Bill White's roleplaying game design blog, with emphasis on narrativist or story-heavy games.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Rune Saga: What a Turn Might Look Like

It's my turn; I'm playing Prince Daemien. Another player (the person whose turn is next, let's say, or better--the person directly across the table from me, or the [N/2]th player from me, rounded down) draws a card from the rune deck and reads it as something relevant to my character.

Let's say Joe draws besothas, the Lady of Swords.
Lady of Swords [besothas] Maiden (Departure). One who is in danger; one who experiences grief or misfortune. Event: A hero leaves his home or proper place.
Joe likes the notion of a grieving maiden; he imagines the girl Daemien has left behind. He introduces her as a character, an innocent hurt by Daemien's abandonment.
Damosel Melina, the daughter of rich noble family, had accepted her betrothal to Prince Daemien at a midsummer festival before his departure for the wilderness. Their courtship over the next few weeks had made her happy beyond her dreams, and his disappearance has weighed upon her. She has decided to leave home and search for him, despite the wishes of her father that she accept a new suitor.
I have a hand of cards:
  • Mount of Stars ethluemas Guidance (Violation). An expanse of water. Event: A hero violates an elder's interdiction (perhaps unknowingly).
  • Child of Staves aelmaegas Seeker (Reconnaissance). One who desires knowledge. Event: A villain deploys minions against a hero.
  • Sun of Staves ghotmaegas Discovery (Remediation). A scroll, book, or map. Event: A hero finds something that is needed or has been missing.
I need to play one of them as a "response" (even if only indirect) to Joe. I'm interested in Damosel Melina, and think it'll be interesting to follow her on her quest to find Daemien. I decide to play the Child of Staves:
Damosel Melina leaves her home and journeys to the wood where Daemien was last seen. Her father sends his best huntsmen to find her and bring her home.
Now there's a moment of resolution. The glyph in question is produced by the two cards that have just been played: Joe's situation card and my response. The glyph is besael.
bes ael Folly The one who acts is led astray by his choice. He makes himself vulnerable to the stratagems of his enemies.
Who gets to decide what this means? Either me or Joe, based on the roll of a die. Since my response was a Staves card, we use Daemien's Wisdom as the target. If I roll 4 or less on a six-sided die, I get to narrate what besael means here. If I roll a 5 or a 6, Joe does. Let's pretend I roll a 5. Aargh!

Joe says, "The folly is not Melina's--it's Daemien's! All this is about his choice to go haring off into the woods instead of trying to get home. As Melina flees from her pursuers, searching for her lost love, she is spied by Daemien, who is skulking around there. He lets her pass by -- a big mistake! -- and is spotted by the huntsmen, who start chasing him through the woods."

And that's the turn. The next player gets a situation card, and play proceeds from there.

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A communication Ph.D., I teach public speaking and media-related courses in the middle of PA. I do research on scholarly/scientific communication, and I write & play roleplaying games.