Wednesday, January 5, 2011

RPG Solitaire Challenge: Newsquest & The Librarian

*Blows the dust off of the blog*

My word, that's better.

Hello there, my lovely readers. Long time, no talk. Where to begin.

Point the first: I have been off the RPG blogging radar for over a year for quite a few reasons, but the primary one is that Beneath the Screen is, sometime in the next few months (if all goes according to plan) going to undergo a complete and total overhaul. A new name, a new look, a new host, and all sorts of wonderful things like that. It's very exciting and I have a lot of new ideas that will be cropping up. So keep an eye out if you've liked my blogging in the past, and you will undoubtedly see more in the future.

Point the second: What brings me back on this new year is a little something called the RPG Solitaire Challenge. Though I don't write all too often and am only involved in the RPG blogging community in a small sense these days, I do still keep up to date on some of the more exciting things going on. This grabbed my attention RIGHT away because I love designing games. I love it, love it, love it. So, over the next week I will be refining TWO games - yes that's right, I'm crazy - for submission into this fine contest. The basic summaries and teasers are below, with more refined rules to come. Let the advice and suggestions start fellow competitors! I'd love to hear what anyone and everyone thinks.

(Evan's "The Stuff In Your Domicile" Challenge)

Newsquest is simple enough. It's a solitary roleplaying game played with two items (at least to begin): a pencil, and the morning paper. Players pick an article and pick out words that will become their Allies and Challenges. The length of words defines their strength, and if all the Challenges can be overcome, the player gains a certain amount of Script (functions like experience points) which can be spent to create new words they have in their arsenal, such as weapons or spells. Reading the news has never been so fun! Just a warning however. With all the markings, colors, drawings, and nonsensical doodling this game will inspire all over your newspaper, I highly suggest you let your family read the paper first.

The Librarian
(Working Title. Robert's "Unlonely Your Fun" and Epidah's "The Sharing" Challenges)

The Library is massive. Impossibly massive. But it's yours. The dungeon's been crawled, and the monsters defeated. The scroll is yours. The scroll is... somewhere. In this library. This impossibly massive library.


That's where The Librarian comes in. A quirky young construct with an old brass key, or perhaps a flitting magical beetle with tiny runes carved upon it. Whatever guise your Librarian takes, he has one purpose, and one alone. To serve the researchers.

The Librarian is a simple enough game that can tie in beautifully to any fantasy roleplaying game. What it introduces is a semi-intelligent NPC of sorts in your game who is able to take research requests from your party, and seek out the knowledge they seek. But the research takes time (since you'll be the one writing it), so you have until next session to prepare. In that time between sessions, as the Librarian scurries away to the great Library, he will have many challenges to overcome in it's bookshelf-lined walls. This game carries the mechanics for you to run a short solitary RPG for this lovable young robot as he scurries about to fulfill his master's wishes. How the game falls out will directly influence what kind of handouts or information you prepare for your players. This game is intended to introduce a fun NPC into your games, make the preparation of creating write-ups for your players new and exciting, and to create products that can stand alone as pieces of fiction, poetry, or cartography. This game is best suited for storytellers who enjoy writing, drawing, or creating handouts for their players, but like to have a little fun on the side.

More details to come, stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

Love 'em! Intrigued by Newsquest in particular. Looking forward to seeing how these develop.

Emily Boss said...

These are both wonderful. I can see Newsquest being a delightful classic game!

A-1 Mr. Son said...

I'd really like to take a look at these works in progress! Likely, my questions would be answered by a better peek.

A couple of questions that popped into my head:

1. For Newsquest, you mention that longer words are more powerful. Does that mean that the quality of paper (say, Scientific American vs. Weekly World News) can make a difference in the power level of the game. Could you even play with a magazine or digest, or is this restricted to daily newspapers?

2. The Librarian sounds really neat in concept, but I'd love to hear a bit about how the mechanics inform the final product. Depending on how well the Librarian's research goes that determines the veracity/usefulness of the document? For incorporating this into existing games, can the researching player aid in any way?

Great stuff, and like I said, I can't wait to take a look at this!


Maria said...

For Newsquest, could the complexity or lack of common use of a word also affect its power? If a word is common but very long, I'd think it to be a cheap way of getting "strength."

Librarian characters are always fun :3


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