Not-Too-Silly Stories

A free-form, story-oriented, rules-lite, GM-less roleplaying game. It’s a bit like a highly simplified version of Universalis. I designed it to play with my kids, hence the use of Silliness as a constrained resource to keep the stories from getting out of hand.

Excerpt: 

Equipment
• Cards — bits of paper for character & item sheets. (3”x5” is a good size.)
• A pencil or pen.
• Importance tokens — these are used to “create” things and their attributes.
• Power tokens — these mark attributes that can “attack” or otherwise exert influence over other things.
• Silly tokens — spend these to make silly things happen (or to make a character or item silly)
• Yay! tokens — reward another player for doing something great
• No! tokens — veto something another player tries to do
• A Me Next totem — to track which player wants to take the next action
• Coins to flip to resolve challenges & conflicts. For tokens I use those little flattened glass beads, in different colors for the different types. You need to be able to fit a bunch of Importance / Power / Silly tokens onto a card, so they should only be about 1cm across.

Setting the First Scene
• Everyone gets 12 Importance tokens, 6 Power tokens, 4 Silly tokens, 3 Yay! tokens, and 2 No! tokens 1. The Me Next totem goes in between the players, within everyone’s reach.
• Decide who goes first.
• On your turn, create stuff. You can create a setting, character, item card; you can add attributes to a card; or you can add extra tokens to an existing attribute. (See below for details.) If you create a new card you can add extra attributes to it on the same turn.
• Pay for what you added! Put an Importance, Power or Silly token on the card for every line you wrote. (Yes, if you run out of tokens you can’t add anything more and have to skip your turn.)
• Negotiate any No! responses. If another player really doesn’t like what you’re adding, they can threaten to veto it by playing one of their No! tokens. See the “No!” section below. Try to work out a compromise; otherwise you’ll lose the tokens you just played. (If the other player thinks your addition is powerful or silly, the compromise might involve your adding Power or Silly tokens to it, thus tying them up and limiting the amount that can be added in the future.)
• Keep going around until everyone’s satis fi ed (or has run out of tokens). Remember, you don’t have to create everything in the game ahead of time! You can add more during play. Right now you just need enough stuff to play the first scene with: a setting and at least one character per player.

Author: 
Jens Alfke
Game Type: 
Collaborative Story
Crunch: 
2 - Focus/Imagination
Players: 
2+
GM?: 
No
Free?: 
Yes

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