Oh wow, it’s the…

Play Worlds, Not Rules: Design Challenge!

Jim started it, and I think it’s really, really awesome. The Free Kriegsspiel Revolution is, at its heart, a play style that hands over the mechanical side of things completely to the referee: “The referee is the rules”, as Yori says.

And FKR is freeform, navigated by both the players and the referee. ‘High-trust traditional gaming’ is the nomenclature (thanks S. John Ross). But the number one reason why I can’t, as in ‘I am not able to’, play anything other than FKR-style games any more is the creative freedom. The freedom to create whatever, whomever and however I want, without rules, without, as it were, a care in the world.

FKR is roleplaying the way we played as kids (or teenagers, after hearing about that strange game with the dungeons and the dragons, but without having seen the rules).

And that’s why Jim’s design challenge is so good: It’s NOT challenging, it’s LIBERATING.

The rules of the challenge?

  • Pick a genre, setting, or time period
  • Write one or two paragraphs on context
  • Produce one page of random tables
  • Give advice on tropes and how to use them

That’s it.

Y’all can write rpgs. Because what matters is not the page count, and not the pretty pictures. What matters is that it’s written by you. That it comes from your heart. That’s what matters, and that, my friends, that is FKR.

Games written for the challenge so far:

Dissonant Courage
Paw Noir
Happily. Ever. After.
Dark Empires
Mega-City One: Shadows

3 thoughts on “Oh wow, it’s the…

  1. I really admire that way of playing, but I cannot really embrace that levels of GM fiat. Though I kind of understand the reasons: my longest campaign ever had very simple rules: just one, two, or three d6 and rolling 5-6 was good, and 4 mixed success. But in the end it was more a product of not knowing how to do better and now I feel I could have written some more rules: For example: I always felt that when a PC died, it was on me the decision on if “narrativelly” it felt fair or not. When the rules are vague, the game becomes more collaborative storytelling. In my case it was like 50-50. Which is not bad per se, but I realized it is not what I really wanted.

    I love minimalism but in the end I like that players know that im impartial, I like to feel like an interpreter more than a reactive force. The more I lean towards GM fiat, the more it takes players out of the “in-universe” and more into trying to read my mind, into an (maybe unconscious) dynamic of negotiating with me, wording their actions in the way that they will receive better answers, knowing which actions will I allow to succeed or not, etc.

    That said, I will read your entries because I actually love this idea and is very inspiring.


    1. Jack, thank you very much! In in our niche called roleplaying, there’s room for diversity and differing worldviews — and none is inherently better or worse than the other… That said, thank you for reading!


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