Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dictionary: the RPG.

No, I didn't come up the concept, and no, it's not about role playing a dictionary. It's a cool little "micro" RPG.

Check it out here... Dictionary: the RPG.

John Stater has come up with a neat idea here for a quick RPG. I find flipping open a dictionary, or other book and pointing to a word to be very synergistic, and a great creative aid. I do it all the time, and to make it into an RPG, well, that's a plus.

My first try was using the "Concise Edition" of the Webster's New World Dictionary with Student Handbook. I found I had to avoid the student handbook part. Not once did I find it conducive to the RPG, and I did try.

The rules on The Land of Nod are VERY BRIEF, but that's okay. It gives you lots of room for your own house rules. The one thing that wasn't covered was picking a genre, but that may have to be decided after you come up with your character concept. It's what I did.

So I flipped open the dictionary, and even though it's not required; I quickly pointed at a random word without looking. I was on page 77, and pointed at black-leg. UGH. An infectious disease of cattle and sheep, usually fatal. Nope, I scan down, and find black magic. That's more like it! A mage of the black arts. Now I have to find an adjective on the same page to describe my character. On the same page I find bizarre, and I think that will work fine.

Also a quick house rule I made up was the page number you get your character concept on is also your starting funds. So in the case of Black Hand, the dark mage's alias, which was also found on the same page, his starting funds is 77 silver.

Now I must think of a first task Black Hand wants to accomplish. Rule the world, no, too big of a goal. There's a magic book he wants from a local book merchant. So I have to find out if he succeeds. I randomly flip open to page 708, and hopefully there's an verb to help Black Hand "acquire" the book.

Hhhmmm... there's only soothe. Perhaps Black Hand casts some kind of calming spell, but I don't think that would help him get the book. However, there's the adjective, somniferous, sleep inducing. I think the calming spell gives Black Hand the time to cast sleep. Zzzzzz....

Locking the door, Black Hand binds and gags the book seller. He finds the book, and decides to help himself to the merchant's cashbox. How much does he have? Page number 708, so I decide that it's 708 silver. The merchant is after all a successful book merchant who sells rare, magical tomes. A different kind of merchant may only have half the amount, or even a less valuable denomination.  Black Hand is successful, and leaves out the back door, skulking down the alley. He's earned a free page flip in a later adventure.

Dictionary: the RPG is a fun, quick game.

So the house rules I came up with, are:

Starting funds are the value of the page number, ( of the page you found your character concept ) in whatever denomination you are using.  Well, I'm not sure what you would use starting funds for, but it just felt necessary.

Treasure is also the value of the page number. There also might be something else interesting in the area, if it's on the page.

Black Hand's next task? Reading the book to increase his magical knowledge.


  1. Beautiful! I figure if you have a dictionary (or honestly, any book could probably do) and need to kill some time, this game could work.

    1. Yeah, it was fun, and was quick. It took longer to write the blog post than actually "play".

  2. Way to take the ball and run with it. Your use of page # for $ is a great idea, especially for the beginning cash on hand aspect.