I have this romantic notion of scribbling a game by hand in a notebook.

edited November 2011 in Story Games
It would be the only copy.

The text would change and grow as we played. There would be lines crossed out and notes scribbled in the margins, and hand drawn doodles and maps.

Someday maybe I would give it away, and that would be a big deal.


  • That sounds like a great idea.

    But I'd probably scan in a copy and have it posted on a website somewhere for observers to see what's happening.
  • edited November 2011
    David Mamet says that stageplays, when performed without a director, can yield better results-- because the performers' only reward is a decent play, rather than the additional path-to-reward of brownnosing the director/authority-figure.
    Likewise, a game might be better if it is made only for here&now, rather than keeping one eye on publication.
    If that sounds right to you, you might wanna skip the part where the sole copy is treasured in the future-- it might distract you into frilly grandstanding in the notebook, instead of the making best game for right now. If you don't want to be romantic, burn all the play materials, at the end!
    If you do want to be romantic-- that's perfectly cool, too!
  • It certainly is a romantic notion. Which isn't to say it's not without merit, but perhaps more as an artistic endeavour than one of crafting a game for people (rather than a select few) to play.
  • There is something to say about the romantic and perceived value of an exclusive experience.

    Think about ChainWorld where only one user at a time can play the game or about Risk Legacy where every board becomes a unique world.
  • Hey Jeph, long time no see!

    Yeah, I've had this very same thought (which presupposes my ability to craft a new RPG, mind). I actually had half a mind to buy a scroll-blank from Japan and do the game up as a scroll, complete with side-illustrations in fat-brush/small-stroke calligraphy. But yeah, the only two issues were:
    1) What game do I write?
    2) What if I fuck up?
    I think for a diary, the issue of fuckups can be addressed by creative use of scribble-outs and the like, but on a scroll it's much harder I think.

    Lovely idea, though.

  • Huh, yeah, what starts out as "fucking it up" could become "optional alternate rules or setting" - you could even deliberately use that as your conceit, putting in the alternate material under strike-out.
  • edited November 2011
    Yeah, fucking up would be great! With a word processor it's just ctrl-x and away you go, but when you're writing in analog you can see the history of your ideas.

    I'm worried about how to organize it. If I just write it in the order I think it, it'd be like, This is a game about an ornithopter that crash lands on a hidden sky island! These are the rules for hunting and foraging and getting caught out in the corrosive mists! Here's character creation rules for a thuamaturge! Here's a map of the Stinking Jungle and stats for a swarm of pygmies! Here's weapon stats and here are character creation rules for thugs and brawlers! The ornithopter's named the Fairweather Jay and her motorgun uses up 100 rounds of ammunition per engagement but you've only got 500 rounds but the Jay's out of fuel so you have to power the generator from the reserve battery to run it but the battery only has enough energy for 10 hours! Here's rules for stealth and sneaking! Here's some spells and psychic powers! Here's an encounter table! Here's a map! Here's what happens when an ornithopter gets in a dogfight with a zeppelin! Here's how to hire new crew members if you make it back to port! Here's more spells! And on and on and on.

    But there's really no good alternative, is there? And anyway that's got a certain charm.
  • Pretty soon you'll all rediscover how to make a campaign and, well, let the circle be unbroken, by and by lord, by and by....

  • Posted By: JDCorleyPretty soon you'll all rediscover how to make a campaign and, well, let the circle be unbroken, by and by lord, by and by....

    So, so true.
  • I write out most of my games long-hand before they ever get typed up, and I've only ever tried to make the typed up versions available to other people a couple times. The big disadvantage for me of working long-hand is that there's no backup, so I've lost significant amounts of work and had other work damaged (food and the elements mostly). Scanning the new pages periodically might help with that. Being able to find stuff after a while becomes an issue, too. No search, and table of contents/index is hard. I usually hand-number the pages as I go, and record the toc at the back of the notebook working forward... but if it ever outgrows the notebook it started in... I also tend to periodically do a page that recaps the current state of some of the rules that have changed a lot over time so that I don't have to reconstruct them piece-by-piece by looking across a bunch of past pages.
  • I played this kind of game once. It was called Time Soldier X, with the alternative name Awesome: the RPG. You rolled up your character type by rolling twice on the same table, like "Okay, I'm a (roll) Mutant … (roll) Detective!" "Great, I'm a Pirate Alien!" There were rules for Stuff and Loot, I remember. It was essentially completely random table based.

    I tried to get the creator to post it online, but he never did. Hopefully it's still somewhere in his apartment, hiding out under a couch or something to be discovered in many years.
  • <blockquote><cite>Posted By: JDCorley</cite>Pretty soon you'll all rediscover how to make a campaign and, well, let the circle be unbroken, by and by lord, by and by....


    Yeah! This is how I used to draw maps and keep notes from maybe 5th to 7th or 8th grade. I had this thick blue book of tight rule graph paper with fake leather binding. It was probably about 5x8 inches, and I filled it up with classes and monsters and maps and spells for my D&D games, and later my first sketches of jump networks and rules for Exemplar.

    I guess that's not really so long ago. I started posting on the Forge probably less than a year after I stopped jotting in that book.
  • You're worried about how to organize it?

    Do not organize it while you write it.

    Go back through and put section/chapter numbers on the pages once it's written. You could even make little symbols on the sides of the pages to "tag" them with different meanings.
  • Posted By: JDCorleyPretty soon you'll all rediscover how to make a campaign and, well, let the circle be unbroken, by and by lord, by and by....

    Huh. Good point!
Sign In or Register to comment.