Friday, May 21, 2010

The Intro to Gieden, a pencil and paper RPG

So, today's the big day!

I want to share a pencil and paper role playing game, or RPG.

This game, Gieden, was intended to bring new people into role play; it's written for newbies, short on rules and long on story. I'll present it here the same way, but there are also conversion rules for those who already RP in another system.

To play a pencil and paper RPG, one person studies the rules and becomes the Game Master (GM). They control the setting and story; that is, they set up the situation. The others (there should be at least two, but one will do in a pinch) create characters, and then decide how those characters will act in the situation. It's basically collaborative fiction, with one player being the narrator and the others controlling the main characters.

Here is the introduction to Gieden, the RPG, left just the way I abandoned it years ago, despite my strong desire to edit it now that I've improved my writing a bit...

It was afternoon, and everywhere, people were busy going about the daily routines of their lives. In cities, people honked horns and waited irritably for the traffic to resume its normal, break-neck pace, and in the country, kids ran around barefoot playing ‘Cops and Robbers’. People fought. People loved. They cried tears of joy and pain, of loss and fear.

Spirituality was largely set aside, or else dogmatized or ritualized into nothingness. Science ruled, and most worshipped the twin gods of Money and Technology. Without them, the people knew, they would die.

Emotions were wielded like swords, the pen became mighty, the insult mortally wounding. People casually used the word ‘hate’, wished others would die, or promised eternal love. All these emotions, all these strong intentions, and very few understood the consequences.

No one saw it coming. No one realized that destruction would come, not from their own wanton abuses of their planet or as wrath from the heavens, but from their own wills, their own unchecked emotions and desires. They had forgotten their own power long ago, and it was that power, the power of man, that would destroy them.

Suddenly, when one wished to lash out in rage, or wanted another to die, it was so. When one reached out for their source of strength, they found it made manifest. The creatures of Nightmares and Dreams were let loose upon the world of man.

All this wrought fear, and fear wrought death and pain. The world, which only moments ago had seemed ordinary and stable, governed by science and reason, was suddenly a place of magic and terror. Each individual’s destruction caused hurt and fear to all those who saw; most of those witnesses reacted in ways that brought about their own deaths, and thus it spread like fire in the wind.

The survivors were forced to run to places wild and isolated, or else to scurry around the ruins of their old homes, living like rats, searching for food and hiding from predators.

Money was useless. Technology was dying. And what was left of the human race faced a future where they must rely on themselves and one another.

Welcome to the world of Gieden.

Ok, so pompous tone aside, that's the idea. It's a post-apocalyptic world where everyone has the power to use magic--but use it too much, or lose control just once, and people die. More specifically, using magic forever links you to a Nuameii, a nightmare creature, and the more magic you pull through your body, the greater the risk that your body will be destroyed and only the Nuameii will remain.

The Gieden are the ones who choose to use magic; many of them will show physical signs of the Nuameii that lurks just below the surface. Those who refuse to touch magic are called Roian. Some of them live near ruined cities, surviving on the last dregs of technology; others have turned to tribal or agricultural lifestyles. A couple of small cities have been cobbled together, but these cities tend to be highly segregated to prevent undue intermingling of Gieden and Roian.

The next chapter starts with a short story, told from the perspective of a girl born to Roian parents but who, in a moment of stress, reached out for magic, became Gieden, and was forced into a new kind of life. From there it goes into role-play possibilities within this setting. I'll be posting that next time. :)

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