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This Is Not an RPG • 2017rpg

Alexander P. Slotkin • no link

Inspired by the automatic techniques of surrealist artists.

Requirements: Friends, pencils, paper, a game spinner or paper folded into a point that you can spin, absinthe (optional)

1. Goal: Each player writes a verb, adjective and noun. Spin to determine whose answer fills each blank. If a player is selected multiple times, spin again.

"We must [VERB] the [ADJECTIVE] [NOUN]."

Write the completed goal on a separate piece of paper.

2. Characters: Each player writes entries for the bracketed words below. Spin to select a player. Spin again to select their character's first name, then go clockwise to fill in the rest. Repeat for each player, respinning if necessary.

"I'm [FIRST NAME] [LAST NAME], a [ADJECTIVE] [NOUN]. My ability is [ABILITY]. My weakness is [WEAKNESS]."

Write the completed character descriptions below the goal.

3. Begin: Each player writes a sentence to establish the start of the scenario. Spin. The selected player expands on their sentence, describing what happens (in two minutes or less) using the goal and character descriptions as a guide, and ending at a moment of decision/uncertainty.

4. Play: Repeat step 3, describing what happens next. Continue until the goal succeeds, fails -- or something else entirely.

Author Comments

This Is Not an RPG is an attempt to employ the inspiring (and often wonderfully absurd) automatic writing techniques created by surrealist artists like Andre Breton and Rene Magritte, from whom the game gets its title, within a storytelling RPG context. It also derives inspiration from such modern sources as Mad Libs, Rory’s Story Cubes and Ben Robbins’ Microscope RPG. My hope was to combine all of this into a complete game that would actually be fun to play, and to do it in 200 words or less.