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On Vox: [RPG BS] Concept Notes: Television Heroes Sep. 3rd, 2008 @ 01:49 pm

The notes may be a bit disjointed and terse, but I'm writing on my lunch break, trying to get a few things down. More later.

The new idea is Television Heroes. Characters are television and movie character stereotypes from any range of shows-- the cop on a mission, the sitcom dad, the infomercial huckster, the cartoon rodent, the embattled reporter, the blustering televangelist, the sportscaster, the person who keeps smelling their fabric in the commercials... any manner of TV personality.

These people all existed in their own little worlds... until things started to come apart. The channels started to change. Now, the characters find themselves thrown together, from channel to channel, into strange worlds and situations, as they jump from station to station, trying to find the way back home from the one person who can put everything back the way it was-- the Network Program Director.

Characters have unique powers from their roles: The infomercial huckster can mysteriously raise crowds of mindless followers. The cop on a mission can track down suspects and use that "enhance" thing to find information from photos.

Todo: It needs a bit more of a clear antagonist and quest examples. A mechanism should exist for the creation of immediate advancement goals. Immediate advancement goals will likely be based upon completing a plot synopsis or other pre-stated goal to advance out of that channel. Another option may be a "find all the pieces of the puzzle" game where gatekeeping information, needed to contact the Network Program Director, is scattered throughout the story.

Ack. Gotta get back to work.

Originally posted on fleb.vox.com

On Vox: The Case of the Missing Tree Aug. 13th, 2008 @ 08:30 pm

So get this...

My big tree in the backyard that hangs over where I park my car...

Gone. Sawed off.

Someone stole my tree!

Nicole had been talking with tree removal people, but hadn't gotten to the point of actually scheduling the appointment... well, it would appear that they took things into their own hands. I came home and noticed the clear blue sky where the tree was, just figuring that Nicole had set the whole thing up, and I'd forgotten that she told me the date or something. I jokingly mentioned that "Someone stole our tree", and she did a double-take.

We're figuring the tree folks we were talking to just didn't get the idea that she had yet to set up an appointment. As long as they don't try to charge for removal (which we were going to turn down), or it isn't one of the higher-priced placed pulling a fast one, we're fine.

Originally posted on fleb.vox.com

Other entries
» On Vox: [Glass and Steel] Character sheet, developing play method

Link: Character Sheet

  • Player, Character: Name of the player and character.
  • Concept: Basic character concept
  • Personality: Three-element description of your character. Select each personality element, and mark the primary driver to your character's personality.
    • Consideration: ACTion or CONtemplation
    • Vision: OVeRview or DETail
    • Interaction: SURvivor or REScuer*
  • Type: Descriptive type adjective derived from your character's three-element type
  • Breakdown: What happens when you run out of Composure. Determined by your primary Personality element.
  • Composure*: Your ability to "hold it together". Can be spent to expend effort or go against your innate nature. When this is depleted, you go into Breakdown.
  • Health: Self-explanatory. When this is depleted, your character is dead.
  • Attributes/Mode: Attributes (Athletics, Endurance, etc.) range in strength from 1 to 3. The Mode is the primary specialization of the attribute is. For example, Athletics may have a Mode of "Strong" or "Fast". Any action that uses the Mode gains a +1 modifier.
    • Athletic: Physical strength, speed, and dexterity.
    • Endurance: Physical resistance against battering, poisoning, and exertion.
    • Knowledge: Knowledge about a subject or area of expertise.
    • Wits: Thinking or acting under pressure, and the ability to invent or come up with ideas.
    • Persuasion: Ability or personal attributes which allow you to influence others.
    • Perseverance: Mental fortitude, ability to "keep on" or cope in the face of difficulty.
  • Coins: "Two-sided" attributes that either are a help or a hindrance depending upon the situation. The Effect column tells the systemic procedure used to implement the Coin.
  • Fate Cards: This is a place to note which Fate Cards you have drawn, and what the messages on them were. Lines are included for folding the paper to hide the information from other players.
Any given conflict is solved by a 1d8 roll, against a set difficulty (usually target 8). The value of one Attribute, as well as any Coin modifiers are added to the roll to determine success and degree thereof.

Originally posted on fleb.vox.com

» On Vox: Glass and Steel r2: Coins

The more I work on it, the more I'm getting geeked to actually play Glass and Steel. I might just have to cobble something together on a d10/pool system and go for it for the immediate time.

I've been thinking of a central merits/flaws sort of system called Coins, as in "there's two sides to every coin". It consists of opposing benifits/detriments of the same general trait, taken as a pair. In some cases it would be a help, in others a hindrance. Characters could take either one 2x Coin (usually something supernatural/metagamey or at least powerful) or two 1x Coins.

The "Feats" at the end are less constant modifiers than usable extra abilities. They still fall into the same pile, they're just used a bit differently.

Loved/Concerned 1x
You are a kindhearted, nice person, and people have grown to know and love you. You will command the assistance and sympathy of others, but you will be compelled to help others in need, even to the detriment of yourself or your goal. System: Allows rolls for outside assistance, but requires a roll or deferment whenever someone else is in trouble.

Attractive/Vapid 1x
You're a bimbo or musclehead. People swoon or lust over you, but when the chips are down... well, you really aren't the most important one in the room. Gain a point in persuasion abilities when in a non-crisis situation, but lose a point when you are.

Stature/Resentment 1x
You are a person in a position of power, but your management style has made people secretly hate you, or find you incompetent. Roll a threshold roll when using commanding abilities to determine whether you gain or lose a point.

Born Leader/Miserable Failure 2x
You can lead people into action and bolster their confidence, but if your intended action fails, they become disheartened and lose all confidence in you.

Motivated/Dependent 1x
You are motivated by someone or something in a precarious position (loved one, belief, motive). Gain a point toward any action taken toward your goal, but lose a point on any action if the goal is destroyed or rendered impossible.

Empathetic/Sensitive 2x
You have the ability to sympathize and "read" people very well, but your emotional connection also makes you vulnerable. You have the ability to ask any player to truthfully reveal a general question about their emotions or feelings, but you are helpless in the face of others' suffering. (System rules for "helpless" TBA)

Single-Minded/Tunnel Vision 1x
You have the ability to go into "tunnel vision" mode, and gain a +2 bonus to any action relating to an immediate goal or plan at hand. However, any conflict that is not part of the goal or plan gets a -2 resistance.

Wise/Misunderstood 1x
You have the ability to ask the GM meta-game questions about the situation, threats, or strategies. However, it is very hard to convey and convince others of your ideas.

Organized/Impatient 1x
You can form plans and stick to them very well, even motivating and enhancing others. You recieve a +1 bonus to any action in the service of a detailed plan. However, if a plan fails or "goes to hell", lose a point on any actions coping or recovering the plan.

Connected/Affected 2x
You are connected on a supernatural level to the events happening around you. This is both a good and a bad thing. You get two rolls at the end of each round for cards. If you get a card your first roll, you take that card. On the second roll, if you get a card, you may take that as well. However, if you did not get a card (you rolled a number you already have), you can read any other player's card of that same number, if they have it. The downside is that you are adversely affected by supernatural effects and the effects of Degradation.

Specialized Intelligence/General Ignorance 1x
You are a single-subject geek. You gain a +2 to Intelligence tests regarding things in your field of knowledge. However, you gain a -2 to Intelligence tests on any other nontrivial subject.

Meditative/Tumultuous 1x
You have the ability to clear your mind and think on a task. Gain 4 extra spendable points when you stop in a quiet position and meditate or think. However, your normal life is internally quite noisy, which leaves you at a -1 disadvantage for any mental tasks.

Fearless/Risky 1x
You are devoid of fear, even when the situation demands it. You can disregard a test against fear or paralysis, but you then gain a "stupidity point" that you have to bleed off. You can bleed this off by either declaring it, than going ahead with a risky action, or the GM can force your character to take an action that they would normally have the sensibility to resist.

Fast Regeneration/Rushed Regeneration (Feat) 2x
You regenerate more quickly than anyone else, and have additional play time before the rest start. However, you must forfeit the ability to take a card that round to use the ability.

Belief Ability/Catastrophic Failure (Feat) 2x
You have the conviction to shape the world. Be it a religion, a firm insistence that "this can't be happening", or some other self-believed method of control, you have the ability to shape the supernatural elements of the situation unfolding around you. However, if you fail your test, you do so catastrophically, often reversing the intended effect or causing collateral damage.

Recover Innocence/Confusion (Feat) 2x
When you converse, empathize, or come in contact with a person to the point that they become more than just a "bystander" to you, it means that they are vulnerable to permanent death or injury, just as you are. Recover Innocence allows you, with a feat of concentration, to recover their "bystander" status from your intervention only. However, it involves stopping, meditating, and completely clearing your mind to the point that you come back confused and disoriented.

Originally posted on fleb.vox.com

» On Vox: Glass and Steel: Back by popular demand, I suppose

Well, there seems to have been a flurry of interest... or at least a consistent background of interest that I just finally tapped into... Or... well... there's interest, okay-- in the Glass and Steel RPG system. For those of you who don't know and don't care enough to backtrack, here's the idea as it stood:

Every PC* snaps to awakeness in the late-morning of an ordinary workday at some large firm that does something, in a modestly-sized office building downtown. The day proceeds pretty well as per normal, until a truck-bomb rips through the building. (How's that for subtlety?)

After the bombing, the characters try to make their way out, until-- after a set period of time, they all lose consciousness and wake up... back in the late-morning of an ordinary day.

The back-story is that all of this was an event in the past, being relived through some manner, either explained or unexplained (i.e. TBA). In the original event, one of the PCs didn't make it out alive. In order to stop the cycle, that PC must die, either by accident or outright murder. At the end of each round, players have the opportunity to get "recollection cards" that reveal their fate in the original event.

NPCs generally reappear after each scene, even if they die, unless the PCs make a connection to them and "flesh them out" to more than just a background player. (This mechanism is handled by the GM.)

The problem as it existed was that there was little systemic impetus to perform in any particular manner in the game. In short, the game had no point, no reason, no motivation. Although there was the general goal of finding out the doomed person, there was no system-enforced morality, and it was all to easy to end up playing the game like a disinterested type of Clue.

That was where it left off, and it's just been rather stagnant for a while. However, talking to Jeff, it sounds like the Ann Arbor group is interested, and I believe Stefanie's into it, although Josh wasn't feeling it. In any case, I'm picking it back up again as a prospect, and made a little headway on the problem.

After playing a couple games of Hunter (old-school) with Josh GMing, I picked up on the whole Virtues and whatever the other thing was called-- I don't own a book-- that tied your character's traits and alignment quite directly to advancement and abilities. Now, I'm not going to go and copy that verbatim, but it got me back to the idea that, well, it doesn't need to be that complex to tie motivation to reward. At the moment, I'm thinking of selection of traits and values, which leads to the selection of an archetype, which then grants specific extraordinary abilities or modifiers if one plays to their archetype. Not supernaturally extraordinary, just more along the lines of increased or decreased confidence, drive, focus, or effectiveness when making actions consistent with the character's traits.

I've worked up the initial parts of a traits-selection system. This would be the first step, then you would use this information to narrow down to a single class or archetype of character. The initial selection is similar-- but not ripped off from-- a Myers-Briggs style "pick sides" classification:

  • ACTion versus CONtemplation (Do you think things through first, or spring into action and work with what comes to you?)
  • OVeRview versus DETail (Do you pay more attention to grand plans or implementation details?)
  • SURvivor versus REScuer (Do you put yourself or others first?)
Go-getter, commander, conniver
Organizer, activist, charity race-runner
Worker, technician, specialist
Salesman, sports-player
Architect, designer, engineer
Visionary, manager, planner
Bookworm, expert, scientist
Host, planner, psychoanalyst

Each of the three elements would have two degrees each way, as such:

Action  O O | O O Contemplation
Overview O O | O O Detail
Survivor O O | O O Rescuer

You could only, optionally, take the second level-- called the "to a fault" level on one trait. This is an extreme, extraordinary disposition toward the trait-- sort of an "all of one, none of the other"-- and would come with both both a bonus and a negative.

I'm also going to have some sort of sanity/humanity/willpower/whatever pool to gain and lose. I'm still not set in stone as to what sort of "thesis statement" I want to attach to that, whether it be burning Conscience points when you let someone die, or having to burn Sanity or Willpower points to get through the tough spots... although I just thought of an interesting twist that might work.

(Unrefined brainstorm here:) While most games have you losing abilities and effectiveness with the loss of "willpower", it might be an interesting idea that your personal traits become more extreme. They're not necessarily more helpful-- in fact, I may have the benefits wear off as the traits become more extreme. It's just that as the pressure rises, you show your "true colors" more, and are compelled to irresistably act upon your traits, even at the expense of doing well.

So, to those of you who care, expect to see a bit more from the Glass and Steel angle. Now I just have to dredge up all those old notes.

*PC: Player-character, NPC: Non-player Character

Originally posted on fleb.vox.com

» On Vox: [QQ!] Know when to hold 'em, know when to kill 'em and raid the corpse...

I'm calling Questy Quest! pretty much a failed experiment. It makes an interesting exercise, and stands well for the first 30-45 minutes, but today's playtest shows that it falls apart when given any decent length of play. I'm pretty well scrapping the idea. A few of the core concepts that made the system what it is were, to my mind, fatally flawed, and it would be too much effort, likely wasted, to try to sand out the imperfections. I'll probably keep it in my arsenal as something fun to break out, but continuing to write and polish the rulesheet is wasted time.

The big fault? GM-switching play just does not work for an open-ended game, and gets worse when characters have no united goal. Temporary GMs don't have the longevity to implement a plan of any overarching effect, plus they are often hesitant to apply negative effects. As such, the "action" tends to mill about the single initial scene, and focus on more and more trivial actions. It's a great system for more intense action, but there's no neccesary impetus to the plotline. There were a few good and interesting aspects to the system, but the things that would have had to change were the elements that uniquely composed Questy Quest!.

Now, I suppose it's on to Head (characters inhabit someone's mind), The System (fantasy bureaucracy a la Brazil with magic), or getting Days of Madness runnable again (fast-zombie post-apocolyptic campaign, in which I seem to be the only person not really interested).

This "innocent dead take the bodies of the living" idea I'd been toying with might have some merit behind it, although I think it really needs some basic structural investigation to see whether it has the latitude in it to be a playable story.

Originally posted on fleb.vox.com

» On Vox: Questy Quest!: Rules for Play

Questy Quest! ("P.T. 1" edition)

If anyone has any feedback, finds anything unclear, or actually playtests it and has some notes, I'm looking for all I can get. I've played it with a group of four, which I would call about the minimum number, and I'd like to see how it works with larger groups, especially considering the round-robin turn order.

Questy Quest! is a game that explores the great unsolved questions: Who are you? What are you doing here? Who are these people? In this game you play someone, who is striving... who is Questing, to beat all the odds, and do something. Gripping, isn't it?

Character Sheet

The first thing you'll need to do is make up a character sheet. This should be done rather secretively. It's simple, though, so you won't spend all your social time huddled in a corner, snarling at your compatriots.

The sheet itself should have the following information (with convenient examples):

  1. Your character's name: Bob D. Rilo
  2. Their concept: Intergalactic Salvage Collector
  3. Their Quest: Hunt down the rival bastard that made off with your ship's cosmonautic converter for scrap metal.
  4. A small, medium, and great positive about them-- their Upsides
    • "Teflon" personality
    • Slings a mean ray-gun
    • Uncanny ability with electronics
  5. An "achilles heel" negative. Their downside.
    • Alcoholic
  6. Five boxes for hit points.
  7. Your player number. Number off within the group.

First moves

You should have a die of equal or greater sides than the number of players (at least one number for each player). Someone (anyone, it's not important) rolls this die to determine the first GM. The first GM sets the scene, then pauses for introductions.

All characters should introduce their name, character concept, upsides, and downsides. Their Quest does not necessarily need to be introduced. It could be hidden, or revealed in-character.

After introductions, the first player acts...

Play order

Initiative is a pain, and there aren't any points anyhow, so the group should agree upon a starting player and a round-robin direction. If you're too competitive to do this on your own, this isn't the game for you. After the first player, play continues in a round-robin fashion, irrespective of who the GM is. (We'll get to "What if it's the GM's turn")

Procedural Rules of Speaking Order

(This is in title caps because it's important. Without these rules, the game devolves into... more chaos than is necessary.)

In normal play, the player first acts within the scene given them, then the GM reacts to the player's action.
There are only two situations where the GM speaks before the player:

  1. In the first scene, the first person to speak is the initial GM. They may set the scene and perhaps introduce NPCs or create a conflict. After that, the first player acts, and the GM reacts to them and goes on.
  2. The GM also speaks first in the case of a conflict roll. The GM determines success or failure, narrates the consequences of the action, then the next player is allowed to act.

How the game is played

  1. Someone rolls a die. The person with that number is the inital GM. (If you roll a nobody— a "6" on a five-player group, for instance, roll again.)
  2. Roll again. That person is the first player. (If you roll a nobody, or you roll the GM's number, roll again.)
  3. The initial GM describes the scene, then pauses for introductions.
  4. Players (including the GM) go around the group introducing their character— name, concept, and upsides/downsides.
  5. The GM may wish to interject to reiterate or further clarify the setting at this point.
  6. The first player describes an action.
  • If another player wishes to oppose this action immediately, they may interject and force a conflict roll, but the second player's opposition should be "defensive" or "reactive" in nature— not a "turn" in and of itself,and the floor and play order still remains at the first player.
  1. The GM reacts to the player's action, describing the results, playing any nearby NPCs, and determining whether a conflict roll is necessary...
  2. If the action is trivial, and does not require a conflict roll, the focus moves to the next player, and the GM does not change.
    • The next player always describes their action first, with the scene as it exists after the GM's last narration.
    • In this case, if the "next player" is the GM, then the GM rolls to select a new GM, who can be anyone except themselves.
  3. If the action requires a conflict roll, the player rolls the dice to select a new GM. The new GM may be anyone who is not invloved in the conflict. The current GM may continue if their number is rolled.
    •  The newly-selected GM then narrates the success or failure of the action, as well as consequences, based upon the general likelihood of success,the character's upsides and downsides, and the new GM's whims and inclinations. Success is completely based upon that GM's decision, not upon the number of the die roll or any other such factors.
    • Play then continues with the next player taking their turn, and the newly-selected GM dictating scene.

The duties and rules of the GM

The current GM...

  • ...when called upon as the result of a conflict roll, determines and narrates the success or failure of the action, as well as any resultant consequences.
  • ...otherwise, speaks second. The GM should not dictate scene until after the player has made their move. The player acts with the scene as it exists, and the GM then reacts, and sets the scene as it continues.
  • ...determines when a player's turn is over. To keep the game moving, especially with the enforced "round-robin" ordering, a player's turn should generally only consist of one complete action or short conversation.
  • ...determines when a conflict roll is necessary. A conflict roll is necessary...
    • when a character's intended action is opposed by a present NPC, force, situation, setting, or other player
    • when the action requires more skill or ability than a common, casual action
    • when the GM decides to add a "hitch" to the action
  • ...has final discretion over the scene. Although players may rely upon assumptions to an extent, the availability of objects, the details of a situation, and the details of NPCs do remain the domain of the GM. Players should generally ask, not dictate, that certain non-character details are true.

The duties and rules of the player

The current player...

  • ...speaks first when it is their turn. The player (and their character) acts first, using the scene as it stood after the GM's last description.
  • ...plays their sheet. You should always keep your Concept, Upsides, Downsides, and Goals in mind when playing.
  • ...asks the GM. Although you control your character's attributes and holdings, within the realm of reason, the GM has authority over the setting and scene details. If it's something you can readily assume (the bedroom has a bed and a door, the people are wearing clothes, the fish tank is full of water), you may, but for all other things, ask the GM, to be sure.
  • ...waits for their turn (okay, so I guess this isn't the "current" player). Play continues in a round-robin fashion. There is no "initiative", and there's no "casual orderless play in non-combat". (Why? With the GM also being a player, it tends to muddle roles and introduce more confusion than is necessary.) The most you can do is interject and force a conflict roll if you wish to stop a current player's action, and even this should be kept to a minimum.

Calling "Bullshit!

In the unlikely case that the current GM makes a decision that is wildly unjust, unbelievable, or inconsistent, any player may call "Bullshit!" and challenge the ruling. The player calls "Bullshit!", explains their position, then all players may vote on whether or not they agree that the decision was, in fact, bullshit. If the decision is decided to be bullshit, the GM must amend their narrative from the point at which the bullshit began. Note, however, this can only be used for the immediate action by the current GM. "Bullshit!" calls should not be used, for example, for a malevolently clever and intricate plan which results in an unwanted situation— the call should be saved for decisions which are unjustifiably inconsistent.

Although it is recommended to keep the original terminology, if you find that you are playing among children or prudes who cannot hear or use the word "bullshit", you may wish employ a similar, more acceptable replacement term. A replacement term is, likewise, strongly recommended if you are playing with a group that can hear and use the term "bullshit", but cannot do so without tittering. Tittering just embarrasses everyone involved.

Originally posted on fleb.vox.com

» On Vox: [Questy Quest!] Playtesting. It's key.

Well, they're right when they say "playtesting is key". Sure, it was the first time I'd ever tried a system that I'd made, mechanics and all, but the "mechanics" were so simple that... what could go wrong?

The game was Questy Quest! (Formerly known as Bullshit! RPG. We were going to call it Quest: the Questing, but upon rethinking, I'd have to say that ripping off White Wolf name schemes is a rather tired joke.) The rules as they first existed were pretty simple:


  • Everyone creates a character with a name, a concept, 3 positive stats, and two negative. Character types can be from any type of setting, and the setting is not determined beforehand.
  • Players number off.
  • Players take turns being GM for a round. The first GM is the most important person in the room, as they determine the actual setting of the game.
  • Instead of chance conflict resolution, players roll a die, and the player whose number comes up decides whether the winner of the conflict.
  • If the GM makes a call that is wildly implausable, a player can call "Bullshit!". A vote is taken, and the action can be overruled.
The intent was kind of a light, fun game. Somewhat chaotic, and challenging to fit their rather randomly generated characters into a randomly chosen setting.

As it played out, it started chaotically for all the wrong reasons:

  • I realized that in a "no permanent GM" game, the procedural rules had to be well defined and firmly stated, otherwise everyone had questions, and there was no authority to answer them. Things such as turn order and speaking precedence had to be far better defined.
  • Along the same lines, the GM's duties and abilities needed to be firmly and explicitly stated. Since the role was skipping around so much, players were making GM-ish decisions as the GMs fumbled.
  • Speaking order, and the question of "who controlled the current reality" had to be explicitly dealt with.
Also, there were a few more story-centric changes I'd realized had to be made:
  • Aside from just a concept, characters needed to have a goal (a.k.a., their Questy Quest!). A GM for one or two turns is-- let's face it-- not going to be able to sustain a challenging story arc, especially since they are, in a sense, playing both GM and character. With a goal, everyone is working toward something, even if it's a divergent goal.
  • 2 downsides ended up being too many, and in post-game wrap-up, we all decided that only one downside was really necessary. With 3 upsides and 1 downside, it becomes more a definition of the character than a stat sheet, and it's simpler to remember and roleplay a single Achilles Heel.
  • Players shouldn't reveal their characters until the GM makes the initial scene. For the sake of interest, the GM should not be trying to accomodate the other players' character types. The characters have to deal with the setting, not the other way around.
I might be getting together again this weekend to re-try the game, so here's the latest rev of the rules...

(see the next post)

Originally posted on fleb.vox.com

» On Vox: TRAITOR!: Another day, another crispy half-baked LARP/Mystery Game idea...

After putting some time into refining some other games, I was bumbling around the Forge, hitting some links, looking at some other ideas, and I came up with what I think could be quite a fun one-session, indoor-friendly LARP situation, somewhat akin to the "murder mystery dinner".

The scene is a war planning room: everyone in the room are high-ranking officers, deep into planning an advance in a fictional land war. However, not all of you are fighting on the same side, and nobody knows who the double-agents are! You have to save or disrupt the war effort, all while surreptitiously "bumping off" the enemy.

The details:

Every person is given (or creates) a character description. Each person also rolls a given die and notes the number. Then, the die is rolled again, and all persons with that number are to play traitors.

The players may wish to be sure that there is a traitor in their midst, and that the game is not all for naught. If so, create 2 slips of paper for each person-- one which says "TRAITOR", and one which says "LOYAL" (written by the same person so as not to give away the game by handwriting). Each person puts their slip into a hat, and discards the other. A designee draws slips, and when they reach the first "TRAITOR" (or differing slip, if you wish to assure a mixed game), stop drawing and begin the game. If all slips are drawn, and everyone is on the same side, try again.

The purpose of the traitors is to lead the troops into an ambush situation. No one except the traitors should know of the ambush. To be sure of this, place a closed folder with a map of the battlefield in a seperate room. Each player should enter the room while a referee counts down from 20. If the player is a traitor, they may open the folder and mark the map with the details of the ambush. If the player is not a traitor, they should not open the map folder. Every player should stay in the room for a full countdown. Traitor players may have access later in the game to show the map to others, although they will be quite readily found out and likely lose the game if they show a loyalist!

Every character is armed with a sidearm, plus whatever seems reasonable (poisons, garrottes, knives, etc.). Conflict should be settled by common resolution systems, keeping in mind checks for silence, success, and fatality. In other words, resolution system is TBA, although the old LARP standby of Paper/rock/scissors would probably work.

Optional rule: To keep everyone playing, a more informal game may institute an "underling" rule. If an player-character is killed, a lower-ranking officer in their employ may move up to take their position, played-- curiously enough-- by the same player. The new character should have the same loyalty, but a different name and back-story.

Ultimate success is determined once a war plan is reached, as to whether or not the troops overcame the ambush. Furthermore, tally up the number of traitors versus loyalists found out/jailed/killed.

Originally posted on fleb.vox.com

» On Vox: Independence Haul

It was a really good day today for yard sales-- a lot of people were taking advantage of the three-day weekend to stay open late, and a got a fair amount of "desperation and fatigue" deals, I think, given that I made some of the best hits after noon. Not much bargaining-down going on this time around, but that was mostly because people were giving me great ask prices out of the gate.

  • Assorted LPs and record case (I really just bought it for the case-- I miss my old box.), $5 (Asking price). Probably the least appealing deal of the day. I got sentimental over having an LP case again. There are a few novelty K-tel comps in there, but it was mostly stuff I'd never listen to. The guy had a nice Dawn of the Dead (new version) framed poster I was eyeballing, but he wanted $25 for it. It was probably worth it, but I don't have any space in my house that will do a $25 poster expendeture justice.
  • PC Games of the 90s. 25c ea. (Asking price) I haven't played them all, but four games for a buck can't be a bad deal. They even came with manuals!
  • Pile of cables, connectors, crap: $1. If there's one thing never to buy retail, it's cables. Get a few drawers and start collecting at garage sales. A buck will get you a pile of what would be $5-15 apice cables, retail. Granted, I think I need to start offloading some of my Coax TV cables. If anyone needs one, give me a holler.
  • An old Consumers Power hardhat with earpieces. It had the old "CP" in the circle logo, which I thought was neat. I picked that up with some other cables and ephemera for two bucks.
  • An old "Electrical Calculations" book. $1 (Asking)
  • A miniature Michigan state flag. 10c (Asking)
  • Three 6'x4' and one approx. 10'x6' U.S. flags with 48 stars. $4 (Asking) This was the big find of the day. The only thing more amazing than finding four rather large, heavy canvas American flags with only 48 stars was that the woman running the sale only wanted a buck apice for them. Ebay has the small ones at $9, although I'm not going to sell them. I'm giving away one or two and keeping the others. Unlike the modern, crappy-screenprint flag, these things are heavy fabric with tough stitching. Only minor wear, and a discoloration that isn't unpleasant, although I'm still debating whether to throw the big one into a delicate wash to get rid of the spots. I'm leaning against.
  • 5200 postage stamps. $2 (Asking price bulk, $13 ala carte) This was a big find. I came upon a box of used postage stamps from all times and countries, all bagged in sets of 100, for 25c apice. I was drooling over them, trying to see how many bags I could afford in order to placate my greed while not insulting with my stinginess. Before I put together an offer, though, they blew me away with theirs-- two bucks for the lot! Counting them (assuming the 100/bag was correct) I found 52 bags-- 5200 stamps.
  • An over-the-campfire grill. $1 (ask $2) For Nicole.
  • 2 gigantic boxes of postage stamps. $2. Ask the universe for postage stamps, and it delivers, I suppose. After finding the first batch, another sale had me rooting through two large boxes (a standard sort of copy-paper or shipping box size) of stamps and mail parts. The seller just said they wanted to get rid of them, and would take "a couple bucks". Two dollar coins, and I now have far more cancelled stamps than I will ever use for anything, ever.
  • 2 "Soaker Hoses". $1.50 (Ask $2) Also for Nicole. These are the hoses with the holes in them that let you easily irrigate plants.
  • Jars of old nails, screws, and such crap, 3 rolls of preprinted price labels from no later than 1970, the remainder of a box of alcohol swabs, a half book of "Next Oil Change" window stickers from the '50s or '60s, a Bechtel hardhat, a pair of needlenose pliers, the remainder of a roll of yellow line tape for the middle of a road, a wood saw, and a roll-up projection screen (with some noticable mold or such discoloration). $5 (Ask: Who knows?) This was an estate sale clearing out the home of a man who'd just gone into managed care, and there were relatives unloading box after box of strange old crap, with no desire other than to get rid of stuff. I loaded up on wood screws and the like, since I'm still building my garage supply, and found some other unique and interesting items on the way.
  • Two padlocks and a book about AT&T. $1.10 (Ask $4.10)

Originally posted on fleb.vox.com

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