Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Write up for Show 005: Free Form Gaming or Lair of the Goblin Warlord Part 4

Lair of the Goblin Warlord Part 4: Free Form Gaming

The title is a trick.  Actually you have all of the elements you need to take the Lair of the Goblin Warlord to a free form game in the three previous write ups.

You have the characters, the locations, the relationships and the major plot points.  If you were so disposed you could use that to start a game that could last for years in a free form environment.

The meat of this write up is to help those who are interested dip their toes, and maybe go in up to your waist, in the river of creativity that is free form collaborative story telling.

The list of tools tools that can help get you started are as follows:

The Creative Whack Pack: A business resource that is actually cheaper new on Amazon than used. and

Mad Scientist University from Atlas Games at

Toon from Steve Jackson Games

The Amber Diceless system, out of print, see

Over The Edge from Atlas Games at

The Creative Whack Pack

A business tool from the 1990's to help deeply entrenched corporate drones raise their heads out of the lifeless muck that was their daily job and be more creative.

The Whack Pack has a book but the cool factor is from a deck of cards that gives you a nice allegorical lesson and then a question.  The question asks you to enact a spontaneous implementation about the lesson or to share how you would do so.

I am assuming that your spirit is not as broken as a firmly entrenched corporate slug in the 1990's but the Creative Whack Pack gives you the 'whack on the side of the head' to shake off your shyness and to look at things from the crooked angle that is creativity.

Mad Scientist University

Another card game with more game this time than happy lessons on cards.  Each player is dealt cards with phrases on them and in turn plays two of their phrases and then explains how they would use the phrase on the card to take over the world.  After each player has gone once all players vote on who they think had the best idea.

Why is this a creative exercise?  Please explain why your laundry soap with sheep pheromones is better at taking over the world than my penguin powered orbital mind control laser.

This game can get you past the reach of your usual silliness and let you freely express yourself creatively in roleplaying games.


If you have EVER been a child of any sort of description you know a great deal of cartoon physics and how cartoon characters behave themselves provided you were exposed to television in your youth.  If you were NOT exposed to television while growing up this is the PERFECT way to see how people who did wasted a lot of time and really enjoyed it.

Toon is a simple game with quite simple mechanics that demands you act in a silly and creative fashion while you fight, zip, smarts, and chutzpah your way through the simulated plots of your own personal cartoons.

Using the basic rules of the game and basic rules of the cartoon plot Toon can help you extend yourself into a realm where the impossible is quite common and creativity is at times your only advantage.

The Amber Diceless System

Though out of print this game is a genre of roleplaying all by itself.  The idea of using no dice to resolve conflict was and largely is still a novel idea.

The wikipedia write up can cover the whats and wherefores of the game much better than I can but I will tell you this one thing.  With enough time to yourself in this game it is possible for anyone to do anything.  Based on Roger Zelazny's World of Amber which itself is based on a fusion of magic and quantum physics and ultimate possibilities this is one creative springboard that you should not miss.  Hit EBay and used book stores to find this truly golden grail of creative roleplay.

Did I tell you that my first con was an Ambercon?  Yep.  It was.

Over The Edge

Another offering from Atlas Games.  Dude.  This is to games what the Creative Whack Pack is to 1990's corporate wage slaves.  I would consider myself a person who played roleplaying games before I picked this one up but not a roleplayer.

The rules including character creation are one page of this 240 page book.  Everything else is background and specific methods to make your game cooler to play.

The first question in character creation is "If you could be anything what would it be?".  Game runners are told to reject answers to that question if that anything is trite or passe.  Why be a sparkly vampire if you could be a mail box with an IQ of 250 or a time travelling ectomorph that only speaks 31st century French?  You are given the sky.  Think big.

Even more fun with Over The Edge?  Could it be more fun?  YES!! We used to play this game in conjunction with the On The Edge card game, a sister product from the same studio, and flip the cards to see what the group encountered next.  On the way to drop off or pick up the ransom money?  Deal with a rain of technicolor walrus while in a car chase with flying giant sentient cockroaches.  Live through that and you are a ROLEPLAYER.


These are some games and products that have helped me to loosen up and get ready for free form roleplaying fun.

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