By now word is out that Animalball.com is giving aweay a bunch of its games for free. This is of course awesome and so I obliged them by snagging a download or two from this page right here. Swank.
My eye drifted toward Instant Game and, after perusing it, Stories System. I haven't done anything with the latter yet, but I did take a stab at the former...
Instant Game is a neat concept: the short .pdf includes some very, very barebones rules for role-playing, and some charts for generating a game concept on-the-fly. You roll a setting, a tone, some story elements, opposition and activities, and you let them inspire you. It won't do all your work for you, but it'll certainly get you started.
The very first game I rolled up looked like this:
Setting: Modern-Day Las Vegas
Things: Elves, Mass Transport
At first, I just kinda went, "Huh huh huh. Elves driving buses.", and went off to play with my daughter. Later, I thought about it again, and...the ideas came.
Las Vegas, you see, is run by demihumans. They operate the place as a tourist destination; it's their turf, as designated by the Non-Human Relocation Act of 1947 (or something; that's not important). Elves, dwarves, goblins, gnomes, trolls...they're all in Vegas, and it's theirs to do with as they please.
It's the goblins who run the town; they're cunning little bastards, wise with money but in love with glitz. Goblins like things BIG and FLASHY, so they went nuts and turned Vegas into the wonderland that it is today. It sure brings in a lot of revenue, so no one minds.
Well, almost no one.
The other races were quickly organized into Civic Departments, performing the duties to which they are best suited, to benefit Las Vegas and, by extension, their own existence. Dwarves have Public Works & Planning; gnomes are in charge of Power & Water; halflings run the hotels, because they're all about feeding people and giving them someplace to sleep. You don't want crime going rampant in a place like this, so trolls get badges and the Police Department. Various other critters have Sanitation and other departments as their duties, but they're probably only semi-intelligent to begin with and not that important right now. Goblins bring in the money from their penthouse suites, chomping on cigars and making deals on cellphones in their hot tubs.
The elves...are not pleased.
The elves challenged the goblins for leadership; in their minds, it was the elves who should decide what was best for the city. It should be, like, a nature preserve, or a giant library, or a commune or something. There's no money in that, though, and in the human world (which is where they all ultimately reside), money talks. So the goblins won out over the haughty, snooty elves, and now there's hookers and neon and gambling and buffets.
Ohh, that just makes the elves so mad.
What's worse is that, in the process of challenging the goblins, the elves managed to severely piss them off.
You don't piss off the goblins. Especially not in Las Vegas. They're not mean, they're not evil...they just don't take crap.
Next thing you know, no one's been asked to drive the buses...and guess who's just standing around, pouting, and not contributing?
Now...I'm not sure what the game would be about. Maybe you just play members of different races having wild misadventures in demi-human Las Vegas; maybe you're all elves, living under the goblin heel, trying to usurp power and build your big-ass desert topiary garden. Maybe you're a team of spcialized troubleshooters with guns and computers and high-tech gad--
That one's been done.