Something stupidly ambitious and filled with conspiracies and cults.

edited August 2014 in Story Games
After 20+ years of gaming, mostly Mastering or Storytelling, and many attempts at crafting my own gaming mechanics in homage to GURPS, Rifts, D20, and World of Darkness: I have decided to try something new. I am at work currently on a very ambitious, likely stupid, game system and setting that tries to reinvent the wheel. Maybe I'll fall flat and look stupid, history is full of crashed flying devices. Maybe I'll just make a mediocre game people enjoy. Or maybe I'll fulfill this ambition to create experimental art that redefines the boundaries of gaming. See, I already sound like a pretentious turd. I am close to having an alpha playtest version of this ambitious turd. (I'd say I'm 1/3rd finished, the game is done but I have a lot of setting to add)

The game setting implies that everything is true, and that ideas themselves are the most powerful force in the game. It can be very remotely described as a modern occult horror game. It's three themes are Wonder, Weird, and Wicked. Respectively a child like wonder exploration, a surreal approach filled with marginalized parts of culture, and the dark violent brutal truth behind it all. In film language I'd say the themes are Jean-Pierre Juenet, David Lynch, John Waters, and Clive Barker. At the low level game it can be a Scooby Files monster of the week. At mid levels it's a global hopping conspiracy and cultists espionage game. And at high levels it's a dimension-hopping reality-altering game.

The mechanics use a very simple streamline system that boils down to "If anyone disagrees on the narrative, they build a dice pool and roll. Whoever rolls highest describes the outcome of conflict and continues narrating." It's a modular system that is built on a simple game mechanic, meaning that simplifying or complexifying is a simple drag and drop. We're at the stage of playtesting where I will see how well this really pans out in practice.

Design wise, the book will have it's own ongoing fiction narrative where the author, in studying and obsessing on pop culture and conspiracies, slowly goes insane. So while the front of the book reads like a dry game manual and is all you need to cleanly use for reference and play the game, the last third of the finished product should read like Human-Occupied-Landfill. For those unfamiliar with HOL, imagine the scribbles of an asylum wall. Part of the game philosophy is to get the readers to question and re-evaluate everything, including the book and author. The finished product is meant to pay homage to the design used in House of Leaves and has a very similar multi tier narrative structure.

I've brought this to your attention because I'm looking for people willing to try playing the game with their groups (or at least read the blasted beast). Because it's a very fragile creature right now, I'd prefer to keep things rather private about the matter as we figure out why the game did or did not work for you specifically so I can re adjust and change things to make sure further players do not face any issues you have. If anyone is interested, let me know. Once this thing is solid enough to stand up to public scrutiny, I'd certainly love to present it to Story-Games as an open development project.

WARNING: This game is an adult product, and as such, will delve into blasphemous, taboo, and touchy subjects. If you are easily offended, this may offend you.

This game is designed to feel like: Kult, Unknown Armies, Don't Rest Your Head, The Secret World MMO, Over the Edge, Welcome to Nightvale, Itras By, The Invisibles, John Dies at the End, anything David Cronenberg, anything David Lynch, anything John Waters, anything Terry Gilliam, SCP, anything Alejandro Jodorowski, Shin Megami Tensei, Whispering Vault, House of Leaves.


  • edited August 2014
    1. I can't tell if your post is unbelievably inspiring or sublimely absurd. Totally feel free to hit me up, and I'll hit my Players up.

    2. As a fan of both David Lynch and John Waters, I insist you give them each their own comma.

    3. Clive Barker. Don't make him angry.

    4. The book should be called "Pretentious Turd" and the front cover should be a picture of a turd sitting in a luxurious sink. It's a metaphor for the world. Or the hero. Or the author. I forget. Makes you think, though.

  • edited August 2014
    Comma added. Incoming sublimely absurd PM following. Note to self, never trust a phone's spell check or auto correct. It will defeat you. It is the enemy.
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