: The Dragon Killer Fishbowl
This is the fishbowl for my game-in-development working title: The Dragon Killer subtitle: Coming-of-age Fantasy for Adults.
"Fishbowl" means that only I can post comments, but everyone can post marginalia.
Actual content in the first comment!
1. On 2005-08-31, Vincent wrote:
Some Setting Material
The Dragon's blood is ley. It used to pulse and flow, it filled wells and standing stones, it poured down the sacred roads, it birthed treasure and life in the earth. Now the Dragon Killer has broken the Dragon's heart. Ley is stagnant. It pools and turns rotten; it creates monsters and corrupts who lives near.
The Dragon Killer is the king of death. He's a monstrous, skeletal figure, made and armed and armored of metal, rags and bone. He has a crown of teeth. The earth groans and cracks where he walks, and living things recoil.
Ahead of him in the world, where he comes, are the Born Dead. In the lands he's taken and held, the Born Dead have grown into warriors. They are all appetite, they have no voice nor conscience, they kill and devour and don't ever relent. Only bodily destruction harms them; they never die.
He has other allies: The Corrupt, men and women who'll trade the whole earth away for power in their own lifetimes. The Monstrous, beasts whom stagnant ley has changed, made foul and ravenous. And the Gracious, who are Neighbors or Fair Ones who now prefer a dead world to one ruled by men and their iron.
To play, you'll need lots and lots of runes. There are four kinds; each player will need many - 5 or more - of each kind. Each rune has two sides, a standing and a fallen, or high and low. You can buy little wooden disks at any craft store, or use popcycle sticks. Mark the standing rune on one side and its fallen on the other.
The runes are: The Sheaf (of wheat); The Bull; The Torch; and The Eagle.
The Bull is five times the Sheaf. The Torch is twice the Bull, ten times the Sheaf. And the Eagle is five times the bull, 25 times the Sheaf.
To cast runes for resolution, put all your runes (your character sheet will tell you which) into a bowl or cup. Shake them, then cast them onto the table. Separate the standing from the fallen, and find your greatest standing rune. This is the initial cast; resolution will proceed from here, when I get it written.
I'll create both versions of the four runes.
If you don't feel like creating so many little objects, look around your house, you'll find excellent and handy substitutes. Check especially a) in your pockets, b) in the jar beside the back door, and c) between the couch cushions.
Chris go "Cool"*
XP go "Ah..."*
NinJ go "Neat numbers."*
AD go "Do you take plastic?"
ecb go "system=color"*
VB go "AD: yes."*
James go "Bronze tokens"*
Kevin go "Not the same up here"*
JG go "Coins, Very Cute :)"*
Here's a first draft of the sections of one of the "How To GM" chapters:
Chapter: Creating Situations that Matter
Foundation: Blood, Hospitality, Plight
Complication: There's Not Enough
Complication: It's Ours, not Theirs
Complication: Between Hammer and Anvil
Complication: Madness, Passion, Enchantment
Complication: Virtue Beset
The Open Door: Love and Life at Stake
The Open Door: Every Argument has Three Sides
The Open Door: But What Do You Want from Me?
Then... the Born Dead
Then... the Corrupt
Then... the Fell
Then... the Gracious
Situating on the Fly
It looks kind of like town creation from Dogs (as you'd expect), but my plan is to make it much more on-the-fly-able.
Only the GM can start a scene. However, you've got these three things on your character sheet: Destination, Circumstance, Reputation. They're toggles. Each can be set to "mine" or "GM's." If it's set to "mine," at your scene's start you decide it; if to "GM's," the GM does.
If anybody has suggestions for better words, feel free.
Destination: Physically where does the scene open? This is scale-indifferent: it might be "in the kitchen," it might be "at Dunnhill Freehold," it might be "at some coastal village."
Circumstance: What state are you in? How's your health, what do you possess, are you hungry cold half-dead, fed rested well-groomed, or what?
Reputation: Apart from your immediate appearance, what do the people there think of you and how do they respond? If the scene's whatchit, in media res, this includes what you've been doing just now.
Like I say, when the GM starts your scene, she decides any- and everything about what's listed as hers, and she has to let you decide any- and everything about what's listed as yours.
Here's an example. I'm the GM. Your sheet says destination yours, circumstance mine, reputation mine:
Me: Where are you now?
You: Um, Dunnhill Freehold [destination].
Me: Awesome. First off, you're terribly sick with fever and infection; your leg's gashed up and swolen so bad you've thrown away your boot. Your clothes are in tatters. Your sword's lost [circumstance]. So Athelred puts you straight to bed and sets his daughters to heal you - but he posts a guard over you as well. You're his prisoner [reputation].
Here's another. I'm the GM. Your sheet says destination mine, circumstance mine, reputation yours:
Me: You wake up in Athelred's daughter's bed [destination], naked, with her [circumstance]. Athelred's calling for her, you can here him across in the hall. Does he know you're in there with her?
You: Of course he does [reputation].
Or else you: No, he doesn't, shit.
See how that works?
And now look ahead, you'll see that the "starting a scene" rules are going to intersect with the "creating a situation" rules ... just right.
BL go "Toggles?"*
VB go "I forgot to say..."*
Hal go "Finally!"*
ecb go "that's so sweet, V."*
tpc go "lingo..."*
VB go "tpc - who are you?"*
SH go "Fantastic"*
tpc go "some call me..."*
Destination, circumstance and reputation will be available both as the stakes of conflicts - "my goal is to seize your reputation!" - and as resources for you to spend - "I give you my reputation, in exchange for 20¢ for this conflict."
BL go "Yay"
sdm go "Very interesting"*
JK go "I'm enthralled."
RH go "I, Rutger Hauer, endorse this mechanic."
Chris go "Yes"*
NInJ go "Damn you, Rutger Hauer!"
VB go "be nice to Rutger..."*
NInJ go "I love you, Rutger Hauer!"*
RH go "I love you too, Joshua Newman"*
The First Map
- A player other than the GM has to make the first map. GM: if no one volunteers, choose someone. (In my experience, someone volunteers.)
- The first map has to be large-scale. It has to show a) the ocean, b) the mountains, c) the forest, d) several strongholds, freeholds and farmholds, e) a couple of major rivers, islands, peaks, lakes, etc. This is a map of the whole land, not a single region or province.
- The first map, like all maps, has to be not-to-scale. Halder's farmhold is as big as a mountan? Just fine. The first map also, like all maps, has to be on a quarter-sheet of paper: not too detailed.
- Okay, now, have the player drawing the map choose a place on the map for the Dragon Killer's stronghold and mark it such.
- Have the player center a dime on the Dragon Killer's stronghold and trace the circle around it. Inside this circle, the Born Dead have grown to adulthood.
- Have the player center a quarter and trace around it. Inside this circle, all babies are Born Dead.
- Have the player freehand a larger circle around that one, perhaps considering natural boundaries. Inside this circle, all kings, rulers and leaders are Corrupt - or fighting desperately to remain true.
- Beginning play, when the players say where their characters are, they can use the first map.
- In play, as you create new maps, mark their locations on the first map.