You are ambitious advisors to the King, manipulating petitions to further your goals whilst hiding your darkest secrets. Each advisor has a Name, Ambitious Goal, Deadly Secret, and one Petition Token. Describe your advisor to the group and write their details face up and visible in front of you. A petition is a single sentence that will create a new Law in the kingdom. Once created, a Law cannot be changed. Each round, one player takes the role of The Petitioner, writes a petition and passes it clockwise around the table. Each advisor may give The Petitioner one Petition Token to DELETE, CHANGE, or INSERT a single Word within the petition. Pass the petition around the table until everyone has had a chance to edit it once. The Petitioner then reads the petition aloud as if advising the King why it should be made Law. Each player then reveals how the new Law furthers / obstructs their Ambitious Goal and hides / exposes their Deadly Secret. Petitions cannot name an advisor or change a fact previously established about the world during play, and edited sentences must still be grammatically correct. The game finishes once everyone has been The Petitioner 3 times.
My hope with this finished 200 word version is that it is robust enough to help build stories ranging from the comedic to the tragic. It started out as a slapstick game of Chinese Whispers by way of Machiavelli (with more than a dash of Blackadder!), but during the editing process I realised that the world building and storytelling generation elements were that much more interesting.
The title quotes Lady Macbeth;
“Your servants ever Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs in compt, To make their audit at your highness’ pleasure, Still to return your own.”
Many thanks to Stef, Louis, Alex and Nadim for help with the writing and editing, and to the 200 Word RPG Challenge for the inspiration.