Thursday, December 13, 2007

Again With the Instant Game

Yes sir! You're right, I have mentioned Animaball's Instant Game before. Look at the big brain on you! But, uh, Los Hermanos Animalballos1 have just released the full version of the game -- a whopping2 98-page .pdf with more charts, more examples, and...uh...more pages, really.

But that's not the only reason I'm mentioning it again. No.

I'm mentioning it again because I took the salient part of this book to lunch with me today, and set about rolling up an instant game between bites of General Tso's chicken3.

Why, yes, I'd be glad to share!

The basic idea is this: You generate a setting for your game, a Tone and a couple of Things that are in it, and you do it by rolling on charts. (The idea is to go into it with few preconceptions, but if you're in the mood for your game to be in a specific setting or of a specific tone or whatever, you assume it and move on, rolling for the rest.) You can add on supplemental charts to define these items as needed (descriptors, people, personalities, etc.), and play the hand you're dealt, as it were. Got it?

In my case, I had my setting already picked out: Uncharted Space. Whatever that meant; that could come later. So I wrote that down, and started rolling:

SETTING: Uncharted Space
TONE: Pulp
THINGS: (Famous) Advanced Intelligence, (Awesome) Lost Tribe

...uh-huh. Right. What?

Next, I rolled up an Instant Plot. What's gonna drive the action?

OPPOSITION: Government Agents
ACTION 1: Convince Elves
ACTION 2: Steal Security Systems

I'll admit that the elves and the security systems didn't immediately strike any sparks, but that soon came to make no difference -- everything else soon did...

The PCs are members of a starship caravan, fleeing Earth after an oppressive global regime takes power. Three such refugee caravans departed in groups, each one a collection of ships gathered inside the same jump-drive field; one of them mis-jumped, stranding its travelers (the PCs) in uncharted space!

The planetary regime, however, has followed this lost caravan, and now a small fleet of their ships is stranded in the same region. The government agents don't give a damn about the refugees...they want to re-capture the supergenius physics professor who escaped with them, take him back to Earth, and put him to work making weapons.


The PCs now have trouble on two fronts: they're lost, and have to explore the surrounding stars to find a new home (the jumps were one-way, oh noes!!!), deal with hostile aliens, space monsters, crazy star-kings and so on, WHILE they evade the Earth Regime bad guys who'll gladly slaughter them all to a man as long as they can get their scientist back.

So. Awesome. But -- did Instant Game do this? No; I did. Instant Game just tossed out some ideas and I arranged them, while I ate lo-mein and mushroom pork. But its help and inspiration were invaluable, and I was done in under 45 minutes.

Cool, huh? Think you could use somethin' like that?

You tell me.

1Not real Spanish.
2How exactly DOES something whop?
3He isn't really, but he finds the misunderstanding to his advantage.