Tag Archives: morality

Open Play 50: Tremulus, Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne, Psi.Run

30 Jul

Welcome to Ready, Set, Game PDX Open Play!

Ready, Set, Game PDX is an easy story gaming event. All you have to do is show up and play a game. You don’t need to bring anything other than the desire to play and the willingness to try something new. Absolutely everybody is welcome! No experience necessary! You are free to invite anybody and everybody; just make sure you RSVP. That helps us make sure everybody has a good time.

A story game is a game where the players create a narrative as a product of play. You might recognize a few things from other tabletop games, but the difference here is that you spontaneously make a collaborative story with the other players. There are always several different ones to choose from, so odds are good there will be one that’s just right. A description of each of the scheduled games will be posted as comments, so check ’em out!

At 6:00 we kind of loosely gather in the “Blue Area” of Guardian Games and socialize for a bit. Please, just relax and chat! At 6:15 we all come together as a group and the facilitators introduce their games. At that point players sign up for whichever game they want and get down to business.

Technically we have the space until 10:00, but we try to get games wrapped up around 9:30 or so. After the games, all who wish to do so go out for drinks and banter at a nearby establishment. As usual, everybody is welcome!

Here is what we have this week!
Tremulus is a storytelling game of Lovecraftian horror where you take on the role of a person who has been destined to live an interesting life, one touched by blood and bile, dark revelations, and horrible sacrifice.

The weight of the world is upon your shoulders as you strive to drive back the darkness threatening to drown it out.

For four erstwhile investigators.

Witch, the Road to Lindisfarne
It is the year of our Lord 1350 and an unholy plague sweeps across our beloved Britain. Measures have been taken to contain and eliminate it, but still families must surrender their mothers, fathers, sons and daughters to the mass graves.

They say that one in three have been marked for death. But marked by whom? Are the sick being punished for their sins by God?

No. This foul curse is the work of the Devil and his wicked agent, the Witch.

The people pray for an answer and now within the great city of London, the source of the vile plague, God may have given it. A woman has been taken prisoner by the Church after confessing the use of Witchcraft to bring the blight upon us.

Three days have passed since then and during this time the heads of the Church have been in consultation without rest. Today they emerged and gave their counsel.

The woman must be taken in a caged cart to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Once there, an ancient ritual will be performed to cleanse this land of her and her black plague.

It will take two weeks to reach the site, but as the sun breaks the horizon on the Sabbath then the Witch will face her absolution.

This is the story of that journey.

Whoever’s after you, you know one thing: they will stop at nothing to capture you and you’ll stop at nothing to stay free. The holes in your memory vie for attention with your startling abilities – stay one step ahead of the Chasers long enough to answer your questions, and hope your psychic powers don’t go wild.

They took your life.
You got away.
They want you back.


Ready, Set, Game PDX is brought to you by Play Out Loud. Play Out Loud serves Portland with spontaneous shared storytelling activities featuring non-mainstream games. Learn more athttp://www.facebook.com/playoutloudpdx.


Open Play 48: Crossroads, Into the Odd, Pickets & Blinds, Bhaloidam

30 Jun

6pm – 10pm

Tuesday, July 2nd

Guardian Games

303 SE 3rd Ave at Pine St

The drill:
6:00pm – Chit chat, socialize, make merry.
6:15pm – Introduce the games and facilitators, facilitators will have the sign up sheets. Then, game on!
9:30pm – Drinks at …? Where should we go guys?

And for the games!


There’s a man at the Crossroads Cafe who can give people what they want, if they do something specific in return. You are going to visit him. This is a ready-to-play story game for up to four players and a facilitator.


Into the Odd:
The world is too large for anyone to fully map and too old for academics to accurately record. Explorers return from every direction with tales of bizarre places, wondrous and horrific.

You are an Explorer, braving the unknown in search of riches, fame, knowledge or power.

Academics know that searching in places too dark or distant would show things too foul to be recorded. Even the most comprehensive references of wildlife are filled with apocryphal entries. Those that seek out monsters to slay will find death before long.

The setting of Into the Odd, by Chris McDowell, is filled with normality. Sure, there are revolutions, terrorists, murders and wars, but this is all very mundane stuff. The Odd is out there to be found, buried beneath the surface. Battles may be fought with guns instead of swords, power may be held by politicians instead of wizards, but down under it all, there is something terrible, something unknowable…something Odd.
This will be a variant of Into the Odd, set in more modern times. That will be all you will need to know…or all that you will EVER know…


Pickets & Blinds:
This is a game. It’s you against the other players. There will be winners and losers, but everyone is going to have to live with what they’ve done.

Some games have you move little metal dogs and race cars across a board. Other games make you throw dice, or run around, or make difficult strategic or diplomatic decisions. This game has none of that. This game is all about telling stories: stories about how normal people in normal American towns end up killing each other.

Every player is going to tell his own story. Each story will be a separate and unique tale of a murder in the suburbs. The stories are told one scene at a time as everyone takes turns. Every time your turn comes up, you tell a little more of your main character’s story, picking up where you left off, describing another scene. The stories are not scripted, and there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. You are trying to keep everyone else at the table entertained.

As you tell your story, you’ll try to include particularly
exciting moments (called Triggers). Once you work a
Trigger into your story, you get to play a simple, Memory- style card game, the goal of which is to capture pairs. As pairs are made, they are removed from play. Collecting these pairs earns you points, and when the cards run out, the player with the most points wins.

Successfully collecting pairs also allows you to mess with the other players’ stories, making things trickier for their characters, and generally heightening the tension. This leads to even more exciting stories.
But it’s not all that cut and dry. There is another factor
at play: which card that can’t be paired up? If at any time you’re able to guess what card is without its match, you greatly increase your chances of winning. Guess wrong, and you’ll lose the game. There’s a reason that odd card is called “The Downfall.”


Bhaloidam “Super Dysfunctional”:
You’re a team of superheroes with a contract to protect Megaopolis. Sadly – between sky-high insurance premiums, inflated contractor budgets for repairing damages done by the team, and ever-increasing support-staff salaries – this highly-coveted contract barely covers operational expenses, let alone pays the supers a living wage. So, you’re forced to seek endorsements in order to live the lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed. Unfortunately, in order to land the good endorsements, you must stand out as an exceptional member of your team.

So now, with Megaopolis under threat, you must balance working _with_ your team to fulfill your contract, while making sure you grab enough of the limelight to pay your mortgage next month.


Ready, Set, Game PDX is brought to you by Play Out Loud. Play Out Loud serves Portland with spontaneous shared storytelling activities featuring non-mainstream games. Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/playoutloudpdx.

XP: The Drifter’s Escape

12 Mar


This game was on backup at the last RSG, so it wasn’t announced proper with the rest of the games. In case you were wondering when we played this.

I’m still trying to figure out how to make a game of the Drifter’s Escape really pop. I’ve had a few confusing sessions of this game and a a few decent sessions, but it’s not really clear to me what made the difference for each session.

But, I’m pretty sure it comes down to the Drifter much of the time. How the Drifter decides when to make a deal or not seems to set the pace for the game. On one hand, it’s pretty tough for the Drifter to be successful with a deal, so the Drifter usually only makes a deal when it’s really important to them. In and of itself this is fine, but deals are what makes things happen. A lack of deals mean the Devil and the Man have to keep on raising the stakes of each scene until the Drifter feels obliged to make a deal.

Before long the scenes get so crazy that the Drifter has no sense of hope. The player can no longer buy into the Drifter’s struggle, and then has little incentive to make a deal they have a slim chance of winning. This unchecked escalation of stakes has been present in every game of Drifter’s Escape I’ve played.

So what can be done about this?

Drifter, use every resource at your disposal. In particular, re-write goals immediately before making a deal often. You don’t need to re-write all of them, and you don’t need to do it before every deal, but take advantage of this. You need to rack up Dream quickly.

Drifter, redeem somebody as soon as you think a person can help you do something big. Remember, you also pick the deals, so you can set yourself up for assistance. But, you will need to have Dream to spare in order to keep this up.

Devil and Man, make demands frequently. This is really the only say you get in what kinds of deals are struck. Drifter, be willing to take them up on this. A Demand isn’t just an opportunity for them to own your future, it’s an opportunity for you to keep your Debt to them in check.

Devil and Man, keep a gradual and incremental escalation of trouble and danger in the scenes.

Devil and Man, when you make deals with the Drifter, your cost doesn’t need to be all bad. The more the Drifter enjoys your cost the better. You don’t have to go easy, but you don’t need to make them cringe every time (of course, the poker you play with the cost is something to consider too. What does the Drifter think is in your hand based on your cost?).

Finally, focusing on the icons of Americana lends the Drifter’s struggle more meaning than simply having terrible luck. This too may influence what the Drifter find important, and thereby influences what they are willing to deal for.

This is a curious game with a gripping premise, but perhaps it lacks a certain kind of direction to the players. It’s a journey worth taking, but you have to remain willing and open, or you may be frustrated.

Session 24: InSpecteres, Monster of the Week, Dogs in the Vineyard

23 Jul

5pm – 9pm
Tuesday, July 31
Guardian Games
303 SE 3rd Ave at Pine St



InSpectres by Jared Sorensen is a game about the burgeoning supernatural investigation and elimination market. Start a company and try to stay afloat long enough to cash in those sweet, sweet stock options.

Visit http://memento-mori.com/inspectres/ for more information.




Monster of the Week by Micheal Sands is a pen & paper roleplaying game of modern day monster hunters. There are monsters out there. Most people don’t believe in them, but they’re real. Mostly, when someone finds out that monsters are real, that’s just before they die. But some people are mean enough, smart enough, crazy enough, or hurt enough, that they live. They go on a crusade to kill the monsters. That’s who you are.

Learn more at http://www.indiegogo.com/Monster-of-the-Week-rpg.




In Dogs in the Vineyard by D. Vincent Baker you play God’s Watchdogs in a West that never quite was. You stand between God’s law and the best intentions of the weak. You stand between God’s people and their own demons. Sometimes it’s better for one to die than for many to suffer. Sometimes, Dog, sometimes you have to cut off the arm to save the life. Does the sinner deserve mercy? Do the wicked deserve judgement? They’re in your hands.

Check it out at http://www.lumpley.com/dogs.html.