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Monday, May 01, 2006

Fairyland Diner, an RPG

"Fairyland Diner", a Shoujo Manga RPG

Sort of a cross between "Phantastes" and "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore", this RPG is a game setting for the
"All Outta Bubblegum" engine. Thanks and apologies to Michael Sullivan and Jeffrey Grant again. Apologies also to Gary Gygax for borrowing an idea from his Aerth campaign setting in his "Dangerous Journeys" game (I'm not worthy!).


Parallel to the mundane world of ordinary experience is the land of the Fae. Imagine a world that looks like the inverse of the Earth's surface, with land there being where the oceans are here and vica versa. In the area of the continent that corresponds to the Atlantic Ocean, in the place counterpart to where ancient Atlantis was, is the great Seelie court where all the noble Faerie races meet with the King and Queen of the Fae. The Glorious City is almost too magnificient for human eyes, but it does have its suburban parts that are more remote from the Castle. The City is efficiently defended and policed to keep the awful Fae of the unseelie races out.

In one of these suburbs is "Twinkle's Cafe", a comfortable, happy greasy spoon joint that mainly serves the neighborhood locals as well as distinguished fae that have business at the Castle and need a quick lunch. Most of the fare includes things like "Moonbeam Loaf" and "Morning Dew Tea", but you can also find your biscuits and gravy and philly cheese steak sandwich as well. It's a place where everybody knows you name and the name of your clan.

Things are normally quiet and pleasant at Twinkle's but the word has come down that there is a need for new stewards and servants to serve and dwell in courts of the King's officers. The need is so great that they are even looking in the humblest places of the City. The royal messenger has declared that one of the wait staff, floor managers, or cooks at Twinkle's will be included in this great promotion, but only one. The diner is allowed its own means of determining who the lucky individual will be. The winner will not only receive the job but will also be made fit for court service be recovering all of its lost Glamour.


All characters are employees of the diner as well as being a member of one of the fae races welcome in the great city. Essentially, all fae are the same. There differing characteristics are a result of different amounts of Glamour in each individual. Among the Seelie races at the diner are:

Faeries Proper: True faeries are of high demeanor and noble character. They are prismatic in appearance and seem to be outlined with a rainbow. A typical attitude of a high faerie would be to pick out another player character and work hard to assure that he or she is the one picked to go to the Castle. Faeries have 7-8 points of Glamour.

Pixies: Pixies are basicly good natured and social but they are addicted to fun and mischief (as well as to glitter). They will use almost anything as an excuse to tease and trick. Pixies seem childlike in appearance and have a pastel glow like the color of so many flowers. People are attracted to pixies but may come to regret it. Pixies have 5-6 points of Glamour.

Brownies: Brownies live closer to the earth than other fae and often appear in earth tones. They are easily irritated and cranky and will do anything to assure their privacy or space. Nothing matters more to a Brownie than his or her personal comfort and peace. Brownies have 3-4 points of Glamour.

Leprechauns: Leprechauns are kelly green and very homely looking. They are also extremely greedy and selfish and will do anything to get ahead. They can never be content with who or what they are. A typical Leprechaun attitude to the contest would be "Now is my big chance to blow this dump and these losers. Let's see what I can do to make sure that happens". Leprechuans have 1-2 points of Glamor.

Redcaps: Redcaps are colored blood red and are petrifying ugly. They are extremely vicious and will attack anyone just for the sake of causing misery. For this reason, Redcaps are considered an Unseelie race and are not tolerated within the City. Redcaps have 0 points of Glamour or less.

If a fae gets frustrated in anything significant to him or her, he or she loses Glamour. If a fae loses more Glamour than is allowed for his or her race, he or she transmogrifies into a fae of the race below it without losing his or her identity. If a fae receives more Glamour than is designated for his or her race, he or she transmogrifies into the next upper race. In each case the newly formed fae has all the features and motives of a member of that race.

There are also other enchanted creatures that might find their way into the diner -- Gryphons, Unicorns, Dwarves, Dyads, Satyrs, etc. They will also have some amount of Glamour that will also be reflected in their temperament or appearance (as determined by the Faereferee).

The Social Contract:

All players play faeries in the game except for one, who is the Faereferee. The Faereferee is responsible for creating and managing the the diner and its customers as well as making sure that the rules are applied fairly and that everyone is having fun. The Faereferee has read all the rules and designed all the encounters accordingly. He or she describes the setting and what happens during the story by answering players questions.

The rest of the players each manage the actions of one individual character that they design in the game setting. When they interact with the game environment the Faereferee acts as their eyes and ears. When they interact with other player characters, they talk and coordinate their actions in character.

There are also other characters in the game other than the player's characters. These are run by the Faereferee just as player character would. Non-player characters also have Glamour and Fairy Dust as designed for them by the Faereferee.

Designing a Player Character:

Each player character (the character that the player governs in the game) is a member of a faerie race according to his or her Glamour points. To design a character, a player starts with 5 Glamour points, 5 Faerie Dust points (see below), and 3 Building points. The player must spend all of his or her building points when designing the character. One building point may be spent to add 1 point to the character's total Glamour points or 2 points to the character's total Faerie Dust points. Once the points are spent and added, the results are complete. Then the player identifies his faerie's starting race according to the final amount of Glamour assigned.

After this, the player decides a name for his or her character (something with a flower, berry, or animal reference, but not necessarily confined to that), decides what job they have at the diner, (cook, wait staff, floor manager, cashier -- a person may wind up doing several jobs like in any earthly diner), and also some bit of back story about how the character wound up working in the diner or his our her upbringing to flesh the character out. Really good back stories should be rewarded with additional Fairy Dust points and/or other attributes, skills, equipment, or liabilities that are designed to effect the basic game mechanics and which also make sense according to the character's back story. It is the Faereferee's discretion but he or she should be open to the Player's input

Resolving Character Actions:

Everything that a faerie character does has a hint of magic to it, an air of something chimey and sparkly. When it comes to important actions, the player should describe his or her characters actions as something like an ordinary action with a magical twist (like pouring coffee from a levitating coffee pot or serving eggs that dance on the plate).

Actions that have some consequential outcomes for the character are resolved by rolling two regular dice and regarding sixes as zeros. (E.g. Rolling a "two" and a "three" equals five but rolling "four" and "six" just equals four. Rolling "double boxcars" is zero.) All important actions fall under two classifications; Mellowing Actions and Harshing Actions.

Basic Idea: Actions that are important enough to the game either narratively or strategicly are either the sort of thing a Californian might say "Dude! You're harshing my mellow!" about or not. Actions that meet with resistance by anyone directly involved even if the most passive-aggressive way are considered Harshing Actions for the purposes of the game. All other actions are considered Mellowing Actions as long as anyone involved is at least open to them or if no one else is directly involved.

A Mellowing Action is any act that does anybody any good, such as trying to persuade someone to do the right thing, serving a meal like home, healing an injury, etc. Roll two dice and if the result is equal to or less that the number of Glamour Points the character has, the mellowing action is successful. If the roll is greater than the number of Glamour points a character has, the result is unsuccessful and the player's character loses one point of Glamour.

A Harshing Action is any action that bothers or inhibits another character such as teasing, making mischief, insulting, tripping, or tricking, etc. Roll the two dice and if the result is equal to or less than the player character's number of Glamour Points, the attempt fails (the victem avoids the trick or is not phased by the insult). If the result is greater than the player character's Glamour points, the action is successful and the other player loses a point of Glamour.

Fairy Dust: Fairy dust is a residual and fungible form of Glamour. If a player wants to assure the odds of a successful outcome to an action, he or she can spend points of Fairy Dust before a roll. Each point of Fairy Dust spent is one point subtracted from the roll in the case of Mellowing Actions or one point added to Harshing Actions. Fairy Dust points must be spent before the roll of the dice and once used are not recovered. However Fairy Dust may be rewarded to players for good roleplaying or by finding a treasure of Fairy Dust, etc.

Winning and Losing:

Losing: If a faerie loses enough Glamour, he or she changes races accordingly. If a fae is reduced to becoming a Redcap, the city security will come for him or her and he or she will be dragged out of the city and the game.

Winning: The game ends when a player character is selected to serve in the Seelie Court. This could be either through the team effort of all the player characters or because they are the last one standing not turned into a Redcap. If there is more than one character left at the end of the game, the players must decide among themselves who won.

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