RPG for 2-challenge

edited December 2011 in Story Games
I challenge you to design a small role-playing game for two players.

Comments

  • edited January 2012
    ROMANCING THE BORDER
    - a small role-playing game for two

    Start by finding pencils and paper, and an ordinary die.
    Sit down opposite each other, by a table.
    Place the largest sheet of paper between you.
    - Make the world first.
    - Then make the characters.
    - And then make the major figures.
    - Finally you read "The Story" and start the game.

    THE WORLD
    - One of you; draw a line in the middle, a bit squiggly, as a border between two countries. Mark two much used border crossings.
    - The other one; draw a line on the left, a bit squiggly, as a coastline that cross the border of the two countries. Draw three islands too.

    Set a name to your country, and write it in BIG letters on your side of the border, each in turn.
    Draw and name a forest in your land, each in turn. The forests may cross the border, but the part of your forest crossing the border will be finished by the other player (on his/her side).
    Draw and name one, two or three mountains in your land, each in turn.

    Draw and name 3 cities in your land, one by one, each in turn. One of them is a dot (small), one is a circle (large), and one is a double square (the capitol). Any city by the coast has an important trading port; name the special commodity/resource being traded there.

    - One of you draw a line between two cities, one in each country; it's the main road.
    - The other one names it, and decide on a commodity/resource for each of these cities, that they are trading.

    * * *


    THE CHARACTERS
    Now each of you take a smaller sheet of paper. It's the character-sheet. You will fill out the character-sheet in secret. Each of you will play a young human in your own country.

    - Give your character a name. Write it on the top of the paper. The name should indicate your gender.
    - Give your character a title or an occupation; you may be a student, a princeling, a silversmith, a tradesman, a fisherwoman ... but NOT the king or president or high judge ...

    - Give your character three traits; anything; great beard, running, good with numbers, popular speaker, quarrelsome ...
    - Put numbers on your traits; 1 for the weakest, 2 for the stronger, and 3 for the strongest. To succeed in using a trait, you have to roll equal to or lower than it's number.
    - Give your character two unknown talents; one on level 4 and one on level 5. You may reveal a hidden talent of your character anytime during play. A talent become a trait when revealed, and are used the same way.

    Now you may reveal the characters to each other.

    * * *


    THE MAJOR FIGURES
    Take a new sheet each.

    - Write down the names of your characters mother and father, and closest sibling.
    - Write down the name of two friends of your character.
    - Write down the titles and names of three important figures in your land.

    It may look something like this:

    Mother Joanna ......... Friend Lorelai .......... President John Mandrake
    Father Bert .............. Friend Martin ........... Admiral sir Edvard Brutalesque
    My sister Edwina ..................................... Bankier Sylvestre Slimwood

    Give the sheet to the other player. He/she will play these figures for you.

    * * *


    THE STORY
    When you have read this last paragraph, you are ready to play.

    - You take turns narrating. The one with the character of higher social level will start. Use the name of your character when telling his/her story. Do not tell much; start by telling how the daily life of the character is, and give the word over to the other player. Start widening the scope little by little, exploring he lands you live in.

    - The characters start out as totally ignorant of each other.
    - Initially you explore the characters daily life. Set scenes where they interact with family and friends.
    - Then you mix these scenes with scenes where you explore the conflicts between the countries; strategic, commercial and/or cultural conflicts.
    - After four or five initial turns; let the two characters meet in the midst of a conflict ... and explore how it may affect them.
    - Explore any conflicts between them, and possibly between their families. Weave them into the fate of your countries. This is meant to be the major part of the game. Mix any conflict-scenes with scenes of life at home, to keep the characters in steady contact with their families and friends.

    Traits are used to give twists and turns to your tale, and to make it a bit unmanagable ...
    - When you are narrating you may decide to test a trait. The other player may ask you to test a trait too.
    - Testing a trait is done by rolling the die against its level.
    - If the die is equal to or lower than the level of the trait, you will tell what happens ...
    - If the die is higher than the level of the trait, the other player will tell ...
    A scene always ends after a trait has been used.

    - The two characters are destined to become married at the end. The game will end with your marriage. Your task is to make the road there as troublesome and fun as possible.

    Good Luck!

    * * *

    ____________________________________
    This took me the better part of an hour. I hope you will find some romance in it ...
  • I feel that the challenge for a two player game is to make the game surprise the players, while they play it. How do you meet such a challenge?
  • I will throw in Seed rpg even though it plays up to 5 well, I think it's actually best with two. it's small in physical size and brain load but rather large in content so i'm not sure if it fits with this challenge.
    Posted By: TomasHVMI feel that the challenge for a two player game is to make the game surprise the players, while they play it. How do you meet such a challenge?
    I feel similar. But I think it's more than just surprising players it's about carrying the creative load of play. playing RPGs tends to be very demanding, so players actually value down time because it gives them time to think about what to say next. So an rpg with just two players has very little down time and thus has to bare more creative load.

    Seed rpg does this by feeding players a bunch of information before they have to narrate anything, esentially giving players more feedback to lean on in hopes that something will inspire them to keep on talking.

    It looks like romancing the boarder has some good sources of information to fall back on.
  • edited January 2012
    Posted By: TylerTplaying RPGs tends to be very demanding, so players actually value down time because it gives them time to think about what to say next. So an rpg with just two players has very little down time and thus has to bare more creative load.
    It is possible that we have to accept that a two-player game is more intense than the average role-playing game. Shorter and more intense gaming may be the best for twosome games. Maybe we should utilize this intensity, rather than trying to build it down?

    Maybe someone could post a game here, to shed light on this facet of two-player rpgs?
    Please feel free to try your hand at a really intense twosome game ...
  • That's a fair thought. i suppose one can try to ride the dragon and not slay it.

    thinking of a traditional rpg the game master is basically doing half the job right.

    so i guess this would be a game for two gm level players?
  • edited January 2012
    Posted By: TylerTso i guess this would be a game for two gm level players?
    The game I've posted here (Romancing the Border) has a pretty simple method without any GM. I believe making games that will let the players be players is the way to go. Make it simple, but give a framework for game-play, and feed the creativity with some elements to explore ...

    You want to make a try at it, Tyler?
  • Posted By: TomasHVMThe game I've posted here (Romancing the Border) has a pretty simple method without any GM
    i mostly meant players capable of being a GM in other games, not that the players in Romancing the Border have GM like powers, but they are probably capable of playing a GM for other games.

    not all rpg players are comfortable or capable to run games as a GM
    Posted By: TomasHVMI believe making games that will let the players beplayersis the way to go.
    I agree but I think we define play differently. Romancing the Border players are tasked to be world builders, screen writers, directors, actors, game designers and players. because the game requires quite a number of higher level open ended creative decisions. play should reach into that but i'm not sure play should require it.
    Posted By: TomasHVMMake it simple, but give a framework for game-play, and feed the creativity with some elements to explore ...
    hum i will give it some thought.
  • Posted By: TomasHVMI feel that the challenge for a two player game is to make the game surprise the players, while they play it.
    Using cards to achieve this seems like a nice solution.

    Cards may be used to frame scenes (Until We Sink ...), as well as to resolve conflicts (Itras City).

    Cards enables the designer to aim for certain themes too, and to plan for substantial conflicts to rise in the interplay. Most players improvise better over substantial conflicts in a well framed game.
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