the Fairgame Archive

2009-12-23: Penny Adventures
by Meguey

When I was a kid, I'd play D&D for days with my sister and the neighbor kids. Then sometimes we'd have to go on a car trip. What to do, what to do. I think it began out of sheer desperation.

"You are standing in a hallway running east and west. There's a door in front of you. What do you do?" And we're off and playing. Use a penny for any challenge, and the player is themselves, as an adventurer. So no super-human abilities, but if she can justify having something, she does. I think we found a place to inventory some basic stuff fairly soon. It was fun and simple and extremely portable. I basically followed my-sister-as-the-PC around, tossed monsters and treasure at her in equal parts, and when there was a conflict, we tossed a coin. Heads you win, tails you lose, and either way, the PC gets to narrate hwo it happens.

Emily thinks I should maybe write this one up. Hmm.

2009-12-23 18:39:56 Emily

"You are standing in a hallway running east and west. There's a door in front of you. What do you do?"

I look at the strange flickering green light that I see beneath the door. I cast a spell, "detect magics" to see what is up with that!"


It is such a nice two-player game. I'm imagining line drawings a la In a Wicked Age or Cheap & Cheesy.

2010-01-04 18:21:30 Meguey

"Ok, the light is safe, but there's definitely something up with it, Do you try the door?"


And in my head I'm thinking "Oh, a magical lantern! Neat!"

I don't remember exactly how much we shared out the description, but yeah, that's the gist. Since we mostly played in the car, we generally didn't draw, but it would be cool.

2010-01-04 19:55:03 Emily

"I check for traps, and try the door!"


Can't wait to get the lantern! *hope* *hope*

Simple mapping would be neat. Having games for long car rides can be such a life saver. :)

2010-01-09 03:49:53 Meguey

"There's no traps you can detect, and the door swings open at your touch. There's warmer air inside, and a faint smell of mint. A green light makes the other details of the room hard to make out."


I don't think we'd discovered graph paper in book form, or I would have used it. The biggest problem in teaching this to other kids is the mental leap to letting the Player narrate when there is a failure, so they don't feel railroaded. We always played that the Player was the real person, transported into a 'typical' fantasy world, with 'typical' adventuring equipment. Sometimes we'd detail it a bit:

"Ok, I have a pet squirrel who can understand me and do simple tasks."

"All the usual stuff, but I also have a ring of invisibility that I can use once a day."

"I want a really amazing sword. Like, I usually win with it, but I don't use it unless I have to, because I've taken some sort of vow."

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