Sunday, February 16, 2014

Playtest -- The Last Two People On Earth

One of my projects is to create some roleplaying games that are specifically designed for just two players. I won't claim an extensive enough knowledge of the RPG market to claim that such games are rare, but they certainly present a unique challenge. For my first attempt, I took on a post-apocalyptic theme. The two players are, so far as they know, the last two people on Earth.

The mechanics are pretty obviously inspired by Fiasco. For the setup phase, players each roll a pool of dice, then use the numbers shown to pick items out of a table to create the scenario. The scenario defines things like the nature of the apocalypse, how the players' characters survived, and how they met. For the main game, the players re-roll their dice and use them to select scene prompts which the other player must then work into their scene. At the end, the players use their remaining dice to select their characters' ultimate fates.

In our game, we decided that the apocalypse had been caused when the government finally tried to control the minds of everyone who had been drinking fluoridated water their entire life. This didn't go so well, and so everyone died, and now packs of wild dogs roamed the ruins. Our characters were Justin Bieber, who survived due to prodigious consumption of vitamins, and Lieutenant Colonel Dolores Gripley, who had just emerged from several years in a secret government cryogenics experiment. They met while scavenging in the ruins of the Cedar St. Giant Eagle in Pittsburgh. Justin appealed to Dolores for help, because while the store was still full of food, he (as a pampered pop star) had no idea how to cook it. Dolores didn't recognize him (having been frozen during his entire career), but she took pity on him.

Accompanied by Justin's trusty dog Artie, the two set off to the park by the river to eat, when they came upon the corpses of Justin's fans who had been leaving his show at PNC Park when everything went wrong. They both fled onto the 9th Street Bridge -- Justin because the bodies were covered with bugs, and Dolores because she hallucinated that they were coming back to life. Upon hearing Dolores's story, Justin tried to go back, thinking his fans would help him. Instead of his fans, though, he encountered a pack of wild dogs. Artie ran ahead, and somehow charmed the wild dogs. Justin reasoned that just like he was famous among humans, Artie must be famous among dogs, and so the wild dogs were his dog fans.

Dolores was increasingly confused, so Justin turned on his radio, hoping to hear one of his songs so that he could show Dolores how famous he was. Instead, the radio picked up a bulletin calling for any survivors to rendezvous at the WESA studio in the Southside.

Justin, Dolores, Artie, and the wild dogs proceeded to the Southside where they found the WESA staff as well as several visiting NPR personalities barricaded in the studio. Carl Kasell was guarding the entrance with a machine gun. He confessed that he was Justin's father. He had wanted to reconnect, but he couldn't afford a ticket to one of Justin's shows. In order to verify the identities of anyone seeking refuge in the studio -- to make sure they weren't part of the government conspiracy -- the studio dispatched a team of crack investigative reporters. Steve Inskeep, who had for some reason been turned into a minotaur, came out to check out Dolores and Justin. Justin grabbed Steve's microphone and sang an impassioned concert all night, proving his identity and bringing tears to everyone listening.

In the end, everyone from the studio set out down the Ohio River on the Gateway Clipper (renamed the Gateway Bieber). Justin reveled in his new NPR-listener fan base, and Dolores fell in love with Carl Kasell.

Draft rules -- The Last Two People On Earth

No comments:

Post a Comment