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By the Author of Lady Windermere’s Fan is a story game by Lara Paige Turner (http://glaiveguisarme.com/) about improvisationally acting out an Oscar Wilde play. The play’s opening night at the Westland Theatre is a month earlier than it should be and the theatre company is not just under prepared, they don’t even know the name of the play they’re meant to be performing. All they’ve got to go on is that it’s a play by Oscar Wilde. The objective of the game is put on a ridiculous farce for the audience whilst making sure your actor stays in the limelight. All of this is deftly introduced by a play script introduction. I’m not usually a fan of in character fiction at the beginning of a book, but this avoids the usual pitfalls as it is well written, gives great personality to the characters and immediately conveys both tone and objective of the game.

The core of the book is the instructions on how to set up the game, as the company improvises with whatever they have to hand. The first starting point is the sets, which are created privately by the players based on what plays they think the company has previously performed. From the sets they choose to use, the players as the actors then pull together what setting and genre the play will, as well, of course, as being a farce about social mores.

The characters played by the actors played by the players are the dramatic heart of the game. In addition to being upper class twits, they have a vice, a tragic history and a circle of relationships with the other characters. You are encouraged to go big with the costumes so that the audience in the back row can recognise you. Each character takes their turn under the spotlight, once per each of the three acts of the play. The spotlit character is forced by the conversation and wit of the others to first complicate, then exaggerate and then finally reveal a most unpleasant lie they have told.

That’s essentially it in terms of game mechanics. There are rules and guidance about where to stand on the stage and what you can do when your character is off stage but these are there to help those without theatre experience place themselves in the scene. The threat of failure is present in a token system called audience favour. Stall, stutter or stop for too long and you lose these tokens as the audience becomes bored with the play. Should the company run out of tokens, then the play comes to a halt in front of empty seats. Players can award audience favour to each other if they feel particularly amused or inspired by their contribution.

The book makes a sensible use of white space and keeps the layout clean and simple in a single column. The break out boxes are clearly delineated but could have benefitted from a more Victorian border. The typeface is clear and readable and the pdf contents page is hyperlinked. I very much like the public domain Victorian engravings. They feel evocative of the era Wilde was writing in.

The book contains 8 quick start settings that provide sets, props and characters for you to start with. 12 pages of acting guidance and actor archetypes are provided that will serve as highly very useful prompts on how the actor playing the character in the impromptu play will perform.

To Conclude

Hands free seat of your pants meta level acting with detailed and supportive setup guidelines. Get this game if you like Wildian humour and free form story gaming.

Source: https://6d6rpg.com/2020/01/20/review-author-lady-windermeres-fan/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=review-author-lady-windermeres-fan

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5 thoughts on “Review – By the Author of Lady Windermere’s Fan

  1. So, I thought it would be nice to introduce RPGs to retirement communities and nursing homes as a way to not only deter boredom for those people but to also keep their minds sharp. In my original post on r/DnD , I said Dungeons and Dragons simply because that’s what I know, but it’s come to my attention that DnD is definitely not beginner-friendly, and could cause them to become frustrated. This would especially be the case for people battling dementia.

    So, does anyone know of a system that would be good for introducing senior citizens to RPGs? Something simple, beginner-friendly, and probably more calm/lighthearted.

  2. Hi there I am planning on a weird frontiers game, but my players wont read the manual that we use.

    This has been going on several months, and its frustrating canning ideas not due to me being unable to run them, but they beong lazy

  3. There's a pretty common plot device in heroic fiction, be it high fantasy, anime, MCU, whatever… In which the characters slug it out for a while with lower power then progressively trigger new power levels. Something that they seemingly could've done all along, just didn't realize it or didn't want it enough. Something like Superman: the Movie or Thor: Ragnarok, Dragonball Z, Pacific Rim, Wheel of Time, and on and on…

    I have never felt like “leveling up” or metacurrency spends really emulate this well and I've never seen a TTRPG that really did. It should be triggered and not something a player can always be confident in, but the trigger should be some combination of need and chance. What other systems are there that have novel ways to do this trope? What do you feel like really does it right?

  4. TL;DR How would you implement roguelike mechanics in a TTRPG? Have you played any system that has those mechanics in it?

    So my GM and I had a discussion about implementing roguelike mechanics into a one shot we are planning to run together for our group. We currently play D&D 5e but we'd gladly try new games or systems. We raised a few questions we think are relevant for this sort of game, some we answered and some are still open for discussion.

    Firstly – why roguelike? Well, all of the gamers in the group love roguelike games, and we would love to evoke the same feeling of failing and failing and failing again, but within each failure lies a small improvement. The feeling of achieving new and strong powers, as though you played a whole campaign in a 1-2 sessions one shot.

    What can we keep after each death? What will we leave behind? We thought about going in either one of 2 ways: 1) use the D&D 5e level system, just level up much MUCH faster, and keep the exp from one death to the next, and having danger / challenge curve of the dungeon be steep. Any equipment you get will be randomised during the run (from tables we'll create specifically for the party). 2) Create a progression tree, with feats (some from the game, some we'll create), either specified for each character or a generalized and wide one that would let the players personalize their character with their choices on this tree. New feats can be unlocked by finding special items on the dungeon, or defeating mini-bosses.

    Would we penalize players for dying too much? Can we put a max deaths count before they completely perish? How would we encourage safe play, what would be at stakes when dying? We thought about using a system that is close to what there is in Situ – on each death you get older, which means you lose max hp but you hit harder. We haven't gotten to thinking about it mechanically yet.

    What are your thoughts? Why would / wouldn't you want to play a roguelike TTRPG? Do you know any that you enjoyed playing? What other questions should we ask ourselves to get a direction for this game?

  5. Ever since I started playing CoC and Traveller I feel like I've “seen the light” when it comes to the freedom of classless systems. I still love DnD but don't feel like going back to the constraints of Fighter/Rogue/Wizard. Any suggestions for classless dungeon crawling games?

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