You’re sentenced to death and forced to perform a play for the emperor. Should the emperor enjoy your performance the most, you’ll be pardoned. Select one player to be emperor. In secret, the rest of the players determine what role their criminal shall play. Keep in mind you are playing a character (criminal) playing a character (in the play). The emperor will decide the theme, props and setting after all players have determined their roles. Criminals are all given five tokens. Decide who goes first. On their turn players speak a line and/or perform an action. The emperor judges them on a scale of 1-5 where one is the best. The player rolls a six sided die. Unless the die is greater than what the emperor said, the player loses one token. One other player can interrupt every turn. When you interrupt someone else the emperor judges your line via the above process and you steal a token or are stolen from. Players who lose all tokens are killed immediately as described by the emperor. Their deaths should be incorporated into the play. Should there be any conflict between actors the emperor shall decide the outcome.
I’ve done a lot of DMing and normally the DM does a lot of work behind the scenes and at the table in order to entertain the players. This idea came to me as a way to finally make those pesky players make fools of themselves solely for the purpose of my amusement. The idea has slowly evolved over time, most notably adding the option to interrupt other players. The wording is a little rough in a few spots, so remember that the emperor’s word is law. A fun variant is to allow the emperor to shout out changes to the environment or setting in the middle of lines.