What do you do when waiting for food delivery?
You roleplay 😁
I’ve done this before a year ago – time to share how far things have come.
2d6. My go-to: roll two six-sided dice. Again, I as the game guide (aka game- or dungeon-master) roll the dice when dice need rolling.
5-7-9 difficulty. Whenever the players need to do something, it’s either easy, medium, or hard, and the sum of the dice must be at or above the difficulty to succeed. At most a roll gets a +1 or a +2 if the player is especially good at something, or the lowest die becomes the same value as the highest die if there is contextual advantage (the opposite applying if there’s disadvantage).
Always going. The fictional world doesn’t stop just because a player is making a decision. If not fast enough, fictional characters and contexts advance to force player decisiveness.
Player one. I enjoyed this latest game with only one player. The gameplay was superb, thereby undermining the held belief that multiple players are required for a roleplaying game to blast off.
Self as character. The player existed as a character in the game world. Their motivations and self-reported abilities where their own, the dice deciding how well they fulfilled their sought-after actions.
Orc and pie. The classic mini-beginning to a roleplaying game, the player started in a stark-white, narrow room or hall facing an orc holding a pie, the orc not too enthused the player is there. Everything else in the world is made on the fly!
“What are you doing?” After describing a scene or the action of some imaginary character, this question is the modus operandi to keep the focus on the player. It is the player action that ultimately decides what happens, no matter the fiction being thought up around them.
Probably happens. Rolling dice slows things down. To keep things feeling ‘hot’, most things a player ought be able to do without resistance. Only when there is some sort of challenge to an action occurring do dice get rolled.
Talk it out. Ask for intentions and clarification. As a game guide or player, if something is unclear, get it clear. Only then will the resulting context of the game be able to be figured out and feelings saved from a misunderstanding!
Over the course of thirty minutes, the game went from the white room with the orc to a sandy beach. A summary:
The player started in a white room with an orc at the opposite end who also held one of the best-smelling pies ever to exist. After a brief questioning of the orc, the orc leaves in a huff, followed by the player.
Outside the room is a park, and beyond that a street and warehouse buildings. The orc disappears into one, hotly pursued by the player.
The player searches for the orc, finding them in a dark storage area stacked with crates stamped with “Meat“.
A tussle gets the player captured and drug back to the front of the building, where another orc, Boss, finds out the first orc Rudolph let the player follow them in.
Alone with Boss in Boss’s office, the player makes a break for it as the Boss decides he needs to keep the meat-pie plant a secret.
Blowing past Boss, the player exits to the street where a surprised Rudolph lounges. Continuing to race away, the player is chased by two shouting orcs. An alley provides some cover, enough that the player makes their way to the opposite building side.
There lies a beach stretching out left and right across a busy highway. The player, risking a lot, proceeds to dance around the traffic and leap down an embankment to the beach.
Dashing across the sand to a lifeguard stand, no one is found. Screeches and honks let the player know that the pursuit isn’t over.
100 meters away is a second stand. Luckily there’s a speechless lifeguard there. Unluckily, Boss and Rudolph have just reached the sand.
The player explains themselves and the lifeguard locks both of them inside the hut. A radio-call later has the police on their way… In five minutes.
A pounding and breaking-down of the hut’s door lets the lifeguard surprise the first orc that storms in with an air-canister to the face. The guard is less lucky with the second orc wielding a pistol.
The player makes their escape, pushing past the distracted orc still standing (Boss) and knocking him onto the sand.
Gun cast down between them, the player and Boss face-off.
A grapple in the sand a second later has both characters with hands on the weapon, but the player’s finger is on the trigger.
BLAM. Boss’s hand is mulched! The big orc thrashes and shouts on the beach, clutching their disfigurement.
But the player takes no chances with someone who tried to kill them – BLAM.
Rudolph sees the carnage and beats it across the sand. The player fires, but misses the retreating orc as sirens begin to wail.
Dropping the weapon, the player surrenders to the police just as food arrives in the real world 🙂
Well, that escalated quickly 😅 Yet shouldn’t all quality stories?
Playing while waiting was an absolute joy. I look forward to future games where I might encourage players to set the scene and declare who they are. Wizard fighting a flaming monster? Survivor of the zombie apocalypse? Secret agent stealing the codes? All doable with this simple system of improvised RPGing.
Feel free to use this system yourself for your own time-killers! Improve your game-guiding skills and impress your friends 😁 Let me know how it goes, too!
Cheers to that 🎲🎲