Carving runes on the inner sky of an empyeran, trying to make meaning and hoping that those from without understand as well.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hidden Library

Whilst searching about the ruins, I found a Hidden Library.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Symbolic Crunch

Ramble that may or not make sense:

Two columns of blank squares, the one on the left is six
high, the second column is four high. The squares are
on even lines (i.e. they line up). The four in the second
column start where the third box is on the first column.
Both columns end at the same bottom line:

[ ]
[ ]
[ ] [ ]
[ ] [ ]
[ ] [ ]
[ ] [ ]

Numbers line the right hand sides of the columns, as such:

[ ] 1
[ ] 2
[ ] 3 [ ] 7
[ ] 4 [ ] 8
[ ] 5 [ ] 9
[ ] 6 [ ] 10

There is a grid of twelve symbols, simple but easily
distinguishable. They line up, two columns of six each.

For instance:

X 4
O )
[ #
T /
I @
_ +

These are only for example, an artist would create these
symbols and one part of each would "fit" into the other
so that if one symbol was being used to "unlock" a lock,
the other could be used to mold a "key" that would be
able to suffice but not such that the symbol could act
as the key. Also, they two symbols could "merge" at that
point to become one supersymbol.

The symbols would have meaning as described in the game
text. A good portion of meanings, actually, as they'd be
assigned not only game specific things but, well,
symbolic things as well. These symbols will be used as
often as possible in a visual and mechanical sense. The
point is that, while new, they take on visual meaning,
much like Kanji do for Asian languages. Also, you can
add meaning in your personal game/campaign for elements
not covered in the game text.

Take six of the symbols and put them in the first column
on the left. Match up the other symbols on 7-10 column
for those that link up. This means that two symbols will
not have their companion. These actions/spells/feats/
traits/stats/what-have-you will be unavailable for that

Game play will consist of rolling a D6 and a D4. The only
way some people will get to do certain actions will be by
getting their dice to match up to the symbols on their
sheet. Some situations will allow the D4 to be a numeric
cog and add to or subtract from the D6.

Goals or complications will get their own dice roll and
the players will have to act on those meanings to get
past them.

For instance, if T and / had the meaning of hammer and
sword, respectively, and the player took the symbols
above in the order they are listed in, the player would
have to get at least a 4 (a T) to use the hammer or an
8 (a /) to use a sword. Something like that, ya know?

More to come.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I won second place at MACE! Congratulations to Adam Dray and his first prize winning entry, Hellball. I have posted my pics at Picasa Web.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Spin Til Dawn: My Game Chef entry!

Here is, literally, what I got done before the deadline:

Spin til Dawn
The game of competitive DJing
Dedicated to my wife Claire, who still lets me go see all
of my favorite DJs.

This is my submission for the 2006 Iron MACE Game Chef
competition. It uses the ingredients of:

* Artistic competition
* No death allowed
* Uses playing cards

It also uses the secret ingredients of:

* Chrysanthemum
* Illegal
* Inertia

Spin til Dawn is a structured roleplaying game. It is
set up for three people to play in one session or maybe
two short sessions.

The setting for this game is a war-torn world where
hope is suppressed and obedience to propraganda, called
by some the Dark Message, is required.

Each person (in addition to other ancillary roles) will
play as of one of three greatest DJs ever. You have been
chosen by spirits of a forgotten time and given a measure
of their power to help you succeed. Each DJ has the drive
to bring forth hope in the people and to ultimately summon
forth the Chrysanthemum Palace for the greatest party
of all time.

To play the game, you will need playing cards, poker
chips, and an optimistic spirit. This won't be easy!

You'll be competing against evil forces hoping to shake
off the yoke of war-time oppression. You'll be putting
the lives of the people in danger each time you spin.
You'll also struggle against the morose inertia inherent
in the oppressed. Help them break the cycle!


To begin play, everyone should choose who they will be.

This is partially an exercise in imagination: your DJ can
look like anyone and spin any kind of music. This is also
where you and your group can choose to make some choices
about the rest of the setting that I haven't defined.
Want to play in an alternate history America? Sure, go
for it. How about the far future where everyone has been
genetically altered in some way. This flavor can drive
your descriptions of not only the attendees but will play
into scenes that occur before and after each event.

Also, there are some mechanics involved. Your DJ will be
empowered by a spirit. Decide with each other who will be

DJ Blade (Kusanagi)
The ancient sword spirit guides your hands and makes your
breaks crisp and clean. You are decisive and
revolutionary and sometimes a little curt. Your bold
choices are considered flamboyant.

* You can cut your personal deck (your Music Library) at
any time.
* Your SUIT is valor (spades).

DJ Mirror (Yata)
Wise and reflective, the mirror spirit feels at home on
the decks, feeling a kinship with the musical discs. You
relect others' emotions in your moods and movements and
your music tends to mirroring melodies. When deep in
thought, your face is blank. Often, you come across as

* You can switch your Records with the closest Mixer at
any time and can do so instead of losing that Mixer in a
* Your SUIT is wisdom (diamonds).

DJ Jewel (Yasakani)
Your ginger touch with the decks is often contrasted with
the agressive and raw substance that is your art. You are
a beacon to others and attract crowds naturally. Getting
to know you pierce your inner armor can be a Herculean

* You can draw a new personal deck (your Music Library)
once per event.
* Your SUIT is benevolence (hearts).

Now that everyone knows who they are, DJ-wise, it's time
to explore how the game is played.

The game is played out in thirteen scenes. There are two
kinds of scenes: EVENTS - weekend long raves that you
perform and compete at, and PRELUDES - before the next
party, you'll discover what problems the people face.
Remember, it's illegal for the people to attend these
underground events - they want to be motivated as much
as you want to get them motivated! Get to know your crowd.

PRELUDES should follow this structure:

* Note which DJ or DJs are in the next Event (see SCENE
STRUCTURE for the schedule).

* Starting with the first DJ, the player to the right will
become the NARRATOR and the person to the left will
become the WORLD.

* PRODUCE a scene and roleplay through it. Continue
PRODUCING SCENES until the WORLD feels satisfied that
their theme has been successfully explored.

* If there is a second DJ in the next Event, repeat with
the new DJ, changing roles accordingly.

* Finally, if there are two DJs in the next Event, a final
scene will be PRODUCED where the two DJs confront each
other. The third player will be the NARRATOR.


The WORLD will introduce some aspect of the war and the
Dark Message that is affecting the people. The WORLD will
then name at least two people that are affected by this.
Note, no matter who they name, they will know who the DJ
is and attend these kinds of raves (if only rarely or
secretively, then so be it). They must be open to hearing
what the DJ has to say. The WORLD will then describe who
they are, what they do, and how they are connected.
The WORLD will collect three poker chips.

The NARRATOR will then describe a scene with these
people, being sure to give detail to the location and
describe what the people are doing and why the are there.
It would be best if the NARRATOR started the people in a
tense social situation.

The DJ will then take three poker chips. The DJ will then
describe how they enter the scene. The DJ will then be
responsible for diffusing the situation. Remember, they
know who the DJ is and is at a minimum a fan of some
sort. When the roleplaying reaches a DECISION POINT (as
determined by the NARRATOR), both the DJ and the WORLD
will bet a number of chips and take a card from the
card deck. The DJ and the WORLD will flip and the highest
card wins. Whomever wins takes the chips. If the DJ or
the WORLD runs out of chips, it is up to the WORLD if
there are to be any further scenes PRODUCED. If so, the
player with no chips simply bets nothing.

If the DJ has acted in accordance with their SUIT and
pulls a card with that SUIT, they can either transform
their card into a TRUMP (thus winning the DECISION POINT)
or receive an extra chip. The DJ should discuss this with
the NARRATOR and WORLD to confirm that they agree.

The NARRATOR decides who wins on ties. The NARRATOR will
describe how the scene ends, based on who won the card
flip. Either the DJ diffuses the situation or the
situation refuses to be diffused.

In the final scene of PRELUDES where there are two DJs,
the NARRATOR will describe a scene where the two have met
and are enjoying an EVENT from earlier. The NARRATOR will
then present them with a tense scene with some of the
ravers that threatens to shut down the event or call in
the police. Both DJs will roleplay with the NARRATOR
until the NARRATOR decides that they have reached a
DECISION POINT. Both players will describe how they would
diffuse the situation. The NARRATOR will then divvy up
three chips between the DJs. The NARRATOR will then
describe how the scene ends based on the DJ with the most
chips (from the three just divvied up).

DJs keep their chips into the next EVENT, where they will
be either spent or discarded at the end.


At the EVENT, however, things are a little different.

Roles are assigned as normal, with: one DJ, a
WORLD, and a NARRATOR; two DJs and a NARRATOR, or, in the
final EVENT, all three DJs.

Each DJ must fight against the inertia of the crowd. They
live tough lives and the war and the Dark Message of
propaganda soak their very existence with pain and
suffering. Getting them to the highs necessary to give
them the hope to go on will be a monumental task.

Each DJ will draw ten cards, five face up (the RECORDS
and MIXER) and five in a pile (your MUSIC LIBRARY).
Draw them in order and place them as such:

Face Up
1 2 3 4 5

Each DJ should know the cards in the MUSIC LIBRARY but
shouldn't change their order (there are exceptions later

Face Up Cards 1 and 5 are the RECORDS and 2, 3, and 4 are
the MIXER. Cards from the MUSIC LIBRARY will be switched
out with the RECORDS during the EVENT. When this occurs,
the RECORDS are put away and not used again for the
event. RECORDS can only be replaced by the top card in

The WORLD (if there is one DJ) or the NARRATOR will
describe how the Dark Message has made the crowd slow,
morose or moribund. The WORLD will draw three cards
representing this painful message (or the NARRATOR will
draw six, three for each DJ). The DJs will push forward
their MIXER cards and line them up. The DJ loses any card
that doesn't beat the card in front of it. MIXER cards
can only be replaced with sacrificed RECORDS or cards
bought by chips. Any one card in the DJs SUIT acts as a
TRUMP during a challenge. Each challenge brings out a new
RECORD. The DJ must have at least one RECORD spinning at
all times.

Each scene is named by a corresponding card that also
acts as a possible wild card for conflicts during that
scene. Starting with Ace, then Deuce, through the numbers
and the face cards, ending with King.

A 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

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