Mystery Town is a simple little freeform game I made for my daughter’s 9th birthday, inspired by Gravity Falls, Thimbleweed Park, Maniac Mansion and other funny, weird, mysterious fiction that she and I enjoy together.
Written for the 2017 200 Word RPG challenge. This started as an offhand joke, but became a real game.
Gambling on the River Styx
To cross the river Styx, you owe Charon two pennies. Penniless ghosts play mahjong on the riverbank to win passage.
Place a skeleton nearby. That’s Charon, waiting for you.
Place six matching pairs of coins into a bag. Pass the bag around. When you get the bag, draw one coin and explain why you fear the afterlife. If your coin matches a coin you already have, instead return it and don’t explain. Repeat until the bag empties.
Place the mahjong tiles in the bag. Each player draws five tiles.
Each round, everyone antes a coin into the pot. Draw one tile. Play one tile. Reveal simultaneously.
The highest numbered tile wins the pot. The winner recalls a memory of their life, based on suit:
-Characters: tragic mistakes
Ties: Split the pot evenly (randomly), leaving the remainder in the pot. Include the other tied players in your memory.
If you play a un-numbered tile, you lose the round. Tell a story about redemption.
If you ever match a pair of coins, you must approach Charon and cross to your afterlife. None know what comes after.
If you have no coins, you shiver on the riverbank for eternity.
Some folks on Facebook tried (and eventually failed) to complete my Parsely game, Deathtrap Dungeon
For my wife’s birthday this year, I created a silent film larp, where the players are part of a failing movie company during the silent film era. And in the process of playing, you actually create your own silent movie, the “original” lost version of a more recent, more popular movie we’re all familiar with. You can see our “premake” of The Little Mermaid here.
You’ll need these cards to play.