A ROLEPLAYING GAME IN SIXTY MINUTES
After spending a few years teaching people how to make board games at cons in two or three hours, Steve Dee has begun a new kind of jam where he gets a room of people to shout at him RPG ideas while he writes them down and turns them into an RPG in one hour flat. If he's lucky there's also an artist to make it pretty. To keep it authentic, these games are not edited after the fact, although we welcome people to come and add to them and develop them. For the most part we used the system explained down below.
- FUTURE THIEVES - a roleplaying game of the old west, the unwritten future, and the explorers that walk between. (Sep 2022)
- IN THE ARENA - to fight the alien invasion, you must be trained for war. What will you risk to become a champion? (PAX AUS, Oct 2022)
- BATS IN THE BELFRY - the cold war with the vampyr bloc drags on, and you go to seed in the streets of 1987 Hungary (09/02/2023)
- SPACE SUITS - in the far future, psychic powers have changed humanity, but the legal system is much the same. Win your case! (16/02/2023)
- INHERITORS - After a terrible disaster, the world's greatest minds left behind incredible power. Your job is to decide who gets to wield that power (23/02/2023)
- GOSLINGS - The boundaries between our world and the world of Mother Goose have broken down and intruders do bloody work. You're the only ones who can catch them (30/03/2023) (EDIT: 7 points in chargen, not 10, is better)
- FLEAS AND FENCING - Once the Nations of Dog, Cat, Rat and Guinea Pig were enemies. Now the fleas must unite to fight their common enemy, with sword and panache! (05/04/2023, with UTS) (EDIT: 1 potion, not two I think!)
- BLACK PLASMA - The Exodus Corporation are ruling space and only the Kaden Fleets stand against them. The men and women of both high and low status are hurled together in this space setting that is Hard Times in Hard Space. (20/09/23, with SUTEKH) (Note: the Liar's Dice mechanic needs work...and the authors are working on it!)
- STARBALL ODD-YSSEY - In the far future of humanity, all war and conquest is decided not with bloodshed, but with Starball. This makes starball athletes as powerful as gods, and as human as the rest of us. (21/10/23, made at SXSW Sydney!) This one is two pages instead of one but we're getting better at writing more. I think it needs a way to regain lost stats! Hopefully SXSW asks us back to do this next year again!
- ONLY VILLAINS IN THE BUILDING - You used to be a supervillain in the 70s. Now you're 70 and nobody takes you seriously, but you still got to get things done. This was made as a practice warm-up for SXSW to sharpen the skills.
THE G-A-M-E-S SYSTEM
These games are designed with the following approach, which we've called the GAMES system. If you make a game in an hour we will showcase links to it here, whether you use our system or not, but we think it works well!
- GATHER seeds to form an idea. You can get a bunch of people to put ideas for settings or genres in a hat, then draw out two. Can't think of settings or genres? Write down the last TV show, movie, comic or game you last saw/read/played. Then again, jam them together. Speak broadly. Jam at least two ideas together. Write down what your setting is, in as few words as possible. That's your hook set.
- ASK for characters. Ask as many people as possible for who they would play in a such a setting. Get a long list of these and then try to spot trends and categories. Are there adjectives, nouns and verbs? Find them, group them, they become your "splats"/races and classes. Characters are built out of three at most choices from lists or tables. This might suggest that they have stats as well (look for the verbs there).
- MODIFY an existing system. In an hour you don't have time to really go from scratch and most RPG systems are derivative anyway. Doesn't have to be an rpg system: it could be poker or blackjack or jacks or anything you can think of. Pick one, steal it, twist it. Match the successes in that game to story goals and modifiers in that game to character elements. Find some way to link some game mechanic to story progress. Also decide player count and if there's a GM.
- ESTABLISH context. This is where you figure out a bit more about your world and what kind of stories you are telling with those characters and those mechanics. What kind of stories are they? What challenges do they involve? Where do GMs get ideas for these? How do you achieve and measure long term success? Do you have some sort of resource that runs down and needs to be replenished (like health)? Do characters change or improve, or does their world? When does it end?
- SHARE it with other people. In order for a game to be finished properly it must be shown to others who weren't part of the jam. This can be some level of playtesting, seeing if the audiences spots mistakes or typos or things that don't quite work, or it can simply to see if they like it and want to play. Putting it up on the web somehow counts, because then it belongs to the world even if nobody comments. It's a way of saying "we're done". And then stop! You're done!