Saturday, 14 March 2015

Room 66a: A Treasure Chest Guarded by Two Orcs

This is a one-act story game for two players, though others may be added if required.

Scene One

Our drama takes place in a dungeon, within which there is a room containing a treasure chest guarded by two orcs (or more, if required.) The orcs are not clear on whose dungeon they are in, what is in the chest or why they are standing here guarding it, though they expect a party of adventurers to arrive and try to steal it, at some time, soon... possibly. The orcs are surprisingly erudite and loquacious, as we shall see.

In order to play, you will need a deck of cards: the first player turns over the top card of the deck to determine their opening gambit; the rank of the card revealed does not matter at this point, only the suit:

Clubs: the subject is their routine and role in the dungeon, such as how long they have been there, what's in the chest and when are they having lunch.

Hearts: the subject is themselves and their destinies, such as how easily they can crack a skull, how a date with the sorceress went and what they hope to do once they are finished guarding this chest.

Spades: the subject is the adventurers, such as how long they will take to arrive, what they'll do when they arrive and musing about famous adventurers.

Diamonds: the subject is philosophical or scientific musings, such as the way they perceive time to pass, the nature of morality and the evolution of species.

The game continues by each player turning over the next card in the deck and continuing the conversation by way of that theme, but the rank of the cards makes a difference to how that response is framed.

Scene Two

If the next card turned over is of a higher rank than the previous one, then the response must be in the form of a question: this may be a rhetorical question, one seeking clarification or just a reframing of the previous statement in more circumlocutious terms.

For example, if the prior statement, from the 3 of Clubs, was "I've brought a cheese sandwich for lunch," then the responses might be as follows:

On the 7 of Clubs: "Were we supposed to bring our own food?"

On the 7 of Hearts: "I thought you were gluten intolerant?" or "Did you buy it or make it yourself?"

On the 7 of Spades: "What do you think the adventurers have got for lunch?"

On the 7 of Diamonds: "How did they discover cheese?"

Scene Three

If the next card turned over is of a lower rank than the previous one, then the response must be in the form of a statement: this may be an answer to a previous question, an angry outburst or simply a meandering stream of conciousness, as long as it stays on topic.

For example, if the prior statement, from the 7 of Clubs, was "I hear they're bringing  in a dragon," then the responses might be as follows:

On the 3 of Clubs: "Oh... they'll have to widen the doors then."

On the 3 of Hearts: "I hope they're not going to sack us"

On the 3 of Spades: "They'll kill it. They killed the last one. And the one before that."

On the 3 of Diamonds: "That'll be for the treasure then. They love treasure."

Scene Four

If the next card turned over is of the same rank as the previous one, then there is no response: the orcs are interrupted by the suggestion of events outside the room. The player whose turn it is may insert any kind of jarring interruption to the narrative, regardless of the suit of the card drawn; the game then continues with the next player turning over the next card and starting a new topic of conversation. Examples of interruptions might be the sound of a trap being sprung or a great beast roaring, the echoes of distant footsteps or bloody battles, or even another denizen of the dungeon opening the door to the room, saying "Sorry, wrong room," and closing the door immediately behind them.

Final Act

The game may end in one of two ways:

1. The last card is turned over, the last question is asked or statement made, the light fades to black and the curtain comes down.


2. On any double, the player whose turn it is may choose to have the opening of the door to their room as the interruption to the dialogue: the adventurers have arrived, at last. Fade to black, curtain down.

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