You've probably heard of "tabletop Role Playing Games" (or, tabletop RPGs) before, but what are they? In this episode, Chris and Morgan introduce a subset of RPGs called "Narrative RPGs" whose mechanics are focused primarily around storytelling (as opposed to tactical combat).2 Hear about how narrative RPGs can be used as "collaborative storytelling with dice", some of the narrative RPG systems that exist, as well as an in-depth look at one particular RPG system, Freeform Universal. Freeform Universal is so simple and easy to pick up that by the end of this episode, you should have enough information to use it for weaving stories with your friends!
Freeform Universal (or FU, pronounced "Foo")
Fate (published by Evil Hat)
- Look, you can find enough info about these on your own
- The internet is full of articles about them
Open Game License (OGL) (... it's a weird license, but we'll talk about that some other time)
- Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC BY 3.0)
- Dark Dungeons (CW: 1980s religious satanic-panic propaganda... but for a fun time, find the 2014 live-action film somewhere)
- Rory's Story Cubes (we called them "Rory's Story Dice" on the episode, oops)
- Donjon RPG tools (Don't have enough time to come up with your own materials? You can use these as long as you don't mind leaning into a lot of auto-generated tropes.)
RPGs as therapy
- Mary Robinete Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey (first book in the Glamourist Histories books mentioned by Morgan as inspiring one of her game themes)
Libre Lounge (Podcast Chris used to co-host, still ongoing)
Still reading this? Wow, okay, some bonus content...
We mentioned that Morgan did a class assignment for her intro-to-German class about needing to make a German fairytale... here's the assignment, as turned into the class: Hilda die Hexe (be nice enough to remember this is an intro-to-German class). Additionally, Chris simultaneously wrote a slightly-more-elaborated-upon version called The Witch and the Carriage. The process of playing the game and then writing up both of these took about an hour and a half so set your expectations accordingly.
Still want more? Okay, not claiming this is a "great" story, but here's a kind of fun writeup of a session called Santa's Little Uprising. (Not very serious, could use more polish.)
Maybe we'll take up our own advice and more seriously publish some of the stories we've constructed together sometime!