Social media has turned into a game of dodge the 200 Word RPG Challenge entry, so I haven’t been online quite as much. Judging begins on April 26th (Wednesday), so I’ll probably release Issue 2 of Machineries of Joy on Monday or Tuesday. It’s on roleplaying games from the Nørwegian Surreal and includes work from the following array of wonderful people:
Ole Peder Giæver
Something is living in our dreams. We discover the Mnemosite in childhood, learn more during our youth, first meet as the Society of Dreamers as adults, then weave the facts of the story together before learning the eventual fates of both the characters and the Mnemosite. We are the dreamers who live in the dream.
Technique: scenes are framed by each of the players in turn, prompted by one of nine results blindly decided by the other players’ engagement with a bespoke Ouija board.
Playstyle: Nordic Dreaming; listen, don’t block, no need to complain or explain, everyone is equal.
This game may contain mature themes.
We’ll use an X-Card to moderate content anyone at the table finds uncomfortable – perfect for a weird, fast-moving narrative in which anything can happen. You just tap the X-Card whenever something you’d prefer wasn’t in the game arises and that’s it: no explanation necessary. It’s a way of being considerate without interrupting the flow of the game.
The first player-produced work of art entered our Dreamhounds of Paris game last night – Catacombs No.4 by Anton Du Marr, created by Space Monkey.
Du Marr emerged from behind a large rock removed from the entrance of a large cave with Romanesque arches by hominids with large, pronounced jawlines rimmed by teeth; he was carrying a collection of lidded eyes on stalks as if they were bunch of flowers.
“Make sure you include something of HIM in the portrait, Anton – a real piece of him, just as you did with the flowers,” Nicolas Flamel was saying. “There can be nothing that is fake about this painting.”
“Satellites” of surrealism “Crooked Bob” Notttingham and Edward Cody dined at Le Maldoror with new-found “Ally” of the movement Anton Du Marr, where Cody found an extremely fearful Robert Desnos hiding in its garret. Cody spent Charm to befriend Desnos and lent the former Dream Medium the use of his American accent for a radio jingle.
The player-characters discovered an upside-down cross in the Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp – Du Marr’s religious faith meant that he suffered a severe loss of Stability when he touched it – then dined with Flamel (don’t ask what they ate) after a long and arduous journey through the Catacombs. One unique and dangerous text was exchanged for another.
Two days into A Week of Kindness and already the players are finding themselves drawn deeper, deeper into the darkness beneath Paris. Tomorrow (Wednesday) will see them keep an assignation under the light of a full moon at the Cimitière du Montmartre with a secret brotherhood known only as Là-bas.
Gala gave a Tarot reading, “Crooked Bob” Nottingham made an assignation with Georges Bataille’s secret cadre of satanic bankers and Edward Cody sold the first-ever copy of Une semaine de bonté for eight times the value anyone was expecting. He ended the evening by emptying his six-shooter into a line of five champagne bottles outside the Galerie de rêve, using his final bullet to dislodge an enormous hat designed by Salvador Dalí from Gala’s head. She loved it and so did the crowd.
Things didn’t go so well for poor old Anton Du Marr. Max Ernst – the influential patron who had identified his painting The Rose Tree as “a work of profound and disquieting genius” – disdained Du Marr’s new work White Bear in Snow (a collage of white pieces of paper on white canvas) by throwing it out of the open door of the gallery. Du Marr later discovered that someone had sold the work from under him for an exorbitant sum. In other news, Gala has a new hat.
The player-characters’ new-found celebrity has won them an audience with excommunicated dream medium Robert Desnos, a sensitive man who has committed the unforgivably-bourgeois sin of going into radio jingles. André Breton will not be pleased.
Paintings appeared in our game of The Society of Dreamers that granted access to dimensions of creativity deeper and more dangerous than anyone involved might ever have imagined.
I’m more convinced than ever that people possess a natural inclination toward storytelling and that they simply need permission and encouragement to do so effectively. The various delineations of roleplaying games – mainstream, story game, OSR, what-have-you – are more a matter of stress than of difference and directed toward assuaging anxieties about how the game-experience might play out. Games from the Nørwegian Surreal – Itras By, The Society of Dreamers, the new version of Draug that is forthcoming – are particularly great at granting each person playing full creative reign without impeding the overall creative agenda of the game.
A religious conspiracy, wine-dark portals of water and colour and a painting of a girl with a half-eaten apple for a head designed to capture the soul of a child.
Our game of The Society of Dreamers was all kinds of great – and all the more so now we’ve moved on to Act 3 of the game, the “weaving” together of the established facts of the story. We’ll conclude our narrative next week.
Neither illness nor childcare commitments put paid to the game this time – it was the Southern train strike. Never mind. My thoughts turn instead to which of the following RPGs the guys might be persuaded to try during 2017:-