One Year of One Page RPGs: Volume 5

Rowan, Rook & Decard
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HERE’S THE DEAL: I write one tabletop or live roleplaying game a month. It will be no bigger than one side of A4 paper (that’s one side of letter paper, for you American types) and I will do all the art, layout and design myself in pen.

My games are, in general: short, punchy, well-written and exciting. Over the last six years of writing I’ve become more serious and less silly, so expect to see a mix of tones ranging from introspective and heart-breaking to daft and explosive. I’ll always strive to innovate and offer something original or surprising in each game.

UNCANNY RALLY – with Chris McDowall (Electric Bastionland, Into the Odd)

Play escaped military androids on the run from the authorities trying to drive to freedom on the west coast. You’ll need to do part-time jobs for gas money, but also your arm keeps turning into a minigun without warning and your personality programming is malfunctioning. Good luck!

BACK PAGE: Three D20 tables of military technology, android collective tech, and smartphone apps for you to use during your games of Uncanny Rally.

BIG BANG SUPERSTARS – with Nathan Blades (Shadow Operations, Arcana Corps)

Unknown Armies crossed with America’s Next Top Model. Space wizards, demigods, alien hive minds and handsome robots compete in an extradimensional reality show for the chance to rebuild the universe.

BACK PAGE: Big Bang Back Page. Tables, prompts and similar ephemera from Grant and some actually useful advice from Nathan on running the game online for an audience.

CLUEDON’T – with Chloe Mashiter (Alongame, Time Heist)

Your eccentric relative is dead. They were so eccentric that they decreed only their murderer would inherit their vast fortune. Even though you didn’t do it, can you convince the cops you did? A reverse version of Cluedo, or “Clue” for American readers who get spooked by ludic suffixes.

BACK PAGE: Every idea we had that we couldn’t fit on the front page, including but not limited to: psychic powers, traps, rules for being a ghost, and bribery.

HIMBO TREASURE HUNT – with Sasha Sienna (Odd Jobs)

You’re a good-intentioned muscular person with a non-standard intelligence profile. Can you stop your local gym from closing by unraveling a mystery that goes all the way back to 1973?

BACK PAGE: The Laser Jubilee. Competely unrelated to Himbo Treasure Hunt. Queen Elizabeth the second (lord rest ‘er soul) is celebrating her Laser Jubilee with holograms, robot parades and brutal crackdowns on dissidents. Can you, a dissident, ruin a local celebration?  

ARLECCHINO’S ELEVEN – with Daniel Lavery (The Toast, The Chatner, Texts from Jane Eyre)

Not a one page game! A 36-page game, laid out by a professional designer, with proper photobashed art. You’re a washed-up crook with one last job to do before packing it in – a heist in Reno. The only advantage you’ve got is a sackful of theatre masks that let you do magic as long as you perform a play alongside your heistSome knowledge of 17th Century Italian humour recommended but not required.

HEARTSWOOD – with Sarah Gordon (Vicious Creatures)

Once upon a time, someone broke her heart. Now she’s descending into the depths of her psyche to mend it. Play arcane facets of someone’s soul following a traumatic breakup and explore a cursed woodland to rebuild their life.

BACK PAGE: Street Writer. Competitive slam-poetry game. Sarah’s list of Roller Derby-style names for contestants based on classic authors really makes it.

LEXINOMICON – with Becky Annison (Bite Marks, Lovecraftesque)

Explore the hidden world that pulses beneath our own by finding messages hidden in any old book you can find; edit, modify, cut-up and generally ruin second-hand novels to uncover the truth.

BACK PAGE: Additional content for Lexinomicon including a vague cosmology, some moody bible verses, and expanded rules for play.

WRECK THE HALLS – with Thryn Henderson (Ryne, Small Town Skeletons, Jolene)

This game extrapolates the wretched self-centredness of the UK’s ruling class into a cyberpunk future and tasks you, a gang of holiday-themed cyberpunk rebels, to steal Christmas from absurdly wealthy people using improvised and subverted technology.

BACK PAGE: The Mall. Alternate adventure for Wreck the Halls where you navigate a shopping centre filled with rival gangs, playing one off against the other to prosper.  

THE RULES OF THE DEEP – with Jay Dragon (Wanderhome, Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast)

Strange OSR-style game where you must delve as deeply into forgotten subterranean ruins as you can before you die. Legacy campaign played by the GM; each group of players changes the world for the next.

BACK PAGE: Tricks. Magic spells for The Rules of the Deep; some useful, some creepy, some creepy and useful. 

CAPTAIN SWANHANDS – with Jeeyon Shim (The Longest Rest, The Snow Queen)

Not a one-page game! An eight-page game, with art and animal facts. You’re a superhero! You have swan necks for arms and swan heads for hands. Can you save the city, find love, and hold down your day job at the office (despite the swan thing)?

BIRD CRIMES – with Xalavier Nelson (Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, Hypnospace Outlaw, An Airport For Aliens Currently Run By Dogs)

Thanks to a difficult life full of bad choices, it’s come down to this: smuggling illegal birds on board a red-eye flight from JFK to London. Turbulence strikes and the birds escape their restraints: can you recapture enough of them before landing to pay off your debts? Has full rules for what happens if the birds get hold of the Air Marshall’s gun.

BACK PAGE: You Can’t Make An Omelette Without Breaking A Few Legs. Hack of Bird Crimes which sees you, a gang of mafia enforcers, attempting to win a cooking contest between ruling crime families. Has a D20 table of horribly violent abilities you must somehow apply to making a souffle. 

DEATH WAS THE ONLY ROAD OUT OF TOWN – with Alex Roberts (For the Queen, Star Crossed)

Psycho-noir power trip experiment which sets players the task of escaping from someone else’s dream by murdering them; think Sin City by way of Fear and Loathing with a side order of the Hays Code. Players are treated mean by the GM but have ample opportunity to get their own back by spending tokens that bend and break the storyline and force their tormentor to dance to their tune.

BACK PAGE: Immortal Darkness. What if being a vampire was fun, though? Solo journaling game where you’re an undying antihero with great hair, loads of sexual partners, twin silvered Desert Eagles with specialist ammo and a big castle all to yourself.