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Never Say Die

April 16, 2017

I decided to write a role-playing game.

It was actually really fun. I’ve been throwing around game design ideas for the best part of two years now but am yet to actually create any sort of playable protoype. The challenge of writing a complete, playable game in only 200 words was quite liberating actually.

The name (the title of this post) was a bit of a last minute throwaway if I’m honest, though looking at I think I quite like it. The game is designed to encourage using storytelling and teamwork to overcome challenges, I didn’t necessarily have a ‘world’ in mind but a band of plucky kids taking on traps and the mob to find long lost pirate treasure evokes that pretty well I think.

You can read the game below.

Each character is represented by three characteristics: Guts, Smarts, and Heart. Players assign a value to each from an array of 1, 2, 3. Each player starts with one help token.

Players agree on a goal and a number of successes required to meet that goal (e.g. Find One-Eyed Willy’s Treasure, 10 successes).

One player starts as the narrator, they describe a complication encountered by the player to their left. To overcome the challenge that player describes how they use one of their characteristics and rolls a d6. A roll equal or under their chosen characteristic is a success. Once rolled the player describes their success or failure then takes on the role of the narrator for the next turn.

Players other than the narrator can expend a help token to add additional dice to the roll before it is made. Players earn help tokens by using their weaker characteristics to attempt challenges: 2 for their weakest and 1 for their middle characteristic.

To complete the quest, players must achieve the chosen number of successes. If they accrue that many failures, or fail three times in a row, they fail to attain their goal.