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Teh Rules


Teh original rules of the game


Lexicon: an RPG

Posted by Neel Krishnaswami on November 20, 2003 at 08:43 PM

Here's a little roleplaying game that I've been toying with. I call it the Lexicon rpg, in honor of its inspiration, Milorad Pavic's Dictionary of the Khazars.

The basic idea is that each player takes on the role of a scholar, from before scholarly pursuits became professionalized (or possibly after they ceased to be). You are cranky, opinionated, prejudiced and eccentric. You are also collaborating with a number of your peers -- the other players -- on the construction of an encyclopedia describing some historical period (possibly of a fantastic world).

The game is played in 26 turns, one for each letter of the alphabet.

1. On the first turn, each player writes an entry for the letter 'A'. You come up with the name of the entry, and you write 100-200 words on the subject. At the end of the article, you sign your name, and make two citations to other entries in the encyclopedia. These citations will be phantoms -- their names exist, but their content will get filled in only on the appropriate turn. No letter can have more entries than the number of players, either, so all citations made on the first turn have to start with non-A letters.

2. On the second and subsequent turns, you continue to write entries for B, C, D and so on. However, you need to make three citations. One must be a reference to an already-written entry, and two must be to unwritten entries. (On the 25th and 26th turns, you only need to cite one and zero phantom entries, respectively, because there won't be enough phantom entries, otherwise.)

It's an academic sin to cite yourself, you can never cite an entry you've written. (OOC, this forces the players to intertwingle their entries, so that everybody depends on everyone else's facts.) Incidentally, once you run out of empty slots, obviously you can only cite the phantom slots.

3. Despite the fact that your peers are self-important, narrow-minded dunderheads, they are honest scholars. No matter how strained their interpretations are, their facts are accurate as historical research can make them. So if you cite an entry, you have to treat its factual content as true! (Though you can argue vociferously with the interpretation and introduce new facts that shade the interpretation.)

4. This little game will probably play best on a wiki, and it should take a month or so to play to completion. At the end of it, you'll have a highly-hyperlinked document that details a nice little piece of collaborative world-building.

The owner of the wiki should set the general subject of the Lexicon. I suggest that he or she make use of the technique of "open reference" when describing the historical period: "You are all revisionist scholars from the Paleotechnic Era arguing about how the Void Ghost Rebellion led to the overthrow of the cyber-gnostic theocracy and the establishment of the Third Republic." What a cyber-gnostic theocracy is, or what happened to the first two republics, or what the Paleotechnic Era is are all unknown -- they are named to specifically to evoke a mood and inspire the other players' creativity. (This is an idea which I've first seen in fully articulated form in the character creation rules for Robin Laws's Hero Wars game.)


- Copied and pasted from The 20' by 20' Room


Modifications to teh original rules .


0. Be as cool as you can be. (It's #0 only because I'm too lazy to change all the numbers, so don't take this too seriously.)

1. A turn will be two days, not one.

2. You may cite canon material and your own entries, but citing those do not count for citation requirements (If one of your citations for an article is Einnasch, you'll have to have three citaions for Turn 1 and four citaions for Turn 2~26)

3. The game doesn't have to end by the first cycle. If people are willing or interested enough, we can go for the second cycle starting from A again. If so, Y and Z will require three citations.

4. When you wikilink to a canon article, you'll link to it as normal. Whey you wikilink to a non-canon article, you'll italicize the link (by putting "''"s around them.)

5. And something more I can't think up as of now.


The Rules of the Wiki


= me, #17 AKA sssssz. My authority is absolute, undisputed and unchallenged (at least in this wiki.) But don't worry, I'm extremely lenient, forgiving and lazy. I won't send you to Freedom Camps as long as you don't openly offend someone (that includes not reading the rules carefully. I mean, it took me 10 seconds to c&p that.) or force someone to talk about you with me.

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