As you play this game, aim to satisfy the Agenda every time you’re contributing to the fiction.
• Portray a living, recovering world
• Show the characters the effects of their actions
• Play to find out what happens
Portray a living, recovering world
When you are describing the world either as Arbiter or when designing a location during theWorldbuilding phase, think about who or what lives there and how that changes the land. Show evidence of who else lives there, whether other people or animals. Describe plant life. Build ecosystems. Along with that, describe what used to be here. Include archaic constructions, and if they are dilapidated or if they’ve been repurposed. Give characters ancient technology, and baffle them with their functions.
Show the characters the effects of their actions
When a player interacts with the world, think about the effects. Were they rude to an NPC? People talk. Did they try to blast open a door?That explosion might be the last thing it took for this old building to start falling. Or worse, the noise and vibrations may awaken something better left alone.
Play to find out what happens
Don’t go into a session or even a scene knowing what’s going to happen.Allow yourself to be surprised at the results of all of the Details added by various players. It’s fun to discover a story together.
The principles serve as your guide when you are playing the game and adding Details. Following the principles is a good way to satisfy the Agenda and make sure everybody is having a good time playing this game.
• Be a fan of the characters
• Be a fan of the world
• Check in with the other players
• Reveal this place’s secrets
• Change the landscape
• These locations are home, but not your home
• Think new, think ancient
• Be honest and add Details that follow the fiction
• Pass to the other Arbiters
• Endanger your character
• Name every person
• Give every creature life
• Skip the boring parts
Be a fan of the characters
The player characters are the protagonists of this story. Play them as such!Take bold actions and expect them to do well. If you’re adding Details to another player’s character, add something that will be interesting for their narrative.
Be a fan of the world
The story takes place in a world that you collectively created. Explore it, describe it, and allow it to shine in your story.
Check in with the other players
Playing a game like this takes a lot of time as well as emotional effort and creative output. From time to time, check in with each other and make sure that you’re all still enjoying the game. If you’re not, work with your group to figure out what can be done to make your time more enjoyable.
Reveal this place’s secrets
The world that you play in was built up and destroyed many times. In real life, the contents of your second desk drawer can be surprising.Who could say what secrets litter the landscapes and buildings you’re exploring? Open that drawer and let out whatever’s inside.
Change the landscape
Think big! Make sweeping changes to the land, and then play to find out what happens as a result.A button is pressed and a rumbling is heard for a minute until a huge tower erupts out of the ground.The adventurers weren’t careful when they were messing around on that dam, and it’s about to flood.
These locations are home, but not your home
Things live in the places that your characters are exploring. Sometimes there are people you can talk to, sometimes there are people that communicate in a totally different way. Sometimes there aren’t any people, but the place is full of different animals. Sometimes all you can find is a trace of life, perhaps hiding just out of sight.
Think new, think ancient
Imagine futuristic technologies and buildings, and then imagine them ruined and repurposed. Imagine things that were too strange or hidden to be repurposed until now.
Be honest and add Details that follow the fiction
When choosing which parts of your character to use, be honest with yourself and your table and only use what actually makes sense.When adding Details as Arbiter because a player lost a roll, don’t hold back. Complicated the scene in a way that follows the fiction, even if it leads to the character having a harder time.
Pass to the other Arbiters
Unless you’re playing with just 2 or 3 people, there will almost always be at least one other Arbiter sharing duties with you. Share those duties! Describe some of the scene, and then gesture towards the others to take over and finish the description. You’ll be surprised how different their ideas are and how interesting the combination can be.
Endanger your character
While we are a fan of the characters, we also want an interesting story. Put them in dangerous situations and see what happens next. Push that button, enter that dark hallway, stand your ground against the large rats threatening you. When you’re acting as Arbiter, add Details to the current scene that complicate the situation your own character is in. It will give the other players something to go off of when your character comes back on screen.
Name every person
Characters in the world can be way more interesting when you’re thinking of names for them.Any time there is a non-player character on screen when you are Arbiter, give them a name and think about what their daily life is like.
Give every creature life
The world is full of all sorts of creatures, each one living a rich and complex life as they try to survive long enough to make it worth it. Give them motivations and show how they live.
Skip the boring parts
When traveling between locations in this game, we don’t roleplay what is happening moment-to-moment on your travels. We skip that part, because it’s not likely to be as interesting as the proper adventure at the location that somebody designed.
Use this on the adventures themselves as well. This doesn’t have to be a realistic simulation. Skip past parts that won’t be as fun. For example, if you think it’s time to leave a location and everyone is relatively safe, just collectively decide how you meet up. Unless it’s going to be interesting, you don’t need to show that on screen or roll dice to do it.