making sure you'll always be thinking also quite obvious. of something for your character to say. First of all we're going to give the Maybe you could try something even character three situations, when less specific like "talk about the current they're around total strangers or people environment", if it makes the character they don't know that well; when feel comfortable praise it, otherwise they're around friends and complain. Other good topics include acquaintances they see and talk to "the character's current pet project", regularly; and finally when they're "the character's close family", "the with people they trust with their lives character's concerns about their own (if any). health" any kind of small talk subject that doesn't expose too much but at the For each of those situations we are then same time will tell other players a lot going to jot down three topics of about your character's demeanour. conversation the character deems


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
Deciding ahead of time that in any given situation your character's priorities for conversation with strangers are: number one: feeling comfortable in their environment; number two: knowing when they're going to be left to their own devices again; and number three: being able to stay in touch with their partner via their mobile phone, in that order, should help you tell people about your character without dropping out of role. One of the things dice fans love is that you can't argue with a die roll. The arbitration of numbers is absolute. You may feel that faced with the Unspeakable Horror your character would swallow their fear and fight on but a failure to roll well on a Willpower test will have you running for the hills whether you want to or not.

There is a safety blanket aspect to such tests. If the dice say it then a bum note ...And Sympathetic Fears cannot be struck. I would prefer to think that if you were really all that At the other end of the scale your involved with portraying yeller bellied character has to want to avoid Carl Taylor then when he sees the something. Everyone is afraid, all that Horror it will be a point of pride that matters is what they're afraid of and you make him turn and run. That's the how they deal with it. Some people are character after all. willing to swallow their fear and press on. Some will find the urge to run In the end playing your character overwhelming. Some will just try to shouldn't be a matter of trying to win. avoid dealing with the things they find You can't win a story, you can only see unpleasant. Really how your character what happens next. As a character reacts to their fears and what those player your priority should be to play fears are is up to you. This is where you the character, irrespective of what you start to leave the realms of being a yourself would normally do. player and enter the murky waters of art.


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Being Evil when all the characters are despicable. Also it causes fractious behaviour Which brings us on to a hitherto within the group. When everyone's touchy subject. There's an old saying in letting their twisted egos off the chain the acting profession that it's more fun it can get ugly quickly. to play a villain than a good guy. It's certainly easier to chew up scenery and I would always advise against being a villains chew scenery better than villain in any campaign. It just makes anyone else. But is it really all that you upset and angry, after all you will much fun to be the villain? lose because you're evil and you're supposed to. If you don't lose it'll make I used to be an actor, for my sins. I things seem, well, wrong. always believed that acting out the villain's role would be "fun", until I But in a one off, there may be some actually got to do it. If you're going to license to it. It's a single night. If it be an honest villain, if you're going to leaves a bad taste in your mouth well act up a storm, if you are to chew the you're not being forced to take another scenery like the best of them then you swig. have to burrow down and understand the heart of the villain. And trust me, I would say that role playing bad that's not a good place to live. people is probably one for the very experienced and possibly best avoided The "Villain's Campaign" is like a if one can think of a more morally mythical grail of role playing. Wouldn't commendable scenario to play through. it just be great to all be evil? To not care a fig what anyone else thought? Okay Maybe Not EVIL Wouldn't it be liberating to be bad? Well, depends. What old style role Playing someone who's deeply flawed players usually find is that the on the other hand, I mean really deeply campaign falls apart pretty quickly flawed. That is more like it. Again it's a


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
challenge for the more experienced player but taking the road to redemption, that could be deeply moving. Feeling yourself warp from irritant to hero, that could be a rewarding path. It's just a difficult one. losing. Generally speaking the Host will be advised to let things ride wherever possible. All the randomness in a given game will be to enhance mood not to slap wrists or enforce too many limits. You, as a player, should want to feel the roughs and the smooths, you should want to put playing the character ahead of taking the easy route. This game stands or falls on your participation in the intended spirit. That means everyone Host, Players, Household Pets, Innocent Bystanders, everyone gets enough rope to hang themselves. In the beginning it's probably best to make someone generally okay who has their moments of not being so okay. You can take on something bigger as time goes by. Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On No Dice is a game where I hope you've got the impression that playing your part is the same as winning and ignoring your character in order to indulge a power fantasy or day dream is I'm telling the Host to give everyone greater latitude to do what they want with their characters but trust me I'm giving them enough ways to hose down troublemakers that you probably want to stay away from getting cute. Contrast Is Good Once you've played one character for a few weeks you'll probably start to find they're too jolly and not cool enough, or too cool and not benevolent enough, or too benevolent and not smart


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enough. The grass is perpetually greener on someone else's character sheet and this is the way things should be. Because if we played the same characters all the time we'd never learn anything, right? We'd never learn why people sometimes think it's "too quiet". We'd never learn how to respond to enquiry as to whether we were a god. We'd never learn what our characters would do in a riot with a loaded shotgun. We just would plain stop having fun. So when you get a chance to play someone new in a new world in a new game think about who you've already been. Think about whether it might not be time to try something altogether different. Most of all, though, when you create a character for a No Dice world, love them, cherish them, nurture them and HAVE FUN! NOTE: For an even more in depth character creation experience check out the appendix: "The Thirty Six Dramatic Situations for Players". Ask your Host if they think having a thumb through would be appropriate.


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠

Host's Guide
If you are thinking of Hosting a No Dice game, congratulations! You have taken the first step into a wider world of fun and adventure. If, on the other hand, you are just hanging around wondering how you can get invited to a No Dice game Hosted by some one else, well, good luck with that. job was known as Game Master or GM. People tried to give it other names, in D&D for example you were the Dungeon Master, and people still know this term as it was the first. It didn't stick, the minute a game came along no part of which was located inside a Dungeon it was toast. Other people have tried titles as simple as Narrator or The fact is, you're the one reading the as tortured as Werewizard (seriously) core book. This means the prime but overall people refer to the person candidate for Hosting is going to be running the game for the other that charming, intelligent, enterprising characters as the GM. person who greets you from every mirror. So why have I decided to mess with the established order? Well, the most You may think you're just not keen important reason is that back in the old enough on the idea to run your own days the GM saw the game as a two party but if you're looking at this sided contest with him (usually him) volume you're keener than all the on one side and the players on the people who aren't. Sorry, looks like other if the players died the GM won, you're going to be the Host. otherwise the GM lost. (Don't ask me, I'm just the messenger.) In the old world of role playing your


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Host is a deliberate attempt to undermine this attitude before it begins. GMs of the sort I just described are rare these days, partially because the hobby has shrunk in popularity (I wonder why) and partially because people just don't want those people GMing for them. So the person who runs the No Dice evening is known as the Host. If you are the Host it is your job to welcome your players and to give them a fun ride. The reason for the word Host is because it is your job not just to take care of providing the game but to take care of the well being of those who are playing the game. The fact is a role playing game is not like a movie, or a book, or even something you play via a computer which calls itself a role playing game. All other forms of pure entertainment have some sort of distancing technique. Either you are a passive audience member, or you are playing a board games with very strictly defined rules that separate you from normal reality or you are interacting via the proxy device of a computer or games console. None of these situations can be considered sufficiently like real life to cause genuine mental distress. Even so I've seen arguments among people playing Trivial Pursuits or Monopoly that beggar belief. Can you imagine how much worse things would be if people actually genuinely cared about the fate of their pieces in those games? I may have made this sound like you're going to be undertaking an activity similar to bear taming. It's really not. People will be fine, but you just have to be a Host to them. You have to take care of them. Then everyone will have the best time they've ever had. Trust me. All this is what makes No Dice as a game different to any game you've played before and that includes other role playing games. A No Dice adventure includes sections devoted to parts of the experience that are not really parts of the main game. These sections will help you, the Host,


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
make yourself into a better Host for your players and, in addition, will set up your players to play a better game. What this entails rather depends on how much No Dice you're expecting to play with your players. If it's just an evening's worth then this set up should consume no more than 40-60 minutes of your time depending on the number of players. If you're going for a longer session i.e. a short campaign or a long saga, you're going to need to spend a bit more time setting things up. How much longer depends on what kind of game you're playing: one the players might know all about before they arrive, or one that you're going to have to introduce them to. On the subject of numbers the minimum number of people you would probably want in a No Dice role play is 3, a Host and two players. There is a practice known as "Lone Wolfing" where it's just host and a player but these have a very different feel to playing any other type of game. Part of the experience is to have contrasting opinions about the best path through the game and just riffing off the Host's characters doesn't provide that. I find I don't really like running a game for more than 6 players but it kind of depends on the players. I would say that usually 3-7 people makes a No Dice adventure. You'll find that above three players the amount of time you will spend playing the adventure will escalate dramatically, for just two, the adventure will fly by. My optimum number of players is three for a one off, but again, your mileage may vary. When we're addressing the topic of length I'm going to start with advice about the simplest kind of No Dice scenario and work my way up to a saga and add in more detail about what's expected as we go. The Six Million Dollar Question Is, of course, what the hell have I let myself in for? I think the number one thing that you have to remember is not that you are in charge of creating a universe and populating it with detailed people, items, animals etc. For a start there will, in the fullness of


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time, be expansion packs for No Dice that explicitly add to the contents of this core book. If you're feeling a bit braver you might start to think about a "hack" of an existing RPG into something a bit less, er, Dice-y, who knows, you may find that someone has already done the work for you. develop skills in thinking on your feet, sure, but this is often in contrast to having to consult a stack of notes every time someone asks a question. Your notes should be easily understood at a glance, so you will have to learn to take notes in such a way that you can consult them quickly. In the end though, if your illusory game world is convincing and you're showing your players a good time then what does anything else matter? Once you've got over that fact return to the name of your role in the game. You are the Host. It is up to you to look after your players and make them happy. This is why you are no longer referred to as the Game Master. You are not Master of the Game you are a Host who gives the players what they want. What they should want is an Even if you are in charge of everything entertaining and dramatic experience there is one important fact that it will so whenever you are called upon to help you to remember. You are not in deliver bad news you must do it as resolutely as telling them about their charge of anything except creating a successes. That is your responsibility. convincing illusion. You will have to


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
The Bare Minimum about all the stuff about stats, randomisers, plots and Non-Player Okay, if you are really in a hurry to try Characters. If you have skipped from this out and don't want to plough the introduction and first chapter through any more of the book than you straight to the Host's Guide then I already have here is the absolute bare would recommend that you read the minimum of things you need to read Player's Guide as well, a Host should from the rest of the book to run a No understand what it is the players are Dice evening: told.
 

The Vanilla Rules Traveller's Rest (The First Example Scenario)

Most one-off scenarios contain anything upwards of the vanilla rules that you need within them anyway and notes which will give you all the information you need to Host. Once you've prepared that much then you'll be ready for Traveller's Rest, further one-off scenarios written by the No Dice team are similarly helpful, we obviously can't speak for any you get from the wider community.

It is also recommended that you make available the first section of the Player's Guide to your players. One off players using pre-generated characters don't need to see the section about characters.

If you're after any more than that then it's a slippery slope. If you do want to gradually slide into further involvement with the hobby then you could graduate your involvement by first of all asking players to create their own characters (which will involve checking the characters before the oneoff), then maybe writing your own one If you want to get a bit more in-depth off with pre-generated characters, then then I would recommend that the next maybe writing something that fits across a few episodes before finally thing you do is read the rest of this taking on a whole campaign. Host's guide. After that don't worry


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A Herculean Task (Volunteers Only) If you could meticulously plan your entire campaign in 6-8 episode blocks If you're just going to use No Dice to that would be super, but in the real run the occasional RP party then that's world a vague idea that it would run x cool. In fact a large part of what the number of blocks will suffice. system was designed for, some people don't have a lot of time for getting their Essentially playing the most extended head into RP so to be able to just game you can play should take about freestyle it more or less is going to be a two to three months worth of episodes. boon. The more comfortable period you have in between the Introductory Q&A and For those of you that really want to get the first episode the more time you will into the No Dice frame of mind allow for players to create their however, I want to provide you with characters. Obviously you don't want resources to get yourself oriented. In this process to stretch into months but the full No Dice experience, a a month to six weeks would be a campaign where the players choose comfortable amount of time for new their roles and you plan an epic No Dicers to read the Player's Guide narrative journey you will need to be and any Supplements you may want to organised. A No Dice campaign ideally give them. consists of the following stages: There are obviously ways of running  Create/Research Campaign No Dice between "the full on" and "the Setting ultra light" but it's up to your discretion as to how much you do or don't do.  Plan Campaign The only guide I would give you is  The Introductory Q&A always to remember that you are The Host, do what you consider enough to  The Lone Wolf/Character make sure your players are having a Creation Process fun time.  6-8 Campaign Episodes


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The One Off If you're running a one off then you're going to want to keep your set up simple. The most basic type of one off set up that exists is the haunted house story. The reason for this is that characters are just characters with no special powers and people understand the set up instinctively. The sample scenario "Traveller's Rest" is included in the examples at the end of the book. takes a long time to explain. A long time. And we've only got the one session so explanation of that setting needs to remain at a minimum.

With a longer campaign people have the time to explore their options and find the rhythm of a wider world. In one off world that's not going to happen. If you wanted some cool wrinkle on an old idea then you need to explain it up front or find some really clever way of working it into the Any departure from this needs to be main gameplay session. If you are going simply explained. Another popular type to run a campaign then you could make of simple game is the slasher flick that more complicated but then game, although you may have more subsequently run a one off in the same opulent surroundings, more violence world. This would mitigate the need and more exotic events in such a game for an overlong set up entirely. it doesn't depart too far from the classic haunted house. Another example Basically, it would be best to pick a scenario, "Revelation Point" is included genre, be really clear about that genre, in the book. and not suddenly spring any extras on a group of people who are just getting After that you want to try to make the used to being a particular character for one offs as generic as possible. We all a single session. In the beginning it love things that are a bit different, like might be best to keep things simple and a Space Opera epic in a universe with as people get used to the game ramp up six alien races battling for control of an the complexity of what you're asking unstable federation, or something like them to do. that, here's the problem, such a set up


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Let's be plain about one thing, role playing, the actual playing, is a skill. People who have been role playing for a while can become better at it. They sink into the fiction more quickly and play their characters with more confidence. This kind of skill takes time to accrue, and introducing a new system can even set back highly skilled players. As Host it will be your responsibility to gauge the experience of your players and tailor their experience accordingly. And Beyond... Dungeons & Dragons - Go into If you're running anything longer than dungeons and er, slay dragons (among a one off you're going to want to other things) introduce a set up session. Even if you Vampire: The Masquerade - Vie for are playing a No Dice game with a undead power in a web of political Player's Guide which you can dole out intrigue to your team before you begin as Host Cyberpunk - Hack dystopia and do it you are inevitably going to know more wearing mirror shades. about what you have in mind than the Over The Edge - Question your own players do. It might be best to run a sanity and that of others as the fruit of Q&A beforehand so everyone's straight the Western world's freakiest cheese on what's expected. dreams converge on a single weird sovereign island. This is a significant departure from RP Feng Shui - Hong Kong Phooey action set ups of yore when the audience spectacular with HK cinema tricks, either knew what to expect or had to be sold the concept before they'd even sit down. GMs in the past needed to boil the game down into a handy phrase or sentence and pitch that. The problem with these colourful bon mots was that they left some room for interpretation on both sides. Even if people buy into a game in theory they may find the Host's interpretation of the phrase and their own differ dramatically let's look at a few examples and see if you can spot the swathes of grey area they expose.


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flips and mythology. Mutants & Masterminds - Superhero fun of the purest kind, throw a car at a supervillain today! Call of Cthulhu - Stare into the abyss and feel the abyss stare straight back into you. Example Q&A In this example Q&A our Host introduces a space game to his players Alex, Bob and Charlie.

Host: Okay guys, I'm looking to run a space opera game that I've called Stellar I'm not going to go into exactly how Adventure. It's sort of an attempt to people can get the wrong end of the mix up gritty space opera with a kind of stick about these scenarios but trust me swashbuckling feel. they can. Vampire can devolve into a slugfest, Feng Shui can become hung Bob: What, like Star Wars? up on dice, and a D&D Dungeon Master can get a little too handy with Host: Actually, only a bit. Whereas Star the traps and hard monsters. People Wars has some aspects of a can sign on for an adventure and end swashbuckler it's really more of a high up with a grind or an overwhelming fantasy in space, like Lord of the Rings tide of impossible odds. with space ships. This would be far more Pirates of the Caribbean in space. As the Host of No Dice it is your job to take the temperature of the player's Alex: So pirates then? expectations before you even go down that road. You as Host get to say Host: Okay, not pirates as such. More whether we're playing cops and that instead of busting out the laser robbers or ten little space marines, it's rifles and just opening up a gun battle, up to the players to then tell you what people would use swords like rapiers. they expect from the experience and Actually bladed weapons. I saw this then it's your job to make that happen. idea about people having high impact shields on so lasers and bullets can't hit them but a sword travels slowly


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enough to penetrate the barrier. Charlie: Isn't that from Dune? Host: Essentially, yeah. Not that everyone has one of these impact shields but most people do so swordplay and melee combat are much more widespread. Also there will be a bunch of space dogfighting. I was thinking of taking that out but in the end it seems to make a nice compliment to the melee combat. Alex: So basically it's going to be a bunch of interstellar war? Host: I did want some combat in this game but as usual it's going to be about story and action, your characters will be involved in pressurised action sequences but it won't necessarily be an unending run of combat. have been discovered and the galaxy is 50% mapped. Alex: Is there a chance for an intelligent alien life encounter? Host: I'm not planning on making it the focus. The three factions, the Republic, the Empire and the Combine are not really that bothered about intelligent alien life. In fact many of the big wigs would view such encounters as threatening rather than as an opportunity. Alex: So you're not just planning on making it an alien war?

Host: I wanted to make it more about the interactions between humans who are both capable, as in acrobatic, combat ready, witty, intelligent but not entirely trustworthy. Everyone has an Bob: So what else is going on? agenda, everybody wants something for themselves and they might not be Host: Okay, so the set up is that the entirely honest about their objectives humanity in the game has created three with their fellows. factions in the galaxy of the story. Charlie: So what about these three There are alien life forms but none are factions. sentient, or at least no sentient aliens


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Host: It's not so bad, the power structures are quite diffuse and hence everywhere is fairly liberal. The Combine is the most restrictive, they like their planets and stations to stay "on message" from a brand values position. The Republic tries to be all things to all people but has some problems with bureaucratic and administrative corruption, the Empire is a patchwork of hell holes and Host: Right, I wanted three different extremely iffy systems run by fiercely political structures. The very long term independent and possibly insane history of this civilisation is that they megalomaniacs. Having said all that, all come from the same root but over the average private citizen just keeps time have diversified. The two largest their heads down and gets on with it. factions are the Republic and the Empire. The Republic is a large group Alex: So what kinds of characters are of systems that have a parliamentary there? structure. The Empire is kind of a joke term for a group of systems which is in And so on. As you can see the Q&A is constant and dangerous civil war. The really a chance for players to start to Empire is governed by tribal warlords think about the kinds of adventures and it is their fractious nature that they'd like to have in the world the stops them growing. The Combine are a Host has created. By going through this group of systems in which government set up process people find it easier to has, essentially been bought by ease into the game when it arrives. interstellar corporations. Some GMs already do this before a Bob: it all sounds kind of grim. game but it's always been an ad hoc arrangement, not a formalised part of


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the process. successful game, it happens, but you can try to ensure that you have Once you have run the Q&A it is time prepared enough to minimise your risks for the players to go away and make up and that's all you can do. characters who live in the world the Host has created. These should be The first thing you have to do as Host is discussed on an individual basis before engage with your players before you play begins. You may want to make the even begin. In the case of a campaign first session half Q&A and half you will be introducing the game world character discussion, or you may want in a start up session and then taking to devote two sessions to set up, or you each player on a "Lone Wolf" a mini might leave a gap between the first session that helps firm up the player's session and the beginning of the story back story. so you can have a one on one with each of your players. If you have given them the Player's Guide and the Player's Thirty Six The important thing to remember is Situations Supplement then when you that it's you, as the Host, listening to sit down to Lone Wolf you will what they, as the players, would like to hopefully have a player before you who get out of the experience. Once is ready with an idea for a character everyone's happy it's time to begin. and the story in which they are embroiled. If this is the case then you Preparing the Player just have to tidy up the details and your ready to go. When you start to build your campaign Some players will need more working you might wonder how to fill it with with than others but if you take care of exciting, relevant content and new this simple preparation then when you twists on old stories. You might worry actually come to play you should find that your stories would be clichéd and the game developing a lot more your players would be bored. There's smoothly. no way to completely avoid a less than


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The Lone Wolf and ask the player how they reacted to it. And ask them how their life went "Lone Wolfing" is a practice in which a after that incident. single Host and a single player role play. The practice has a totally different Example: One player I was lone feel to group role play and introduces wolfing said that his life changed when an individual crafting dynamic that he miraculously escaped poisoning should help a player get to grips with from the arrow of a hostile race whilst their character before bringing them he was caught up in an attack on a out in a group game. harbour near his home. A poisonous spider bite, usually fatal, was the I usually start the player's lone wolf by antidote to the poison on the arrow describing the average life of a person head of the invaders. His character had who lives in the character's cultural always been strong, a fighter, now he surroundings. This should take no more believed he had been blessed by the than five minutes. Once I have given a gods and had been given his unusually broad overview of this average I ask the strong constitution to fight his people's player at what point their character's mysterious invaders. life diverged from that average. He chose a background thereafter The answer could be that it didn't where his people, a race of warriors, particularly. If the player is insistent held him in high esteem. I said to him, that at the outset of the game they have then, that before he left home, whilst not had one day different from all the he was growing to an age where he other people they know and live with would be allowed to leave on his quest then let them run with that. Otherwise to fight his enemy he would be a ask them to describe what happened favoured son in the town. This would when their life changed. make the circumstances of his life easier and attract a lot of female This life changing event should be role attention. played very lightly. Fix on a key point


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The next key point was how his character dealt with that female interaction. The player was a little nonplussed. Although the result was natural given his character's macho and high societal status he said his character didn't really know what to do about women. was the strongest male fighter in the village, and exchange for her gift of care she wanted him to fight her, in secret to see who was better.

She was fast and she was agile so she won the sparring match easily, leaving the poor fellow dumbfounded and confused. Again I wanted to see how At this point I decided to let fate take a events would turn for him and again he hand, he made a draw. As it happened was unfortunate. Knowing that her he got a fairly ill-starred draw for people would never accept a fighting matters of emotion so I said that woman this girl stowed away on a although there was no one woman he cargo vessel and left him behind. really liked there were two he had a Although his character heard of her fondness for. One was the alpha female leaving he never got a chance to talk to of the village who was smart and pretty her properly after the fight. and seemed to like him because he was important. The other was a tomboy she So that was when his character decided warrior type, frowned upon by the to make the move and go on a voyage people but when he fell under the to find the enemy, maybe hoping, poison arrow she had cared for him somewhere in his heart, that he would when it seemed he might die. find out what happened to the only girl, the only warrior, who could best He chose the warrior woman and we him in single combat. supposed that his character thereafter ignored all the other women but As you can see from that one Lone flirted, cautiously with this fighting Wolf the Player's character found not woman. Eventually her agenda became one, but two personal arcs that I as clear. She had saved his life because he Host could bring into the role play. His


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quest to find and defeat his enemies was the main story but underlying this is his unresolved business with the warrior maiden. The latter situation I had the option of effectively sitting on until I felt that it was time to give his character some stage time. One thing that all role playing groups experience is some inter-player friction out of character. The fact is people in a story get attached to their characters, they want to play them to the best of their ability. Unfortunately one man's dramatic flair is another man's The two draws I described in the annoying quirk. Tension can build up example were the only two draws the and people can swing from having a player made at all during his lone wolf, great time to having a rubbish time and the session itself lasted about forty eventually, unless this is well managed, minutes. This, I would imagine is about the game falls apart. typical. You shouldn't be hitting the player with a dozen conflicts and Taking the bull by the horns our group you're not about taking him or her on a has worked through several of these three hour epic journey. What you are issues and come up with a boilerplate trying to accomplish is a greater solution. This may sound like a bit of understanding of the opportunities that an odd way to do things at first, character has in stories for both of you. particularly if you've been role playing for a while but trust me it takes the Managing A Session pinch out of those situations that can ruin a game group so for the sake of So how will a session run? This guide everyone's good time do it! for Hosts includes a wealth of information about setting up a story At the outset of each session you will world but once you're actually, you have a warm up in which you, as Host, know, playing the game how will it ask each player three important run? questions. The Warm Up 1) How is their character feeling at this


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stage in the adventure. Even if it's the beginning of the adventure they should have lone wolfed to a particular point so they should always have something to say, besides it's not an opportunity for a huge cathartic monologue it's just a sentence or two. You, as Host, should be monitoring the “temperature” of this response. Is Dave really enthusiastic and clear about his character objectives? Or is he very vague? Does Bob sound well up for a session tonight or is he sounding a bit tired? Taking the temperature this way is a good start but then you're going to move on to get more specific. 2) As a player do they feel they want to be challenged and forced to play a main role this session or would they like to sit back and just drink in the atmosphere, taking more of a back seat role? This performs two jobs for you. It helps you identify people who may get restless if you're not giving them big moments every twenty minutes and also those people who are quite happy to be left alone to observe. As a Host it's always a concern that someone might be bored or feel neglected, if you know what level of participation they're expecting you can spend an appropriate amount of time working with each player. This also allows the players to know how everyone else is approaching this episode. Sometimes a player who's trying to be unobtrusive can find themselves “helped” into the limelight by a well meaning fellow player. This is frustrating for everyone. At least if everyone knows Steve wants to keep his head down this week when he offers to guard the spaceship no one will helpfully suggest that he comes along to help them trade with the tribe of Space Amazons. 3) Finally ask each player how they feel about being involved in inter-character aggro this week. Getting involved in a fight with a Host controlled story character is to be expected but sometimes players like to have issues between each other. It's great drama and it actually can make the story better. But people can take such arguments and incidents to heart. If a player complains that it's just “not


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realistic” to have them forced to not be combative with another player's character just remind them that the game is meant to be fun for everyone and if Paul's Chinese martial artist rail worker doesn't want to have continual mudslinging matches with Gail's hard as nails gunslinger then he shouldn't have to. This little moment at the beginning of the session provides information for you as the Host as to what's going on and what kinds of things you should be striving to provide this session. They allow players to understand what other players want out of the session and they also help everyone focus on the story for this week's adventure. Once everyone's got their game head on it's time to actually do some role-playing. The Role Play There are a number of different approaches and a number of different suggested styles but the thing I have noticed is that play progresses in a number of discrete jumps which are managed by you. If you manage them well then players will experience the adventure as a smooth ride. It is something you will grow into the more you Host. Basically it works like this:

You describe an event that occurs within the sight of one or several of the players. You ask them how their character would react to this event. You role play the results of the event. You tell them when the event's effects have started to die down. You move on to the next event.

Of course there are subtle variations in exactly how this happens and that's what we'll look at next. It's very tempting, and totally in keeping with the roots of the hobby, that you as Host imagine that every fresh event follows hot on the heels of the next event making a chain of events that construct the story. In this way


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each episode may be separate in time but the actual episodes themselves take place over a shorter time with each incident taking place in a direct chronological sequence. Although there is an instinctive drift towards this it is incredibly limiting. Remember each play session is at least 3-4 hours in length. Sometimes you haven't got enough story in one incident to stretch 3-4 hours so you start to warp the incident. You might find that all of a sudden a short encounter with an archaeologist at a café becomes a car chase through the streets of Berlin followed by a tense struggle to cross a madman's country estate pursued by guard dogs and, in the latter stages, crocodiles. do is make a timeline of things that would happen if the players didn't exist. These are events that would take place anyway that lead to the conclusion of a story that has no heroes. The very first incident the players see (this does not have to be the first one on the timeline) is where the players enter the story. Let them interfere with your timeline until they run out of ideas. If the time their investigations would take run over into the next incident then have it pile in to complicate things, otherwise you just make sure no one has any more ideas before simply saying.

"Some time passes in which you regroup and then you begin to notice..." Not to say that this isn't, in theory, an and then whatever the physical effects excellent idea for one episode but if it of the following incident are. If the happens every session... Well, it could players are in pretty poor shape after start to wear a bit thin that the players the last incident you might want to use can't seem to get to the fridge without a re grouping time to make them feel a sword fight. bit better, give them a sense of time So how does one cope with a more passing. Otherwise a simple bridging variable pacing requirement? sentence is all that's required. It's something that requires a little handling but what you as Host need to What I've just said may seem


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incredibly dumb and obvious but until very recently the issue of what to do when players run out of story midsession has been a thorny one indeed. When I first encountered it the idea of the bridging sentence didn't occur to me and before you know it the players were up to their necks in ravenous tigers, embarrassing as the game was set in France. The secret of the bridging sentence is that you really have to sell it. If you sound like you know what you're about 95% of player niggles will melt like snow in a furnace. Whether or not you actually are as confident as you appear, another issue altogether. So having dealt with the 95% of niggle that may arise let us turn our attention to that tricky 5% of times when confusion is not abated with the application of a confident attitude. The Fiat Feature fiat noun 1 an official command; a decree. 2 a formal authorization for some procedure. Chambers English Dictionary There's a concept in Role Playing that is inviolate and also it is a pretty good idea. So good that it comes to No Dice untainted by any change or addition. I present it here so any host can send any niggly player here to see it in black and white and thus it shall ever be.

The Rule of Host Fiat
In any dispute the Host's opinion is the only one that matters, their adjudication is final. This is because as Host you have no interest in whether players get their way or not you are just running the game. Right? You see, any problem I've ever encountered with this idea of Host Fiat is when the Host thinks they are the evil spirit of mean and tries to punish the characters for having the blad faced cheek to exist. You, as Host, are there to arbitrate. I always like to take the position that I am generally for the players, if they feel good, I feel good. but if they fail I


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will enforce it. Because if I didn't, who So what is to be done about Jim Bob? would? The man who wants the super strong, mega handsome, invulnerable and sexy That's the whole triumph and tragedy superhero character about whom no of being the Host, and that's why you one can say anything ill? (This is not get the fiat. something people generally cook up in such an obvious form but basically if it 'Nuff said. looks like they're trying to break the game by making their character all How To Hose types of wonderful for no cost be wary.) Well, there are a number of Even after all that though, you will approaches to this scenario but if Jim sometimes come across someone who Bob wants this what I say... well, what just doesn't get it. You've handed them I say is... the Player's Guide, you've been through the introduction to your Give it to him. Give it to him all he world, you've done all you can and still wants and just a little more. Give it to all they want to do with their character him until he says he's had enough and is rule the world with the power of then give him a whole extra helping. If awesome. he leaves it on his plate put it in the fridge and serve it up to him from the Let's get this straight. You should be microwave tomorrow morning. playing this game in a group, you should be trying to play this as a team, Do not try to argue the point. Do not even the Host is a special kind of team tell Jim Bob to play nice. Do not pick member. This isn't the Jim Bob the holes. Do not criticise. Listen to what Awesome's Ego Massage Society. he says he wants and just give it to him. Exactly what he wants. No more. Don't Jim Bob may not have got the memo, twist it out of shape. Be impartial. For however. one last time of telling: Give him what he requested with no bells and


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whistles. If you try and mess with it he flood or an earthquake well, hell, he's will know and he will complain and just a cad and a bounder. Who would whine and bring everyone down. So use their awesome so selectively? just give the man what he asked for. All old school GMs know one thing. If you have given the players a genie and three wishes then they better be damn careful what those three wishes are, because all wishes can be misinterpreted somehow. As Host you are like a genie of the imagination. It is your job to provide the players with their character wishes. If one of the players wishes to be Awesome Guy then that is what you must provide. You see, the problem with being Awesome Guy, the Awesomest guy with the power of Awesome in the known universe, is that he has problems created by his own Awesomeness.

Also, there's the Gunfighter syndrome. Claim to be the best and there's always someone who wants to prove you wrong somehow. Proclaiming yourself awesome just means someone else will race to proclaim you a menace. That's For starters he is responsible. As the most Awesome person in all of creation the way life goes. he is responsible for all the worst The Host's weapon is this. Nothing is things that befall humanity. After all, ever all good or all bad. It doesn't none are as awesome as he. If he matter how bulletproof Jim Bob thinks doesn't want to rescue people from a


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Awesome Guy is, the fact is there are down sides to every situation. but you need to make sure your bases are covered. The bases in question include:

All you need to do is accept what Jim Bob wants and then work out what the Know your players down sides are. Have you done the thing where you Heck he may whinge about it assess their expectations of your afterwards but at that point it's really scenario before you go in? Have you no longer your problem. asked them what kinds of thing they'd like to do before you even wrote your Getting The Design Right own? Have you played with any of these players before? Will you be able As a Host you're going to have to get to to rely on them to fill in for gaps in know people quite well. You have to your own knowledge? Have you got design your scenarios and run your character sheets for the players? Are scenarios for your party. This isn't a they clear or will you have to explain deep process, people are often quite anything? willing to express what will entertain them. Your job is to make sure you Know your scenario deliver. After that it's just down to degrees of talent and that's always less Do you know not only who the non important than the sweat of doing the player characters you'll have to play are groundwork. but what they'll know about what's Make sure you have planned your going on, what will they tell to whom? scenario (or acquainted yourself with What will the characters in your it) to an appropriate degree for your scenario respond well to? What will party. Make sure that if you can't they respond badly to? What about the prepare one aspect you have doubly places you've created? Do you know prepared others to make up for it. No what's in those places? Do you know one can, or needs to, get it 100% right what problems and complications


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various environments will introduce? Do you have maps? Are you going to share them with your players? Is there anything about the set up that you really need to explain up front? thing to remember. The only "no" in No Dice is the one in the name of the game and even that's a joke. If you're wondering just whether you can get away with outrageous gimmick x or risky innovation y the only limit is if you're not confident you can pull x or y off yet. I am telling you now, if you really want to do it and take the risk go ahead. Yes. It's okay.

Know your rules
Have you decided which rules you're going to use for this scenario? Do all the players know the rules? If not, are you well versed in them enough to explain them? Have you thought about whether you're using the absolute minimum number of rules possible?

Any rule, any character, location, event is just a suggestion, a source. You want to run the pirate adventure but make it about space pirates, heck, do the customisation and go the hell ahead. If you've thought about all these things, You want to make the space opera even if you are playing with brand new more satirical and introduce loads of players you've never met, or you're contemporary and relevant characters trialling a risky scenario, then you and situations then that's fine. It should be okay. I wouldn't recommend depends on whether you think it'll play trying brand new material on a crowd for your group and whether you'll be who haven't partaken before but all able to do it convincingly. things are possible if you're absolutely confident you can brazen it out. Gimmick Sparingly I actually quite liked it when RPGs of yore suggested funny hats, props, gimmicks and sound effects to spice up a session. Partially I think I liked it

Nobody Told You No This is the final and most important


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because I used to act and it made Role Playing a bit more like acting. Mostly I think it's because I'm a sucker for gimmicks. Hence inventing a gimmickfree RP system in which every extra rule will be a new gimmick. soundscapes.

Anything that won't distract people with lyrics or yank them out of the experience is fine. So instrumental pieces and ambient sounds are fine, as long as you have enough variety to So when I now advise you to avoid only cycle through once every two or extra gimmicks in your role play if you three hours. can take it in that spirit. Just as unnecessary rules undermine the I would point out here that the music enjoyment of a good game so stupid thing is a tiny flavour of seasoning on false noses yank engrossed players out what should be a robust role playing of the No Dice experience. At the end dish. It's a nice to have but the role of the day nobody told you no, but I'm play should not suffer from its absence. just advising against under all normal If you're spending more time planning circumstances. the soundtrack than the actual scenario you're in danger. The only small exception to this is the Finally... addition of music. Back when you'd have to keep scrambling for the tape Not every adventure you run will be a deck, or repeating the same CD perpetually I would have said that the 100% glowing success but even a benefit wasn't worth the cost. However mediocre role play is more entertaining with the advent of digital music players that most other forms of entertainment. Just do your best, have fun and I would support the use of nonhopefully everyone else will have fun intrusive low level ambient too.


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The Vanilla System
Like everything else in this book the system presented here is a suggestion. The first thing you'll probably notice is that it includes no reference to stats on a character sheet. This is because, in its most basic form a No Dice character is a verbal construction. Numeric scores may be suggested for specific games but the vanilla system does not take this into account. So here it is. The System The basic conflict in nature is of Take a pack of cards and introduce one something a person either will manage joker. Shuffle the cards. Whenever a or they won't this is equivalent to conflict is in need of resolution the flipping a coin and getting heads. The player draws a single card. chances of heads or tails coming up are more or less equal. So what is the player testing against? Well it's a difficulty score that, To simulate a coin toss in No Dice with generally speaking would be between 1 a card draw you could, therefore set the and 10. Where does this number come from? The Host makes it up. Gauging Difficulty It seems like a simple thing but often when the question of a conflicted action comes up you, as Host, may be a bit stumped as to what difficulty score to set for the conflicted action. So here's a check list of actions to take to mentally set the difficulty before the draw.


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difficulty at 5 i.e. a draw of 5 or below, or a Jack is a fail, a draw of 6 or above or Queen is pass. Now quickly ask yourself, is the test you're asking them to make that difficult? Or will they be lucky to succeed? Or unlucky to fail? The 50-50 mechanic is an anchor. It's easier to set the goalpost width once one goalpost is in the ground to provide contrast and perspective. If you are always asking yourself how different For example Kim wants to search a this conflict is from a 50-50 conflict room for evidence of a gangster's you'll be on the right track for fairness. involvement in a crime she and her party are investigating. She is turning over the gangster's apartment. Degrees Of Success Although you decide that she'll get a clue of some nature on a draw of 4 or Of course there are 12 possible conclusive results from every No Dice better to get the real conclusive goods she needs a 9 or 10. She draws a seven draw. It's always been the habit of myself and my players that a Queen is so as Host you give her more than the basics but maybe leave out some vital not just a raw success but a success piece of information that would seal with style, a Jack is not just a failure but a proper botch job. If the numbers the gangster's fate for good and all. from 1 to 10 are not just to be lines in the sand you might want to consider the idea of multiple outcomes from a single draw. This is entirely up to your discrimination as Host. To be honest it's not always appropriate to offer


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degrees of success. When Marco is trying to shoulder barge a door he will either bust the door off its hinges or he will not. There's no degrees of success here. Card draws are a storytelling aid, not an administration process. They give clues to you as the Host how to pitch someone's success or failure given all the information you have to hand. Evaluating a Draw On a more serious note this vanilla Aces are low, 10s are high, Jacks are system is serviceable and will certainly knaves and thus signify an automatic work in "Traveller's Rest" the first failure of the tests, Queens represent example game included in this book. lady luck and therefore indicate an The intention of the vanilla system is immediate success on the test. Kings that it forms a core into which further are kept by the player and traded for rules can be added for flavour as setting redraws on future tests. When a king is and atmosphere dictates. I didn't want drawn it is placed into the possession of the rules from games to infect one the player who drew it and the test another and I also wanted the stripped continues with a redraw. down option for any No Dice game to be rapidly understood and always After any card that is not a King has available. been drawn and evaluated it is placed into a discard pile. When the Joker is As a Host, you may never pick up on drawn the discards and Joker are the extra rules included in future immediately placed back into the pack games, I don't think any No Dice and the pack is shuffled. The test then continues as the player draws the top card from the freshly shuffled deck. The end. No muss, no fuss. If you feel that the revelation of these rules was something of an anti-climax don't worry, the game is meant to be the exciting part. If you feel the rules are the exciting part this may not be the game system for you.


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adventure would actually suffer from using vanilla as opposed to specific rules. But some people like more and some people like less so there will be more rules to follow by the adventure or by the system. As a Host you should be focused on your player's desires for the upcoming adventure not on some mechanic or other that may or may not resolve some obscure situation to everyone's satisfaction. Well, that's my opinion anyway.


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It is possible that you are just scared witless at the prospect of coming up with your own home grown RPG in which case you may want to skip forward to the scenarios section. If you're looking to run one of the included scenarios then they contain any further rules you need right there. These sections are purely for those who want to go "deeper" into the No Dice System Creation and want a few suggestions. As you were. The Game savoury flavour chunks that describe characters in a tangible way without To help "keep score" of your game, the becoming watered down, tedious thing that fundamentally puts the G in number soup. RPG is a juggling of (ew) statistics or "stats". Stats are not the nicest thing Stats vs. Scores about Role Playing, in fact they may be what puts many people off the Let's be really quick here in pointing experience. If you salt your game with out the difference between a stat and a a few well chosen stats, however, it score. The core of it is that a stat will be adds a little to the fun. Stats also give used with a randomiser, a score won't. players hard anchors by which to build You might make a one off game where up a mental picture of their characters. you give everyone a rating out of five So this section aims to guide you in on psychic ability (1/5 being the lowest getting your stat stew filled with 5/5 being super psychic).


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If during the game you plan on testing things like "the team can only see the ghost if their psychic rating is 3 or above" then you have a score. The number flat out tells you what the player can or can't do, you're using the number to short hand some absolute. If, on the other hand you say something like "draw a card and add your psychic rating" knowing that if the player gets 6 or over they can see the ghost you are giving them a basic psychic stat which helps when testing but is not the last word. To Stat or Not to Stat? The answer to this opening query is generally quite simple and can be summed up in the following recommendation: If you can cope without a particular rule, well, you go ahead and just cope without it now, you hear?

There are three types of rules in RP world. The type you have to have for those tricky situations that need arbitration. The type that reinforce the atmosphere of the RP world you have Scores can also just be a way for people created and unnecessary fiddly rules to visualise where their character that get in the way of the experience. stands in relation to everyone else so Bob knows he's the least psychic and Let's look at the latter. Almost all rules Alice knows she's more psychic than fall into this category. If it's not vital Chad but less psychic than Dorothy. and it doesn't add flavour it's one of This, of course, only applies if everyone that last type. Most games ever written knows what everyone else's score is. seem to consist almost wholly of rules of that type. One particular well It might be that even the light known game I have the rulebook for discussion of numbers fills you with dedicates about five or six large pages dread and it is for those people that we to combat rules I have never read. The present the first question. game is not a combat game. All the other rules are pretty flexible and easily understood. The combat rules on the


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other hand... warzone. In these cases you will want to give some indication of exactly how Remember folks, D&D was essentially much punishment someone can take the wargame gone board, with a little before they're out for the count. As you bit of RP thrown in, in fact, it pretty will see Revelation Point, the slasher much still is. A No Dice RP intends to movie example included in this book, get as far away from this as possible and takes its own unique look at the a vital part of that is tossing most of the concept of Hit Points. Like I said before stats out of the window. With that in nothing is prohibited except things that mind let's look at the types of stats you make the game suck. might have in a no dice game. Hit Points are an excellent example of Hard Stats what I call a "Hard Stat". A hard stat is like a baseline, it may change over time The one universal stat in almost every but on a given day it describes the role playing game is the Hit Point. Hit average of that aspect of the character. Points represent the number of serious The other example I can think of physical shocks the player can take which is pretty universal is "Luck/Fate", before being rendered unconscious (not often used as a way to persuade a GM dead, it gets fiddly thereafter as to to be kinder than a card draw would when it is a character "dies"). This is, of indicate they should be in dire straits. course, because most RP games hitherto have had a hefty portion of Of course, your adventure may not physical combat, or are intended to require physical peril. I would say this have same. situation will crop up mostly in one offs, in longer term adventures the In No Dice this is not necessarily the chance of no physical peril and no need case. Even so, you may have a scenario for luck is slim indeed (although not set in a hazardous environment like impossible). outer space, the Antarctic or an urban


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What you really have to decide is what can't you do without and I'll show you how whilst I run through examples of other "hard" stats. the spiritual: Charisma, Willpower, Fellowship. The overlaps are not limited to Physical/Spiritual as Physical/Mental stats like Perceptiveness will attest. In the realm Most RP systems flesh out Life and of the mind we have stats like Luck with descriptions of the Intelligence, Analysis, Focus. In Spirit character's make up in three main we might have some concept of areas, Body, Mind and Spirit. Many spiritual purity or natural aptitude at focus on physical attributes for obvious magic or propensity for madness (AKA reasons. And in this we can see the Sanity). inherent problem here. The question becomes not only how do Thinking just about the aspects of you describe a character but also how someone's physical appearance we do you stop describing them? The could talk about their health, their problem is, the more you give to the physical strength, their physical fitness, god of detail the more you take away their suppleness, their reaction time, from the god of fun and simplicity. The their constitution, their relative beauty more you give to the god of simplicity within their society. the more situations have no hard and fast solutions. All of these are described in stats like Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Stats are a balancing act. Hence the Speed, Vitality, Sinew, Attractiveness, question of whether you can do Deftness. Even this leaves out some without them. It depends on the game, things like being fiddle fingered, or of course, but the more you can do having unusually large lung capacity or away with, I tend to find, the better. other things that are usually relegated to the rank of "skills". A brief word about bonuses Some stats overlap the physical with Sometimes you can hide horrendous


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hard stat stacks by having a simplified "uber" score like "Body" with "sub stats" that add advantages in certain situations called "Bonuses". Just remember, drilling down this way more than two layers is likely to make complexity and complexity is the enemy of good times. with in the section of randomisers. I'd say that if you make it any more complex than that, you're asking for trouble. Points Any game needs some way of keeping score. Are the players winning or losing? RP is different in some ways in that there can be a number of scores which allow the character to feel they are winning in different ways but the basic situation is the same. Let's examine some ways that we are keeping score in an RP game.

Remember the HP? Well they are a scorekeeping method. The most important way that players know they're "winning" is that their character is still alive. If they are badly injured they might be worried but an alive character is always better than a dead character.

So having a character who has a basic Body score of 4 (out of 10) might then have a profile of subscores in Strength (-2), Dexterity (1), Reaction Speed (0), Beauty (1), Constitution (0) and Vitality (1)... What you do with such scores is up to you and will be dealt

Is a character loaded or not? In many


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games the only reason to accumulate money is to then spend it on weapons. Even so, the cash value of a player's arsenal will indicate how much money they have previously spent on acquisition. achieve an end and employ a method of acquiring more later on (counselling, a stay in an asylum?).

The scoring mechanics won't really bother you unless you're creating a long-term adventure. Over time Experience characters will seek improvement to their skills. Players regard this as their The more experience a character has "reward" for good, consistent role play. the more wonderful that character's Often the increments to a character's portfolio of skills and abilities will be. hard stats and "Skills" are purchased in Experience totals are accumulative but the mythical currency of "experience". all "purchased" upgrades need to aggregate to less than the experience In D&D you needed gold and XP total at all times (or you can just (Experience Points) to make an "spend" points like money thus your awesome killing machine. There's experience is like a bank account with nothing essentially wrong with which you buy stuff and then the expressing progress as an advance in figure goes down). both experience and currency, the fact that the things you could buy with Sanity experience were generally more useful than those you could buy with the cash The only other major scoring was also nice. I see no reason to change mechanism I can think of is when a this dynamic in a long term game. player tries to keep a Sanity score. This tends to be a bit of a weird way to keep Sometimes, particularly when it is score as it goes up and down. Generally knowledge and social bargaining that (although not always) the saner you are are at stake in a game, you don't need the better, but you might, if you are an actual "experience" stat at all, you particularly sane "burn" sanity to just need to keep playing to become


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better. experience for new skills there and In other cases you will need some kind then, how is the Host to decide? of points system and it is this that we shall take a look at next. Sometimes it's appropriate to just allow characters to accumulate XP on a Increments session by session basis and spend them there and then or hoard them for a few So if you are running an incrementally sessions until the time comes to go on scoring game how are you going to an experience blow out. ladle out the spoils? Some games like to keep numbers low making one If you wanted a way of making experience point or one gold piece experience expenditure something that worth a whole bunch. Others ladle on could happen in game you could make the scores like the players are playing certain experiences or places into Space Invaders but keep the value of experience exchanges. New scientific each unit low. research linking sleep to learning could make it a viable mechanic to exchange I prefer the former method, it's simpler. experience as characters sleep. You Also if you need 1000 experience points could make certain locations, like to buy anything of any value why not computer terminals, gyms and safe just make every point worth 1000? 500 houses into experience spending places, points is, after all, worth nothing as you like computer games often do. can't buy anything with it. In the end, again, the choice is yours. In then end, as with anything else the choice is yours. As you read more No The other question is when do people Dice material you will see how I deal acquire XP and when do they spend with these issues and maybe this will them? Money is easy, if a player has help you come up with your own money they can spend it. However, if preferred method. the players are halfway up a mountain and someone wants to cash in pending


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Descriptors Let's be clear about this. Sometimes words make a terrible muddle out of things that previously seemed simple. Let's take a look at the word "speed". Say you made a game where characters had a speed stat, what does it actually express. Well, it could express how fast they move, or it could express their reaction time. These things are not the same at all. And fast reaction time, while we're at it, doesn't presuppose dexterity. You might be as supple as a plank of wood but still react quickly. Mickey the Pirate might be okay at cutlass waving but will suck at piloting an Apache helicopter gunship, whereas Barbara the air force pilot will have the reverse innate abilities.

Your stats should point out to the players avenues for exploration of their abilities that aren't suggested in a bio or character note. For example did you know Barbara was 2 points less psychic than Mickey? No. Well, now you do. Stats will encourage people to use them if they exist. If they don't exist the players are pretty much on their own with regards for cunning plans about It could be a muddle. what to do next. Use this to your advantage. The more stats you make So just be careful what you call stats, it the more can get lost on the sheet. might be best when introducing players to the character sheet to clarify what The less you have the more of a stats mean. This will also encourage particular type of problem solving your you to have less stats as the "explain the team are likely to attempt. If your game descriptors" Q&A is liable to be one of is meant to be magical veer towards the low points of any No Dice game. magical stats, if martial arts then combat stats are appropriate. While Opening Up Possibility we're on the topic of what's appropriate let's take a moment to take a more The idea of any stat is not, in fact to detailed look at the Character Sheet. define and limit a character. Anyone with half a brain could guess that


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Character Sheets Back in the early days of role playing the character sheet was an awesome beast indeed. Awesome in the sense that it filled you with awe. Possibly, then, dreadful as well seeing as it also filled a lot of people with dread. The character sheet stretched across the two sides of paper it came on covered in small boxes labelled with stat names. This beast was a confused and nightmarish jumble that expressed a range of information from how long your character took to tie his shoelaces to his tendency towards lactose intolerance. that I would recommend that character sheets take another step toward the soft. The character sheet performs two tasks. One is, indeed, to record the "score" so far. Remember the scoring mechanism is what will add a main focus to the game's events. The other, more neglected aspect, is providing space to giving a character a jumping off point into the campaign.

It might even, in some cases, be better to assign these different tasks to different sheets of paper. Over the course of a longer adventure what the character started off as shouldn't be what the character will remain. In a Over time some games have attempted one off you could probably devote half to cut this down a little but the core of of a sheet to the scoring mechanism it remains the same. Some games have and the other half to a potted character little text fields to write tiny histories bio. of your character. You can also record goals, fears, personality quirks. There The cardinal recommendation when it has been much work done in softening comes to character sheets is: when it the sheet from a stat fest to something a begins to resemble a government tax little more descriptive. rebate claim form, you've probably overdone it with the stats. There's Well, it shouldn't surprise you by now nothing wrong with leaving a healthy


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section for player notes. If the players don't need it there's an even chance your scenario is dull. To illustrate let's take the adventures of Jim the Fugitive Vet. Jim has just escaped from the ever vigilant gaze of Special Agent McMisinformed and So we've essentially gutted the old way stumbled into a farmhouse he thought of doing things. We've tossed out most deserted. Unfortunately the farmhouse of the stats and left acres of note space has two occupants. A farmer and his on a character sheet that has four or guard dog. Jim meets the dog first and five numbers and a couple of kicks it hard, injuring the dog. Only paragraphs of text upon it. Now, if then is he confronted by the farmer, you're a regular gamer, you're holding his hunting rifle up to the wondering what happens when there's hapless vet's chest. some kind of a conflict? How do we decide stuff. Well, we're about to get The fact the farmer is now very angry into a whole section on randomisers at Jim and may turn him over to the but before that let's talk about how No law is a complication, the fact that the Dice views the nature of "conflict". reason for this is Jim's hasty action in kicking the dog is conflict. Ironically, Conflicts Or Complications? had Jim not kicked the dog he would have no angry farmer but he would also Let's start this bit by clearing have no way to ingratiate himself with something up. In a story conflict and said farmer. Looks like Jim had better complication are two very different get to fixing the dog then. Only when things. Conflict is a dramatic construct it comes to Jim's using his vet abilities of personal dilemma that pulls people can we understand what role players into the story, complication is mean by conflict (as opposed to inconvenience for the main characters "fighting"). in a story that acts like a seasoning upon the story, too much and the story In role playing terms a "conflict" is a will drag, too little and the heroes seem very simple thing. The player wants to have too easy a ride. their character to do something, it's not


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an easy thing to do, so there is a the tens and one for the units. Jim does conflict between the character's desires this and gets 68. It's over his score and and their abilities that needs resolving. so he fails to treat the dog. In many role play systems until you get into the minutiae of combat the process for resolving non-combative conflicts tends towards being so light some GMs tend to ignore it. Unfortunately some GMs don't. Lets return to our example of Jim the vet. Jim knows animal medicine and has a percentage skill in this of 63%. During the course of his adventure Jim injures a dog belonging to a farmer who could help Jim out or leave him to swing in the wind. Jim reasons if he helps the farmer's dog then the farmer will be grateful enough to be forgiving. To see if Jim can fix the dog the GM in a regular RP has two choices. One is that Jim, being a vet, and having no particular time pressure upon him, will know how to diagnose and treat a sick dog, or at least advise on treatment. The other is that Jim's years at vet school will be subject to an animal care test. This test will usually consist of rolling two ten sided dice (D10) one for There are a few problems with this scenario. What, exactly, for example, does the test mean? Is it about Jim's actual skill? The condition of the dog? And if he can do nothing does this mean he doesn't even have a clue what's wrong with the dog? The fact is the test is not realistic. The animal care skill, it could be argued, would only need testing if Jim is caring for animals on a strict time limit or under unusual stress. The rest of the time merely having the skill should suffice. Then of course we wouldn't need any dice... oh. Stat heavy RPGs tend to concentrate on physical combat on the basis that we can simulate the actions of a highly skilled kung fu master using some numbers and a set of dice far more accurately than we can express the nuance of advanced medical skill. Who


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knows whether this is, in fact, the truth. As GMs we might be up at night worrying about this sort of thing. As Hosts we don't care. Let's not forget, the point of a No Dice game is fun. Worrying about whether Jim's medical skill is realistic given the percentage rating of his animal care skill is about as much fun as breaking a limb. good. If Bonzo's a dog but Jim's got to save him in the next fifteen minutes or Bonzo will die; if Bonzo's a gryphon; if people are shooting at Jim whilst he treats Bonzo, then we might need to resolve a conflict referring to some kind of stat, but otherwise let it fly. Just Play If it's at all an option I would heartily recommend just not having any numbers at all in your player materials. It is possible, and your players will thank you for the convenience. Or at least they won't curse you for turning your session into number jugglers united. The past trend of having statistics to describe everything on the character sheet seems to have been about two things: 1) Giving an illusion of choice whilst actually imposing inconvenient limits 2) Presuming that people can't tell a bum story note. If Jim's a vet and Bonzo's a dog not a gryphon then his skills are probably If Jim the vet tries to play a Piano Concerto without any piano lessons


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and rolls a 2 on his 3% natural musical skill does that make his victory any more convincing? Jim's just not a pianist, he's a vet and no statistical anomaly is going to change that. People can smell someone getting away with murder worse than bottom gas in a lift. designers messing with the concept of "Diceless" have said, if you're not going to be rolling 80% of the time then maybe everything should be down to that fiat thing we talked about at the head of the Host section. The problem with this is that not having any challenge where it's needed begins to If what someone wants to do doesn't introduce the feeling that this is all interfere with the story it is your job as arbitrary. a Host to accommodate that. Then you only have to start randomising when Arbitrary results are no fun. They're even you can't tell if someone would be even less fun than randomising too able to do something or not. often. So with heavy heart we have to concede that sometimes our Making Randomisation Interesting complications need resolution by lady luck, with that in mind we turn, at last Like it or not, these situations will to the business of randomisers. occasionally occur. Some RPG


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No Dice? Well What About Cards? So when I began in on No Dice in earnest cards were high on my agenda. When I was thinking of a name for this I've run a few one offs with cards role-playing system a number of instead of dice and, to be honest, the options sprung to mind. Eventually I experience is mind blowing. Cards, I settled on "No Dice" because it wasn't have no hesitation in saying are about a game that was diceless. It superior to dice in just about every wasn't even about having a particular way. Let's see how. randomiser at all. It was about rejecting dice as randomisers specifically because Cards vs Dice they've been done. If you can't bear to be parted from your cubes and other At this point You might be asking polyhedra then go ahead and come up what's the problem? Both cards and with some dice-ful rules to the system. dice are means of generating a random number so why not just stick to pulling I, on the other hand, will stick by my out a few dice and getting people to roll randomiser of choice. This being the a few random numbers? humble playing card. Way back when I started tinkering around with systems I Before you do I would just like to put picked up on the fact that there weren't in a few words for the humble playing that many playing card based systems. I card. played one game that used them and thought they were kind of cool. 1) Playing Cards have a greater subtlety than dice - It doesn't matter how many


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sides your platonic solid has a 5 is just a 5. In a deck of cards 5 could be of two colours (red or black) or four suits (spades, clubs, hearts, diamonds). You can just use the 5 as a five but the colour or suit could also indicate something about the particular 5 that has been drawn. 2) Playing cards also come with court cards - These could be wild effects, having augmentation properties or indicating automatic successes or failures. People who have been using dice for the past 25 years are so desperate for something like this they've even started inventing funny dice to account for these effects. I'm not joking. 3) Playing cards come with a greater number of interpretations out of the box - I mean come on there's 10 numerics and three courts per suit. And jokers. To simulate even half of the functionality here with dice you'd have to start messing with the dark arts of d10s and from there it's a polyhedral slippery slope. There's an old saying in role playing that the moment you start messing around with d20s you are lost to the dark side forever. Actually I just made that last part up but I'm sure there should be an old saying about that. 4) Dice need tables, cards only need hands - Let's not forget, dice need a surface to bounce off so that they can reveal their secrets. A player can sit on a couch in a room with no table and pull cards from a deck he is holding in his hands and it's all good. With dice he'd have to be forever hunching down to roll them on the floor. Basically, I am recommending a card based system over a dice based one but, whatever floats your boat. The essential point of your conflict resolution method is that it should be pretty intuitive. To which end here are some intuitive ways of measuring. Numbers The unavoidable thing here is that your random chance will be expressed as a number. When you test you will do some light mathematics and end up


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with a number. This will be compared to some other number and success or failure will thus be determined. Here are some popular past ways this has been done.

Have a measure of difficulty expressed as a number and make the player exceed that number with a combination of attribute plus card draw. Advantages: Super easy to understand, Disadvantages: Boring. Have the player's attribute score be how many randomiser chances they get e.g. a score of 1 indicates one chance, a score of 3 indicates 3 chances, you then compare the score drawn against the difficulty rating of the task. Advantages: Pretty easy to understand, increases player's abilities exponentially. Disadvantages: increases player's abilities exponentially.

cards and is trying to reach a target of five on all four he draws 2, 3, A, 5 and so that makes one success. In these systems 1 is often counted as a botch and 6 is counted as a "special" success. Advantages: Pretty easy to understand, flattens the probabilities nicely. Disadvantages: Very flat and takes some counting to know how successful you've been, also as a GM who has applied this system in the past I can say that the difference between 1 success, 2 successes and 3 successes isn't all that clear to me even now. These are all systems that work for dice but I've not even mentioned any of the special things about cards. So let's consider the humble card's advantages and how they can nudge your story in strange new directions.

Make the randomisers Suits thrown/drawn into a pool and have a target value across the This is one thing dice can't do. A 6 in a range e.g. the player draws four deck of cards could just be a six, but it


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also possesses a suit and suit could have significant. A six of diamonds could be very different from a six of clubs. Whenever I think about card suits, because I have some knowledge of the Tarot, I always think of the suits' Tarot associations i.e.: irrelevant, but you might make red and black cards mean different things. Court Cards

This is where cards really start to take off into a whole different stratosphere when compared to dice. No other  Spades - Intellect randomiser has extra elements built in the way a pack of cards does. Here you  Hearts - Emotion have three cards per suit that  Clubs - Spiritual Growth essentially have no numeric value. They are "special" cards. They could  Diamonds - Wealth mean something or nothing. You can even remove them if you feel they're These interpretions are approximate to unnecessary. a scholar of the Tarot, but we're What About Aces? hosting a game not a Tarot evening. You may note that the four categories In the dice days 1 was either great (on decribed here present all sorts of testing systems that went low) or possibilities for bonuses and plot effects. Anything that will give you, as disastrous (on the other hand). Cards the Host, a break in interpreting what a have tended to indicate there is something special about one. It's called result means has to be a good thing. the Ace. Ace is always good, isn't it? It's Suits could have also denote effects on rarely a presage of disaster. plot, characters, world events (e.g. weather) or treasures. While we're on One of the distinct problems of dice the topic don't forget that cards come based systems is that once they're used in two colours the actual suit might be to the system anyone can tell from a


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roll what kind of result they've achieved. Cards allow for more flexibility in this case. Jokers Just when you thought a single randomiser couldn't get any more cool along comes a card without a numeric value or a suit. A card that essentially represents a kind of "all bets are off" concept. couple of things. The most basic of these is that you have one really big deck of cards. To think of a more exciting example, you could buy two packs of cards which are of different brands. Then you have two different decks. You could use one for straight numeric randomising and the other as a kind of chance deck.

I'm sure the possibilities for multi-deck games don't stop there but I'm going to finish up extolling the virtues of the The power and versatility of the joker playing card now and move on. card is exemplified by how the card I hope that this section has so far itself has stepped out of the deck and opened your eyes up to the power of into unrelated games like quizzes. The card decks as a randomiser in role Joker symbolises that some playing. I'm going to round out the extraordinary game event has been chapter by going really nuts and introduced. Whether you harness this discussing further paraphernalia that power for your own adventures is up to you could use to enhance mood and you. make randomisation interesting in your games. Multiple Decks Resource Counters If you take the humble die, add a further die what do you have? Well, One thing that has been fun on two dice essentially. occasion is to use counters or beads to represent some resource such as sanity Take a pack of cards and add a second or experience. The practice of actually deck of cards and you could have a having a pile and spending the pile


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gives an intuitive idea of how a character is doing. It can be fiddly, however so beware. expected to do specialised challenge tasks. Even so, consider just freeing yourself of all numbers, if you can get away with it. Other Randomisers

Dominos - Have two numbers per block, that must be useful for something, right? Coins - or small discs with symbols and numbers on them. Draw your randomiser from a bag. Spinning Tops - With a number of sides and a number to each side, means a dice like randomiser with only 5 values can be produced. Other... - I'm sure there are more. Like I said a while back, nobody's telling you no.

The Joy of Nothing I've played a couple of games in developing this book that had no more that character descriptions as their system. The games in question were very enjoyable and suffered no detriment for being completely freeform. The cards were used in a version of the "vanilla" No Dice system but the draws were interpreted raw with no bonuses. It's not a method that will work in every situation, best for one offs and best where characters will not be

The Randomiser Problem There's something you just can't get around. Most randomisers require, to greater or lesser degrees, some interruption in the gameplay to


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operate. Dice are certainly not innocent of this as the process of shaking, hunching and rolling the dice is distracting enough, let alone when one pings off a drinks glass and shoots under the sofa. I've experimented with various means of randomisation and none are utterly unintrusive but the least intrusive? Well, you've probably guessed what I'm going to advocate by now. he fact is shooting a steely Hosting glare at one of the players and commanding "Do me a draw", where they pull one straight out of a pack in their hand is as instantaneous as you can get. I know this is turning into a treatise on what's so great about card decks but let me assure you the testing elves have gone so nuts for this stuff that they've begun hacking other systems to use cards with them instead of dice.


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If you're doing it right then there should be no such thing as a "typical" No Dice evening. However just because there is no one thing that could be said to typify the No Dice experience does not mean that there aren't some tried and tested recipes for giving players an interesting role play session. videogame design can give us a good analog here. The sandbox is a game design structure that says the designer is there to provide an open world of possibility for the player. Sandbox games started out as things like Sim City and The Sims where there was no actual plot per se players filled empty worlds with bespoke creations and The first thing I want to get right away developed their own internal worlds. from is the idea that what we are doing is making a plot that involves the Fast forward a few years and a players being given a "mission" which company called Rockstar produced a they will then fulfil by going through a game called Grand Theft Auto III. No number of steps you have laid out for one really knew what to expect from them in order. Even if your game is this when it first arrived but it quickly mission based there is nothing that set down a design paradigm that has turns a player off more than feeling come to dominate video game design. that they are "on rails". In GTA III the player was set down in a 3D world called Liberty City and The Sandbox allowed to wander around either following the plot or, essentially, Thankfully the wonderful world of playing around with the world


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environment to fulfil various tasks. These tasks included activities such as driving vehicles up carefully arranged ramps to complete "unique stunts", collecting carefully hidden "packages" or engaging in mini games that simulated sports or other activities (such as becoming a taxi driver). In role playing, weirdly, sandbox would have been the assumed mode of play but the original concept of "experience points" actually rendered role playing games, and particularly the granddaddy of them all D&D, into tabletop computer games. The aim of each monster bash was to "level up" to go and bash a bigger monster. I think part of this has to be because game designers worried more about solving the universal problem of players in rucks than they did about guiding their GMs in the ways of plot design. I'm not ladling out the blame here, these games were designed by game designers not novelists, I'm just pointing out that when it came to plots the advice has been somewhat focused on the end product than a graded journey. This meant that, to a certain degree, the player decided what goals they wanted to fulfil in the game in what order. In the world of video game design it was a big deal as previously the accent had been on a linear progression of "levels" to reach an end win state. In No Dice I want to give the Host a quick lesson in thinking through plots and plot construction and to do this I want to first of all pick up on something game designers can get their head round and work backwards from there.


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Win Conditions In game design a "win condition" is a state of play where one of the participants has "won". In games like chess one person wins and the other loses when a check mate is declared (or some other final condition is met). In role playing it is possible for everyone to win. The Host wins the minute someone says they enjoyed the game and when is everyone doing it again, the players... Well now, there's the thing. What do players want? The more game focused player may want to feel that they have somehow become "better" at the game. Other people may simply want to have been entertained. Others may want to feel they have got to know their character and the characters of others a little better. What your players want out of No Dice in order to have "won" is frankly between you and them. It tends to be the case that the players want to engage with the world you have created and will probably expect that you have laced the world with a story that contains puzzles, challenges, dramatic situations and intrigue. You as the Host want to pull your players into the story, motivate the characters to heroic deeds and shepherd them through the game until the story comes to a conclusion. That conclusion is the win condition. RPG stories have a strange feature in that game time will progress whether the players are doing well or not. In the end the session will come to a close and if at that time the players have not got to grips with the game to a certain extent the game itself will not care. This puts the game into a very strange position. You as the Host will know how time will pass and what is going on in the game. You know what end result is waiting in the wings to emerge. But will the players get the idea in time? Well, in order to ensure that they do and gaming satisfaction is achieved pay close attention to this section as we learn how to build an adventure.


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Where to begin? If you've ever read a novel or watched a movie the question may well have occurred to you of where a person would even start to write such a story. If you are sitting down to write your own No Dice adventure you may be asking yourself this question with slightly more anguish than you ever have previously. Let's take a breath for a moment and calm down. I'm here to help you. The help I offer is quick and dirty but it's as effective as hell. Further No Dice product will inevitably add to this initial dose of advice but these first few tips should get you a nice plot structure without too much hassle. comes to engineering a story. First Question... How long is your overall story going to be? You're going to have to reproduce the process described below for each and every episode of the adventure you're running. Only stupid TV executives with dollar signs in their eyes believe that all things should be ultimately open ended. The best stories know where they're going. They have a beautifully paced beginning, middle and end. This is known as an arc.

In any adventure your arc may be short and sweet, stretch across a few episodes or be planned as a saga stretching across many months of play. Whichever way you're going each session will need to contain what you can think of as an "episode". Each I don't know whether handing out episode will culminate with some writing secrets is liable to have me dramatic situation being revealed and, thrown out of the Writer's Circle or if you are planning a long adventure, whatever. To be honest, even if it does, the early episodes will want to build I don't care. I'm about to pull on my towards your final reveal. luchador's mask and show you some of the wiring under the board when it I would also suggest that should you


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wish to engineer a huge saga or chronicle that you split it down into "seasons" of six to eight episodes because variety is the spice of life and someone else always has their eye on the Hosting chair. whole thing through from end to end. After a while players will be hungering for resolution, even if it is just the conclusion to an act.

You may have a very clear idea of what will happen in your saga, or just the Six to Eight Episodes vague impressions of the beginning situation and where the story will end This section only applies to multiup. You don't have to know everything episodic No Dice adventures. One right away. Just plan out six to eight timers may move along. episodes and then relax, run something else, give the players a break. In the An average No Dice session can last end they'll thank you for endless between three and eight hours. That's variety and stimulation even if, when the equivalent of five or six episodes of they think back on the saga that too any given dramatic television series was rich and rewarding. without advertisements. At their longest "seasons" of television dramas Plot Construction last about twenty four episodes. In four sessions your players will have been What you should find, particularly playing as long as it would take to when designing something episodic in watch an entire season of a television nature like a No Dice scenario, is that drama. plots become something like boxes. All stories have one plot, but within that Also you, as Host, are going to have to one plot there are usually smaller plots come up with a series of entertaining which revolve around the central plot episodes for your players to play and comment upon it, adding depth to through. Even if you are planning a the characters and themes. role play saga to rival War and Peace you will not be able to just play the So, and I don't ask this question in the


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spirit of sarcasm, what is a plot? It's hard to pin down the concept, mumbling "I dunno, it's just like what happens in the story" with a halfhearted shrug isn't satisfactory. It is, however, half correct. "Plot" is just a way of shorthanding "dramatic conflict". another dude that is somewhat interesting no matter what our feelings on the subject of mano a mano single combat.

If you're going to be ultra-conservative in your definition then a plot can be defined as equilibrium-eventequilibrium. This is not helpful. Just It is no coincidence that plot also tweak it out a little though to become means an area or point. Plots are false equilibrium-event-equilibrium conflicts that are supposed to contain and we have a truth about stories. At some sort of point. An incident by itself the beginning all the characters think is not a story: "The bike rolled to a stop things are okay but because the events once it reached the bottom of the hill." of the story are going to happen the is an event, but it is not a plot. A plot players can presume things are really attempts to resolve a conflicting not okay. situation: "Dave's final left hook proved too much for Edward and he fell to the It is only by going through the events floor, out cold." is both an event and a of the plot that a true state of "being plot. okay" is reached. When the characters began their tale everything was "not A plot sets us up to want the answer to okay" they just didn't realise it. a number of questions, not least what's the deal between Edward and Dave? As interesting as this may or may not You could, were you particularly be it's not going to help us get some inquisitive, ask a bunch of questions notes down. Now we understand that a about the errant bike but there's a plot is basically "something interesting chance none of the answers will be that happens in a story", without a plot interesting. If we hear some dude hit a story is not really a story, something


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interesting happening out of context begs us to find out the story but is not a story by itself. There are a huge number of classifications for story systems. I've looked at the very most basic story construction to help us define what a plot is. Any system that gives you only one, two or three basic plots is going to be somewhat limited. One of the most compelling systems I've ever come across is the idea that there are seven basic plots. I heard this years ago with reference to movies but the internet seems to have expunged all record of the Hollywood system from history. There are, however other plot categorisation systems and many of them suggest seven is a good number for types of plot. The one I find most useful is related by Christopher Booker in a book called (wait for it) “The Seven Basic Plots” and he states these are:


Voyage And Return - e.g. The Odyssey Comedy - This doesn't just mean something which makes one laugh it is a story in which people change their identity in order to initiate the story's events. Donnie Brasco, therefore, would technically count as a comedy because it details the activities of an undercover law enforcement official, although it could also fall under Overcoming the Monster (the monster being gang crime) and The Quest. Tragedy - Any story with a downbeat ending although specifically one where that ending is occasioned by some flaw in the main character(s). Rebirth - A radical reinvention of the characters takes place due to some encounter that could be termed a death, or a period in limbo, these stories are somewhat unusual.

Overcoming The Monster - e.g. St. George and the Dragon Rags To Riches - e.g. Aladdin The Quest - e.g. Lord of the

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As you can see four out of the seven are enormously popular and easily referenced. The others range from hard to define (although wouldn't a comedic RPG plot be fun given the definition?) to overly difficult to imagine as an RPG. Maybe someone would want to play a tragic figure in an RPG but I doubt it would be many player's first choice, not least because it would be extremely difficult. As for "Rebirth", that's all very well but as the hub of the story is the evolution of a person's very soul unless you can guarantee this for the players I think it will have to be relegated to the status of unexpected by-product. So we're left with five basic plots that are do-able. You might be depressed to note that three of those five are repeated over and over again in RPGs. Don't worry. At this stage we are just trying to resolve options. The actual business of playing an RPG doesn't revolve around the events of a plot. Both deal with the thirty six dramatic situations described by French author Georges Polti. One Appendix is for players but should also be read by Hosts, the other one is further notes for the Host. there's more explanation in the relevant appendix. For now let's move along. Once you have decided the overarching plot du jour is, for example, a “defeating the monster” with a side helping of “situation 36” you will want to get out of the abstract end of the pool and head for the most excellent water slides of genre. Genre In case you don't know, a good working definition of genre would be the sections in a fiction library, movie hire shop or book store. So broadly speaking "Crime", "SF", "Horror", "Fantasy", "Thriller", "Romance" etc.

There is a certain school of thought The core of any RPG is the playing out that says that all genre settings are just of dramatic situations. To this end two set dressing, the mechanisms of drama Appendices are included in this guide. remain the same irrespective. To a


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certain degree this is true. You can rescue the princess for real in High Fantasy. Don't think that just because she's an Industrialist's Daughter and you get to the Evil Corporation's Moon Base in your Dread Cruiser doesn't mean you're still not rescuing the same princess. are particularly apt for particular themes. If you set your adventures in the wrong place and time they may get muddled or go off in directions that you don't like. So in this summary of popular genres I shall highlight what kinds of theme those genres are associated with and further themes or modifications introduced by the sub-genres of that main genre. The list is not exhaustive, nor is it intended to be; like everything else in this section it is intended as a source book to guide and suggest. There are exceptions to every rule and your killer idea is more important than my rule of thumb. The Examples In the course of this section I point to a few works of fiction, cinema or television drama that exemplify what I am talking about. If you are not familiar with the examples then it means one of two things:

Genre has a subtle effect on situation, however. It changes the kind of expectations your audience (in this case the players) have. This is not without a) if you really are attracted to the rest reason as you shall see from the of the genre description but have never annotations below. Particular settings looked at the example cited then you


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really need to. I have picked only works which are archetypes of what they represent. Hosts need to take in a lot of ideas, Hosts need to go looking for those ideas. Hosts need to immerse themselves in these cultural items. That's where all their own ideas come from. Besides if you are attracted to the genre concept and you haven't seen the example I set you are depriving yourself of a treat. b) if, on the other hand, you are just confused by my description and don't like the sound of it anyway you probably won't be great at Hosting a campaign in that genre. There may be a reason you've never seen Blade Runner or read Lord of the Rings, it could be it's just not your thing. In which case it's probably best not to make a rod for your own back creating a game set in a world you don't enjoy spending time in. So bear this in mind as we take a look through the number of genre settings available to you. Fantasy Fantasy stories often discuss the concept of "magic" as a hypothetical force, the consequences of magic existing and ways in which magic could work. They also love heroics, the idea of destiny, the ideals of virtue, the nature of ultimate good and evil, epic sweep, grand ideas. Because of this Fantasy has always been a home for role players. For many current role players the activity is a form of wish fulfilment in which heroics are easier than than they are in real life. Fantasy is the ideal platform for this.

High Fantasy
All the notes for fantasy as a whole apply here to the power of ten. The genre is used and much beloved a lot not just by role players but by fiction readers.

Comic Fantasy
The kind of antithesis to po-faced High Fantasy, comic fantasy talks about the


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same high themes but it seeks to subvert our views about them. Just read some of Terry Pratchett's Discworld and you'll get the idea. You'd be wrong to think this wasn't like "serious" fantasy though it is just the opposite of it. Comic fantasy takes a cynical view of concepts like "Ultimate Good", "Ultimate Evil", "Kindly Spirits" and "Evil Demons". but the player has taken on a new role in that world and that is the subject of the game. When a game blends the things of High Fantasy and the things of modern life, therefore, it is in an attempt to get us to re-examine our world. The mainstays of High Fantasy are high concepts and putting them in a modern world makes us think about how high concept blends with the mundane. Contemporary fantasy can be funny, but it can also be spiritual, it's one of my favourite genres and I think deservedly so because the point of role playing is to bring the real world into a new focus and make it strange again like it was when we were young.

Contemporary Fantasy
Anything set in the here and now is likely to be reflective. When you're playing a game set in the far future or in a fantasy realm you have to look outwards because the world is new to you. Space and future games are about the totally unfamiliar, games set in a past, or past-like world force you to look beyond yourself because they have different rules to the world you inhabit but you can read about the past and the things to expect from it in history books.

Spiritual Fantasy

This is the highest of high fantasy a lot of the stuff about the nature of heroism either doesn't apply here or heroism and virtue are examined in relation to one another. Spiritual Fantasy If your game is set in a world similar to presumes some religious context is the our own then you can expect the literal truth, in the Western world that individual will be important. The could mean that God, His choirs of world is just the world as we know it angels, Satan and his horde of demons


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are all real. A fantasy that supposed Heaven, Hell and Purgatory were laid out as described in Dante's Divine Comedy would be a spiritual fantasy as indeed the Divine Comedy itself was a Spiritual Fantasy. Spiritual and comic fantasy in fiction are often vehicles for satire. This is because satire is often a cynic's view on morality and as fantasy fiction as a whole tends to deal with high ideals it makes a usually quite tight form of humour much broader. If you happen to want to run a role play that mocks current political and social trends using a fantasy setting may be a way to make the experience actively funnier and broader than some sardonic dystopian nightmare. SF have a tendency to be somewhat downbeat? Weirdly stories of the far future sometimes fare better than stories of the near future but many an author concerned about the way the world seemed to be going has looked into the darkest of futures or imagined the strangest of scientific discoveries. SF pushes people to look inside because it tells us we are alone. The world moves forward and although it is different we are the same. Heroism is far more difficult in SF, some gamers love it because it's more gritty than fantasy. In fantasy ideals can be realised, in SF ideals are there to be perverted, twisted and broken.


There are a huge number of post apocalyptic or bleak futuristic stories Science Fiction is like Fantasy's colder that presuppose humanity is on its way sibling. It not only divorces us from our to a totalitarian surveillance society. own context to a degree but it does not These stories examine whether a even have the reassuring quality of reasonable soul will triumph or be history. These are not things as they crushed in such surroundings. The have ever been but entirely new tendency errs on the side of crushed. ground. Is it any wonder that SF games


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Irrespective, in a role play a dark future setting like the worlds of Robocop, Blade Runner or even Nineteen Eighty Four are going to make players introspective. Harsher role play is perhaps presumed to be more acceptable. hypothetical animals, however, is fine. Just remember that these stories are about the prey and the prey is a reflection of the hunter.

It's a good yarn and could equally well be a fantasy story about killing a dragon or hunting the great beast of the If you want to have a player sea. It usually ends up being about accidentally brutalise or kill a non aliens or alien killing machines these player character and then have to live days so I include it in the SF genre by with the consequences a setting such as popularity. this is ideal to sucker them into their unacceptable behaviour (of course the Space Opera idea of No Dice is to be a Host and give people a good ride so be sure they're The most unusual of SF genres in that it ready to accept the fact they might backs onto fantasy. Space Opera can accidentally commit a morally either just be fantasy with SF trappings, reprehensible act if they role play as if like Star Wars, or it can be a kind of they're in Robocop). gritty fantasy like Farscape or Firefly.

Bug hunt

What space opera has the potential to do is exemplified by something like Joss This is a more gentle form of SF from Whedon's Firefly. The scale is epic, the point of view of the players. This is space is vast and this means stories mostly because it is not really an SF about long journeys and difficult quests story in the strictest sense of the term. through dangerous ground are easy to As hunting of real animals has become set in space. less morally acceptable in our society so stories about such hunting are also seen The personal issues are far truer to SF to be somewhat gauche. Hunting of though. Heroism can be mistaken or


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buried in misunderstanding and social convention. Just look at all the different types of character in Firefly and Serenity to understand how complex the personalities are. The setting invites you to explore a new world, a new universe even, but the people are just people with flaws and confused agendas and misapplied priorities. setting a fantasy in space is much easier. The problem is that people love space opera of the latter kind far more. So if you can crack it you'll have one happy group on your hands!

Another "favourite in theory" Superhero games have a reputation for being somewhat disappointing. In a way Superhero stories are, like Space Opera, fantasy in SF clothing. The story in Superhero sagas is vital. Each character must have a personal arc. If you examine Superhero origin stories you will see they always gained their powers in a situation of not understanding their own personal power. For example Peter Parker was brought up to be a responsible and honest man by his Uncle Ben. In theory he was Spider Man before the radioactive spider even bit him, the spider just gave him the tools to do the job.

This is a difficult genre to get right if you're going to attempt to mix it this way. The Star Wars approach of just

The reason Spider Man is such an enormously popular super hero


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(amongst other factors) is that his story exemplifies what a good super hero story should be. The story is not about having sweet powers with which one can mush super villains' faces into the concrete, that's a by-product. A super hero story is about how someone mundane and bland copes with the responsibility of gaining unusual powers that allow them to help others or to harm them. It is always important to examine each player's character description and history in a game involving time travel, alternative realities, other dimensions or associated weirdness. What you are looking for are hooks upon which you can introduce personal weirdness for each character. Dead parents, childhood enemies, any trauma basically, will give you ideas for strange characters who are, or appear to be, people from a character's memories. Even if you never name them as such and they look like gigantic blue giraffes you can make these non-player characters fulfil a role that will make the player question their own identity and that is the core of such stories. Horror Horror is a great genre for role playing as exemplified by the fact that telling ghost stories verbally over a campfire is still a recognised activity, ghost walks in older towns and cities in the UK are also popular. Horror is a genre that asks the audience, by way of the characters, to contemplate death itself. How this

Alternative dimensions, time travel, cloning, SF has a branch called speculative fiction that asks questions about the very nature of reality itself. When things start to get really strange in a piece of fiction the accent subtly shifts once more to the hero engaged upon these bizarre adventures. The point of such stories is inevitably to examine the strangest parts of a character's internal landscape. The stories tend to be quite intellectual, when reality is suspect you only have your own conscious mind to fall back on.


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death manifests is different depending on the flavour of horror you are writing and it does introduce a different dynamic but largely horror games are fun precisely because they are so easy to run and play. It is theoretically possible that players in a Horror game wouldn't even need proper characters they could just be themselves. slasher villain or villains. Even if there are a number of slasher enemies they will always have some hideously twisted grand guignol leader at their head, this figurehead is the summation of the very fears the slasher story is trying to tap into.

By which I refer to the tradition of Lovecraftian horror which basically states that the universe is bigger and uglier than any human is capable of understanding. Ultimately knowledge breeds insanity. Gods don't care about you. Alien beings want to hijack your biological matter for food or unnatural procreation. Scientists meddle with powerful forces they do not understand. People end up going insane, a lot. Baroque horror should always batter people with obscure fields of investigation, lunatics and reminders that we all die alone in a universe that doesn't care. Baroque horror is so ridiculously

Slasher horror relies on fear of other people, strangers, foreigners, people who are different from us. It's a pretty basic kind of storytelling experience as it basically taps into all those subconscious fears people have about strangers and scales them up. Don't expect much reflective consideration on the human condition in these games, this is survival at its purest. The strangers are always equipped with quite horrible weapons as much designed to inflict torture and pain as death upon the protagonists. You will rarely find a clean bullet wound in a slasher story. Machetes, hooks, razor wire and fire are all the tools of the


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depressing and terrible it actually starts to become fun. The secret to giving people a fine baroque horror experience is to ladle it on, if you pull back too far you risk disturbing and unsettling people. This is the rule of thumb, if players are really looking to have something get under their skin pull back and go for "creeping horror" if you want it all to be a bit of a laugh have people go insane and rip their own eyes out every ten minutes. them of the weight of past events. Until the past is put right the future cannot be allowed to continue. These stories can be cathartic but in their execution they are perhaps the most disturbingly resonant of all, they make a person question the world even as they provide thrilling drama. Action

Action is not so much a genre as a grab bag of elements that can be added to a Supernatural scenario to give it flavour. Whereas previously the setting actually tells you By which I mean vampires, werewolves something about the type of story and and spirits who are not the remnants of how it should be executed the action past tragedy (for which see "Ghost settings are concerned with a character Stories"). These take the fear of the in a setting. other present in Slasher stories and blend in a spiritual aspect. These stories The same rules apply in terms of time, focus on depravity, corruption, curses if the setting is the past there is both and the nature of evil. As with weird familiarity and a degree of comfort, if SF comb through the player character the present focus on the individual, if histories for clues. the future the setting is likely to alienate. One thing's for certain, stick Ghost Stories to the tropes of these genres if you pick them or else the game risks losing Ghosts, as in the psychic remnants of atmosphere. past tragedy, are there to remind the protagonist in a story that features


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mistrust and of fighting a war but also in the concern that screwing up now Your good old British Murder or will have consequences down the line. Detective Procedural story. To be quite So a single session on one mission will honest if you are going for this you remove about half the dramatic may as well buy one of those Murder tension. Mystery Dinner kits or write your own. The genre as a whole is sort of like a Bizarrely in the case of intelligence dramatic puzzle presentation. If you level espionage games it is best to dwell love this then the No Dice guide will on a mission execution plan, describe help you write your own but there are briefly any SNAFUs the team plenty of commercially available encounter in execution and then spend products which will support you in relatively more time on the fallout. If running a mystery role play with no you watch any spy movie you will find dice to a far greater degree of precision. the amount of time spent on describing the mission is disproportionately small Espionage when compared with that spent on set up and fall out. The rules for espionage are the same for any "mission based" set up like Police In a more cop based game the Procedural or Special Operations keep execution will be important because the pace up and stick to the genre what people say and do whilst conventions. To varying degrees these improvising in the moment can be stories talk about conflicting agendas important so follow the procedure and people who won't tell the whole closely. truth unless the players can coax it out of them. The biggest mistake one can make with a Special Operations game is to dwell Danger in mission based games is not on the operation. The only exception to just from the general atmosphere of this is when the operation is going to


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change scope while in progress. If you have set the team up to rescue two hostages but on the insertion they discover that the hostages are actually the enemies and the danger is from a third source entirely then the mission becomes the game. from some SF adventure to Detective/Noir to Steampunk. The key to getting these genres right is the old standby "turn everything up to 11". Pulp stories are designed to lay things on thick. Don't let storytelling suffer but just make everything a bit bigger than it might be if you were going for a On the other hand if the mission just is realistic tone. "the mission" let them do it quickly. Only after their characters have smugly War returned to the extraction point do you uncover how the mission's parameters I've never actually experienced a war may not have been fully explained to time RPG before. I have no doubt that the team because they are "just grunts". such things exist. The fact that This is more what special operations anything can happen and no one is to stories are about than the straight be trusted, along with the focus on execution of a mission that should be military operations and combat would well within the character's abilities. suggest that a war game (as in a game about war, not a wargame which is all Don't forget to be liberal with about dice and real ale) could be quite technology and toys. Many spy games exciting. make the D&D mistake of restricting access to cool toys on entry, ignoring Western the fact that cool toys and effortless mayhem are the stock in trade of these Westerns in fiction are a bit of a adventures. forgotten genre, they occasionally make a Western style film but people Pulp are not generally as in love with the concept of cowboys as they once were. This includes a whole number of things In Role Playing, however, there has


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blossomed an affection for the Western when crossed with other genres, particularly ones involving magic. The reason for this is simple. Westerns are like a grubby space opera. The Western milieu is about wide open spaces and glorious isolation, they are also about brutality and survival in a lawless world. Space is sterile, even when your spaceship is grubby space remains the blank and deadly darkness it always has been. The joy of a Western is partly in the beauty of nature and the enduring qualities of the human spirit evident in a Western hero. No surprise then that Firefly/Serenity was one of the most loved SF TV shows of the early 2000s. It combined space and the Western in a manner that had only rarely been attempted previously. One piece of advice to simulate the Western environment. Life should be hard, resources scarce, justice and crime equally brutal, no one should catch a break. This is what Westerns are all about.

Martial Arts
A genre often attempted, with variable results. You would think that, being centred upon the idea of melee combat, martial arts stories would be a shoe in for role playing systems. And you would be right. They have been pulled off with varying degrees of success. The big hold up is the over application of combat systems. The whole point of martial arts heroes is that they can fight. Also the rules make it easy to avoid describing a fight and part of the object of martial arts is to be dazzled by the mechanics of the fight itself. The last thing is more subtle and easily missed, heroes of a martial arts spectacular shouldn't want to fight. The core of martial arts stories are the twin pillars of spirituality and violence. Make sure the players understand this principle and act according to their character. In addition though make sure your villains have enough moxie to keep prodding the tiger even after the tiger has done everything in its power to disengage.


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What gives the Act II fight real power is that the same fight almost happened in Act I but didn't. Swashbuckling From Musketeers to Monte Cristo, from Pirates to Pimpernels swashbuckling stories are really political fantasies that dare to ask the question "What if the only choice available to a good man was to break the law"? Not that every swashbuckler is a good person but the concept of lawlessness is essential to swashbuckling. Of course There's a particular set dressing to these things, Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, Pirates of the Carribean; all feature swords, mercenaries, treasure, outrageous romance, matters of honour and craven, selfish villainy. The French have always had a healthy disrespect for authority so it probably comes as no surprise that many of the finest swashbuckling adventures come from French ideas, the Scarlet Pimpernel, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo. The core of the idea is that the good may be lawless and the lawful can be evil. Bear this in mind when approaching the swashbuckler genre. It is worth noting that if you move the swashbuckling genre away from its setting it ceases to be thought of as swashbuckling. Many modern action movies employ the same ideas but without swords, panache and a period setting it seems to lose the feel of the swashbuckler. Mix It Up! Of course many outrageously successful stories in the modern world don't stick to one genre or another. I've already mentioned Firefly/Serenity, but there's also the Matrix which mixes martial arts into an SF setting and Underworld which combined action with a supernatural story. When To Stay Traditional There's no hard and fast rule about this but sometimes something needs no particular modification to run successfully. The example scenario


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"Revelation Point" mixes slasher conventions with a small dose of the supernatural but this is not exactly ground breaking. It is still one of the most fun scenarios I have ever run and is numbered among those scenarios I have written where players come back to me saying fondly how frickin' great it was. vampires and werewolves mingle with humanity, and are even hired as operatives would still be an espionage story but it would just have a twist that might drive your players into a frenzy of excitement. How to structure your plot

So you have some situations and a cool Other than that you should just watch setting. How do you mould these into out for concepts that are just an acceptable plot? We've already fundamentally incompatible, the High covered the suggested length of a Fantasy Western, for example, is "season" and the need to have one main probably going to end up either being a situation per episode but how should High Fantasy with Western elements this play out? How do we deal with a or a Western with Dwarves and Magic. one-shot also? If you're cool with just taking set dressing from a known genre then The End that's to be celebrated, but don't end up frustrated because you can't reconcile Here's the golden rule for you. Always two contradictory moods. have an endgame up your sleeve. In Murder Mystery stories it's the moment Using Setting As A Backdrop when all the suspects are gathered at the behest of the detective in the Having said that, kitting out one genre library at the end. Obviously, you're with the trappings of another is a cool going to be far more subtle about it way to add a twist or a flavour to a than that but the theory remains genre that you may feel is tired and in sound. need of refreshing. An espionage story which takes place in a world where You need to know what kinds of end


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result the players might get to from the beginning. You can't totally know what situation they'll have got themselves into when the endgame begins to happen but you can know what that end game is. Will the world end? Will the villain escape? Will evil have a moment to triumph? Will the monster kick their lily white butts? One of my less successful adventures had an endgame where a gigantic mutant hybrid wolf monkey (or “wonkey”) burst free from its shackles and the players had to defeat both it and its master in a frenzy of martial arts mayhem. The players committed to the mayhem but, unfortunately, large swathes of the plot had sailed past them so they didn't really know why it was they were fighting. Oops. Still, they enjoyed the fight. If you have no particular finish time, Sometimes time plays against us, the great players, a cool adventure and are only thing that would play against us having fun with it just let events worse is petering out into a nondescript unfold. I have found myself getting failure to really resolve anything. into a session only to discover that it was time to finish up and we were only Timing halfway through what we were doing. Whether you are running a one shot or a season every session will ideally have some concept of timing. The best way to do this is to have an idea of when you want to finish the session and an event that will provide initiate your endgame between 90 and 120 minutes before the end. In some games this could be a disastrous event such as the beginning of a self-destruct process or the eventual collapse of a building, it could be an enemy forcing a final confrontation. In one shots this will help manage time effectively, in seasons it's not so essential. The issue of timing really only applies when you're less confident in running the adventure. Free Play


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There's absolutely nothing wrong with you invite the players to address a set this, if everyone's having a good time number of situations in the game or in it's rather to be applauded. each episode of the game. Event Driven Leading on from this you might plan a number of timed events which should take place during the game, so some development crops up roughly every hour or two hours of play. This keeps the plot driving forward but be careful that people don't just end up feeling lost and confused. Look At Possibilities Before you even sit down to write an adventure you should have roughed out its world, talked to the players about their characters and expectations and Episodic made some notes. When you actually come down to the planning stage you In mission based games the game can go through a preset tree of missions. In should already have a number of exciting possibilities to draw on for a "season" you might give your inspiration. Now's the time to get operatives three missions per episode inspired. Crack open your notes and get that conclude with a piece of the overall puzzle and plot being revealed. moving. It is possible to do this in a more subtle way with non mission games where


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An Inciting Incident There's always, and I mean always, a few moments around the beginning of an RP that no one's quite sure what to do or how to do it. These will be your least proud Hosting moments as you wonder if the game's going to fall apart on the launch pad. Relax. This is just the equivalent of the first two pages of any novel you might read when you haven't quite got into the reading rhythm yet. I've tried a few ways to get around this the most obvious being to have a prepared prologue written which is supposed to set the mood. Generally the most effective thing to do is to pick a player and tell them where their character is and what they're doing, or, if all the characters are in the same place doing the same thing address your remarks to the room and then ask the vital question: What are you going to do? Basically each event should play As soon as the players can participate naturally into another. Always have a the magic starts to work. This preamble Plan B in case players take an unusual can chug along merrily for a few minutes and indeed it should because this is the time that players are getting used to being in the game. As soon as they are feeling comfortable that's when you hit them with the first incident. Again if they are together then you can tell all of them what this incident is and allow them all to react as they wish. If they are starting the game in separate places with the plan being to draw them together through the action then each character must be engaged in a separate way. Players could receive a visitor, or see something odd, or receive a message, or they could just be going about their daily routine when they run into some form of complication. This first complication is a chance for the players to show how their character deals with complications. As the complication continues details of your plot should start to emerge.


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approach to the problems presented you hadn't originally planned for but essentially you just keep things rolling along until you feel the session needs a bit of a shot in the arm. Create Some Doubt If you have used the dramatic situations from the appendix in creating your plot you should see that there are two sides to every story. Even if you are running a rescue mission you can introduce another party claiming to be on the same mission and claiming the players' employers are misleading them about their intentions. In some cases agents of the villain can try to persuade the players that the villain is only misunderstood. In some cases they may be right. An essential part of playing a role is that a player has to come up against a tough decision about the course their character is taking. It has to be a dramatic choice and making it will set something about that character to play from their on in. Rescuing an innocent child from an oncoming train is a no brainer no matter what the fall out. But what if the child were a middle-aged business man who had previously been quite unpleasant and rude to the player? Probably if there's no reason why not even rude people deserve a break but what if the player knows that to display unusual powers in this situation may get them killed? Will the player preserve their secret and hence their life or will they do the honourable thing? Choices like that make or break the game. You must be the moral barometer of these situations. If you cannot call the choice a tough call then the players probably won't either. Gain an overview When all is said and done the outcome of an adventure is a pretty easy thing to plan. The players may gain a prize for which they have been working, a villain may have been brought to justice, an enemy defeated, the characters will have their life and their health. The questions that have to be


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asked are few when setting up the overall plot:
 

with a vast number of people probably falling into some neutral ground where they haven't picked a side. The really interesting people fall into two categories. Those people who are near the middle and those people who appear to be the opposite of what they actually are. Both give scope for dramatic conflict and bring up issues of persuasion and trust. Some people will, obviously, have to be what they say they are. A handy thought here is the traditional Greek meaning of the term "Comedy". These days a comedy is a drama that will attempt to raise a smile. In the Greek sense comedy is a drama in which the identities of the participants are not certain or have not been resolved yet. The comedy is the sequence of events which leads to the true identities of the characters being revealed. This definition should apply to almost every adventure you run in some way. If your adventure is about how Jack Awesome and the League of Splendid

 

Is there a villain? Do they have access to enough resources to make them an enemy with employee forces of some kind? If they're so villainous, why so? i.e. what are they doing that's evil? If they're not technically evil they could still be an opponent to the player's goals. Is there a prize to be won? Why is the prize so valuable?

Once you have settled these aspects in your mind you should go on to consider who has a stake in the prize, or who will be your allies and enemies in defeating a villain. Interested Parties This is where you fall back on your situations. All your other non-player characters will fall on a scale of whether they are broadly speaking "goodies" or whether they are "baddies"


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put one in the eye of Mortimer Awful and the Tribe of Yuck which simply consists of people bopping members of the Tribe of Yuck in the nose until a showdown with Mortimer it's going to be pretty dull. If your characters can trust everyone in a white hat, mistrust everyone in a black hat and be sure all grey hats would fall on the white side if pressed into making a decision life becomes boring pretty quickly. You'll see plenty of examples of how this works in the example adventures and soon you should be well on the way to inventing your own compelling yarn for the players to become embroiled in. Keep Notes!

One final thing, whether you are running a one off or a campaign keep a Basically think deeply about how the comprehensive set of notes. You might characters you as Host will be have to come up with a character name portraying will come across to the off the cuff or remember vital details players and what possibilities they offer you're making up on the spur of the dramatically, this should help you build moment. Your notes should be your up a longer plot than "Players must saviour. defeat X or Players must obtain Y".


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Non Player Characters (NPCs)
NPCs are the characters you, as Host, will have to portray during the game. Every adventure should have a few sprinkled in there, this last Host section is here to give you some pointers in NPC creation and running. There's quite a lot of information about creating characters in the Player's Guide and in the Appendices all this chapter tries to do is rescale the task for the one participant in the game who has to portray an unusually large number of characters. You. Actual Characters may or may not encounter who should just be sketched down. Try to keep the main characters down to a level you feel comfortable with. Don't plan out a cast of thousands unless you really want to spend months writing a campaign. Apart from anything else players can only take in a certain amount of information, more than eight supporting cast members and you'll begin to lose people unless you are very cunning.

How much work you do to define a character is going to depend on how There will be a shortlist of characters "important" they are to the plot, all you are going to introduce into the character notes will start the same but story. The main ones you should at some point you will just stop writing probably note down in some detail. more notes and break away. This Then there'll be a supporting cast who breaking away process will happen are mentioned in less detail and then sooner and sooner the less important there are possible characters the players your NPCs become.


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Avoid The Sage Before we go into my technique for creating NPCs one word of advice. Many people think it's great to put swathes of information in the mouths of "sage" characters. These characters are like surrogates for you in the adventure. The problem is that if the players feel that there is a character in the game who has all the answers but is being deliberately obtuse they'll get frustrated quickly. So when you're doing villains or neutral characters that's fine. Sidekicks are often not a problem also. It's when you have some character who's also supposed to be of a level with the players and is friendly that you get a problem.

If you dial them down too far they just look rubbish, make them too awesome and the players start to resent them. It's a real balancing act. For the purposes of role play, therefore, treat instances of characters like this to a strict When it comes to in-game knowledge minimum. You've got enough to be always restrict what it is an NPC knows worrying about without making heroes specifically in your notes. If a character who stand shoulder to shoulder with seems to know so much they could the players but actually are ineffective have just sorted the whole mess out seem like a worthwhile cast addition. themselves that's a sage, lose them or scale down their knowledge. Character Sketching The “Friendly” Problem As GM it is your job to do two things with respect to NPCs. One, make them convincing and two make them less awesome than the player's characters so the players get the full benefit of the fantasy. Okay so you'll need four things to make any character to work. These are:
 

A name A role in the story (and indeed in their life) Some things they like to talk to


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strangers about

swiftly available reference cheat sheets.

(Actually this is a lie. As soon as you spend more time rifling through your notes than being Host you've crossed the threshold a while back. Try and The last may well be "nothing" in the case of minor characters. But "nothing" keep reference sheets to four sides of A4 or Letter size paper.) could include general world information and, to be fair, if the characters are trying to find the "Happy On which subject, it's always handy to Roller" Tavern a random peasant may have a list of random names you can put together in case of someone asking well know that, it's a murky world of "Ho there good burgher what do they "general knowledge" which can be call you back home?" (Players do stuff caught under the umbrella term of like this all the time, it's annoying.) "nothing". Similarly their role in the story may be "Wandering Peasant" but the peasant maybe a farmer, a beggar, a poor craftsman or a monk. All of these will suggest things for point three so give everyone a role in life and then, if they are there for some specific reason in the story upgrade them. It might even be appropriate to make lists of possible roles for the world of the game and you can pick one role for each random stranger approached. Trust me you can never have too many From the other three things you should have some idea of a top three topics of conversation these characters like to dwell upon with strangers. Make a quick decision about how chatty they are on a scale of 1-10 and there you go limitless numbers of random cast members. Stepping it Up Once you've roughed out all your characters like this the next stage is to decide how much information they

Some things they know about the story


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have that will contribute to the overall story. Characters with particularly vital pieces of information should be your next priority. The chances are that your players will, at least, be able to reason out who the most important characters in the story are and they'll be spending a lot of their time talking to those characters. You want to decide things like, how bribable are they? Do they respond better to honey or vinegar? What are their opinions of the general situation outlined in the adventure? Anything aside from this and you can fall back on your basic notes for winging it. If the character is really important you might want to start thinking about their upbringing and life history but these are more the kinds of things that are important to players. Remember you're not there to present a detailed epic you're there to give the convincing illusion of a detailed epic. Back To The Players characters up to the point where they enter your campaign you should have had a few ideas for NPCs that are, in some way, personal to them. Don't forget to jot down some notes for these characters and maybe even go back through and insert them into your episode notes. Characters who arise as a result of these sessions may have an impact on NPCs you've already written. For example, you may have imagined a character who was part of an army the players are pitted against who deserted and started trying to undermine the army he used to serve with guerilla tactics. Then it turns out that one of your characters had this unhappy love affair where the girl disappeared around the world to "find herself" when the affair ended. A way to introduce some tension into the dynamic between the rebel leader and the party is to have them first run into the player character's ex and have her reveal that she is now in a relationship with the rebel.

Once you've Lone Wolfed your player's Without this tension your rebel leader


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could just be tossed into the "good bloke" box and the scenario rolls on. But the fact that he is involved with one of the other character's exgirlfriends instantly makes things complicated, in a good way. Always try to make everything fit together. In real life, despite the reputed six degrees of separation, everyone does not tend to know everyone else. In a story it works the other way around as it's a great way to ramp up the dramatic tension. moral crusader needs to be tempted. The man of peace needs to be pushed into war. You haven't got time to way lay the romantic fool with a pointless quest for turnips that has nothing to do with anything. Unless, of course, that's the whole point. A Final Note

Many of the very oldest RPGs described enemies, even major ones, in terms of how able they were to kill you. They described non-enemies in terms of what service they could be to This is a very important point. The you. They described allies in terms of major NPCs, in fact all the people your what they could do to help you and players encounter should, in fact, be what they would ask in return. there to tell the player characters something about themselves. This As time went by RPGs started to sounds absurd and egotistical, like the include more detailed notes on whole world of the game is just some characters. To date I have never seen sort of bizarre “Truman Show”. one that actually compacted characters into a thumbnail that would allow a In actual fact, if you think about it, GM to freestyle just about any what else are the players supposed to conversation the players might like to do with their time? Life's too short for have off the top of their head. I hope supporting characters who tell the this chapter has helped you to move players nothing about their own role. ahead with this. The hothead needs to be needled. The


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Not that it is an easy thing to achieve, it will take some work on your part to pull off a convincing NPC every time but the key to the small talk is to never run out. If you feel someone's going to have to be around for a while with a chatty NPC you just need to make a list of reasonable small talk subjects for that NPC and make sure that character's got a solid opinion on all of them. the brew. You might even end up engineering such encounters to lighten the mood and, of course, to deepen the atmosphere.

Examples of NPC profiles can be found in the example campaigns. I think that you will, by this time, have taken as much talking to as a person can take so now it is time to interact. Browse the notes, call some friends, make some character sheets and while you're Of course some NPCs just don't like to shuffling the deck you can try to talk at all, some are business like, some remember exactly where it is you left are just nervous around people, some your dice bag anyway. maintain stubborn silence. In the end a chatty NPC is just more seasoning to Have fun!


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The example scenarios in this section are designed to give you a few hints as to how to construct your own No Dice adventures. Each scenario broadly speaking goes in the following order:
      

Introduction Additional Rules List of Playable Characters Set Up Notes for the Players Character Overview Annotated Map Running The Game

Any Resources are presented full page for ease of producing hard copies. If a map is included it is purely intended to give the Host an idea of major locations. This is the wrong place for scale models and lead figures. Sometimes maps can be given out as props but they're never intended as game boards.


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Traveller's Rest

Traveller's Rest sums up the archetypal Vanilla No Dice game. I have included an additional rule to make one thing plainer but apart from that I've left it pure and untouched. The scenario is a haunted house caper in which the players are all students from a University Parapsychology department.

Additional Rules The game uses the Vanilla No Dice Rules with the following addition.

Using Advantages and Disadvantages:

If possible the Host should keep a crib sheet of each character's advantages It has a long sandbox time to allow and disadvantages. When having a people to wander round uncovering character make a test, look to see if clues which will help them in the final they have an advantage or disadvantage encounter. There are two endings, one in the area where they're making a test. for if the players comprehensively fail If they have an advantage make it to accomplish anything and one for if easier, if they have a disadvantage they crack the mystery of Traveller's make it harder. Rest.The adventure is designed to run in a single 3-5 hour session. Example: Penny needs to make a test of Pete's ability to tell a lie, the Host looks at Pete's advantages and disadvantages and sees Pete is charming, so she lowers the expected difficulty by one.


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Playable Characters (5) student, Hugo Bailey, went missing. Because of this the Head of Rupert James Clifford-Jones - A PhD Parapsychology at Pimston University, Student Jeffrey Denton, has decided to lead this Catherine Martin - A student, amateur investigation himself. The junior class witch are to stay the night at Traveller's Rest Ronnie Caine - A student, highly and try to work out what is going on dedicated to his study. there. Conrad White - A student, highly dedicated to beer. Map Notes Jana Denton - The Professor's Daughter Exterior Player Set Up 1) The front garden. The plant beds The game begins as the minibus filled contain many herbs. Someone with with parapsychology equipment and herbalist knowledge could probably students pulls up to the front of an old cook up some simple healing potions house "Traveller's Rest". The house is from the ingredients here. Anything nestled in woods down a long winding further would require some pretty lane. The front garden is accessed via a specific instructions on the part of the tall, forbidding gate and surrounded by player as to what their character was a high wall. A gently sloping hill leads trying to do; in addition the character away from the back of the house down must have some idea what they're into the heart of the woods. doing check their advantages. The van is out here but by the time the team It is known that a previous party of may have thought to use it for escape senior parapsychology students under they will either be trapped in the the guidance of the only other PhD garden or the house.


Rupert James "Jamie" Clifford-Jones Known to everyone but the prof as Jamie, Rupert knows that this whole thing is a con job. Well, it must be, mustn't it? The Professor has provided paper after paper proving that the very idea of a ghost is ridiculous. The ancient fraudster running this operation may have the others fooled but that senility schtick is a crock. While the kids are busy playing "Ghostbusters" Rupert and the prof will get to the bottom of this and find out where the last party disappered off to. This whole incident has, at least, allowed Rupert to get some brownie points with the Prof, which should come in handy when it came to getting his thesis approved. Not that there was much of a problem in that department anyway. Now if only he could explain to the prof that he prefers to be called "Jamie" then that would make Rupert's life about perfect.

Knows how the equipment works Rich Organised Clever Handsome Charming (to people he considers worthy)

Haughty Narrow Minded Self Obsessed Authoritarian

Mobile Phone, Wallet, Money, Keys for the Mini Bus, Some items of expensive bling (proper Rolex watch, two white gold signet rings and a white gold neck chain carrying a Celtic Knot charm.)

Catherine "Cat" Martin
Cat is really beginning to wish she'd never taken this place at Pimston. Professor Denton is the most closed-minded and fusty idiot she's ever met in her life. Not that Cat would be much different if it weren't for the fact that she can sense the dead. She'd like to think that she'd be a bit more open-minded though. The fact that she cannot know whether she would or not is the only thing that's keeping her on this course at the moment. Carrying salt to purify everything and a small book of spells that use common household goods isn't so dippy when you've used them to clear cancerous psychic energies. Once you've felt the atmosphere lift like fog being burned by the sun you don't so much believe in this stuff as rely upon it. Of course, one cannot forget that all this experience is personal, some people seem to be completely immune to the energies beyond. Cat just didn't realise that some of these people would find jobs in University Parapsychology Departments.

Psychically Sensitive Knowledge of Herbalism and basic Witchcraft Independent Observant Trustworthy

Unable to control psychic signal Moody Outsider Mistrustful

Mobile Phone, Wallet, Money, Keys, Bag of Salt, Various items of silver jewellery all designed to carry basic warding ability, packet of cigarettes, zippo lighter, spell journal, bag of crystals. Crystal Guide Cat has the following crystals in her bag. Amethyst – General Cleansing and Protection, very lucky Carnelian – Clears thoughts, helps in focusing. Aids with the hearing sense. Tiger's Eye – Heavy Protection, stops all deceit and dishonesty in others Clear Quartz – Harmonises, Purifies, Focuses, acts as a receptor for psychic ability. Aids visions. Rose Quartz – Increases the friendliness of others. A general purpose protection not as heavy duty as the Tiger's Eye

Ronnie Caine Ronnie is happy to be involved in this kind of field work. It's more exciting than a lot of other things he could be doing with his time. Ronnie has always felt that there is more to the world than what you could apprehend with the five senses and a slide rule. He's fascinated with the problem of how things that are inherently hard to be known could be known or understood. He is a little dismayed to note that the course he worked so hard to enrol on seems to spend so much energy debunking claims of psychic phenomena and not enough, in his opinion, understanding why these phenomena exist at all.

Learned Quick Study Excellent Research Skills Some experience with monitoring equipment Open Minded Mild Psychic Sensitivity

Quiet Weak Hates conflict

Mobile Phone, Keys, Money, Wallet, Leatherman "Multi-Tool" Key Ring, Three occult study books.

Conrad White Conrad has a bag packed with ghost simulation gear. He only came onto this course because he thought it would be fun to laugh at the ghost busters and weirdos. He's actually been quite pleased that the course seems to be erring on the side of disproving all this ghosts nonsense. He sees this as an ideal opportunity to have a laugh, he has a roll of fishing twine, a couple of noise boxes and some awesome rubber party masks in his bag. If his oddball compatriots want a night in the spookhouse Conrad is more than happy to oblige. The key character note here is that Conrad's come away for the night with 40 cigarettes, a lighter and a can of deodorant. This is what he considers to be "overnight supplies".

Athletic Popular Handsome Strong Smarter than he looks

No psychic ability Brash Rude Lazy Selfish Loves himself way too much

Keys, Wallet, Money, Mobile Phone, Three Noise Boxes, Two Novelty rubber masks, roll of fishing twine, two packets of cigarettes, Skull and Crossbones zippo lighter, can of deodorant.

Jana Denton How inconsiderate is it of a dad to program this kind of snoozefest on the weekend his daughter's coming to visit? He's promised pizza, and a telly with DVDs, and that Conrad boy's quite cute actually. Still a cute university boy is no competition for a night with a bottle of cheap wine from Claire's mum's wine cupboard (as they're both fifteen) and a make-over session, is it? Jana is determined to have as bad a time as it is possible to have on this jaunt. She could care less about ghosts and stuff, she wants her pizza, a film starring Matthew McConnaughey and she wants Conrad to pay her a compliment of some kind. Then she wants to be left alone with her mobile and an open line to Claire.

Psychically Bulletproof Pretty

Stupid Selfish Lazy Petulant

Mobile phone with no credit, house keys, a five pound note

Traveller's Rest – Basement & Ground Floor

Traveller's Rest – 1st Floor & Attic

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2)The back yard is a short space of grass leading to the entrance to the woods. Anyone exploring the woods will be assailed by the succubi (see "Running The Game") and then rescued by Viktor. Whether they get bitten by the succubi is up to you as the Host. contents as a chocolate cake. This cake may be removed, eaten, enjoyed and the fridge may still produce another. When the fridge is not in "cake mode" it just contains the usual things you'd expect to find in a fridge. Whether the fridge is in cake mode or not is at the whim of the Host.

Lower Floor

1)The lounge is a huge room fitted out with antique furniture, dusty knick 1)The Guest bedroom. This is a plain knacks and home to a roaring fire. The and unremarkable twin guest bedroom. team will set up their base station here. Where Professor Denton has set up camp. The room still contains his 2) The hall leads to the kitchen, dining personal effects. The professor's effects room and lounge, it also offers access to include a mobile phone which has the upper floor under the stairs is about six minutes charge for talking left basement access for which Mavis has in it. the key. When night falls Viktor uses magic to seal everyone inside the 2) The bathroom. This is an house. When it is not night the front unremarkable bathroom. There are a door leads out to the front garden. few first aid supplies in the cabinet over the sink. The mirror has a trace of 3) The dining room contains a large psychic energy in it. A skilled psychic dining table where Mavis and Albert can pick up the repeated phrase: "I serve the guests their evening meal of came back, my love, but oh, but oh, the soup followed by a spaghetti bolognese. darkness followed". Mildly psychic people will think that the person they The kitchen has one unusual feature. are looking at in the mirror doesn't The fridge will occasionally reveal its look like them.

Upper Floor


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3) Mavis' Bedroom. This room is lousy with bad energy, particularly flowing from the back room. Mavis has the key to the back room. There is nothing of particular interest in the bedroom. Its décor is a pink and talc-scented domestic nightmare. houses the remains of a human corpse under a thin sheet. This is the earthly remains of Albert, who is in fact a bizarre shadow-ghost whose spirit now haunts Traveller's Rest.

It is possible, although incredibly difficult, for someone with access to 4) The Back Room. It has some features occult texts to find out that this space is that suggest it may have been a child's supposed to be for the purposes of nursery furnished some time in the mid resurrection. If whoever has the texts eighties. Only half the walls are also has Viktor's diary the two may be papered with alphabet block and teddy cross-referenced to make the bear wallpaper, there is no cot or any decipherment task easier. other furniture in the room. There is a ladder up to the attic space here. The Attic Anyone with a psychic talent will be unable to cross the room its energy is so A gigantic window looks out on the rotten. The demon's portal is here. back yard. There are a few effects here that indicate that the attic room has an The Basement occupant: an easy chair angled to look out over the woods, a desk and chair, a 1) Ante room - This is a utility room small cot bed. There is no indication under the stairs. It has a variety of tools anyone eats here, this may be noticed and utility stuff in it to the Host's only if someone asks the question. The whim. The locked door leads to the desk contains Viktor's Diary. After sun other cellar room. Albert has the key. set Viktor will have left his nest to 2) The basement room - This room is protect Mavis. completely empty except for a ritual space defined between the floor and the ceiling. Oh yes, and a slab, which


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Running The Game NPCs Things that send Mavis backward are: any hint of unpleasantness or carnage, the presence of Viktor and people making efforts to get her to focus. The madness of Mavis shifts and wheels like the weather, she cannot be forced into lucidity and efforts to do so just push her further into loops of inconsequential thought. These loops usually focus on the key word or concept the lucid part of her is thinking of trying to communicate next but the concept is immediately free-associated into something to do with domesticity. The sane part of Mavis is a little scared by Viktor but the broken part of her sees the hulking Dhampir as her only child.

Mavis is, in every way, the key to the events at Traveller's Rest. The problem is she's madder than a basket of frogs on acid. Here's how to play her; details as to why you are playing her this way are available in "The Backstory". She is mostly comforted by adhering to her own plan, which in the case of this evening is: feed everyone and then wander around listening to the sane people discuss things until they disappear or are slaughtered mercilessly.

Mavis wants everyone to have a good Unfortunately Mavis's ignorant bliss is meal, a pleasant taste of something nice interrupted by frequent bouts of (chocolate cake?) a cup of tea and a lucidity which last roughly 10-15 nice sit down. She hates dust but this is seconds. Whatever sense her tortured okay because she likes dusting. She also sanity wishes to utter must come out in thinks the house is knee deep in dust these seconds, this sane part is always despite the fact that it is eerily dustwatching, recording, calculating what free, the reason for this is that "evil" in to put into the next 10-15 second Mavis sane corner translates as "dust" to window. the rest of Mavis. And the house is steeped in evil.


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Finally, before Mavis was mad she was a wicked good practitioner of the occult and a top-notch herbalist. She maintains her herb garden and abilities to make remedies for just about everything from pure muscle memory. She will not discuss occult practice even though, or perhaps because, she knows it so well. never be able to say what.

Viktor is a huge, gnarly, brutal Dhampir. To protect the occupants of the house from the Children of the Night in the woods he seals the house with powerful magick.

Albert was Mavis's husband. Now he is manifest as a butler who lives to enact Mavis's fantasies of domestic servitude and also as a tortured shadow of himself visible to psychics in the bathroom mirror. The tangible butler part of Albert serves food and if talked to will ask how he may serve. He will slowly but surely fulfil any domestic request made of him. The part of Albert in the mirror can only talk about the darkness that follows him and it would take an astute psychic to even get the whole message. People who just have a little ESP know His powers of domination against nonthere's something wrong with their psychics are absolute. If people manage reflection in that mirror but would


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to get out he sees it as his job to return them to the house as quickly as possible. The game essentially runs on a series of timed events. At the start of the game it's about thirty minutes from dusk. Both Professor Denton and Mavis want Aside from this he checks in from time to get the students inside before dusk to time ensuring that Mavis is okay. He but for different reasons. Once they are feels responsible for Mavis but only inside the prof instructs the students to cursorily wishes to protect the other set up the base in the lounge whilst he living occupants of Traveller's Rest takes his things upstairs. That is the last time until the end of the adventure that Prof Denton any of the players will see Prof Denton. Refuses to believe anything supernatural. Superior. Condescending. Will make a point of calling Jamie "Rupert" several times in the first ten minutes of the game before disappearing. Generally speaking players are quite happy to wander about for a bit. It's always a good idea to see if you can get someone to wander out the back, get someone else involved in the chocolate cake/fridge problem and everyone else can talk to Mavis and Albert. If anyone should wander upstairs probably best not to make a great deal out of Prof Denton's disappearance, the players will make enough out of it themselves. After a bit dinner is served. Once dinner is over really weird stuff should start happening. Start playing with reality, giving people (psychic and non) visions. Hopefully they will have discovered that all is not too well and will have begun their own schemes.

Greg Matthews
Greg is a beefy posh rugby player that Viktor brings in to the house bleeding from a neck wound. His arrival heralds the midway point of the adventure. He refuses treatment from Mavis and that's when he becomes possessed by a demon (see Events). Events


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Eventually it might be time to tempt Conrad out the back to see how he copes with succubi, then, if things appear to be dragging, introduce Greg. Greg gives everyone a few moments to fuss over his neck wound, refuses a truly rancid combination of poultice and tea from Mavis (which would have effectively cleansed the succubic infection from his system) and sinks rapidly through delirium into a state where he suddenly awakes, refreshed, and possessed by the house demon. At this stage he will herd players through the house to his portal and away from the basement. The demon cannot actually harm the players but he can make them think they will be harmed. If the players get sucked through the portal they will end up in the demon's insanity dimension. Here the demon will offer the hapless travellers a bargain, kill Mavis and go free. help them. The demon is charming, can dominate all the players and will eventually twist everyone's minds to feed its own soul. The demon is basically bad news. The Backstory Okay, so by now you're probably wondering what's going on in this madhouse. Here is the full story in neat chronological order: Mavis and Albert move into Traveller's Rest. They plan to run a guest house facility to supplement Albert's income and have a child together. 2) In short order three succubi, pursued by the Dhampir Viktor arrive at Traveller's Rest and kill Albert before Viktor arrives. Viktor saves Mavis but Albert dies. The Succubi escape into the woods. Viktor vows to kill the succubi before he moves on, he hides in the Traveller's Rest attic. Mavis is afraid of him and does not know he is there.

The demon really has no intention of setting the players free and unless they weaken the demon using the 3) As time goes by several guests at prescribed route Viktor is powerless to Traveller's Rest are consumed by the


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succubi, the guest house gains a reputation as a place of dark deeds and murder. Mavis continues to live off the proceeds of Albert's life insurance. She pays to have Albert's corpse retrieved from the cemetery and brought to her. As an amusement the demon creates a memory doppelganger of Albert that is programmed with some of Mavis memories of his nature but behaves totally in accord with Mavis own lunacy. The servile but stoic Albert helps reassure and communicate with guests, thus baiting the trap for the demon.

4) Mavis becomes obsessed with the occult and seeks to resurrect Albert. She eventually performs a ceremony in the basement that should have brought The demon also bolsters the succubi, Albert back. making it harder for Viktor to defeat them. Viktor's magic is strong enough Unfortunately Mavis's frail sanity and to seal the doors after sundown but the the negative energy of the succubus demon occasionally defeats the magick murders allows a demon out into the on the property allowing people out via house it is trapped between the the back door into the woods. sanctified cellar space and the equally sanctified Dhampir's nest in the attic. At this point Viktor does his best to Bound to the house it relies on eating rescue these people but sometimes they the souls of guests as Mavis protects her fall victim to the succubi. Mavis can own soul and Viktor is not consumable. prevent demonic infection spreading in the early stages but if they don't take With the demon comes about one her poultice and detox tea they can fall millionth of Albert which gets trapped prey to the demon. behind the bathroom mirror (uncovered reflective surfaces suck in The situation continues. Students from unprotected souls, Mavis had thought Pimston visit, they are claimed by the to cover all other mirrors in the house demon, Prof Denton brings the party to but forgot this one). the house.


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Supernatural Elements intangibles. A demon must be manifest for him to kill it. Mavis gives him herbal tea to keep him sane.

Although the modus operandi of the succubi is vampiric they are in fact minor demons. Think full on brides of Dracula. They bite the neck injecting venom which weakens the mind for occupation by a demon. If they continue to feed the human dies. When players are in the wood they will run past, naked and screaming to lure the player and when isolated will stand, still naked, looking bashful and vulnerable until approached at which point they whip out massive sharp teeth and attack. Viktor can repel them but the demon has given them intangible forms so they can easily escape when attacked.

An intangible malignant presence. It is kept within a columnar space stretching up through the fridge to the back room upstairs. Its influence can be felt in small ways throughout Traveller's Rest. It feeds on confusion, pain and fear which it generates by playing mind games with its victims. While intangible it can pull people through into a dimension it has created for feeding. Inside this dimension people are unaware that they are not in reality until looping commences. The only way out for them would be for someone to kill the demon.

Viktor is the child of a human mother and a vampiric father. He needs blood (or a particularly foul herbal tea) to survive but he has no vulnerability to sunlight. He can defeat any demon given flesh but has no power against

Cat has a small bag of crystals in her possession. Each crystal has a specific use known to Cat. For reference the crystals included are:


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Amethyst – General Cleansing and Protection, very lucky Carnelian – Clears thoughts, helps in focusing. Aids with the hearing sense. Tiger's Eye – Heavy Protection, stops all deceit and dishonesty in other. Clear Quartz – Harmonises, Purifies, Focuses, acts as a receptor for psychic ability. Aids visions. endlessly loop through a day in a house where Mavis and Albert look after a creepy baby Viktor, at night slaughter in the shape of the Succubi descends. As the players die they re-experience pulling up in the minibus to start the day again. There is no escape for the players.

3) The good ending - The players sensibly dispose of Albert's remains, most importantly they must ritually burn the bones in a ceremonial and Rose Quartz – Increases the respectful fashion. If they salt the bones friendliness of others. A general first to purify them that will help purpose protection not as heavy duty as meaning even a half hearted burning the Tiger's Eye ceremony would work. If they don't salt the bones they have to be properly Endings respectful in the burning or they will have burned their only solution to no Possible outcomes are: effect. 1) The really bad ending - Players are suckered into the demon deal. The demon traps everyone including Mavis in a dimension of lunacy defeats Viktor and destroys the world. 2) The slightly bad ending - Players refuse the demon deal but are trapped in a lunacy dimension where they Proper disposal releases the Albert in the mirror and also the doppelganger. This also cuts the demon off from its portal power source, it will manifest as a big scary monster. Viktor then kills it, and goes off to mop up the succubi. Mavis becomes lucid accepting her husband has gone and everyone lives in a metaphorical land of sunshine and


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unicorns. If the demon is inside Greg when the party release Albert (in which case they will be locked in the cellar room with Greg furiously attacking the stout metal door and one of them will at least be seriously injured) then Greg will literally explode as the intangible demon becomes tangible. Greg's a lost cause, unfortunately. When the demon becomes tangible all the people it ever trapped are released from its dimension. They appear in the back room upstairs. There are about sixty of them and they come wandering into the house out of a grey mist in the wall that adjoins Mavis's Bedroom. If the door is locked the first people out will have to relocate to the attic. One More Thing... Let the characters play the roles for There's a bunch of explanation and three to five hours. If they "win" fine. story rules in Mavis and as Host you But the real way you win this game is want to understand the set up quite to have a blast doing it. This is the key thoroughly. The most important thing to No Dice Hosting and this adventure to remember is not to worry about scenario is the perfect example of this people "getting" the story. In a haunted principle. house story people want an experience not an explanation. I swear when I played this game with my partner Hosting (she's the author of the game) we ended up in the time loop at the end and we never found out thing one about the story. We didn't care. The situation was fascinating and had plenty of crazy role play hooks, that's the point. Just let your players have fun don't push them to achieve. At the end of the day Traveller's Rest is a spookhouse story. You want to see how this depressing world view plays out in a story watch Rob Zombie's "House of 1000 Corpses", the protagonists in that story don't find out anything about the nightmare they're thrust into until way too late, doesn't make it less entertaining.


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Revelation Point
Revelation Point is a scenario that takes one step forward from Traveller's Rest, the archetypal No Dice haunted house game. Revelation Point is a game based upon the "slasher" genre of horror movie and the additional rules are there to help the players picture themselves in the parts of the protagonists of a slasher movie. The adventure should take no more than 5 hours to run with half an hour set up. The maximum number of players running with the additional rules in this scenario is 5, if you lose the "one player/two characters" rule you can go up to ten (but I wouldn't recommend ten). Besides the idea of the rule is that you can make the NPCed character act like a classic slasher movie moron in every scene that the player isn't in control. This is a slasher movie, it must have a body count, a body count is provided by people behaving in idiotic ways. The players are a group of people, mostly college students, who have come to the deserted town of Revelation Point on a cold, dark winter's night. At first it appears that their presence is accidental, as the midnight hour approaches it begins to look more like they were herded here. It will take every ounce of survival instinct they possess to escape alive. Don't worry about sticking to these notes canonically. They're like nudges in the right direction. The essential balancing act will be between grue and tension. I found to alternate between a bloodbath action scene and a tense sneaking/planning scene worked quite well. Make sure your players understand one of their characters is


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likely to die. Additional Rules The game uses the Vanilla No Dice Rules with the following additions. draws a two of hearts which means the chainsaw grazes the chest of the wendigo causing it to leap back mostly unharmed, thankfully, however, it does take the head off another wendigo Dave hadn't even noticed.

One player/Two characters

Kevin makes a leap between two buildings which are quite far apart over Each player can only play one of two a horde of ravening wendigos. He characters per scene, the other draws a nine of spades and sails character will be NPCed for that scene. comfortably over the heads of the The idea is to keep as many of your hungry cannibalistic mutants. However characters alive and in some sort of he overshoots the edge of the roof shape as possible. slightly and ends up twisting his ankle on the roof at the other side which will As Host it is up to you to give the slow him down until the pain subsides. players an opportunity to swap characters every half hour to forty-five The "Pain" Chart minutes. Changing character is not mandatory. Rather than allocate individual hit

Hearts are Blessed/Spades are Cursed

As it says, when a draw is made any heart draw has a positive spin even if it fails. Any spade draw has a negative For each of the first three points of spin, even when it succeeds. damage to any one area the character also gets a point of adrenaline, up to a Examples: Dave takes a swing at a maximum of 20, that makes them faster wendigo with his chainsaw and draws and stronger when controlled by the to see how much damage it does. He

points every major character in Revelation Point has a Pain Chart detailing five hits to each individual part of the body.


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player at a rate of a +1 advantage for every five adrenaline slots filled. BUT it also makes them more stupid and less aware of further damage when controlled by the Host which manifests as a -1 to checks for every five slots filled. the game (as in within the roleplay, say they hole up in a building and spend some time patching themselves up, use your Hostly discretion) they will "heal" moving a wound across into a recovery space and emptying the wound space.

If they lose all five head wound spaces In terms of damage to individual parts within half an hour then they will have of the body the fourth and fifth points to wait one full hour before the of damage are where the character recovery kicks in. If they have used really starts to flag. two recovery spaces when they receive the fifth head wound they will miss A character with four points of damage being in a coma but will be out for on an area loses use of that area and several hours. most likely till after the will need medical attention to make a events of the game have concluded. full recovery. A character with five The chances of them waking up dead points of damage on an area is are high. effectively maimed in that area and will never fully recover. Using Advantages and Disadvantages The most important area to guard is the head. Four hits to the head renders a character unconscious, five will put them in a coma. The head, however, can recover a little over time, giving it an extra three points of damage, represented by the recovery spaces next to the head on the character sheet. If a character receives a head wound then after about half an hour has passed in If possible the Host should keep a crib sheet of each character's advantages and disadvantages. When a character makes a test look to see if they have an advantage or disadvantage in the area where they're making a test. If they have an advantage make it easier, Otherwise make it harder. Example: Penny needs to make a test of


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Pete's ability to tell a lie, the Host looks beat up old RV back to NYC and had at Pete's advantages and disadvantages already got a couple to chip in for gas and sees he is charming, so he lowers on a trip back to NYC: Chad and Didi. the expected difficulty by one. The bonus for Greg was that Chad Playable Characters (5-10) promised to pay double if there was a ride home for his little brother, Flea, Make sure you stick to these character who'd been visiting as well. The RV pairings as these combinations have was so big that he still had a place left been designed to not have incompatible back story information. even after Scout had persuaded her boyfriend Pete to join them all. So Chad Morgan - Didi's boyfriend / Greg Jamie hopped in the bus and away they McAuliffe - Scout's older brother. all went. Pete Baker - Scout's boyfriend / Didi Lamont - Chad's girlfriend Greg was very proud that he Scout McAuliffe - Pete's girlfriends / maintained the RV himself and knew Flea Morgan - Chad's younger brother every nut and bolt. So when it broke Officer Kinney - A police officer / in the middle of nowhere that came as Jamie Peltzer - Scout's friend a complete surprise. Never mind, hey. Veronica Kaye - A nurse / Pip There must be a garage around here Gunnarson - A lost teenage girl somewhere, right? Player Set Up Map Overview

It all started because Jamie asked Scout if she knew anyone who could drop her This portion of the scenario relates to home to Hartford from their place at this map of Revelation Point. There are Harvard University for Thanksgiving. two versions a version with numbers As it happened Greg was taking his


Greg Mcauliffe
Greg doesn't really know anyone on the bus except for his sister and Chad. When it comes to Chad he only knows that the guy's an MIT man like himself, they've never really spoken. Greg's very proud of his bus and is particularly glad to have an opportunity to make it work. He's always been interested in motor vehicles and motors in general. He's always tinkering with a number of personal projects. He's glad that Scout followed him up to Cambridge to attend Harvard because it means it's easier for him to look out for her. He was more anxious while he was doing his first couple of years at MIT and Scout was still working her way through high school. He is a little suspicious of Pete and is not sure that the guy is right for his sister. He's secretly quite glad that Scout got Jamie onto the bus because he thinks she's cute.

Good Mechanic Scientific (Engineering) Quick Study Pretty Athletic Not Easily Horrified

Shy Geeky

Wound Chart Head Nose         Mouth      Chest       Stomach   Groin                          Ears         Eyes         Shoulder     Arm          Hand         Thigh         Leg           Foot          Adrenaline: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]    Recoveries [][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] Left                        Right [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Scout McAuliffe Scout's always been grateful that she had an older brother blazing a trail for her in the outside world. It's not that she's exactly meek or scared but Greg's always been there for her and she's kind of got used to it. When she first moved to Cambridge she didn't know if the connection the pair of them had growing up would still be there but just recently Greg's been taking part in a lot more joint activities with her and her friends. She's concerned, actually that Greg doesn't seem to have many friends of his own. She hopes that he will find a chance on this trip to bond a little with Chad. Scout's noticed recently that Pete's been a little off and she's not sure why. Just last night they ended up in a massive argument about the fact that she'd invited Jamie to take the last place in the bus. Pete seems to have some kind of a problem with Jamie but she's not sure what. Advantages Excellent Student Friendly Good Saleswoman Athletic Disadvantages Poor judge of character Sheltered Wound Chart Head Nose         Mouth      Chest       Stomach   Groin                          Ears         Eyes         Shoulder     Arm          Hand         Thigh         Leg           Foot          Adrenaline: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]    Recoveries [][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] Left                        Right [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Jamie Peltzer
If Jamie had known when she asked Scout that the lift she would be offered would be one in a bus with Scout's older brother and Pete Baker she probably wouldn't have bothered. Not that she cares that much about Greg, he seems kind of nice, nerdy like her. But Pete's a real problem. A couple of months ago when Scout was in bed with a cold Jamie ran into Pete out and about trying it on with anything in a skirt. She decided to keep out of it but then he saw her. He had threatened her and then tried it on with her as well. He'd always seemed a nice guy before but the problem seems to be when he's hanging around with his swim team cronies and drinking too much cheap beer he turns into a chauvinist caricature. Jamie still hates herself for not telling Scout all about the incident at the time but as it recedes into the past it somehow seems less important. She still hates Pete though, but she tries to keep it civil for Scout's sake. When she arrived first thing before they set out on this trip she noticed Flea poking about the bus looking shifty.

Quick on the uptake Good endurance Excellent judge of character Imaginitive Strong Willed

Geeky Awkward Not the most athletic Short sighted

Wound Chart Head Nose         Mouth      Chest       Stomach   Groin                          Ears         Eyes         Shoulder     Arm          Hand         Thigh         Leg           Foot          Adrenaline:

[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]    Recoveries [][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] Left                        Right [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Pete Baker
Pete was actually looking forward to this road trip until Scout dropped the bomb that bitch Jamie was going to be on board with them. Jamie's had it in for Pete since forever and is determined to spoil things between Scout and Pete. Just because Pete likes to party, apparently. Okay so sometimes he gets a little familiar with the ladies but it's all in fun, Scout is a grown woman and she knows that a man like Pete can't be restricted. At the first opportunity Pete would get Scout to scrape off Jamie exactly the same way Jamie's trying to get rid of him. Of course, there's also the factor that Jamie could very well be hot for Pete and he wouldn't blame her. Pete's got no illusions, he's a catch. That's why it burns him up when eggheads like Greg and Chad look down their nose at him. Not that he'd be the first to pick a fight with his girlfriend's brother of course, but that kid, Chad's brother, he looks like a loser, if he gets the opportunity maybe he'll rag on the kid a bit. Pete's longing for a situation where he can take charge and prove his awesomeness to all the gathered masses.

Confident Highly athletic (Boxer) Charming Popular

Brash Arrogant Impetuous Short tempered

Wound Chart Head Nose         Mouth      Chest       Stomach   Groin                          Ears         Eyes         Shoulder     Arm          Hand         Thigh         Leg           Foot          Adrenaline: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]    Recoveries [][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] Left                        Right [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Chad Morgan Chad couldn't be more grateful to have a place for Didi and himself on Greg's NYC bus if he tried. He's so broke that it was getting embarrassing and he hasn't quite got round to sharing his misfortune with Didi yet. Thing is his Poker system really sould have worked out a lot better than it did and it's ended up with Chad almost penniless. This is probably not the news that Didi wants to hear, especially as they're supposed to be saving for their wedding. Instead of which he's stumping up gas money, mooching off his weedhead little brother and trying to put on like he's got the money. Who knows how he's going to sort this all out. Advantages Maths Brain Pretty Athletic Resourceful Good Talker Radiates Trustworthiness Disadvantages Impulsive Lacks Risk Assessment Skills Secretive Highly Strung Wound Chart Head Nose         Mouth      Chest       Stomach   Groin                          Ears         Eyes         Shoulder     Arm          Hand         Thigh         Leg           Foot          Adrenaline:

[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]    Recoveries [][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] Left                        Right [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Didi Lamont Didi really admires Chad for his prudence. She knows he's been working hard at his maths course and saving so diligently so that they can get married and for this she absolutely hero worships him. In any troublesome situation she turns to Chad, her hero. She doesn't share the feelings for Flea, which is probably a good thing. But actually she doesn't even see how that scrawny criminal could even be related to her precious man. He's kind of creepy actually, she saw him hanging around the back of Greg's van before they all came out. Probably looking to deal weed in the shade of the back of the bus. She likes Scout, thinks Jamie's a geek and Pete's a jock asshole... oh, did I mention Didi's rather judgemental. Advantages Extremely Friendly Well Liked Good Student Resourceful Fighter Disadvantages Easily freaked out Judgemental Quite weak Wound Chart Head Nose         Mouth      Chest       Stomach   Groin                          Ears         Eyes         Shoulder     Arm          Hand         Thigh         Leg           Foot          Adrenaline: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]    Recoveries [][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] Left                        Right [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Flea Morgan
Dude, Massachusetts is such a shit hole. That's Flea's abiding opinion after a fortnight staying on his brother's couch. The big nerd seems to have become three or four times more uptight just by being here. The place is, however, filled with rich kids away from home who want to get high in a Cypress Hill stylee and that suits Flea real good. He's made a tidy bundle in the last fortnight Chad seems to have zeroed in on that too. Making Flea spend loads of money like it's some kind of punishment. Still he really likes that Jamie girl, she's got full on geek hip and it's a look he digs. She's already proven herself to him by turning down a doobie. Flea doesn't smoke that shit, it's for selling and she seems sensible too. Unlike this Greg chump who's driving the bus. Flea can tell by the smell of the underside of the van and the slight tick in the motor that this thing's going to clap out soon, maybe even before they get back to NY. Still anything that lets him avoid seeing the old man is a good thing. And he'd love a chance to show his true colours to Jamie.

Super cunning Gift of the gab Savant with motors Athletic and clean living

Unprepossessing Uncharismatic Scrawny Shy

Wound Chart Head Nose         Mouth      Chest       Stomach   Groin                          Ears         Eyes         Shoulder     Arm          Hand         Thigh         Leg           Foot          Adrenaline: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]    Recoveries [][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] Left                        Right [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Officer Kinney This Tom Kinney can do without. Revelation Point is a creepy place, although he prefers it to Lincoln Falls which may as well be called Stepford. He's followed Pip Gunnarson's trail this far and he's not stopping now. There's all sorts of stories about people disappearing up here and those are just the clean stories about the woodsmen of Revelation Point. Stories are just stories but still country folk are touchy and not used to outsiders. Tom Kinney's going to have to be extra specially nice to anyone he sees up here. Advantages Commands Respect Decent Marksman Unflappable Strong Disadvantages Likes things normal Authoritarian Wound Chart Head Nose         Mouth      Chest       Stomach   Groin                          Ears         Eyes         Shoulder     Arm          Hand         Thigh         Leg           Foot          Adrenaline: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]    Recoveries [][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] Left                        Right [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Veronica Kaye Sister Ronnie curses the fact that she's always been a soft touch. She never suspected a nice old lady like that would have tricked her but here she is, caught in a cell who knows where, hurting, scared, exhausted and she's sure that somewhere in the darkness outside her box she can hear two sounds; the breathing of someone watching and the crying of someone as deep in despair as she is. Advantages Strong Cunning Medically Trained Fast Runner Not Squeamish Disadvantages Prone to depression Cold manner Somewhat gullible Wound Chart Head Nose         Mouth      Chest       Stomach   Groin                          Ears         Eyes         Shoulder     Arm          Hand         Thigh         Leg           Foot          Adrenaline: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]    Recoveries [][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] Left                        Right [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Pip Gunnarson She wasn't going back to that bitch stepmother of hers. That had been Pip's only thought as she ran and ran. There'd been a cop on her tail and she'd been prepared to do just about anything to lose him, even get this lost herself. Out in the woods she'd been sure someone was following her and she'd known she was right when she seemed to blink and then from hiking along the road she was in a small dirty metal box. Pip had been caught by someone or something and the stories she'd always heard about Revelation Point were true. Advantages Survivor Able to size up situations quickly Excellent judge of character Easily inspires sympathy Disadvantages Pathologically Suspicious Poor liar Run down Wound Chart Head Nose         Mouth      Chest       Stomach   Groin                          Ears         Eyes         Shoulder     Arm          Hand         Thigh         Leg           Foot          Adrenaline: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]    Recoveries [][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] Left                        Right [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]/[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Wendigo Scoretrack

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Papa Hardesty Wound Chart Head Nose         Mouth      Chest       Stomach   Groin                          Ears         Eyes         Shoulder     Arm          Hand         Thigh         Leg           Foot          [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]    Recoveries [][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] Left                        Right [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]         [][][][][]



Host Reference




♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
relating to the following overview for Hosts only and an unnumbered version for photocopying and issuing to the players should they find one of the copies placed at various locations throughout the town. Part of the atmosphere of the game is the feeling of being lost. So the map should not just be doled out. It's dark and none of the players have ever been here before. Unless they find a map no point of reference should be given. Notes 1) The RV breaks down outside Neal Elementary at sundown. The characters in the RV have 5-10 minutes to decide on a plan before Pip (or some other random scruffy NPC if all parts are taken) comes running up the road dirty, beaten and scratched. She will try to tell the RV gang to get the hell out, which they can't do, obviously before legging it on the road out of town. they're there and 9 to see something tangible. The elementary school is open but derelict. Towards the rear of the single storey building is a canteen and an industrial kitchen with a lockable door. The players can buy some time here but after about forty minutes the wendigos will set fire to the building to smoke them out. The kitchen has a drainage cover leading to a small drain that anyone scoring less than four on a draw will be too claustrophobic to enter. There is a fire axe on the kitchen wall. When the team open the kitchen door three wendigos will attack with sickles. If an NPC opens the kitchen door they will receive a significant wound in the first strike. Once the fire axe is used the wendigos will scatter, running out of the front.

There are more wendigos in the front yard. In fact by the time the party After she has gone the first wendigo manage to escape the wendigos should children gather in the shadows. Players be making their presence felt will have to make a draw of 6 to know everywhere. See "Running The Game"


♣ Pure Role Playing ♥
for further details. there is a thin stud wall separating the two. It's much easier to break into the 2) Hansen Hardware is accessible to bridal shop than the Hardware store hardy housebreakers. Behind the street direct. is a drainage ditch about 20 feet deep that leads to an entrance to Revelation Inside are all manner of goodies, be Point's sewer system. This is full of generous; garden tools of all sorts, leaf wendigos so players would be best to burners, insecticide bombs. Only be avoid. Any captured team members restrictive in how much you let the will be dragged into the sewage system players carry. The leaf burners have and eventually brought to the psyche three or four good burns in them, no ward cells in the Danziger Memorial player can carry more than four gas Hospital (see 3). grenades. A chainsaw is forever, of course. There is no weaponry for sale here but there is a sawn off and twelve cartridges behind the counter. 3) The Hospital is where the wendigos leave victims they wish to keep alive for breeding purposes. That makes this the start point for Pip and Veronica in the game. It might be cool to start the game with Pip waking up in her cell and discovering that Ronnie is in an adjacent cell. Then rapidly cutting back to Neal Elementary.

Hansen Hardware shares its roof space with the shop next door, a bridal shop, The wendigos don't really like interiors


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
so there will only be two or three around at any time inside. The psyche ward is towards the rear on the top floor. There's a door with rooftop access next to the isolation ward. All the nurse's stations and the pharmacy have painkillers and bandages available. If the party do venture onto the roof then about twenty wendigos will be straight on them. There's a water tank and a generator full of fuel up there. 4) Hardesty Park is a major wendigo hangout. They love the nature, the trees, the dark, the smell of scared teenagers. This place is a really bad place to go. Lots of running should follow some initial cat and mouse. If you want to be really horrible lead the players to a shallow grave where the bodies of the wendigos mothers are left, half chewed to rot away. Giving birth to a wendigo child sours the meat and kills the mother in labour. 5) The town square is big and open. Late at night it's a bad place to go although slightly better than being trapped in the rat runs around the residential areas in town. 6) The Sheriff's Office gives access to the map (complete with hand written guides), there's also two pump actions, 24 cartridges a police issue automatic and 50 rounds for it. Police files relate the arrest of Papa Hardesty in 1973, after that all records mysteriously cease. 7) The Town Hall has little of value except some history of how the town was founded by the Hardesty Mining dynasty, a dog-eared local history paperback describes how the Owackwee Indians who lived in the mountains believed the woods to be home to wendigos, bestial superhumans who feed on the flesh of regular people. 8) The Garage contains a slightly broken but serviceable truck that one of the mechanically able lads could probably fix in short order. The main doors won't work so busting loose is the only option. General Notes: Willie Shempman is the


♣ Pure Role Playing ♥
wendigo's handy man, a despicable human being old Pa Hardesty keeps him around to put off cop style visitors. Attempts to go anywhere except Liberty Falls get fatal extremely quickly. If anyone does manage to run hell for leather to Liberty Falls hospital staff will quietly drug them and then arrange to have them dumped back in Revelation Point; play up the creepy in such an encounter. Running the Game Timings The set up for the game should be played as described in the Map Notes 1 at the school. From there on in it's really up to the players, as it should be. Rather than stepping from shadowy presences straight up to a full siege, ramp up the possible numbers of Wendigos as the game progresses. At first make it seem like there might only be six or seven. By the time they've escaped the school and are looking for a new haven imply it's more like twenty or thirty. At the point the main party escape from the school it's usually good to stage an abduction attempt on a female character. See how that works out. Remember the Wendigos a) don't like the interior of buildings and b) like to mess with the minds of their prey. So when the team get indoors give them some time to plan. Good rooftop access is to be had for a cost at the Hospital and the Town Hall. The wendigos don't like interiors but heights don't bother them. Hopefully as the game reaches its third Obviously the cop, Pip and Sister Ronnie don't start with the main party. If someone decides to play Officer Kinney up front have him run into Shempman, to dial up the tension with a creepy but non combative encounter. For Pip and Ronnie escape should be a priority and it would be good to give one of them a means of picking the lock on their cell or whatever. Maybe all party members will meet up down the road, maybe they won't each storyline should be personal and keep tension to a maximum.


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
or fourth hour the players should have tooled up some (been injured some) and be thinking about a last stand to get to the garage. (How they find out about the garage is up to you but having the police officer find the map either with or without a player controlling him is a good option.) Remember this is a slasher movie, so make descriptions of encounters graphic and bloody. If the players could knock off Papa Hardesty that would be super. Note Papa Hardesty's injuries on his injury chart. He's eight foot tall, hairy, mean and tough. Assess the party's efforts to do him damage accordingly. Wendigos The only Wendigo to really worry about is Papa Hardesty, the others can be mown down with impunity. All Wendigos hate light and cramped spaces. They're all able to climb but they're individually fairly weak. I pictured them as being humanoid with blue-black hair covering their body (although they wear clothing and often base ball caps). They have eyes a solid brown-black and wet looking, like blood clots, and sharp white teeth. They mostly carry sickles which they like to attack people's limbs with. Papa Hardesty eschews weaponry in favour of ripping people apart with his hands. He's also tougher than the others. He lumbers forward and will soak up gunfire. Flames upset him. Chainsaws... well, now you're talking. I made him big so make him fall hard, in both senses, hard to topple but once he goes he should basically fall apart.


♣ Pure Role Playing ♥

Treasure of the Caesars
Treasure of the Caesars is the crunchiest example scenario in the example book and a foreshadow of the first full No Dice system Marauders! I wanted to include one scenario for people who already enjoy role playing and want to see how far No Dice can go into the world of more traditional role playing. The basic set up of the adventure is that two rival territories Lemuria and Cibola exist in a mythical location in the Pacific and the players are all on board a Lemurian vessel that subsequently becomes embroiled in a Cibolan affair. The setting uses a martial arts system to provide combat fun. Set Up So the story goes when Mark Antony joined Cleopatra in expanding the Egyptian empire onto the Spice Coast he hoarded vast wealth. In other circumstances he may have snubbed Rome by refusing to help them when crops failed but he had other means of accomplishing this goal with access to the wisdom of the Far East. Cleopatra was not keen on being referred to as a sorceress but as Mark Antony scaled to godhood in the eyes of the distant Roman people so his hubris grew. In his mind Egypt became as paradise to him and Rome the world of mortal man. Mark Antony dabbled in matters that stretched his spirit to breaking point and all the while he amassed stock piles of treasure. In the end, however, Octavian Caesar was not to be upstaged by a brutal, cunning warrior king. Octavian was a strategist and he kept working away at the enemies of Egypt until he had formed a mighty alliance between the


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
Jews, the Romans and the Teutons. When the fall of Egypt came it was swift, brutal and bloody. Cleopatra was lost among the thousands of islands of Lemuria. The legend of the Caesar's Treasure passed among seafaring folk. One such man, a In those days much of Lemuria was still Captain Abner Frobishire, formerly of unexplored. Mark Antony, in a move the East Africa & Indias Trading typical of his hubris, packed a fleet of Company, acquired a map that showed ships and took to the seas from East the way to Cleopatra. He left the Africa. Eventually he settled on a large employ of the Company, stealing a island and build his miniature empire, ship, and set about assembling a party Antonius Rex sat upon the throne of to move the treasure onto the ships. his island state, which he named Further curses would be analysed Cleopatra after his lost love. There he thereafter. Frobishire is certainly lived out the rest of his days in insane but he is ever cautious. moribund decadence, eventually retreating into a massive underground So it is that twelve strangers are bound tomb to die. and caged within the bowels of Frobishire's vessel, the Wayfarer. They It is said that upon the expiration of his will be forced to fight for their survival life Mark Antony pronounced a curse and then the victors will be forced on upon his treasures, that any man to Cleopatra to lift the treasure. The involved in removing it from Cleopatra effect of the curse will be well noted would be cursed to sicken and die and Frobishire has decided that any within five years. The worst curse was further thought to the effect of the reserved for those who actually curse will be reserved until then. handled the treasure on the way off the island. It was said they would never feel the sea upon their skin again before they died.


♣ Pure Role Playing ♥
Additional Rules principles as the suits: kick strength, punch strength, grappling and reflexes. Fighting Suits Instead of allowing the suit on the card to dictate the move being made as in The suits all have an indication of the unmodified "Fighting Suits" rule generic fighting moves during combat. the player can elect before drawing to The higher score wins in every move. use their style and tell you what move Suit associations: they are going to make. The suit then acts upon that move either enhancing Clubs - Feet it or degrading it. Spades - Hands Hearts - Throw Thus every style has three scores Diamonds - Reflex associated with it, these are called degraded, unmodified and enhanced. The only one that might require some As each suit has an association with a explanation is the reflex move. This particular move so that suit can indicates that the player read the enhance or degrade a specifically opponent's move as it was being made chosen move. For example the and instantly modified their own attack Drunken Boxing Style has the to block and hit back. following scores:
Degraded Only named NPCs have fight styles like the players do, goons are unmodified, Kick(♣) -2 hence a court card for a goon fight has Punch(♠) -1 a flat value of 10.


1 1 2 3

2 2 3 5

Fighting Styles
Players and named NPCs have fighting styles that operate on the same four

Throw(♥) Reflex(♦)

-3 -4

The cycle for suit downgrades/


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
upgrades is the same regardless of style. Obviously the suit upgrades its own move and the downgrade cycle is one out of step; so kicks downgrade punches, which downgrade throws, which downgrade reflex moves, which downgrade kicks, like this: beat him by a clear 3. In the following round Simon decides to play conservative with a punch and happily draws a 7 of Spades enhanced by choosing the punch move from his drunken boxing style he scores nine. The goon pulls a pathetic two of diamonds and attempts to react to the punch too slowly. Flailing out with perfect chi balance Simon takes out this one point goon and turns to face his next assailant. In fighting Aces are worth one and all the number cards are worth their numeric value. If no modification is applied to the move the court cards are worth 10. If the move is augmented by a Finishing Move, then the "Finishing Moves" rule is applied (see below). If either party exceeds the other by a clear 3 the move breaks their defence and the fighter who employed the losing move loses a hit point e.g. 3 beats 1 = defended, 4 beats 1 = defence break, lose 1 HP.

Downgraded By Kick Punch Throw Reflex Diamond Club Spade Heart

Upgraded By Club Spade Heart Diamond

Example: Simon is using the drunken boxing fighting style to fight a goon who is fighting without a style (or indeed any class, goons eh?). In the first round Simon decides to go for a quick KO, hoping for a diamond he states that he will attempt to sucker the goon with a reflex, he pulls a 4 of hearts effectively scoring 0. The goon pulls a 2 of clubs punching out at Simon who manages to defend for no loss of HP because the goon still didn't


♣ Pure Role Playing ♥
Finishing Moves
Every fighting style has a "Finishing Move". These finishing moves allow the fighter access to a known weak point on the opponent through any of the other moves and is associated with a particular court card e.g. the finishing move "Sake Sway" is associated with the Jack in drunken boxing and strikes the opponent's knees knocking them over. moves but the addition goes onto the next round of combat.

No Ranged Combat
In this game the shots in a gun battle are not treated as any kind of combat but as separate events tested individually. Combat

Combat is a central part of this game, as Example: Paul pulls a jack of diamonds such it needs to be made into an and his character is a drunken boxer so involving and fun activity. The system he quickly reacts to the opponent's here tries to support turning each fight attempted kick with a backward into a story, pitting various styles swaying move that allows him to strike against one another in thrilling set back instantly and with devastating pieces. The way a fight progresses is effect. He drops down and loops his like this: belt around the opponent's knees pulling the cord the opponent is 1) If the fight is one on one the Host hoisted into the air and lands heavily plays one character and the Player on his head, rendering him plays their own character. If it is a goon unconscious. brawl the Host plays the goons and the Players play their characters. A finishing move knocks out any goon in one blow and will take 3HP from a 2) If the current confrontation between named NPC. The Finishing moves can one player and one non player is single be Degraded or Enhanced like regular combat then the Host pulls one card for


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
the opponent. If the player is faced down by more than one opponent the Host pulls one card for each opponent and looks at the card(s) in secret. kick and a punch. They may use reflexes to strike back at all simultaneously attacking opponents, maybe making the attacks work against each other. A player may move in 3) The Host uses the suit to determine against a single opponent attempting a what move(s) the opponent(s) are body move or throw which may topple looking to pull. The Host describes other opponents temporarily, or they these moves to the player, the scores may attempt a defensive leap or roll to indicate how effective the opponent(s) put themselves in a position to fight moves are going to be. If it is clear the one at a time. Any reasonable story moves are particularly weak or strong description of the move is allowed to the Host may colour their description happen. of the opponent(s) threat appropriately. 5) The Host reveals the card(s) for the 4) If the player has to choose one (or opponent(s). more) opponents to hit they do so. They state how they're going to 6) The player pulls a single card for counter the move. If it's a single each move in the order described. In opponent they may say something like: the example in four the player is "I will break past his defences and looking for a Club to enhance their attempt to punch him in the chest". If kick, a second club and then a diamond it is multiple opponents he may say: "I to enhance the reflex manoeuvre. If will spin round and jump kick (Kick) they succeed in the hit by more than the one on the left. Land and sweep three each additional point is added to (Kick) the middle one and then try to their next move. If they succeed but do react (Reflexes) to whatever the last not break defence then no modifier is one is trying to do to injure me". applied. If they fail each point by which they fail subtracts from their A player may attempt to combine a next move.


♣ Pure Role Playing ♥
Example Combat Rachel has found herself in hot water, her ninja has been surrounded by three goons. They're not particularly strong but they're determined to combine their strength to bring her down. The Host pulls one card for each goon and pulls Nine of Diamonds, Six of Spades and King of Clubs. He describes Rachel's predicament thus: "The one on the left is just waiting to see what you do, but he looks ready for you to do anything. The guy in the middle has committed to a punch that's headed for your face. The guy on the right is spinning into a dangerous looking roundhouse." Rachel decides that she's going to attempt to grab the puncher and swing him into the way of the kicker, whilst avoiding Mr Ready for Anything. This move relies on a block and grab, which is a body move, so Rachel is hoping for a high heart first. The following throw is deemed to be a hand move so a high spade would be good and the final dodge is a reflexive manoeuvre so a high diamond would just about finish things off nicely. Underwhelmingly she pulls a nine of diamonds and takes a -2 penalty because Ninjutsu isn't really suited to the kind of move she's trying to pull off. That gives her a respectable seven, enough to apply the block but the kick connects for the loss of 1 HP and although the puncher is thrown off she's suddenly grappled by Mr Reflexes. Now she has, however, only got Mr Reflexes to deal with. The other two, happy to wait for the grapple to finish, watch on. The Host pulls a nasty 10 of Spades for Mr Reflexes and announces: "It looks like he's going to rabbit punch you in the ribs, unless you counter he's going to do some serious damage." Rachel says she's going to use a low knee grab to up end the guy and, as they're already grappling, that's a hand move. She's hoping for spades. She gets


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them with a nine enhanced by 4 in Ninjutsu to 13 she avoids the rabbit punch and scoops the guy off his feet. He hits his head on the floor and is out cold. Seeing their comrade go down the other two start forward. The Host draws 3 of spades for the Punching goon and an 8 of diamond for the Roundhouser. He describes the situation thus. "The other two are surprised at the turnabout you've put on their compatriot. One strikes out somewhat weakly, the other one watches you warily waiting for you to move." takes the opportunity to sweep kick her. She loses her balance and falls, losing two HP because of the vicious reflex move. The Host pulls a King of Spades and a Jack of Clubs, indicating that Punchy and Roundhouse have grown in confidence and are seeking to do serious damage. He describes it thus: "Both goons launch themselves into the air Punchy is looking to come down with a strike to your face, Roundhouse is going to slam his knees into your torso. This could be punishing."

Rachel decides to play it safe. She wants to roll away quickly. The Host decides this is a defensive move of a Rachel decides to risk kicking the reflexes kind, so a high diamond would Puncher into Roundhouse and a s she's be great. The two of spades doesn't just trying to cause distraction she even slightly cut it and despite an needs the one move she's pulling to unmodified reflexes bonus of two, that come off, so she's looking for a club. only equals six. So Rachel doesn't quite Unfortunately luck's not with her, she evade either hit taking one full HP pulls a four of spades and gets hit with from both attacks. a downgrade taking her to one. Rachel's only got two HP left but the Punchy's underwhelming blow socks goons are surprised that didn't finish Rachel in the jaw and Roundhouse her. Punchy springs back to his feet


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and Roundhouse rolls away. The Host draws a seven of clubs for Punchy and three of diamonds for Roundhouse. He describes it thus: "Punchy came off better he's sprung up and lifted his leg. He's looking set to kick you while you're down and hurting, Roundhouse is slower, he's come away looking a little uncertain about what to do." "Sucks to be you," she tells the unconscious pile of goon bodies. Healing In this game all but one HP are restored at the end of combat. Restoratives may be applied during any spare hour which will heal characters back to full health. The scenario notes will relate when restoratives are available.

Rachel decides it's reflexes time. She's going to grab Punchy's ankle, lock it Playable Characters and attempt to throw him at Roundhouse. A high diamond would go  Casablanca - An escaped slave across well. Followed by a good spade. (Kipura/Capoeira) The eight of diamonds comes out for  Old Man Fong - An Old Man her and her enhanced move now has a seeking a lost relative (Wu Shu) score of eleven. Punchy's kick is turned  Ryu Masake - A Japanese into a devastating throw that upends Traveller (Karate) him and a following 10 of clubs  Tcheky Marenovic - A Russian (unenhanced, but hey) takes out Bodyguard (Arctura/Krav Maga) Roundhouse who just hasn't got the  Brother Yip - A Monk (Shaolin chops to avoid his former partner flying Kung Fu) through the air to take them both  Davey Collins - A Delinquent down at once. Drifter (Newberry) A little sore Rachel gets up and dusts herself down. Player Set Up It's quite simple really all the characters


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start the game unconscious and caged on board Captain Abner Frobishire's vessel "Wayfarer". The characters in the caged area are: Casablanca, Old Man Fong, Ryu Masake, Tcheky Marenovic, Brother Yip, Davey Collins, Kyoto, Richard Duchamps, Reggie Stanford, Maui, Matuku and Drona. If you do not have six players you can remove characters as you see fit. Act I relies upon there being one Non Player fighter for every Player fighter, although you can do something with the concept of having extra fighters involved who become NPCs when you get to Acts II and III. It's really up to you, read the act notes and decide how you want to run it. Make sure you explain to the character that the area of islands known to the world at large is referred to by Europeans as Lemuria. Cibola refers to an unknown island group hidden in the vast Pacific filled with brutal, bloodthirsty warriors who take no prisoners and cannot be reasoned with. Some of the martial arts have names that have been derived from the supposed roots of their modern names because the adventure is historical. The martial art of Newberry is fictional and first appeared in the 90s comic strip "Accident Man". No Maps? This isn't a map based game. I made maps the first time I ran it and they were all but pointless. If you want to make them yourself you should be able to freestyle them. A prop map of the treasure island might be nice but players won't use it for anything and besides Frobishire's probably not gong to let whatever bogus map he has out of his sight. So here are some guides to the general layout of the Wayfarer and some notes about the island Frobishire believes to be “Cleopatra”. The Wayfarer – Guide

Lower Deck
Rooms on the lower deck include:


Casablanca - African - Kipura Fighter Casablanca has been a slave for a two years. He was originally kidnapped by seven men from his village in West Africa and taken North to Casablanca where he was sold to East Coast traders who started working him on the spice route from India across Lemuria to Peru. Recently whilst Casablanca was in the Avaiki Islands Casablanca was stolen. Casablanca has never considered what he would do if he were freed. The tribe who originally enslaved him slaughtered his family but he knows they, in turn, were slaughtered in another pointless battle with a neighbouring tribe. Fighting Style Capoeira is a fluid dance like fighting style that uses a lot of swinging kicks and emphasises fluidity of movement in a confined space. It looks spectacular and once the fighter is in a rhythm it is almost unstoppable. Capoeira fighters can find themselves in trouble if they face someone with good aerial moves.

Capoeira Degraded Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) Q (♠ ) -1 -3 0 2 0 2 1 1 3 1 Enhanced 4 2 2 5 2

Finishing Move – Hand Spin Kick

Old Man Fong - Chinese - Wu Shu Fighter Fong loves his granddaughter Mei Mei. That's the only reason he left Szechuan on this foolhardy quest. His son was dead, so was his daughter in law, like most of the people in their village. He had thought, upon finding the village aflame that he would walk into the fire and allow himself to be consumed. When he saw the child, Baker Chan's son, bleeding in the snow, he had known it was not his time to die. This destruction was the herald of Old Man Fong's last great adventure. The boy was weak, he died after three days but he did manage to tell Fong that the raiders had taken the children. Possibly they intended to sell them as slaves. Fong didn't know, all he cared about was that somewhere his eight year old granddaughter was still alive. So, as the winter turned to spring, he had set out from the Xieyang Village of Szechuan to retrieve his granddaughter. Woe betide the man who would stand in his path, Fong was too near to death to fear it on his own account or upon the account of others. Fighting Style Wu Shu is an umbrella term for a whole family of Chinese Martial arts. Wu Shu emphasises a fluidity of movement and the correct direction of chi. It is less acrobatic than more general Kung Fu and is a solid fighting style using a lot of kicks, punches and blocks. A Wu Shu fighter will have a problem with heavily offensive fighting styles that devastate upon breaking defense.

Wu Shu Degraded Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) J (♦) 1 -1 0 2 0 2 2 2 2 1 Enhanced 3 2 2 4 2

Finishing Move – Defence Break

Ryu Masake - Japanese - Karate Fighter To Ryu Hakuro this place was much the same as every other place he had found himself in the last ten seasons. When they had accused him of murdering Akemi's father he had known that he could not defend himself. Tetsuo Watanabe had refused Ryu when he had asked for Akemi's hand in marriage. Never mind that Tetsuo's business partner was rumoured to have been plotting some traitorous action for years; Kyo Masaru was a respected man in the community. In the end blaming Ryu had been the easier option. So Ryu fled. He had met master Nobuyuki in Burma. The master had trained Ryu in exchange for help running his small farm. In the end Ryu had decided it was time to move on. He had got as far as the port before some men had drugged him. Now he was here. Caged. Furious. As soon as he saw his chance these men would know Ryu Hakuro's rage. Fighting Style Karate is the name of a number of styles of martial art that originate from the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. In addition to being a self-defence style karate (properly karate-do) is also viewed as a sport and physical practice. A karate master can easily break a weak or confused mixed style.

Karate Degraded Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) K (♥) 1 2 -1 -1 0 2 2 1 3 1 Enhanced 4 2 1 4 2

Finishing Move – Aerial Roundhouse

Tcheky Marenovic - Russian – Krav Maga Fighter This is just an inconvenience to Tcheky Marenovic. Let them drug him, let them lock him up. They have to keep him caged because Tchecky Marenovic has the destructive power of the great, black bear. At some point they have to let him out of this cage and then they will see. All Tcheky wants is a sturdy wife and a sturdy house in a sheltered valley by a stream. It doesn't matter how many inconveniences he has to destroy along the way. Fighting Style Krav Maga is a brutal style that emphasises taking an opponent out in short order. While Arctura is instantly devastating if it comes up against a nimble style emphasising evasion over blocking it can run into trouble.

Krav Maga Degraded Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) J (♦) 0 1 -1 1 0 3 1 1 3 1 Enhanced 4 2 2 4 2

Finishing Move – Face Strike

Brother Yip - Chinese - Shaolin Kung Fu Fighter Brother Yip finds this all fascinating. Ever since the monastery had accepted a visit from the Crazy Wisdom Master Brother Yip had found himself compelled to find out more about the circumstances of one's life in the flow of everyday interaction. In the end he had chosen to leave the monastery to test his resolve in keeping his devotions in the flow of life. The world, he has found, is filled with raw experience, but he is not afraid. There are many people who do not understand Brother Yip's way of life or temperament, but he is not afraid. Even though men have drugged his body and caged it, even though they have brought him onto this ship and set sail for points unknown, he is not afraid. Brother Yip knows life is an illusion and experience a dream. He is just eager to see what happens next. Fighting Style Shaolin Kung Fu is an acrobatic style originating from the monastic devotions of Shaolin Monks. It is not exclusively a combat style but the form in fighting emphasises acrobatic moves that are difficult to pull off by someone with little training. Kung Fu runs into trouble against brutal martial arts and fighting styles that can block and counter quickly, Shaolin holds the advantage in stamina battles however.

Shaolin Kung Fu Degraded Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) Q (♣ ) 1 0 0 1 0 3 1 1 3 1 Enhanced 4 1 2 4 2

Finishing Move – Aerial Kick

Davey Collins - British - Newberry Fighter Last Davey remembered he'd been in Indonesia enjoying the local facilities and the life of a young man seeing the glorious Lemuria that seemed like a land of dreams from the cold and dirty streets of London. Next thing he knows he's waking up in a cage on a boat with a bunch of other strangers. He had thought at the time that there were a couple of guys watching his last cage match with an unhealthy interest. The real question now was what did they want with an unattached globe-trotting Newberry fighter? None of the possible answers to that question seem good. Fighting Style Newberry is a style that mixes a traditional boxing style with elements of kung fu. It emphasises a ground based approach using ducks, sways and feints to avoid being hit, the offensive moves are exclusively executed with the fists, forearms and elbows. Newberry fighters run into trouble with sweeping moves and leg attacks, although a highly skilled Newberry fighter has learned how to jump out of the way of such attacks.

Newberry Degraded Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) Q (♦) -2 2 -1 1 0 1 3 1 3 1 Enhanced 2 4 2 4 2

Finishing Move – Hook

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Enemy Fighters – Host's Guide Kyoto - Japanese - Karate Fighter HP: 5 Kyoto is a haughty fellow who will not talk to the other combatants save to assert his own authority. Karate is the name of a number of styles of martial art that originate from the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. In addition to being a self-defence style karate (properly karate-do) is also viewed as a sport and physical practice. Its system of kata make this a highly formalised style and the style can be weak against more improvisational styles that can adapt during the course of the fight. Having said this a karate master can easily break a weak or confused mixed style. Underneath the rigidity of kata is an almost infinite range of subtlety. Karate Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) K (♥) Degraded 1 2 -2 -1 Aerial R'house Unmodified 2 1 1 3 0 1 Enhanced 4 2 3 4 + 2

Finishing Moves


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Richard Duchamps - Savate Fighter HP: 6 Duchamps fancies himself a bit and seems not to realise the danger he is in, he is happy to fight anyone to fuel his own ego. Savate is a style that emphasises the use of kicks and open handed slaps. In a way it is a style with a great deal of purity and simplicity but it presents problems when fighting, low, close in and some acrobatic moves. Savate Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) Q (♦) Degraded 2 -2 -1 1 Balance Strike Unmodified 3 1 2 2 0 1 Enhanced 4 2 3 4 + 2

Finishing Moves


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General Prak - Cibolan - Ganga Fighter HP: 8 General Prak is six foot seven, broad built and terrifying. He wears heavy Cibolan armour and the high ranking Cibolan skull helmet. He speaks Cibolan and is incredibly business like. Ganga is the style of the Cibolans. It favours grapples, pushes, trips and low kicks. It is vulnerable to aerial attacks and avoidance defensive moves. It can break most blocks. Ganga Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) J (♠) Degraded 1 2 0 0 Low Smash Unmodified 4 2 3 1 0 1 Enhanced 5 5 4 2 + 2

Finishing Moves


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Lieutenant Quivira - Cibolan - Ganga Fighter HP: 6 Quivira is more lightly armoured than Prak. He doesn't speak much and seems to have efficiently trained his men. Ganga is the style of the Cibolans. It favours grapples, pushes, trips and low kicks. It is vulnerable to aerial attacks and avoidance defensive moves. It can break most blocks.

See General Prak
Jeriah Masaka - Cibolan - Ganga Fighter HP: 7 Masaka is a Cibolan traitor. He wishes to make peace with the Lemurian races and has turned on his own people. He is a deposed Cibolan prince whose throne was taken but he will not reveal this. He can speak fluent Franca. Ganga is the style of the Cibolans. It favours grapples, pushes, trips and low kicks. It is vulnerable to aerial attacks and avoidance defensive moves. It can break most blocks.

See General Prak


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Reggie Stanford - British - Newberry Fighter HP: 5 Reggie is a complete git. He's racist, sexist, narcissitic; all this and ugly with it. His real advantage is that he can take a lot of punishment. He will taunt and belittle opponents in a fight and hope to anger them so he is more likely to get in a few dirty shots. Newberry is a style that mixes a traditional boxing style with elements of kung fu. It emphasises a ground based approach using ducks, sways and feints to avoid being hit, the offensive moves are exclusively executed with the fists, forearms and elbows. Newberry fighters run into trouble with sweeping moves and leg attacks, although a highly skilled Newberry fighter has learned how to jump out of the way of such attacks. Newberry Degraded Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) Q (♠) -2 1 -1 1 Hook Unmodified 1 3 1 3 0 1 Enhanced 2 4 3 5 + 2

Finishing Moves


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Matuku - Samoan - Sawaiki Silat Fighter HP: 7 Silent, brooding and intense Matuku does not speak, Matuku acts. The Sawaiki Silat is an island fighting style that combines knee and elbow moves with wrestling grapples. Large practitioners use a grounded style that use hard palm techniques and shoulder barges to keep an opponent down. If someone has faced a large Sawaiki Silat opponent and gotten used to constant pummelling originating from the ground upwards meeting a lighter opponent who seems to fly through the air raining persistent powerful blows downwards can be something of a surprise. Both find low moves a trouble as their power comes either from down upwards or from upwards trying to direct falling into power moves. Sawaiki Silat Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) K (♥) Degraded -1 -1 1 1 Pin and Break Unmodified 3 3 2 2 0 1 Enhanced 4 4 3 3 + 2

Finishing Moves


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Maui - Tongan - Maki Tinku Fighter HP: 5 Maui has learned a wide Francan vocabulary, at least in one-liners and insults. He will mock every move an opponent makes in a lighthearted and bantering fashion, hoping that the opponent will concentrate more on his verbosity than his fighting style. Outside of the ring Maui is sly as a fox and about as trustworthy, yet you just can't help liking the guy he's so damn companionable. Maki Tinku is a nimble style that uses clever footwork and moves that look like breakdancing to grip, lock and disable foes. There are very few kicks involved, feet are usually used as a method of executing acrobatic moves, but if you happen to be bracing off someone's chest... So yes, a lot of opportunity for jumping around like an eight year old having sucked down too many sweeties here. This style is weak against more aggressive long reaching styles like Savate and certain forms of Kung Fu. Maki Tinku Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) Q (♠) Degraded -2 0 -3 -1 Aerial Punch Unmodified 2 2 1 2 0 1 Enhanced 4 3 2 3 + 2

Finishing Moves


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Drona - Indian - Kalari Payattu Fighter HP: 6 Drona is an ascetic, which is like being a monk but without the calm. His body is scarred from regular mortification practices. His flexibility is unnatural and he can also withstand a lot of pain. Players would do well to batter him in the head. The minute escape is presented as an option Drona will leap into the sea and swim away, confident he will neither starve nor drown. Did I mention he's odd? Kalari Payattu has been heralded as the mother and father of all martial arts. A formal Indian style it does indeed imitate aspects of Wu Shu, Silat and Karate. This distillation can make it hard for practitioners of other styles to adjust, Wu Shu fighters expect more fluidity, Karate masters expect more rigidity, Silat fighters expect more close up moves. Unfortunately once any one of these martial artists has the measure of a Kalari Payattu fighter the style is somewhat weak. Kalari Payattu Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) J (♠) Degraded 1 -1 -2 1 Spinning Arm Chop Unmodified 3 2 1 2 0 1 Enhanced 4 3 3 4 + 2

Finishing Moves


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Queensberry - British - Drunken Boxing (Zui Quan) Fighter HP: 4 Queensberry learned Zui Quan from someone, probably not a master. His balance is essentially weak and he gets a lot of moves wrong. He likes the Drunken more than the boxing and is like a really sleazy English gentleman gone badly to seed. He stands by Captain Frobishire but will surrender if it seems his Captain is doomed. He will then instantly set about drinking himself into oblivion. A great fighter he isn't relying on sleeping drugs and hired muscle to get the real work done. Drunken Boxing is a style that emphasises a disciplined core balance to allow a fighter to be flexible and move, literally, like a drunkard. There are a lot of fake falls, swaying movements and hooked fists in this style which seeks to confuse an opponent before unleashing a deadly volley of kicks and blows. This style is effective against formalised and brutal styles but against other fluid styles it really comes down to the skill of the practitioner. Zui Quan Feet(♣) Hands(♠) Body(♥) Reflex(♦) Q (♥) Degraded -4 -3 0 0 Trip Fall Unmodified 0 0 1 2 0 1 Enhanced 1 1 2 3 + 2

Finishing Moves


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salvoes at the Cibolan Raider. If anyone complains about a sizable vessel only having 12 cannon balls point out the ship was renegade and poor. 2) The Arena, up to 12 cages and a small fighting ring. Six of the ships twelve cannons are here (three to a side). They are locked into runs. 3) Hammocks - nothing of value here. The hammocks are hung in the centre and six of the ship's twelve cannons (six to a side) are stored here. They are locked into runs 4) Galley and kitchen. Rank smelling, dirty, diseased. Low ceiling as it runs under the Captain's Quarters. safe containing the treasure map and 25 gold dubloons in here. Otherwise it's a fairly tatty bedroom and office with nothing very interesting in it.

Upper Deck
1) Aft Deck - Ship's wheel, access to some sails. 2) Fore deck - Access to more sails. A pointy bit where the figure head is. There is no actual figure head.

Things you will need to know about the island are:

1) Where Jeriah's Clipper is moored. Deck Make the description of the boat as specific as you like. The Clipper is slim, 1) Outside area - Access provided to the sleek and deadly looking. It houses 18 sails, crows nest, aft deck, foredeck, small cannons. It could be hidden in a Captain's quarters, down to the galley cove not visible from the sea. and of course the sea by way of a gangplank and a sword (Arrr!). 2) Where the Cibolan Raider is moored. This thing is massive. 24 heavy 2) Captain's Quarters - There's a small cannons, deck mounted harpoon guns


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1) A store room containing enough ammunition and powder for two and space for up to 100 Cibolan troops. The thing is well hidden probably in a bay on the opposite side of the island. It is impossible to run it with less than thirty men. If you produce a prop trasure map you may want to add a big X somewhere. Whether there is any treasure on the island is up to you. Remember this setting is purely for the purposes of a giant game of Kung Fu hide and seek. Possibly the existence of treasure would be overegging the pudding.

Running The Game

Act I - The Contest
One way or another there's going to be a rumble. When the players have woken, eaten and explored their cramped surroundings it is time for Frobishire's right hand man to introduce himself. Queensberry informs the players that they are to assist Frobishire with a mission of the utmost importance, but, after a review of the situation, he has decided that twelve might be too many to manage, even when surrounded by musket wielding rogue privateers. So the


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Captain has come up with a cunning plan to reduce the numbers by half and ensure some level of quality among the remaining combatants. Frobishire would like to pair up the prisoners and have them fight to the death. fighters vast wealth if they just get on to the island.

Act II - Cibolans!

After the contest give the players an hour or so to patch themselves back up It may be that the players can to normal, as soon as they're ready, or communicate among themselves well not quite ready the cry goes up from enough to incite mutiny at this stage. the crow's nest. "Land Ho!" Allow them Queensberry is accompanied by 24 enough time to debate what to do guards all armed with muskets. So it about the island and immediately could be that they just agree to the follow with a cry of: "Cibolaaaaaaans!" contest. Either way a fight will ensue Everyone should crap themselves. If and some people are going to end up they don't you haven't made it plain the worse for it. Losers to every round how nasty the Cibolans are. There are are taken away by Frobishire's men and two large Cibolan warships following a dumped into the sea to fend for smaller Cibolan clipper. One of the themselves. warships breaks off and approaches the Wayfarer. At this point feel free to If a mutiny is instigated then the crew allow everyone still standing to man are going to be somewhat surprised the cannons and indulge in a colourful (and mostly disadvantaged). After the piratey sea battle description. sailors have fired their rifles it will take about a minute and a half to reload The Wayfarer is not a warship and only them, by which time they should be has enough cannonballs for two salvos. unconscious. Once all of the caged If the Wayfarer fails to make contact fighters have taken over the ship they with the Cibolan Warship then six should be able to view land. Frobishire Cibolans will board for every player will beg for mercy and promise the (and more besides to add to the general


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melee but basically each player will have to down six Cibolans). Reduce this number by one for each salvo success fully delivered before the ships come side by side. The Cibolans fire cannons to weaken the ship as they draw aside. Once it is clear they are losing they will destroy the Wayfarer forcing the players to swim for land. on the island.

Jeriah is a Cibolan rebel who has learned some Franca. If the players can keep from killing them he will reveal that he can get them off the island but first they must defeat General Prak who seeks to execute Jeriah as a traitor. He will also tell them that if Prak had possessed only one boat and the winds Act III - Caesar's Treasure had picked up faster his clipper, the Wanderer's Rhapsody, would have The players will have observed the easily outdistanced Prak. Now, with clipper making its way to shore upon only one boat left in decent condition this island a fair way from where the after the earlier battle and the high Wayfarer's survivors land. You might winds that are blowing anyone could want to provide a few NPC survivors to easily outdistance Prak in a chase. provide a little Cibolan information and to act as cannon fodder. Also this is Play out the skirmish as appropriate, the island the map to "Cleopatra" this isn't a Lord of the Rings style mentioned. Whether there is any battle, more a series of small treasure here is entirely up to you, the encounters. Eventually Jeriah will face point of this act is not the retrieval of Prak and die, the players can kill Prak treasure but the drama unfolding and escape in the clipper. between the two rival Cibolan parties


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Supplement: The Thirty Six Dramatic Situations For Players
The idea of this supplement is to give you, as a player, some ideas about the general kinds of stories that exist for a character so that you can take part in those situations during the role play for your entertainment. Usually making your own character to this level will only take place in a campaign setting. Let's get one thing straight: it's not necessary to have a full on dramatic situation arcing over your character's life, these situations can have their volume turned down as well as up. So consider carefully what kind of life the character you have an idea for has had thus far. If you've role played in the past you may, at this point, be wondering what all this is about. Most role playing games don't give the players such specific chances to pick what story they're going to take part in. Over the many years I've been studying storytelling one misapprehension has always governed many people's view of how they're criticising a particular story. That misapprehension is this:

You don't know what's going to happen in a story before you start to hear it.
The context of a story tells you a bunch about what it's going to be about. Dumber than the thought that people can't tell what to expect out of a storytelling experience from cues they receive beforehand is the thought that you can no longer judge a book by its cover. That proverb was dating from a time when all book covers were blank. You


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had a title, an author's name and a publisher's mark and that was all. These days you are positively encouraged to judge books, movies, video games and all other media by their covers. We live in a society of covers. thought about it. When you consider that you will engage personally with that character for many hours and it will seem less so. You wouldn't want to spend those hours with a lingering feeling of disappointment now, would you?

Covers are, also, a way of cueing people up for a particular story experience. No Stories In The Past, Stories In The one went to see Star Wars thinking Present that it would be about an astronomy society's brutal leadership struggle. Some of the roles described here really Storytellers will, and should, try to set only work if they are something that you up for the experience you're about happened to you in the past. In theory to have in the way in which the story is none of the roles are utterly impossible brought to your attention, with its title, to role play just some are more difficult to role play in a satisfying manner as associated artwork, tag line, any they require you to portray emotion in classification it may have, with a very odd context, or they require reviews. your character to not know something you would have to know to choose the We live in a world where just about everyone is primed with what to expect role. from any story they're going to enjoy. If you have a stellar idea for the Role playing is no different. creation of a character don't let the notes with the role and the difficulty So the idea of choosing what kinds of put you off but with all the roles it is experience your character will have important to remember that you should may be a bit strange before you have


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definitely book some time to talk the character over with your Host. Negotiating Your Role The successful portrayal of any of these roles rests between you and your Host. You, obviously, will have to do most of the work bringing your character's position into play. The Host, however, has to create the rest of your experience. Although it provides the setting for your character to be involved in a role has a different set of challenges from portraying a character sometimes a plot will just be very difficult to stage manage effectively. If your Host does not feel confident in being able to provide you with an adequate experience it might be best to find another way round. want to find yourself in, or just ask the Host not to spring any plot surprises on you. The Situations Each situation contains four parts. A title, the names of the roles of people involved in that situation and some notes about how difficult it will be to play through that role in a role playing situation and finally a difficulty rating out of five for a player to portray that role effectively with one being the easiest and five being the hardest.

I - Matters of Law and Negotiation

A Persecutor - As this person is in charge of persecuting the supplicant it would be an odd choice of role to play. With an experienced Host you may However persecution has many forms, find that they will offer to attempt to engineer roles or situations that require if, for example you are the owner of a your character to not know something slave then, however kind you are, that is still persecution. (4/5) which, were you to choose that situation, you would necessarily have to know. In these instances it is best to A Supplicant - Being the victim, on the tell the Host what situations you don't other hand, is much easier, particularly


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if judgement is pending, but you have chosen to take your liberty into your own hands. (1/5) (unless the game is satirical in nature). Factor into your character portrayal that according to at least one societal structure you are a criminal who must be pursued by an officer of the law. While this is a tricky thing to factor in it's not impossible and could even be quite appealing. Make sure your Host and you have the same idea of what kind of criminal you will be though. (2/5)

A Power in authority, whose decision is doubtful - Although, technically, quite easy to portray, as being in a position of power outside the supplication core dynamic is quite an important role but not one that requires much effort, this is actually difficult to make anything of. I would recommend against it but I would imagine most people are not that keen An Avenger - If you read the notes to play someone whose central arc is to about the "criminal" you will see the make a detached decision. (4/5) hidden feature of this role. You may be an agent of the law that has determined Crime Pursued By Vengeance that the person playing the opposite role is indeed an outlaw. If so, you, as a A Criminal - In order for this situation person, may not agree with the law you to play correctly the criminal must have to enforce, or you may support it actually be guilty of the crime wholeheartedly. committed so if you want to play this part you will have to remember you are There's also a possibility that although a criminal. the person you seek is a criminal you are no more than a vigilante. In this Of course, laws can be stupid but case your own relation to the law is whatever your crime in this role there questionable. You have to provide a will be an "avenger" following you so motivation in these cases why you it's probably worse than dropping litter would be pursuing such a criminal in


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circumstances where you may come into conflict with a law enforcement operative doing their job. There are some subtle character notes to be made and taken when playing this role and clarification with your Host may be a wise idea. (2/5) Pursuit Punishment - This is similar to the "Avenger" role in a crime pursued by vengeance, the only real difference is that in that situation the "Fugitive" is definitely an outlaw. In this scenario, for convenience, we can presume that whatever act the fugitive has committed it is not considered criminal in the place where this took place. That does not mean that it is not criminal in another place or at another time, it just means that no law enforcement operatives are chasing this fugitive. If you are the agent of punishment then you will have to consider that you may very well be alone in your mission and this is going to have an impact on your psyche. Even so this should be a role not entirely too difficult to portray under most circumstances. (2/5) A Fugitive - As the fugitive in this scenario you are not punishable by law. This does not mean what you did might not be morally reprehensible or even illegal under other circumstances. You may, simply, have "got away" with whatever it was you did. Punishment is coming for you, presumably in the circumstances of opting into this situation your character knows that punishment is a possibility. Bear this in mind in your character portrayal. (1/5) Obtaining A Solicitor: Not in the legal sense. As in the sense of one who solicits. At its basic level this tends to be an episodic role i.e. I need an invitation to the governor's party and I am asking person x to obtain said invitation. However, a student is soliciting a university to obtain a qualification, a


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man on a quest to prove his worth to from the fact that you are necessarily the father of his true love is attempting supposed to be neutral in that situation. to obtain permission to marry. (2/5) Unless you can think of something amazing to make this work I would An Adversary who is refusing: There avoid. (5/5) are some tricky aspects to this role. If you come at it from the obvious Opposing Parties: Obviously you can't direction it is essentially, rather dull or be both parties but you could be one of covered by being in the role of the them. You have to decide what it is you adversary from the "Daring Enterprise" are in a dispute over. (2/5) situation on a smaller scale. Self-sacrifice For An Ideal If, on the other hand, you are the A Hero - Again the nature of role keeper of some knowledge and playing speaks against this, you may someone wants to obtain it from you not necessarily be able to choose to be a then it gives you a little more scope; character who sacrifices of themselves but look at the extraordinary lengths for an ideal. However, there is nothing Farscape went to to make Scorpius's to say that you aren't a character who solicitation of wormhole knowledge did sacrifice something for an ideal and from Crichton play out as drama on a this has formed their character. If so long arc. Basically unless you have some amazing gimmick for making this you should decide what it was that you sacrificed and make it suitably a good role I would avoid it. (3/5) dramatic. Once you've done that you should be good to go. (1/5) -orAn Arbitrator: In order to assume this role you must, necessarily, invent two opposing parties who want something that you are safekeeping. This aside An Ideal - People cannot be ideals. (6/5) A Creditor or a Person/Thing sacrificed


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- You could also play someone who was "sacrificed" by someone else for a higher ideal, or at least higher to them. However much we pretend this kind of thing doesn't matter in the end it really does. Where is the person who "sacrificed" you and what are they doing now? What would you say to them if you met them again? (1/5) or you will be expected to assume this role in the course of the game. It's a pretty standard heroic arc to be someone's rescuer so I'm going to recommend it as an easy play. (1/5) Daring Enterprise A Bold Leader - This situation is a classic role play arc. To be the bold leader of a personal daring enterprise would mean you have the enterprise in mind and you would have to recruit partners to put the enterprise into operation.

II - Missions and Rescues

An Unfortunate - As this is a rather passive role I can't see why any one should particularly want to play it. The This is a somewhat bizarre role to take main challenge here would be to role within another arc such as the Host play it long term. I would avoid. (5/5) will be providing. You may find yourself given the role of a bold A Threatener - This is a traditionally colleague in a group undertaking a villainous role. See my notes on “being daring enterprise without plotting a evil” in the Player's Guide for some second one into your backstory. reasons why assuming a role like this Approach with caution. (3/5) may be a bad idea. (4/5) An Object - In many role playing A Rescuer - When you take on this role gamessomething of value to the people as a player your character will either involved in the enterprise. It is not know about their role, in which case generally a role to be played, unless you will start the game with a mission, you have some other idea. (4/5)


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An Adversary - Now here's an interesting role. You as the "adversary" have some resource that you must protect from a "Bold Leader" and his colleagues. This rather changes the nature of the situation, if you yourself have access to resources to protect the object then your role becomes one of guardian. This is a more static role than many role playing scenarios allow for, it would be best to discuss your idea for a role that incorporates this situation with your Host. (3/5) Abduction An Abductor - This situation doesn't really tolerate a long timescale, or in those circumstances where it has done so it changes the complexion of the drama radically. If you are the abductor you will need to have thought through the psychology of that role and the logistics of it quite thoroughly. (3/5) recommend you avoid it. (5/5) A Guardian - As this equates to "prison warden" it would be unusual to assume this role. In one game that I played I made a character who was the guardian of a gate. This made it a trifle tortuous explaining why I kept leaving my post to go wandering around during adventures. We managed an explanation of sorts but it would have been easier had I been a wandering minstrel or something. Basically, you may find yourself in this role as part of the adventure, playing it permanently may well cramp your style. (4/5) The Enigma A Problem - This is not a person. (6/5)

An Interrogator - Now this is a fascinating role to play if you can think of an angle on it. The interrogator is an agent of the problem and hence could The Abducted - Naturally this is a be the incarnation of death (death rather restrictive role. Unless you can being an enigmatic problem) or the think of some really amazing twist on it incarnation of a god (gods being that would allow you to still participate enigmatic) or the agent of a secret in a meaningful way I would society. You need to have a really


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strong angle on this role because, as fun being sought out. (6/5) as it would be to play, the riddle of your existence needs to be strong not III - Family Matters lame. Discuss with your Host. (3/5) Vengeance Taken For Kin Upon Kin A Seeker - There's a question you have to answer to portray this role. Why the Guilty Kinsman - In this role it is hell have you devoted your life to presumed by your family (in the studying an enigma? Intellectual broadest sense of that term) that you problems are all great and everything have committed some kind of betrayal but for it to be something you have of another family member. The precise devoted your life to investigating... details of this incident are between you well, that's going to need some and your Host. explaining. If you can explain it, properly, and with passion, go ahead If you are, in fact, guilty of this act then and play it. (2/5) your motives will be important, if you are not guilty then you are accepting Recovery Of A Lost One the role of someone who has one crazy family to say the least. Something to A Seeker - Something or someone has consider in the case of both roles is, been lost. You will not rest until they how does the rest of the family feel or it have been found. Be clear on the about this situation? Has it split them? situation and away you go. (1/5) Do they all hate you? Do they all hate the other guy? This is a complex The One Found - This is really tricky. situation to play out and a tricky role to Did you know you were lost? See play from either perspective. (3/5) "Pursuit" if you know you're lost you're a fugitive. Otherwise, well, you can't be An Avenging Kinsman - See the notes someone who knows they're playing about the guilty kinsman. An issue someone who doesn't know they're particular to this role is that you have


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taken upon your shoulders the responsibility of dishing out a family's internal brand of justice (or was it placed upon you by other family members?). Presumably you are in the act of pursuing the guilty kinsman (or else this will be a pretty short arc) once you catch them what are you going to do? (3/5) family or at least one member of your family. When you talk this over with your Host focus on exactly how you are involved in this intra-familial strife and the motivations and reasons behind it. (1/5)

A Hatred or a reciprocally-hating Kinsman - This role is just the opposite of the other role. If you are the hated one then the rest of your family hate you too, if on the other hand you hate a Remembrance of the Victim, a relative kinsman but your family love you then of both - As a passive role this is not your character becomes an agent of something to be taken at face value. that hatred. So as far as being a player Obviously you have a perspective on goes you are involved in some strong the past misdemeanour of the guilty familial turbulence and the role is kinsman maybe over time your mind really described above. (1/5) has been changed. Maybe you have to find the avenging kinsman to halt his Rivalry Of Kin quest before it's too late. In order to make this part playable you will have The Preferred Kinsman - This is really to inject an active component into it. a mild form of the "Enmity of kin" It's doable but it's even harder than the situation but with a clearer object being other two roles. (4/5) the motive for some dislike or rivalry. A role that assumes such a back story is Enmity Of Kin approachable as long as you have worked out the details. As the A Malevolent Kinsman - Essentially preferred kinsman you may feel lucky this role means you either hate your and you may wish to make amends


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with your rival. Just remember it's easier to let bygones be when you're the winner. (1/5) The Rejected Kinsman - The reverse of the role of preferred kinsman. Consider what remedy may be won for your unfortunate situation and pursue it. (1/5) being a player who knows what story they're in and the character not being such renders this a rather impotent and therefore unrecommended role. (5/5)

An Unrecognized Victim - This means you are dead. If this is appropriate to the game you are playing it could be your phantasmal manifestation could be due to the fact the kinsman must be The Object of Rivalry - Of course you made to realise his crime. Obviously may be a character who is between two this option is only available to you in rivals. This situation necessarily an appropriate setting, discuss with demands that the rivals are related but your host. (1/5) if possible. the same rules apply whether the rivals Self-sacrifice For Kin are kin or not. You have to work out how you feel about being an object of rivalry, are you going to make a choice, A Hero - See notes on Self-Sacrifice For or are you not keen on either rival? Just An Ideal except now you are sacrificing because one kinsman is preferred does for your family. Did your family ask for this sacrifice? Or was it to make not mean that you are the one doing amends for some other ill? There are the preferring. This will be slightly more people involved here and so it harder to convey than either of the could get messier. The previous notes other two roles so make sure you for this role still apply. (1/5) clarify the situation with your Host. (2/5) A Kinsman - Maybe a relative Slaying Of Kin Unrecognized sacrificed something huge for you. In which case how has this impacted your The Slayer - Due to the problem of you life? Maybe you have a new set of


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priorities in life because of this. Maybe the kinsman is getting to milk it a little. For this to be relevant to your role it has to be manifest in your day to day life somehow. Think about how you can make it so. (2/5) to you for "the greater good" whatever that means. The issue of what to do when a relative "sacrificed" you for the greater good is tricky but not insurmountable. You will need a good angle to pull this off. (3/5)

A Creditor or a Person/Thing sacrificed The Necessity for the Sacrifice - You - See the same item in Self-Sacrifice For cannot play a necessity. (6/5) An Ideal. (1/5) Discovery Of The Dishonour Of A Necessity Of Sacrificing Loved Ones Loved One A Hero - Again we come to role which is best attempted in the aftermath. It's not really something you can choose to play from start through to finish because knowing it's coming will colour your portrayal. Even if you do look upon this as "something that happened" it will be hard to portray someone who sacrificed a loved one and is therefore a bit grumpy as opposed to someone who just has a grumpy temperament. (4/5) A Discoverer - This is a pretty good motivation for some sort of quest or life mission. You have discovered that someone you care about is being dishonoured. What are you going to do about it? Is this a fresh discovery for your character or has an incident already taken place? Overall this is an excellent basis for a character's actions as it is removed enough from the heart of the matter to make all choices dubious and thus lead to some excellent character moments. (1/5)

A Beloved Victim - The key question here is "victim of what?" Your opposite The Guilty One - Remember that these number in this situation is a relative roles are a matter of perspective. who essentially did something horrible Although someone may societally be


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within this situation in the larger context of the game the taboo or prohibition may seem ridiculous. So a guilty one is either actually guilty or they are guilty by some metric that the guilty one deems inferior or unsatisfactory. You must examine the world view of someone who does something that feels right but is condemned as wrong. Although somewhat tricky to pull off as some characters will be hostile to you with what they feel to be good reason this is not an impossible role to take on. (2/5) Loss Of Loved Ones A Kinsman Slain - The key here is slain. Unless you can be a ghost and this happened to you impossible. If ghosts (2/5) if none (6/5) A Kinsman Spectator - This is probably something that happened in your backstory. You watched your brother/father/mother/sister/cousin get offed by the executioner character and it is up to you to react to that. Be clear in your own context and this should be a fairly easy role to get across. (2/5) An Executioner - You killed someone's relative, executed them. You are a killer. This is a hard thing to proactively portray but it's not impossible. Be clear on the details and your own motives for doing what you did. (3/5)

IV - Matters of Conquest
Disaster A Vanquished Power - If you have taken this role it means that you are a deposed power. You had the keys to the kingdom and they were stripped from you by the enemy. There's a great deal of emotional complexity in a character like this. If the victory of your adversary is fresh you may be angry and suspicious of strangers, with time you may have either mellowed and grown or become embittered. There's a lot that hinges upon whether your power is gone forever or whether you could stage a fresh assault upon your adversary.


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This role is unusual in role playing terms as, traditionally, players always begin the game virtually powerless and always grow in power as a consequence of their role play. To "recover" powers may require modification to some additional rules systems so discuss this aspect particularly with your Host. (3/5) messenger you might want to discuss with the Host what you picture as your message. If, on the other hand, you are the victorious power itself this presumes you are starting the game with some newly acquired advantage or resources.

If this is the case then you must discuss with your Host how this will play out A Victorious Enemy or a Messenger - If in practice. Starting the game with you are, indeed, the enemy mentioned power will be a responsibility if the it presumes you have acquired some power is presumed to be great and power that previously belonged to would present a significant role play someone else. If this is control of a challenge. (2/5) if the power is Kingdom then this is largely a positive individual or if a messenger. (4/5) if the development, but think of the story of power is great. Spiderman's nemesis Venom to understand how that power might have Revolt come with its own price. A Tyrant - The only real way you could If, on the other hand, you are a satisfactorily commence an adventure "Messenger" of that victorious enemy it in this role is if you are fleeing for your means you are in the enemy's employ. life from the agents of the conspiracy. You have been tasked with finding the As the role is very definitely labelled vanquished power and delivering a "tyrant" and not "misunderstood message, is that just a euphemism? beneficent monarch" the presumption is that you would have to be venal and In either case some discussion with corrupt. See the notes on “being evil” in your Host is important. If you are a the Player's Guide. I would avoid this


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unless you have an amazing concept for Not that affairs of the heart are the how it could work out. (5/5) only place one can have rivals. The fact is that although in this role it could be A Conspirator - You are a rebel soldier. easily noted out that you are the This is always a breeze to portray as "superior" rival that is a relative term. being an agent of serious political You will have to go some way to change is an intellectual role that has preserving your superiority because obvious objectives. Questions to ask although you may be superior the other concern whether you doubt your own person may well just be flat out better. masters, if you are one of the leaders of Discuss your concept with your Host. the revolution do you doubt your own (1/5) motives? How fanatical are you? Although being a rebel is something An Inferior Rival - The exact reverse of most people can, bizarrely, role play the other role in this situation. You quite easily it could be fun to try to may well want to examine your rival's take the role a bit further than just superiority and explore ways to trying to be Che Guevara (1/5) undermine it. Just because you're in last place doesn't mean you can't come Rivalry Of Superior vs. Inferior from behind. As above discuss an idea you might have for this with your Host. A Superior Rival - The question of (1/5) superiority here is always going to be subjective. Given a setting in the past, The Object of Rivalry - If this is a love the race between a father's favoured contest, or a contest for a promotion suitor and another rival for his you have to give or for an object you daughter's heart the former will always own but will bestow on a worthy be "superior" in that they are the successor, then you could, effectively, father's chosen. But how the daughter be the object of rivalry. This is a much feels about this is entirely another tougher call than the others to play but matter. it will really depend on what idea you


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have for a character living through this Conflict With A God role. Discuss with your Host. (3/5) A Mortal - If you wish to play the role Ambition of a character who has taken on a god (or, indeed The God) then expect to An Ambitious Person - This is pretty have some tricky questions to answer easy to convey. There exists a thing. It and some tricky role playing choices to is your ambition to possess that thing, make. You could just be a poseur of go to it. Clarify the details with your course, a weekend Satanist or whatnot, Host. (1/5) but if you're not then you need an actual plan to assault a god. This is not A Thing Coveted - This could be you easy to portray and don't expect many but that would be a very hard thing to friends. (3/5) play, to be the object of another's ambition. The real difficulty for you is An Immortal - This rather loose portraying the feelings of someone who definition of a god nicely contextualises is the object of another's ambitions. the exact nature of this conflict. It's not The difficulty for your Host is that this just a matter of a superior opponent, its person with the ambition has to be a matter of this being a vastly superior portrayed by them, or another player adversary to the point where the who is amenable. Making this a role is mortal's victory may even be not recommended. (4/5) impossible under all but a rare set of circumstances. If you wish to portray a An Adversary - See the notes for the vastly powerful immortal be prepared ambitious person as both are, that there will always be someone who assumedly seeking the same objective. seeks your weakness. Or it could be that you merely wish to foil another's ambition, but you need to This is a challenging role and there have a motivation for doing so. (2/5) must be clear defined rules about how a mortal might seek to take you on,


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confirm these details carefully with your Host. (3/5) Unless you have some incredible idea for the execution of this role avoid. (5/5) Madness A Madman - I know what you're thinking and no it isn't. Playing a lunatic is fun for about twenty minutes until you realise all the ways you have limited your opportunities to engage with the other players and the larger story.

V - Matters of Fortune
Falling Prey To Cruelty/Misfortune An Unfortunate - In this case you have either fallen into the clutches of an adversary and are somehow within their power, or you have suffered some misfortune, a curse or disastrous stroke of fortune and have had to recover from this.

Now, I'm not talking about mildly Ask yourself, when did this situation barking, charmingly eccentric or start to evolve for your character. How deluded but still capable of meaningful much power would your character interaction here. I'm talking so crazy have to recover. A character who, that there has to be some sort of a whilst suffering a serious misfortune victim of you to make the situation has some ability to recover would be a work. Unless you can really sell this to reasonably easy role to play. If chances your Host I wouldn't approach this role of recovery are slim it becomes if I were you. (4/5) somewhat harder. (1/5) or (3/5) see notes. A Victim - Being the victim of a madman, on the other hand, is a fine A Master or A Misfortune - Obviously role to explore. Did the lunatic kill you cannot in and of yourself play a your wife? Take a finger? Lose all your misfortune, and playing the master of money for you? And as we are someone else's strongly suggests malice. presuming that the person who


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wronged you is actually mentally ill is it appropriate for you to pursue them in the spirit of righteous vengeance? Clarify with Host, be prepared to play the story but by all means go for it. (1/5) Fatal Imprudence The Imprudent - To take on this role means that some failing, probably pride, lead you to lose something or someone valuable to you. If this thing or person is lost to you forever (as the word "Fatal" implies) then there is not much you can do with this role save for try to bring your character some redemption by other means. There is no reason a thing lost cannot be restored in some cases, in which case your character's objective will be to recover the loss. Either way the role is not too difficult to portray and makes an excellent history for a character. (1/5) the imprudent character and is now disgusted with that character because of said imprudence. This implies you will have some character dripping around behind you begging for forgiveness. It's not an impossible role to take on but ensure you are ready for a challenge. (2/5) Erroneous Judgement A Mistaken One: Another role that is better suited to being something that once happened to you than an ongoing situation. If you made a mistake you need to work out how you feel about that as a character and therefore how your feelings are going to colour your action. This is a tricky role to play explicitly out in the open. (3/5)

A Victim of the Mistake: If you are the living victim of someone else's poor judgement how do you feel about that person now? How does it colour your interactions with others? What are the mistakes you are determined never to A Victim or an Object Lost - The only make or never to repeat? Bringing the possible latitude you have in this role is hurt that has been caused to you out to be someone who used to be close to into the open is going to be a hard task.


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As with other roles where being grumpy with reason looks like just being grumpy exercise caution. (3/5) Remorse

A Culprit: You did something wrong. Let's not get this out of context here. A Cause or Author of the Mistake: You You committed a sin and you know it. caused someone to make a serious lapse It burns you up. You want to make of judgement. So to what lengths are amends, the question is: how far do you you yourself responsible for the fall have to go? How far away is out. See the notes for the first two roles redemption? You must have a clear to get into the kinds of things you're idea of what you want out of this role thinking about from one remove. before attempting it. Clarify the Maybe no one knows you caused this situation with your Host. (3/5) mistake, in which case how are you feeling about having "got away with it". A Victim or the Sin: If the culprit did This is a role it will be extremely you wrong, stole from you, hurt you, difficult to portray effectively as it rests betrayed you how do you feel about so much on you being pro-active. (4/5) their remorse? If they try to make amends how do you feel about that? The Guilty One: Possibly you are guilty Would they ever be able to mend the of some crime which was only allowed pain? Would you be able to forgive? As to occur because someone else made a with the culprit be clear with your lapse in judgement. Maybe you are Host how this situation came to be and really responsible for the victim's what it is you are looking to gain from situation. In which case how do you this role. This is, if anything, more feel about this? More importantly how difficult than being th culprit. (4/5) are you going to role play in a way that brings this role into resolution for An Interrogator: It is your job to probe everyone else. Like the other roles here and examine the guilt of the culprit. this is very tricky. (4/5) You must be detached but you must provide the culprit with the hard


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questions they must answer if they are ever to have peace. If this is your role, why? Is it your job? Are you doing it to help the culprit? Or are you an agent of punishment. The clarity needed in the other two roles is paramount here. If possible avoid trying to take this one on, it's going to be very hard except in unusual circumstances. (5/5) to portray a love affair between yourself and either a Non Player Character or another Player that is illicit you might want to avoid this like the plague. Not to say it couldn't be done, but it's never really been done with any great success. (4/5)

A Betrayed Spouse - Now, this is a tricky one. Although the adulterers VI -Matters of Love could be murderous so could the betrayed spouse. Maybe you fancy Murderous Adultery being a cuckolded spouse pursuing their partner as they flee with their Two Adulterers - This is the ideal partner in crime. It's a very personal opportunity to mention that games mission and hard to understand why about this sort of thing have had a you, as the betrayed spouse, might history of turning silly. Of course, become diverted into taking part in games of yore related character to group quests along the path. If you're "description of physical characteristics". really sure then talk it over with your Also, adultery supposes marriage which Host, but this is a demanding role to given the time this list was compiled is play. (3/5) now anachronistic. Could be just a love affair in which trust has been betrayed. Involuntary Crimes Of Love In any event the use of the word "murderous" indicates that your A Lover - See the situation Murderous character is plotting to off someone's Adultery thing above for notes about spouse (or partner who has a large life playing a character involved in any insurance policy) for some reason. kind of love affair in-game. In this case Unless you are very confident you want the role calls for your character to be


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unwittingly having an affair with someone whom it is not proper for them to be in love with. Of course as a player you will already know the truth of the matter. This renders this role almost impossible to portray meaningfully. Discuss with your Host only if you're utterly convinced your role will only work this way. (5/5) A Beloved - Having someone pursue you amorously in an erroneous way may be amusing but it's rarely either convincing or dramatic. If you have a sound idea for playing this role then discuss it with your host. Obviously you will, as a player and therefore as a character, know that the love your admirer proposes is not just impossible but downright wrong, but you have a jolly good reason for not telling them why. (4/5) A Revealer - You might have some secret information about such an improper love affair. Even if you personally don't regard it as such you may know that societally some couple or other are breaking a taboo. The process of handling this information responsibly could make for a killer story. Discuss with your Host but this is a viable role. (2/5) Sacrifice For Passion A Lover - We're back in the same area here. What makes this one difficult is that as a player you have sufficient distance to see that sacrificing everything for passion is a bit dumb. Not that people don't do this, but unless you're right inside the situation it might be difficult to portray. The notes remain The same as for the other sacrifice situations. (2/5) An Object of Passion - I'm not sure what one is to make of this role. If you are to take it on it means you are involved in a love affair with someone who gave up something significant to them to be with you. That's a tough thing to play as in relationship terms you're playing catch up with them. If the pressure gets too much and you end the relationship it could make you something of a heel. This is a difficult role to play and discussion with your Host is vital.(5/5)


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The Person/Thing sacrificed - As this role in Self-sacrifice For An Ideal with the obvious extra feature that you have been sacrificed over the other person's emotional incontinence. Feel free to let this flavour your portrayal of the character. (1/5) Adultery Two Adulterers - See the situation "Murderous Adultery" and remove the murderous element. (3/5) A Deceived Spouse - See the situation "Murderous Adultery" and remove the murderous element. In this case you might just be dealing with a marriage failure or the loss of a long term partner and be trying to find sensible means of occupying your time, therefore. This role is actually a little easier to play than when murder is on the table but still could really be a nothingy role unless you are willing to have these personal issues intrude into the game time. This is an issue that should really be discussed with your Host. (3/5) Crimes of Love A Lover - This is identical to the situation of "Involuntary Crimes of Love" except that people in these roles are aware of what they are doing. Any kind of improper relationship produces this situation and leads to those involved living with a state of secrecy. See the notes on relationship based roles at the head of "Murderous Adultery" for clarification. (3/5) The Beloved - Of course given the names of the roles here you might infer that the Beloved is somewhat deceived as to the nature of the crime and the reason for the secrecy. This means that the Lover, in this case, is hiding something about the nature of the relationship from their partner. All previous notes on relationship based situations apply. (4/5) Obstacles To Love Two Lovers - See my previous comments on romance and the technical problems of same in role playing.(4/5)


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role is that you must be consumed with An Obstacle - You cannot play an jealousy. See the role of the betrayed obstacle without this becoming another but murderous spouse in the situation situation. (6/5) Murderous Adultery for a summary of many of the problems with this role. An Enemy Loved Your preoccupation is likely to preclude you interacting meaningfully A Lover - See my notes on love and with the details of your adventure. also "Obstacles to love" this basically Proceed with caution. (4/5) forms that situation except there is one further role. (4/5) An Object of whose Possession He is Jealous - Complicated description. The The Beloved Enemy - See my notes on classic template for this is the story of love and other notes on similar Othello. In that story Othello believed situations.(4/5) that his wife, Desdemona, was unfaithful. This thought that The Hater - You know of two people in Desdemona's heart belonged to a man love and you believe it to be wrong. named Michael Cassio was what incited What exactly is your remedy to this the jealousy. So in the story we could forbidden love? Live and let live cannot talk about this role being played by be part of your vocabulary here. A Desdemona's affections. This is a role challenging role but within most where things are likely to escalate people's grasp. Clarify what your around you without you being able to character thinks of the situation with do much to stop it. It could be a your Host. (3/5) character history but I doubt it would be a situation you could choose to play. (4/5) Mistaken Jealousy A Supposed Accomplice - Michael A Jealous One - The problem with this Cassio in the example above. The


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person who owns the supposed object of jealousy. Of course, in Othello, Desdemona loves Othello, not Michael Cassio, Cassio is unaware of his supposed possession of Desdemona's affections. Like the role of the object above you must be unaware of the growing poison in the jealous one's heart. Again it could be a past for you but you cannot choose to play the role in its entirety in an explicit fashion. (4/5) A Cause or an Author of the Mistake In Othello a villain named Iago deliberately inflames Othello's jealousy, seemingly for no more reason than to have something to do. This nihilistic outlook was unusual at the time Shakespeare wrote his play outlining Othello's story. Nowadays such behaviour is understood to exist. This is a tricky personal outlook to portray. I would steer clear unless you have a specific and killer idea in which case talk it though with your Host. (4/5)


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Supplement: The Thirty Six Dramatic Situations for Hosts
One of the things Role Playing Games have famously generated as pure byproduct is drama. Yet it is one of the things many gamers love to experience and to discuss later. This lead me to the question of how to introduce dramatic situation deliberately. I've managed it with some success and some failure. It's all come together in this core book. Conflict, when you're writing an adventure, is that which causes the drama that helps the characters to engage with your story. It is a tricky personal dilemma that the characters need to resolve. The story, for all intents and purposes is about the conflict.

Thankfully we have tools to help us The first thing you're going to want to think of conflicts. The first one I want tie down as a Host is what is the to introduce was compiled by a French dramatic situation emerging in your writer called Georges Polti. These are adventure? Remember a while back in The Thirty Six Dramatic Situations. By the chapter about “Stats”) we talked playing about with these you should be about conflict in role playing terms as able to find a resonance with the story being the gap between a player's desire or setting you want to use. Put various and their possible skill? player and non player characters in the roles described in the situations and Well, now you have your adventure imagine how the story could evolve. writer's cap on. I want you to reframe. I've annotated the situations to give


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suggestions and also to point out when a situation may be hard to reproduce in a role playing situation. Polti intended this as a list of plot devices to be used in novels or in a stage play. He lived in a miserable time before the invention of role playing as it is today. The Arc

Once you have lone wolfed your players and gathered up notes for their individual story lines you can turn your attention to the arc for your campaign. You should aim to have one situation being the crux of all the drama that It could be you see some of the ones happens in the campaign. You may I've earmarked with warnings and already know what plot you want but you're the type of person to strike out that plot may contain potential for for it in a gung ho manner. Go ahead. being one of three or four situations. If What occurs to me is that if you made a you tie your arc to one specific group of people who wanted to situation it could give you ideas about undertake harsh, cathartic role play the people involved and some NPCs that would be required to do some of that you can introduce. these situations justice you would have made a group that has never existed in The Episodes role playing before. You should also have a single situation Of course there's even a chance that to resolve in each episode of your some of this could be quite harrowing game. Rough out how each story could for a player. This is why it is important interplay either with individual to talk with your players and discuss character's stories (allowing various their expectations of the coming games. party members to have spotlight) or You don't want to make the experience with the overall arc. By the time you uncomfortable any more than you have noted out a six to eight episode want to make it tedious. "season" you should have between 10 to 15 situations available to play with during the sessions. It is always better


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to have a story twist and not need it than need one and not have it. introduce into role play.

Although a player may have a really If you have noted all this stuff down in clear agenda when approaching a your plan then you should feel a bit particular role you have to consider more confident about running your how comfortable you are providing the campaign. If it seems a bit light, don't other roles for the character to riff worry, all the stuff you haven't tied against. If you are not confident it down is opportunity for the players. might be time to renegotiate. Now let's take a look at your Some of the situations require player opportunities as a Host for playing with characters, and hence players, to be the thirty six situations. unaware of the evolving situation. If you are confident you and the player The Situations can have a crack at one of these situations offer the player a choice to Each situation contains four parts. A have one of the situations laid on them title. the names of the roles of the out of the clear blue sky, make sure you people involved in that situation, notes gauge your player's ability well. which cover the situations suitability for an arc, and how to help a player There are notes explaining particular who wants to be involved in that features of each role and whether you situation. Finally there is a difficulty may need to negotiate "surprises" for rating for the use of that situation in a the player to implement that situation, role playing context. or whether a particular role is best avoided by the player. Reading the The rating is from one to five with one Player's version of this supplement may being an excellent situation to involve also be a help. in role play and five being a very difficult and complex situation to I - Matters of Law And Negotiation


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Supplication (1/5) A Persecutor - This is most likely the villain of the piece. The persecutor persecutes the supplicant. Therefore probably not a player. Would make a good villain though. Bear in mind that the supplicant has the power to ask authority to intercede to bring an end to the persecution. Crime Pursued By Vengeance (1/5)

A Criminal - Be clear on this, this is not “The Fugitive”, such scenarios are described elsewhere. Here the criminal is indeed the guilty party. If a player wants to assume this role there is every chance that some authority wishes to track them down and bring them to justice. However the Avenger, need not be an agent of that authority giving A Supplicant - This could be a player or ample opportunity for the situation to someone whom the players should become complex. choose to help. This person is persecuted by the persecutor and can An Avenger - The avenger could well only be released from this situation by be a party member, or a third party the hand of the power. known to the players. Although the roles here are clear cut the rights or A Power in authority, whose decision wrongs of the criminal and avenger is doubtful - if the power decides to roles may be more complex. In the case help the supplicant then the of Bruce Wayne wanting to avenge his persecution may end, if not then the parent's murder at the hands of Joe supplicant is doomed or must find Chill Bruce Wayne was an avenger and another authority to petition. It could Joe Chill certainly guilty of the crime be that after losing a court case the but would that make Wayne's actions supplicant turns to the players to help right? This is a central question in this them in less legal ways, perhaps in scenario. exchange for money.


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Pursuit (1/5) Punishment - Embodied of course by some sort of suitable authority figure. Maybe the players are the authority. Maybe the fugitive isn't as guilty as he appears. As punishment it is incumbent on the people or person in this role to acknowledge the mission that they have been charged with even if they are choosing to reject it. A Fugitive - Of course the players could be the ones being hunted for whatever reason. Or once more they could be placed in the position of being outside the situation and deciding how to weigh in on one side or the other. Seeing that many of these situations have a "victim" and "aggressor" role introducing the idea of players only getting half the story is an excellent way to generate confusion and conflicting loyalties. a player or a whole party. An Adversary who is refusing: The holder of the object to be obtained. As this is quite a neutral situation either could be a player with a little tweaking. or An Arbitrator: The one who holds the object to be obtained until the situation is resolved. Again this could be the players. The arbitrator is necessarily neutral. Opposing Parties: Both of whom want whatever is to be obtained. The players could be on one side of this equation.

Self-sacrifice For An Ideal (3/5)

A Hero - For this situation to play out the hero must actually sacrifice themselves. This will make it difficult Obtaining (2/5) to make it a player if the the thing to be sacrificed is their life, unless the person A Solicitor: Not in the legal sense. As in taking on the character is aware of the the sense of one who solicits. Could be situation.


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An Ideal - Which should, really, be virtuous and worthy of sacrifice. (Evil people don't believe in self-sacrifice by definition.) It could be, however that the NPC who is the heroic sacrificer might believe strongly in something which the players do not. This could present a problem if the Hero's continued vitality is a problem of the quest they are engaged in. plain not as good as you are. If you make the rival nice too that's a bonus. The story of the man who tried not to whale on his opponent too bad could even be kind of funny, or kind of tragic...

An Inferior Rival - Although clearly the obvious way to go on this is to make the players an inferior rival to someone who appears to have all the A Creditor or a Person/Thing sacrificed aces (so to speak) and then have them - Of course it could be that this is what come up with an endearingly the players are interested in. For idiosyncratic solution to the scenario. example if a brilliant physicist has decided to sacrifice his notes on a The Object of Rivalry - Again particularly juicy invention for the whenever you consider the prize you good of humanity, sanity and reality it must make it worthwhile. may be the players really need the Ambition (3/5) invention for some task and have to talk him out of it. An Ambitious Person - This is a great role for a player as is the role of Rivalry Of Superior vs. Inferior (2/5) adversary. It all depends on what the thing coveted is. If the thing is A Superior Rival - Now although you worthwhile a player can probably get may think of hare tortoise here with behind this. If not then a player can try the players or a sympathetic NPC as tortoise imagine the burden of knowing to dissuade someone from an illusory desire that will bring them no that in some contest you're going to have to annihilate someone who's just happiness.


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A Thing Coveted - Could be an object, power, a person. It can either be ultimately worth having or an empty prize and this will change the way the situation plays out. An Adversary - See the notes for the ambitious person. Of course the adversary may just want to ruin the progress of the ambitious one. In which case it is probably not a player or the party, unless the party are, for example, trying to foil the rise to power of a corrupt and evil politician. There is some opportunity here but it requires careful preparation. A Rescuer - Almost certainly the players, it is bad form to have the rescuer be controlled by the Host as it smacks of Deus Ex Machina. If the players rescue themselves then they can be both unfortunate and rescuer. Daring Enterprise (1/5) A Bold Leader - In this classic Role Playing situation the leader is replaced by the players, or at least by the person paying them to be the mercenaries. An Object - In many role playing games money or treasure. Maybe the chalice is poisoned.

II - Missions and Rescues

An Adversary - Monsters, organised by a "boss". This situation forms the basis Deliverance (1/5) for most role playing with other situations being added sparingly for An Unfortunate - Because the unfortunate is necessarily in immediate seasoning. danger from the threatener and hence Abduction (2/5) in need of rescuing this is not really a good player role. An Abductor - Possibly the villain but A Threatener - The villain who may be possibly a more neutral party who hires the players to be the guardian of the a person or a situation such as a abducted. disaster.


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The Abducted - Could be the abducted 4400" which made some great but could also be one or more of the revelations and was overall a satisfying players. exploration of the issues surrounding its central premise. Approach this A Guardian - Could be a force for the scenario with caution. players to defeat on a liberation quest, or it could be the players themselves An Interrogator - Think the murderer. guarding unusual and possibly illegal The interrogator is an agent of the cargo. This situation is best suited to enigma so when the enigma is "what single session play. Missions of a more lies beyond the veil of death" the general nature can form the basis for a interrogator represents the resistance of campaign, this would be a very special death to sharing its secrets. In the case one off or a campaign or season finale. of a murder mystery the murderer may be a mute interrogator or may be one of The Enigma (3/5) those murderers who taunts the detective, like Hannibal Lecter. A Problem - Think "the identity of x's murderer". Thinking more broadly A Seeker - Think the detective. imagine the whole issue of UFOs and alien abduction. The problem with Recovery Of A Lost One (1/5) huge life riddles is that, unless you have something really relevant and A Seeker - This is a classic and well wise to say they tend to fall apart in the worn Role Playing plot. The players are last five minutes. Look at the 60s series asked to find person x. There's not even "The Prisoner" for clues as to just how much I need to say about it, except that lost and confused this situation can like any easy winner it can be just as become if you have no really profound easily overused. Try to do something answers to hand out. For the reverse to else first but if you need it you need it. see it well handled look at the American serial of the early 2000s "The The One Found - Just about every


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variation on this is well documented. The most popular of course being the unexpected object. You rescued the princess but the minute you stop in town on the way back to daddy's house she's out drinking and looking to party. You rescued the genius but he keep tinkering with your gear and things you own have strange new functionality. This is a hilarious way to generate a fun experience for Players but like I say, overuse is no one's friend. could be tricky. They may well want to stay out of a family affair. Handle this situation with some care. Remembrance of the Victim, a relative of both - If this is a non player character they can be villain, they can be innocent bystander or ignored rescuer. The point of this role is to throw a perspective on the feud. Whether it is oil on water or petrol on a fire is up to you as the Host. Enmity Of Kin (2/5) A Malevolent Kinsman - Could be a problem the players observe or a problem for one of the player's characters.

III - Family Matters
Vengeance Taken For Kin Upon Kin (2/5)

Guilty Kinsman - Is this a player? Vengeance does not presuppose justice. A Hatred or a reciprocally-hating Maybe one of the players is pursued by Kinsman - This would tend towards a his kin in error. Maybe the players see non-player character in most games. this situation played out in an episode and later discover the injustice. Rivalry Of Kin (2/5) An Avenging Kinsman - This too could be a player. Matters of family feud are The Preferred Kinsman - Any of these characters could be one of the players. rarely clear cut. As such, embroiling the players in some family business


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The Rejected Kinsman - See above The Object of Rivalry - See above with the proviso that to be the object of a rivalry is kind of hard to role play. For this reason I add a difficulty point to the ease of introducing this plot line. If the two kinsmen are princes, however, and the object a kingdom, well, then it's an easy situation to exploit. Slaying Of Kin Unrecognised (4/5) The Slayer - The problem with this one is that the pay off is some way down the line from the event regardless of the situation. This story will either play out in two stages, the slaying and the discovery, or if it is a situation external to the players, the slaying, the discovery and then the consequence as the players decide what to do to let the kinsman know of his crime. take place in time travel games. Self-sacrifice for Kin (3/5) A Hero - This is as Self-sacrifice For An Ideal except it involves family. A Kinsman - This will be the person who has demanded, or requires, the sacrifice. Maybe the players do not view this sacrifice as a necessity to the level that the kinsmen do. A Creditor or a Person/Thing sacrificed - See the same item in the Self-sacrifice for an Ideal. Necessity Of Sacrificing Loved Ones (5/5)

A Hero - This is a tough one. You could make it particularly tough if the players know what's happening and will intercede (perhaps to save the victim) An Unrecognised Victim - Obviously, but they know that by doing so they not a player. Unless you are playing a are somehow dooming the people the post life game, of course. In which case hero wishes to save. Unless people you could actually reverse this and properly sign up for this it's probably a have the victim know who he is but situation to avoid. not recognise his killer. This can also


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A Beloved Victim - Of course this could be one of the players. Although to play a character who doomed their loved ones to save themselves is quite a burden. Again this is a special occasions only kind of situation. roles are a matter of perspective. Although someone may societally be within this situation in the larger context of the game the taboo or prohibition may seem ridiculous. So a guilty one is either actually guilty or they are guilty by some metric that the The Necessity for the Sacrifice - This players deem inferior or unsatisfactory. situation isn't just tough on players. I This makes this role a player and noncan't, off the top of my head, think of a player inclusive one. reason for this that compels. Maybe you have just the thing, in which case Loss Of Loved Ones (2/5) please send me your notes once you're A Kinsman Slain - Obviously not a done! player (unless there is room in your Discovery Of The Dishonour Of A scenrio for players who are ghosts), and Loved One (3/5) by now you're probably thinking the ideal person for this role is a A Discoverer - This situation forms an sympathetic non-player. incitement to revenge. As the discoverer is necessarily at one remove A Kinsman Spectator - Another from the crime this is a pretty good sympathetic non-player? I can't help, player role. The problem becomes how however, thinking of Inigo Montoya to resolve the situation and if one from the Princess Bride who saw his player is happy to portray the father slain. discoverer the other players can decide whether they wish to help or dissuade An Executioner - I can't even the discoverer from acting. remember what the name of the Count who murdered Inigo Montoya's dad The Guilty One - Remember that these was. Similarly I can't remember a lot of


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these people who are nevertheless some of the best villains the world of storytelling has to offer. You want a great villain have them off the relative of someone close to the players (indeed one of the players themselves if back story permits). A Victorious Enemy or a Messenger Enemy just means "enemy to the previously mentioned vanquished power" neither side in this situation is by default wrong or right. See under vanquished power for ways players could be involved in this situation. Revolt (3/5)

IV - Matters of Conquest
Disaster (2/5)

A Tyrant - A villain role, in exceptional circumstances a player could be the A Vanquished Power - A good way to tyrant (although of course they were start a game, if a player or a group of manipulated and misinformed by their players suffer the disaster and have vast advisors) and could find themselves powers stripped from them that's a discovering the truth about their great set up (and somewhat unusual). powerful position as the peasants They could, of course, be rebels gather at the gate flaming torches in fighting the victorious enemy, or they hand. could be part of the enemy forces trying to establish justice in a land A Conspirator - An agent of revolution, recently sunk into anarchy. There's plotting in the night. This could be the going to have to be some serious work players or maybe the players are done here on atmosphere. The air of tricked into helping someone else's change an revolution should be rife in revolution by a power hungry the game scenario. As long as you, as megalomaniac. Revolution is a great Host, ensure that you can cue players idea for an episode when appropriate into this atmosphere this is a great and the struggle for power in an situation to introduce. environment such as the Roman Empire could make for a great


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campaign. Preparation for this on your V - Matters of Fortune part will be extensive though a revolution should be a centre piece not Falling Prey To Cruelty/Misfortune a throwaway plot. (2/5) An Unfortunate - Either, again, some players, a player or a non player character for the adventurers to A Mortal - Could be either a player or a become involved with. non-player. The desired resolution to this scenario will depend largely on the A Master or a Misfortune - The villain benevolence of the immortal. If we are or at least some personal catastrophe talking a maniac trying to vanquish a which must be remedied. It could be a benevolent immortal then we might slave master or a sick child but the not look so kindly on them as a demon adventurers have some reason to step hunter. in and become involved. Think carefully on how to make this work. An Immortal - This rather loose definition of a god nicely contextualises Madness (2/5) the exact nature of this conflict. It's not just a matter of a superior opponent, its A Madman - Probably an NPC, mad a matter of this being a vastly superior player characters throw up this adversary to the point where the situation constantly but it shouldn't mortal's victory may even be always be the basis for the adventure. impossible under all but a rare set of circumstances. However the situation A Victim - Victims of the insane are may be reversed if our immortal has not merely murdered, or stolen from, one fatal flaw which an evil mortal they are confused, bewildered, seeks to escape to the detriment of all hoodwinked, upset. It's an emotional those protected by the immortal. subject. Players or Non Players could Conflict With A God (2/5)


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be victims of a madman. It may even be monumentally requiring a second quest up to the players to come between a to fix the first one. Not saying this is madman and the vengeful victim. bad but it can be lazy. Fatal Imprudence (3/5) A Victim of the Mistake: Usually the party or the party by proxy as a The Imprudent - For "imprudent" read sympathetic Non Player Character gets the one who did something that is it in the neck. See the notes under clearly a bad idea. Of course one who is Mistaken One for further details. imprudent may be accidentally so. Thus either the players or a non player A Cause or Author of the Mistake: can be imprudent. Usually in the situation described above the mistake has more of an A Victim or an Object Lost - If the Author than a Cause because the most players are the imprudent this could beloved twist is to reveal to the party put the players in a victim's debt. they've been in the employ of the Otherwise players may or may not villain all along. Again I'm not saying decide to meddle in such affairs should don't do this, just, it's popular to the they discover them. point of cliché. Long term role players even assume that their initial employer Erroneous Judgement (2/5) may well be the bad guy. A Mistaken One: This is actually quite common in role playing as the mistaken protagonist is a key ingredient in a lazy plot twist that GMs of yore love. The reason for this is that you can put in a whole quest carried out under poor judgement that later turns out to have screwed things up The Guilty One: See Author of the Mistake. Of course if you make the initial employer good in intention but having been duped by a bigger villain this does introduce a less wellrehearsed plot in which your former employer may become beholden to the players as subcontractors as he, in turn,


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flees from his former employer. Remorse (4/5) A Culprit: Don't put inexperienced players in this position. Even competent ones have a problem with being wrong. To a certain extent I can understand why this might be. Role Players of yore have not wanted to engage in what is, in essence, an entertainment with a dash of wishfulfilment to suddenly discover that even their fantasy creation is in the wrong. Maybe it's just a matter of mental preparation but certainly with new players I wouldn't hit them with this role up front. A Victim or the Sin: Again having a culprit relate to their victim remorsefully is a pretty intense deal, if the experience is to be meaningful. If the experience is not meaningful then it's hollow. A sin, on the other hand, asks no questions. as Host are portraying the remorse properly then things might go a little off the rails. This particular situation is dramatic but it's hard to do properly. Unless you're absolutely sure of how to execute this one I would avoid it. VI - Matters of Love Murderous Adultery (4/5) Two Adulterers - In the Player's supplement I mention that games involving affairs of the heart have a tendency to get silly even when the affair is happening between two Non Player characters. There are exceptions to this, police procedural games can easily have cases that revolve around murderous spouses. As long as the players are sufficiently removed from thinking about imaginary people having nookie the situation is viable. The chances of a player becoming involved in such a situation are slim to none.

A Betrayed Spouse - Likely, as this is An Interrogator: Although players may "murderous" this will be a non player character, unless you can trust a player relish the idea of becoming the punisher of a remorseful culprit if you to play the scenario to the hilt.


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Basically if it is the betrayed spouse who is to be murdered then they may well have to kill their murderous spouse in the fall out. If, on the other hand it is the betrayed spouse who becomes murderous that could be a distinct problem. I would handle this situation sparingly if you're ever going to use it at all. Involuntary Crimes Of Love (5/5) A Lover - See the adultery thing above. Except there are more situations here, such as loving someone one should not for whatever reason. Again affairs of the heart have not traditionally translated well into RPGs. Maybe No Dice will change this, but you need extremely good players to role play one of these scenarios. A Beloved - The improper object of affection who will likely be unsuitable due to being a relative, or of the same sex, or an inanimate object. A Revealer - If you put the players in the position of knowing that someone is about to commit an unknowing crime of love then it will be a tricky situation to reveal particularly if the lover character has some power over them and an uncertain temper. Having said that role playing the conversation where a player has to say: "Er, you know you're madly in love with your father after a sex change operation, don't you?" may be good for laughs but it's not really in the spirit of a serious role play. Approach with extreme caution.

Sacrifice For Passion (5/5) A Lover - We're back in the same area as "murderous adultery" and "involuntary crimes of passion" here, except perhaps on far more obviously spurious grounds. It is doubtful a player would commit to this from a standing start unless they were particularly interested in role playing this kind of experience. An Object of fatal Passion - Note that Mr. Polti does not assume that the object of passion is a person...


♦ No Dice - Core Rulebook ♠
The Person/Thing sacrificed - Selfas to the nature of the crime and the sacrifice for an Ideal although on more reason for the secrecy. This means that spurious grounds. the Lover, in this case, is hiding something about the nature of the Adultery (5/5) relationship from their partner. Two Adulterers - You might want to see the notes for the "Murderous Adultery" situation with the murderous proviso taken out. The situation remains almost the same but the consequences are less clear cut. Obstacles To Love (3/5)

Two Lovers - See my previous comments on romance and the technical problems of same in role playing. Of course a player party may be persuaded to help the path of true love run a little smoother out of their A Deceived Spouse - See "Murderous Adultery" bearing in mind the notes on own sense of benevolence. This gives you some leeway to use this situation the other role in this situation. but you must be careful in matters of pitch and tone. Crimes Of Love (4/5) A Lover - This is the "Involuntary Crimes of Love" situation except the people in these roles are aware of what they are doing. Any kind of improper relationship produces this situation and leads to those involved living with a state of secrecy. An Obstacle - Family Feud? Caste System? Power Politics and Marriages of Contract and Convenience? A Fatal Medical Condition? Characters on the wrong sides of the divide between two polar opposites life/death, heaven/hell? Be creative.

An Enemy Loved (3/5) The Beloved - Of course given the names of the roles here you might infer that the Beloved is somewhat deceived A Lover - See my notes on love and


♣ Pure Role Playing ♥
also the "Obstacles to Love" situation this basically forms that situation except it is more specific and there is one further role. The Beloved Enemy - See my notes on love and other notes on similar situations. unfaithful. This thought that Desdemona's heart belonged to a man named Michael Cassio was what incited the jealousy. So in the story we could talk about this role being played by Desdemona's affections.

A Supposed Accomplice - Michael Cassio in the example. The person who The Hater - The forbidden love here is owns the supposed object of jealousy. embodied by a character who is likely Of course in Othello Desdemona loves not a player and probably a villain. Othello, not Michael Cassio, Cassio is Unless players are really committed to unaware of his supposed possession of portraying the devil's advocate it's Desdemona's affections. probably best to avoid the situation. A Cause or an Author of the Mistake Mistaken Jealousy (5/5) In Othello a villain named Iago deliberately inflames Othello's jealousy A Jealous One - Most likely a non seemingly for something to do. This player, jealousy is tough to role play. nihilistic outlook was unusual at the time Shakespeare wrote his play An Object of whose Possession He is outlining Othello's story. Nowadays Jealous - Complicated description. The such behaviour is understood to exist. classic template for this is the story of This is a tricky situation to Othello. In that story Othello believed manufacture. I would steer clear unless that his wife, Desdemona, was you have a specific and killer idea.


Further Help Do you want some more? Just because the Core Book's over doesn't mean we're sending you out into the unforgiving wilderness to fend for yourself. There are a wealth of FREE supports for your Hosting efforts available on the world wide web. All of them can be reached via the No Dice Website at: No Dice on the Web - The site has news, links to the podcast and forums, details of our up coming publications and FREE adventure downloads for you to run or adapt. The No Dice Podcast - The No Dice Podcast gives practical advice in an mp3. Two to three times a month you can download an hour's worth of chat about all the issues that crop up in running new and more varied adventures for your players. Hosted by the designers and players it's a very personal support that you can take with you anywhere (if you have an mp3 player, obviously). The No Dice Node - The No Dice Node is the official forums of the No Dice roleplaying system. Discuss your ideas with other No Dicers in a forum dedicated to keeping you in the loop with all the news and discussion on adventure writing, RPG, tv and literature hacks.

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