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Christopher Wargo
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Don't forget how concerned you were that the Clinton Foundation was a front for quid pro quo corruption...
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Some neighbors and I are starting a local group in FL district 10.
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So excited I can't hardly stand myself!
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Onions and shallots, a few weeks old.
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Spending our post-hurricane power outage playing Reign of Cthulhu by candlelight.
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It begins...

My girlfriend and I play In the Lab regularly. We're pretty stoked to start this. First game is later this week!
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15135 The Book of Armaments

I love this game's premise: 'This is a roleplaying game for three players that chronicles the saga of a legendary weapon as it goes from hand to hand, deed to deed.' Isn't that awesome!

This game has three roles: the Weapon itself, the Wielder of the weapon, and the World (the GM, essentially). These roles rotate around the table after every round.

The setup is pretty loose. Between the three of you, come up with a weapon. That's about it. Oh, and break a deck of playing cards into three decks, one for each role: one of clubs, one of spades, and one of hearts+diamonds for the World player.

Gameplay is likewise pretty loose. The Wielder comes up with a protagonist character to whom the weapon has passed. They come up with their character, and the circumstances of how they came into possession of the weapon. The World player comes up with the environment around them. Then they just start right in, with the World player introducing elements into the fiction and the Wielder saying what they do. 

Conflict resolution is a matter of playing cards and trying to beat the summed total of the other side. So if the World plays a 6 and says 'He tries to push you out of the way', the Wielder has to beat a 6 to successfully block, dodge or whatever they do to react.

The role of the Weapon player in all of this is to keep reminding the Wielder that 'Hey, you could always use me to chop his head off/shoot him/whatever!' If the Weapon's suggestion is taken, the Weapon passes a card from her own deck for the Wielder to play against the World.

When someone's out of cards, the round is over. If it's the Wielder out of cards, then they died. If it's the Weapon, then the weapon somehow passed on to someone else. If it's the World, then the Wielder was successful in whatever they were trying to do during this round.

Either way, before going to the next round, everyone votes (by means of a secret ballot) which element of this round was most significant. Based on this vote, one of the three players is awarded a point. When the table decides the game is over, the person with the most points gets to say what happens to the weapon.

That's it! That's, like, maybe half this document. The other half is a long, funny play example to give you the idea of the game.

Interesting to note here: the longer the round drags on, the more incentive there is for the Wielder to use the Weapon's cards (to avoid running out and ending the round). Meaning, the longer the weapon is in the possession of the protagonist, the more likely it is that the protagonist will use the weapon to solve her problems. Neat, huh?

Also of interest: the Wielder doesn't ever fail. If you can't match the sum of the cards showing on the GM's side, you just make progress or achieve some partial success. All I can take from that is that this game isn't super interested in whether or not the Wielder during this particular round succeeds. 

Suggestions and questions:

__ I don't like the title. It's about one armament, right?

__ It's not 100% clear if the the World adds a card to their already-played card every time there's adversity, or just when she is following-up/escalating an already-established adversity.

__ I would strongly suggest allowing the Wielder to play the Weapon's card IN ADDITION to, not INSTEAD OF, her own when she uses the weapon. They'll run out of cards more quickly, but does that really matter? If the World is already ahead of the Wielder in terms of the sum of her played cards, this would make it much easier for the Wielder to catch up/succeed. Plus, as a bonus, it increases the incentive to use the weapon.

__ Who establishes the time and locale of the round?

__ I suggest some kind of tools for the World to create situations and scenes. Some kind of prompts, at least, even if it's a bunch of lists. I know I for one will be struggling when I play this.

Yall should check this game out. It's one I really want to play, so it's probably ending up in my Top 5.

Find it and many more here:

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1540 To Return a Wallet

This is a pretty nifty game. There's only one PC; everyone else, collectively, is the GM. The PC has found a wallet with identification and an assortment of other contents. The game is about them trying to return it.

Oh, and there's a healthy dose of the supernatural in the game. Like, the wallet can reappear in your life through a variety of magical means, should you happen to lose it somehow. Or the owner will always live in a peculiar, magical place -- like, you know, down a manhole or through a portal into another dimension. That kind of thing.

Anyway, the setup for the PC is super easy: they end up with a few personal items in their own pockets, a conviction regarding the wallet ('a righteous sense of duty' or 'the wallet is something more important than me' or whatever) and a bit of background. 

The setup for the GMs involves rolling for the name on the ID in the wallet, what form it takes, and where that person resides. They also select the magical means by which the wallet returns to the PC if it gets lost again (like finding it in their mailbox the next day), the motivation of the dark forces behind the wallet's 'behavior' and the ultimate cause behind all the strangeness (like, you know, a restless spirit or something).

These decisions are made off of lists, most of which are rolled. The line items on these lists are, most of them, incredibly provocative. Check out one of the entries for 'Where does their ID say they reside?':

__ 1 Lime Quarry Lane: an abandoned limestone quarry, a pit deep in the Earth. Entry requires a twenty minute drive down, down, on a loose gravel road spiraling along the edge. At the bottom of the quarry, giant earth moving vehicles rust. A tarp is tied to one as a sunshade, with a mailbox stuck into the ground nearby.

Believe me, all the entries on that list are bizarre like that!

One of the things that might be in the wallet, off a list of several dozen entries:

__ An unlabeled recipe, requiring baking, boiling, and reducing three tablespoons of allspice, two garlic cloves, a spring of mint, and the tails of two large rats.

So, gameplay. You make your way along until you return the wallet or die trying. When you change scenes, the GMs get a token. If you attempt something that would probably succeed, then you succeed. If you attempt something that would probably fail, it fails. When you attempt something that could fail, they get to spend a token to declare that you did fail; otherwise, you succeed. The GMs also spend their tokens to introduce complications (eg, a pack of feral dogs coming out of the woods, or a high gate blocking your progress).

So yeah, there's no real randomizing mechanic for resolution. It's up to GM fiat, plus whether they have a token to force you to fail. Turns out that, for me at least, I can live with that. I really love the flavor of the text for this game, the lists, the touch of supernatural, and the basic concept. Check it out!

Find this game and many more here: 

15107 Platonic Mastery

You're a philosopher/elemental wizard in pseudo-Ancient Greece. You've come to realize the Republic is dependent on atrocity -- it brutally suppresses and enslaves unconventional individuals, political dissidents, the unwell, women, soldiers, foreigners, etc. You take it upon yourself as a calling to do something about two of these atrocities (eg 'The Republic denies girls even basic educations. I will take a girl as a student and teach her to be my equal'). You've also got regrets related to love, travel and action, being an old man. And, naturally, you're a Platonic Master -- you've mastered some or all of the elements: fire, earth, air, self, water.

All that's the set-up for the player. The GM sets up institutions related to the atrocities chosen by the players as their callings, and NPCs that serve as proxies for those institutions. When you deal damage to a proxy for an institution, that institution takes damage too. Play continues until you have changed the Republic (per your calling) or it has destroyed you.

The dice mechanic here is basically a dice pool. Most of the dice you assemble to perform an action (bend the elements, build a structure, speak and be heard, etc) get used up and have to be refreshed by you resting and recovering. 

This game reads well. The atrocities are evocative, and there are a lot of examples for callings based on the atrocities and regrets based on the three categories of love, travel and action. This is another one where I have to see the dice in action to really get how the mechanics work, but I'd for sure put this in the top 10 of what I've read so far.

Extra points for, you know, building a game around Plato. 

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