the Fairgame Archive

2011-01-09: Caravan Solitaire - a draft
by Emily

Working way too late last night, I've written a first draft of the game. It's mainly working backwards to describe what I did in a sample site. Hard to describe some of these procedures, and communicate what the intended actions are. I'd love to be able to have the principles be the main thing, as in Lexicon, and let people interpret and implement them as they see fit.

This has been a wonderful process!

Caravan: an rpg for one or many

Wandering from place to place, oasis to oasis, you are a traveler who visits many ports of call. Mysteries and delights await you. Your actions change what you have seen. Great changes occur: people die, fall in love, idols are stolen, taboos are crossed. And gentle too: stories are told, flowers bloom, and the stars shine on the desert.

These things are recorded in an entry in a wiki. Then the traveller moves on. The next time you play it takes place at a different city or village, perhaps in a distant land.

More is discovered about each waypoint with each time it is encountered. And since the information is recorded, others can interact with the place. They will change it from how it was from when you were there last, so returning will find new mysteries, new challenges, new beauties to be revealed.

The travellers change over time. The things left by others become part of your outfit. Held for a time, then passed along, changed and weathered or newly adorned to be discovered to grace the days of someone else.

Caravan is a solitary role playing game, where you create and play out adventures in a fictional world. In the tradition of Neel Krishniswami's Lexicon game, is a computer assisted game taking place on a wiki. The entries constitute the world. They are updated and changed as travelers have adventures there. The adventures are recorded for others who are playing, as well as those who are not, to read and observe what the characters have done and experienced.

The game may be played by more than one person, who interact with the wiki and create adventures for their characters in parallel. The players never interact directly with one another, but encounter the changes the others have made in the world and have new adventures spun off of them.

How to Play

There are three basic entries: Realms, Waypoints, and Pathways. Realms neighbor other Realms, and are dotted with Waypoints. Pathways lead from one Waypoints to another. Create a standard template for each entry type and connect them by links.

Each Realm has Powers, Rulers, types of Places, Peoples and other Realms listed in it.

In each Waypoint, there are People to meet, Places to Visit and Questions to Answer. There are also Objects, Beings and People that may join you on your way. Or you may leave one at a site for other travelers.

The Waypoint template includes an invitation to change something on the page after Adventuring there:

Before you leave do at least one of the following:

Create a new Place or Destination you have seen

Change one of the Questions you have answered

Add a new Person you have met

Change what People here need, do or want, as their lives have been changed by you.

Entries for Pathways are freeform, but answer the following questions:

What does this path look like?

What will travelers find there?

What may block their way?

They form a link between two Waypoints.

To create a traveller, answer these three Questions:

Who are you?

What do you carry with you?

What did you leave behind?

Travelers Adventure at Waypoints and Pathways by interacting with what is described there. In Waypoints, at least one of the Questions is answered, taking into account the People and Places. The entry is updated, and a short entry may be made recording those events. Update your original traveler description as you change over time.

Pathways offer choices, and spin off adventures. If the answers to one of the basic Pathway questions changes based on events, that may be added to the page.

New Waypoints and Pathways are created by making a page based on a Destination entry from a Waypoint or Pathway. Fill out templates and use existing pages as examples.

Create pages that explain the templates and other rules of interaction with the game.

Play continues as desired. Players can create and change entries, affecting what others interact with. Lone players also will criss-cross across their own trails. Their traveler having changed will have different interactions with People in the Waypoints than when first they passed that way. New Realms can be explored. Multiple Wikis my overlap. If different groups set up individual wikis, they could each be Realms that border on each other. Players could cross over via linkages made.

2011-01-11 21:17:58 Meguey

Ok, now I *have* to finish that quilt project, so I have the table to try this out!

2011-01-12 23:05:39 Emily

I'll send you an invite to the wiki, Meg. Thanks!

2011-01-13 18:36:28 RichD

This sounds like great fun.  I have seen similar projects before but without the constraints that keep it from flying off in way too many directions at once.

Reading through your sample site, my first impulse was to want to create an entry so you've definitely got something here.

2011-01-19 10:46:35 Charles S

I am really intrigued by this, and Sarah is also interested. I've been wanting some form of asynchronous online world creation play, and this is that exactly. Plus, I had specifically been thinking in terms of the sort of dream lands/ Arabian Nights feel that you seem to be going for, so that makes it particularly appealing. plus plus, I'd love to do some world creation/ gaming with you and Meg!

2011-01-20 00:10:41 Emily

Hello! Your post is doubly wonderful! I'll send you and Sarah an invite. Working on this has reminded me of the Lexicon game we played, in a very nostalgiac way. :)

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