Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
"At Night All Cats are Grey" originally appeared in slightly different form in Protodimension Magazine as "Hunting Ground." The scenario was inspired by the library in my hometown--a cozy, welcoming place made oddly unnerving by the works of taxidermy displayed in the children's reading room.
Friday, July 20, 2018
"Wight Wedding" is a system-neutral horror adventure in which long-buried secrets cause a group to turn on one another as a supernatural avenger approaches. A version of the scenario originally appeared in Protodimension Magazine.
The basic idea for "Wight Wedding" came from the M. R. James story “The Mezzotint.” The setting has its roots in the Jenkins House museum north of Huntington, West Virginia. The site felt cut off from the world when it rained, and the electric lights that had been retrofitted into the old building had an almost disorienting effect at night.
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Friday, July 6, 2018
Players should sit in a comfortable circle. The first player becomes a customer and the player to her left takes on the role of the shopkeeper. The two should spend a moment bantering back and forth before bartering. They can share small talk, the captain could compliment the multi-hued sheen of the customer's tentacles--anything that fits the mood of the group. Eventually the pair moves to the business at hand. The players each introduce what the characters would like to trade, offering wondrous descriptions of alien artifacts. They can ask one another questions, or add details ("The gem's deep blue reminds me of the Seas of Romlig!"). The values of the items can vary dramatically. A collection of pebbles could be traded for a crown that enhances the owner's telepathic powers, for example.
The items traded during the ship's journey reflect the rich and sometimes surreal variety of cultures and civilizations in the universe. During play, however, participants will base the goods they wish to trade on items that have deep sentimental or nostalgic value for the players themselves. A player, for example, still has a rainbow yo-yo he won at a school carnival held at a long-closed grade school. Assuming the role of shopkeeper, he could offer a customer the Medallion of Lartnec, the two multicolored discs worn by the High Oracle of Mahtal as she performs the ceremony that guarantees that gravity will continue to work properly for the next millennium.
The pair's turn ends with the customer and the captain of the merchant ship excitedly and graciously agreeing to the trade. Play then shifts to the left, with the person who played the captain becoming the new customer and the player to her left stepping into the merchant's shoes.
The game has no set endpoint. You can agree to a number of rounds before starting, or play as a warmup for other story games.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Each player begins with a standard chess set of sixteen pieces. On her turn, a player can choose to place a piece on the board or move one already in play. Pieces can be placed on any open square (the two black bishops, for example, can be on squares of the same color and pawns can be placed on any rank). There is no limit on the number of open-ended lines of three or four a player may have.
Kings, queens, bishops, knights and rooks can be moved, following the general rules of movement in chess. Pawns neither move nor promote, although they still count as part of a line of five. There are two changes to a king's movement, however. There is no capturing in cinquain, so kings can be placed and moved without worrying being in check. Also, there is no castling.
The first player to create a line of exactly five pieces wins.
Friday, March 16, 2018
An amber cat who is searching for the person who stole his whiskers.
An assassin who causes her victim to lose all memory of the person who hired her.
A sage who travels endlessly, recording the earliest memory of everyone he meets.
A ranger trying to find a mate for the last oakhedge sparrow.
A satyr who has fallen in love with the wind.
A prince made of flowers who travels with his entourage to avoid cold weather.
A young man who serves as a groom at an inn near a major road where he hopes to find his father, who was turned into a horse.
A scribe who secretly teaches the mice in the palace to read.
An itinerant fiddle player who can make water dance with her music.
An old woman who claims to be the god of lost and forgotten things.
A gnome merchant who has lost his shadow.
A sage who journeys from place to place trying to map moonlight.
A god of war who wanders the earth planting trees in honor of people killed in his name.
A sailor who woke up in port one morning to see the sails of his ship disappearing over the inland horizon.
A royal librarian who can only remember things she has read.