In a Hallway, Darkly
by Frank Lisbon
Open door, roll 1d6 and deal with result. If you survive, try another door. Behind sixth door, in addition, there’s a stairway up to the next floor. Defeat any demons and climb it. Next floor has one less room. Zero rooms = an exit and a happy end game.
- Light: (Begins at 6, ticked down at least one after each room. At 0, game over.)
- Skills: (Begins at 1. A list of things that makes you special. Is the damage you do with an attack.)
- Esteem: (Begins at 1. A list of good memories. Is the damage you can take before dieing.)
- Trauma: (Begins at 1. A list of bad memories. Is the damage a demon does with an attack.)
Results/Behind door is…
- A light that joins yours. +1 Light.
- A happy memory. Write it down. +1 Esteem
- A tool. Write it down. +1 Skill.
- A shade that drains some of your light. -1 Light
- A bad memory. Write it down. +1 Trauma.
- A demon. Deals damage = current trauma and can take damage = the floor number you are on before disappearing.
Battling: Determine initiative. All attacks hit. Ask if the damage kills.
Interns and Invaders
by Sheila Heady
You are a group of interns in a shared office Gchatting with a friend downstairs. They send a message about coworkers acting possessed, then abruptly stop answering. Your suspicion of a strange prank is shattered by blood-curdling screams.
Interns: You have three attributes, which are your interview answers to:
What is your greatest strength?
What is your greatest weakness?
Tell me about your hobbies.
To determine success roll two six-sided dice. If your strength or hobby may impact what you are rolling for, add +2 for strength and +1 for hobby. If your greatest weakness is involved, -1. The roll needed for success is determined by the narrator. If you die or become possessed create a new character and describe how they run into the group.
Narrator: Determine the nature of the threat from the table below (randomly or your choice), choose its goal and one weakness. Describe situations, ask players what they want to attempt, call for rolls when an outcome is uncertain. Play ends when players escape or defeat the threat.
- Psychic Great Old One cultists
- Time traveling cyborgs
- Alien bacteria
- Google Labs project gone wrong
- Vampires harvesting thralls
- Curse spreading from tainted coffee mug
“Beasts, rebels, and raw nature threaten your town. What will you sacrifice to survive?”
Setup: Place the jacks and kings of a deck in front of you. Shuffle the rest.
“What talents do you bring to your town?”
- Spades – Authority, Insight, Leadership
- Hearts – Compassion, Connections, Inspiration
- Diamonds – Wealth, Negotiation, Wit
- Clubs – Labour, Fighting, Hunting
Take your suit’s jack and king, plus 4 cards.
- Dealer draws 4 cards and decides what Threat they represent
- She lays them face down, announcing each suit
- She narrates the Threat
Ex. “The nightly howling drove the miller mad. He ran into the woods.”
- Describe your character’s reaction
- Place a card next to a Threat card of the same suit
- Flip all cards
- If the Threat is higher, the dealer takes the trick
- If the player wins, they choose:
- Take the trick and describe how the character helped themselves
- Give the trick to the town and describe how it is better off
The dealer raises the stakes each round.
Ending: If the town has fewer tricks than the dealer, it is destroyed. No one survives. Otherwise, narrate your character’s fate based on their tricks:
- Tricks Ending
- 0 Ruined/Killed
- 1 Shamed/Hurt
- 2+ Rich/Lauded
Image Credit – Medieval Writer by Hans Splinter – CC-BY-ND-2.0