Fairytale Fubar

A 200 Word RPG | 3 to 7 players

Shuffle a poker deck. Cut for high card. Jokers are 0. Winner is dealer and invents a fairytale quest the group will pursue (kill a dragon, rescue a captive, find true love, etc.).

Deal each player 7 cards; the rest become a draw pile. Turn up the top draw card to start the story. Suits represent attributes: Spades = Grace; Clubs = Brawn; Hearts = Will; Diamonds = Wits; Jokers = Any suit.

Players each lay any card from their hand face down, then reveal simultaneously. Discard those that do not match the current story card suit.

The player of the highest remaining card (if any) describes a scene to match the story card attribute, how valiantly their character succeeded, and how terribly the lowest remaining card’s character (if any) fubarred. (Jokers always fubar.)
Players whose cards matched suit score one point; the “valiant” player scores two.

The fairytale ends in a climax with the 7th story card. The character with the most points becomes court Champion; the one with the fewest becomes court Jester; tied characters kill each other in a duel; any other characters are banished from court and forgotten.

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Creatures & Cards!

Coming soon: Creatures & Cards in print!

March 13, 2017

The one-week Kickstarter to fund illustration by Len Peralta has ended, raising nearly twice our goal, adding bonus illustrations and three bonus Heroes! The follow-up one-week Kickstarter for a limited-edition deck has also ended well above its funding goal, adding Jacks illustrations and more bonus Heroes! Illustration is nearly finished, and print files are being prepared. When completed, Creatures & Cards will join the other Popcorn Press card games I’ve designed—and one by Bill Connors—in PDF and print-on-demand formats.

In the meantime, the free rules below work with a standard poker deck, so you can discover for yourself how the game plays.

[These rules came to me in a dream one night. A bit of family playtesting, and here they are for you!]

A fighter, a wizard, a priest, and a thief walk into a dungeon. The dragon says, “”Sounds like a party!” This game uses a standard poker deck to represent 2-4 fantasy heroes battling their way through an underground complex to find treasures and rescue captives. Who will emerge with the most loot and followers?
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Pharmacology Roulette

Q. What fits on a business card and uses all the polyhedral dice you own?

A. Pharmacology Roulette! A crazy little “beer & pretzels” game with a twisted sense of humor for 1–infinity players.

(Caveats: If you play solo you’ll always lose. For infinite players you’ll need infinite dice.)

Download the free PDF or buy the biz card version!

Fashionably Late

Graveyard Shift coverI’ve been role-playing for ages now—pretty much from “the beginning“—and gamemastering for nearly as long, besides reviewing, designing, and publishing RPGs. I’ve played thousands of sessions, hundreds of different game titles, with hundreds of different people—and still discover some delightful new nuance of role-playing from time to time.

The most recent “aha” moment came during a Gary Con session of Angela Roquet‘s “The World of Lana Harvey, Reaper’s Inc.,” using the D6xD6 RPG rules.

The D6xD6 RPG is a fairly experimental one-stat system that adapts well to lots of different settings. Its core rules are free online at www.d6xd6.com, with five sample settings. A couple dozen other settings based on novel lines I admire are available as add-ons.

One of those novel lines is the Lana Harvey setting, starting with Graveyard Shift (which is free on Kindle). It deals with the adventures of a group of junior reapers (including the titular Lana Harvey) trying to survive the perilous machinations of gods and demons in the afterlife.

Sometimes, for a break, they go shopping.

So when Angela and I started working on the role-playing chapter for this setting, we talked about including fashion as a special rule. Basically, whenever a character enters a scene, the owning player has to take a moment to describe the character’s clothes, hair, makeup, and accoutrements. I “tried it on for size” with a group of complete strangers at Gary Con.

To say it went over well is an understatement. From my perspective, it seemed as if I’d discovered a secret key to the gamer psyche. Everyone at the table went into great detail about his or her character’s wardrobe—from the guy with the combat boots, ripped jeans, Ramones T-shirt, and razor-blade earrings; to the fruit-hatted temptress in a slinky red dress with black stiletto heels and death’s-head dueling pistols; to the blonde in an electric blue skirted business suit and pumps; to the gal in cowboy hat and shirt, blue denim jeans, and cowboy boots; to “Christopher Lee in a cowled robe—with sword cane.”

Let me be clear: There’s no game or story benefit from this description; it’s purely for fun. And every player went full tilt. Their descriptions made me grin, even laugh out loud, and the details made the ensuing action so crisp and convincing. I can’t wait to play again!