Sunday, December 22, 2013

Everyone's John!

Hey there! How's everything? In this post I'm gonna talk about a really fun roleplaying game, that can be played with just 3+ people, 1d6, and a little amount of time: Everyone's John!
The rules are really easy to learn and follow, so this game is especially good for narrators who want to introduce new people to the hobbie: you don't have to read any manual, or make any complicated mathematical equations to play it... in fact, after reading this post you'll already be able to play it!

This is a 'surreal' RPG about John, a really crazy man who has voices in his head. The narrator will, of course, play as John himself, acting out his every action and reaction, as he tells the story and describes the background, but each player will play as one of the voices in his head.
The game starts when John wakes up, in a room which will be described by the narrator, and since that point onward all the voices can start talking. The crazier and louder they are, the more fun the game is, and even more if random people see you play!

First, each voice must choose an Obsession, which will be their winning condition. Then two abilities, which can be almost anything (think FATE aspects if that helps you), but not too general ('I'm good at everything' is not a valid ability). And this is where the game becomes interesting: John is bad at doing ANYTHING at all, unless the voices specifically tell him how to. Even tying your sholaces can be an adventure if your fingers are so clumsy. So, each action John tries to do will be a 1d6 roll with difficulty 6, unless it relates to the current controlling voice's abilities, and the voice helps him do it, step by step, in a really clear manner, in which case it will be difficulty 3+.

After setting up, John finally wakes up. At this point each voice is given 10 willpoints and made to bet for John's control. everyone should have tokens of any kind (coins, sticks, even grassleaves) to bet, and extend their clenched fists with the tokens inside, then open their hands at the same time. The one who bets more, loses the tokens and gets to control John, so that he will do as that voice tells him (the other players get to keep their tokens). That doesn't mean the other voices can't talk! on the contrary, they are encouraged to talk so that John is even crazier... remember, he's highly suggestionable.
Each time the controlling voice fulfills his goal, or John gets hurt, the bet must take place again.
When no players have willpower points left, or if john dies, then the game is over, and the player with more victory points wins.
But how do I get victory points? you may be asking. Well, that's easy: each time John fulfils someone's obsession, that voice gets points equal to the level of the obsession. Even if the controlling voice isn't the one who fulfilled it, that is, so influencing John's thoughts out of your turn is advisable and fun.
An obsession level is proportional to its difficulty: a level one obsession is really easy (eating chocolate), a level two one is fairly easy (stealing chocolate from a baby) and a level three one is way harder (stealing chocolate from a baby without making him cry).
So, if I have a lvl2 obsession fulfilled twice before the game ends, I'll get 4 points, and so on.


I really recommend this game, and think it's really good for new players who don't want to read 500 pages of fluff and flavor, and just have some crazy fun instead. This games can easily end up in a GTA like thing, as much as in a psychological paranoia thriller.
Hope you like this article, and if you ever played EiJ or any other RPG please leave a comment telling me about your experience!


I'd like to use this space to remind everyone that esperanto is a living language, and I have a blog in it, where I wrote about this same game. If you want to see how easy esperanto is, read my post about this game here or learn esperanto at www.lernu.net, a site which I profoundly recommend.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Houses of the Blooded

Hey there! I'm trying to get back to my blog, though I don't think if I'll be able to sustain it again. I haven't been able to properly connect to the internet for a couple months now and that made it really hard for me to post regularly.
That said, today I will talk about a Tabletop Roleplaying Game that I really like: Houses of the Blooded.
To those unfamiliar with the genre, tabletop roleplaying games (or 'pen and paper roleplaying') are, traditionally, games in which a narrator tells a story of any kind, and players take the role of characters in it, usually taking decisions for them and using dice to determine their outcome.
The most commonly played roleplaying games are Dungeon and Dragons (D&D) and maybe stuff from World of Darkness (WoD).
In D&D each player takes the role of an adventurer, who goes around the world killing monsters and collecting magical items, being a hero against some BBEG and doing some good ole' questin'. Pretty stereotypical if you ask me, and boring after a short while.
In WoD, depending on which game you play, you can be a vampire, a werewolf, a mage, or many other things, and basically see how much your life sucks, in a tragic and dark place. I really like WoD with all its fluff and all, but it's actually an 'indie' game that really caught me in the hobby: Houses of the Blooded.
In Houses of the Blooded, you don't play an adventurer who goes around the wild killing beasts. That's for peasants. In this game, you're a Nobleman, a Ven, who carries the noble blood of an old house and dynasty, and does noble stuff: you don't kill your enemies, you ally with them, then backstab them when they grow too confident. You don't explore new land, you just send your knights to do it as you put some pressure on the peasants of a particularly 'late on taxes' town. And if things actually get out of hand and violence is mandatory, you will have to send a letter to the Parliament saying why you feel truly insulted, so that they may contact a third party who may act as an intermediary between you and the offending party, to arrange as a last measure a Duel, the Ven's organized violence.

What are Ven, you may be asking at this point? Ven are just like humans, but still subtly different. Belonging to an old, quasi-hyperborean race, they are similar to men, except more passionate and easily carried away by emotions. The system of the game recreates this by making a 'compel system': each Ven has a few things that 'compel him' to act in a certain way, and can't do nothing but follow his passionate will to the end, which is almost always tragic (the manual calls it a game of 'tragedy and romance').

But being compelled has an upside: a compelled Ven may gain style, and Style is one of the most interesting mechanics in the game. Whereas most games make a sharp division between Narrator and players, Style allows for players to narrate a small scene, or add a small fact to the story. You can create a character as a Narrator, but any character can spend a stylepoint and make him the new villain. Or just turn him into a foot fetishist. Everything is allowed, as long as it fits the mood. And if it's tragic enough, it may get you even more style to spend.

Then there is the whole Romance/Revenge side of the game: Ven use the same word for both concepts, 'vrente', which roughly translates as 'uncontrollable desire', and think the only law is the one you make yourself, by taking revenge for every insult you recieve (where insult includes both killing someone's mother or just giving him the finger), so that the Senate, highest political authority in Ven community, may give you 'the right to vengeance', where you can do anything justifying it with revenge.

The game also includes mechanics for running a province, plotting and conspiring (in a Game of Thron-ish way), exploring ancient enchanted ruins for magical artifacts, creating art and even romance, which are aspects usually left aside by most systems (or reduced to 'yeah, just roll charisma and then keep bashing that goblin')

To those interested in playing the game, I'd recommend you download the manual and give it a try, especially if you already have some experience in roleplaying and want to try something different.
If you've played HOTB or any other tabletop roleplaying game, leave a comment talking about your experience!



P.s: I'd like to use this space to remind you all that Esperanto is still a living language, and you can practise it by visiting my esperanto blog and reading this entry in which I talk about a roleplaying game, of which I (SPOILER WARNING) will write about in my next english entry.
to learn esperanto, visit www.lernu.net or search my entry on esperanto