I'm going to try for one ring per page, with the first page being a, image, a poem, (possibly) and the credits. That way it sort of has a cover. Plus doing it that way will help break the content down into manageable chunks so I don't get overwhelmed. Maybe run Occupations, Backgrounds, Drives, and Rituals along the bottom.
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Crap. My post got eaten, but I've been developing CASTLE DRACULA on Twitter, and think I'll do that one first. You play an English solicitor, sent to Transylvania to act as an estate agent for Count Dracula, and get imprisoned in his castle. Basically, you're the previous Jonathan Harker.
Two ideas that other people might want to develop further occured to me while brainstorming; character inventory and a "mini oracle."
Character Inventory: In Dracula, Jonathan Harker's shaving mirror and small crucifix helped him discover what Dracula was and kept him safe. long enough to escape. You could have the player character start with some items–represented with cards, tokens, or just notes on paper–that affect the mechanics of the game. Skipping a tower pull, redrawing a card from the oracle, shuffling a card back into the deck, even modifying what prompt a card asks. These items would have limited uses (tracked by tokens maybe), could be recharged and depleted, or even lost or broken by certain card effects. No idea how this would affect the outcome of the game.
Mini Oracles: For Castle Dracula, I want the player character to encounter the same rooms multiple times, but for the details to be slightly different each time. I want to simulate both the player character not knowing if they're being drawn to certain rooms, just getting lost, or if something is pushing them towards specific rooms, and for them to not know if their memory is faulty or if something is gaslighting them by moving stuff around.
To do that, instead of there being four categories for the four suits, each value of card (or a subset of cards) could have it's own "mini oracle" determined by the card suit. Heck, you could have the mini oracle determined by a die roll (either the one use to set the number of tasks for the day or a new roll), drawing a card (which then gets shuffled back into the deck), or the value/suit of the previous daily task card. For example, 7s could be Master Bedroom, with the same general details. But for one suit the bed is made and in another the sheets are rumpled and the bed has obviously been slept in.
Depending on how many entries the mini oracles have, you could keep the same presentation (four lists of card suits), but if there are a lot of choices or the prompts get long, you might have to make each card value a separate page.
Unreliable Narrator: Lastly, I'm thinking about ways to have the character player destroy or alter previous journal entries. This reinforces the idea you can't trust even your records of events.
Feel free to use, adapt, or ignore those ideas as you see fit. :)
Ooh. Would you mind sharing more about how you're doing a multiplayer version of your game? I'm pretty sure I'm going with a Dracula inspired game for mine, and it struck me that I could possibly do a multiplayer version: Each player is a hunter, with their own deck of cards and block tower, and after each day the player writes and then mails a letter to the others. It seemed interesting, but I'd want the oracles to (somehow) interact with and affect each other, so the players felt like they were working together rather than playing multiple games of solitaire.
As I mentioned on Twitter, I'm now considering multiple oracles (well, two at least, possibly three) for my Castle Dracula idea. But as you said, I don't want the game to drag on for two long. (Though now that I've said that, I'm rather interested in knowing how long a game can go, and if it'd continue to be fun.) Other ideas I had on making the tower fall faster after each reset were 1) rolling more dice for initial pulls, and 2) having cards that force multiple pulls.
No guarantee that I'll be able to get a game done, though I'd really like to. I've shared some of these ideas on Twitter (which is basically where I live), but I'll put them here as well. I'm finding that a fair number of game ideas that were already floating around in my head seem like they'd work well in the W&A format.
ESCAPE FROM DINO ISLAND: Basically just Jurassic Park–make it off a dinosaur-infested island without getting eaten (card draws) and before the army bombs the site (tower collapse). Probably the least divergent from the SRD. Journal entries would most likely be audio recordings, as having a cell phone makes sense.
THE INVOCATION: You've finally found the artefact and are making preparations to summon your demonic/infernal parton. That involves gathering materials, preparing the space, preparing yourself, and losing people/relationships that once mattered (the four card suits). If the tower collapses, the ritual fails. Certain card draws mean you did something wrong and your patron abandons you. Make it to the end, and you're deemed worthy of their love. This idea is inspired by the very NSFW comic The Invitation: Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, and is a metaphor for being transgender–preparing yourself involves body modifications (basically becoming your ideal self), and the people/relationships you lose are those who can't handle your new identity.
ON THE RUN (working title): You're the ward of an important vampire, and, for reasons, are on the run. You've got to keep them safe and fed, avoid detection, and clean up any messes they accidentally cause. Tower collapse means you get caught, and certain card draws mean some other fail state (not sure yet, maybe your ward runs off without you). Card suit categories are Food, Haven, Safety, and Affection. Inspired by my love of YA paranormal romance fiction and the first few chapters of Vampire Academy (which I thought were the most interesting), where there's romantic tension between two vampires who are trying to dodge their keepers–which is why one of the card suits is Affection. The situation's more interesting when you're romantically involved.
SECRET CRUSH SLUMBER PARTY: Again, a romantic one. You're at a slumber party, the last one before people split up for university, and your secret crush is here too. Can you tell them how you feel about them, and how will they react? Tower collapse means the night ends before you're able to tell them how you feel, and certain card draws mean they find out but aren't into you. You aren't alone in this game, but the scenes the player writes about are quiet moments between them and their crush during the night. Also, instead of a die roll to draw cards, you draw and flip over set of four to determine the current group activity (eating pizza, doing hair, watching movies), where you are your crush are (on the porch, in the basement, on the couch), what you notice about them (slightly crooked tooth, stray wisp of hair, how they smell), and what pulls them away before you tell them how you feel (another party member, awkward silence, they get hungry). Basically a way for me to get the teenage girl sleepover experience (with some blushing tosssed in) that I now feel I was robbed of.
This beautiful game has opened my eyes to what a solo, journal-writing game can be. The inclusion of the rules in audio format also has me thinking about accessibility and alternate game formats. Thank you.
That txt demo of Exodus was precisely what I was looking for. Thanks a bunch. I absolutely see how, without context, there's not much in the way of mechanics to BOB.
EDIT: My copy of Dream Askew / Dream Apart just arrived last night. Woot!