Kleene Star (kleenestar) wrote,
Kleene Star

Creative Act, 2/20

I’m still quite sick - sufficiently so to have canceled tonight’s game night - but I’m not gonna let that stop me from posting my creative act! I don’t promise coherence, but I thought this was kind of interesting.

Tomorrow’s my last day of posting games; any suggestions for a new theme?

This is a bog-standard epic fantasy game. Players portray heroes whose job it is to save the world. There’s prophecy, comic minor characters of dubious morality, and magic swords. Ugly people are evil and the heroes never have to go to the bathroom. The king is always right, unless he’s a usurper in which case he has to be overthrown, no questions asked. The world is based on half-understood notions of feudalism, with a Viking culture, a Celtic culture and a “really, really cool, with poisons and stuff” Arab culture for flavor.

There’s just one twist: the game is played backward. Players begin with characters who are powerful, admired, and successful. During play, players must divest their characters of the success and power they have acquired. The sword is stuck, irrevocably, back in the stone; the dragon is brought to life; the evil wizard is released from his thousand-year prison to terrorize the countryside.

The characters remember having lived through these events, the first time, forward. They know the consequences of rewinding time as they are doing. Wars will be fought over the sword; the dragon will raze villages; the evil wizard will take their friends hostage and kill them. But to change things means to erase themselves from existence. If they never imprison the wizard they are never forced to release him, but they also never become the person they are now, at the moment when they must make that decision.

Things in this game always go from better to worse, as the acts of the heroic characters are lost to entropy and time. The only way to avoid this is to try to change the past as one passes through it for the second time, but this can only be accomplished by a slow process of self-destruction. On the other hand, if characters die during this process, they never lived to save the world in the first place. This may be equally bad.

If characters survive to their childhood, the game ends with a pastoral idyll, in which the characters learn to milk cows and fall in love for the first time. Sometimes, they may dream of the future.

I am not certain this game is playable, but I would love to make it so.


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