Jun 232011
 

I’ve been talking a bit about a new project I’ve been hard at work on.  It’s totally different from anything I’ve ever released before.  I’m using it as a bit of a creative break from worlds of zombie apocalypses and Pathfinder stat blocks.  Once I’ve finished this up, I’ll be diving back in to the Aruneus project and other Pathfinder goodies.

For the past few weeks I’ve been working furiously on an entirely new storytelling/RPG system.  My aim is to create a vibrant world that’s fueled by imagination and creativity, while keeping rules and mechanics to an absolute minimum.  The reasoning behind this is that this new game is designed to appeal to everyone who is young at heart. And I mean everyone.  Educators will be able to bring this in to the classroom.  Parents can easily pick up a game with their kids. Adults at a con can have a great time with this game.

While not strictly an RPG at heart, Land of Skcos takes many of the basic elements of role playing games and removes many of the limits.

While I’m not done with this project (there’s still a lot of work to do!) I am getting very close to having a completed draft of the entire system, including alternate rules to move Land of Skcos from collaborative storytelling system right in to a rules-lite RPG.

To whet your appetite here is the introduction from the book, along with a short story I’ve written (also part of the book) to illustrate the feel of the game.

Introduction

Welcome to the magical Land of Skcos, where anything can happen and it often does! Skcos is a world full of amazing adventures, where mystical creatures await you and the only limit is your own imagination!

The Land of Skcos is inhabited by all manner of things, but primarily its inhabitants belong to a race of ever changing, always interesting creatures called Soppets.  Soppets are a magical breed of intelligent, funny, thrill seeking socks.

Yes, you read that correctly. Socks. Soppets start off as simple socks, laying about the land with little purpose and less life. It takes the creativity and individuality of a person to give a Soppet life.

While Soppets make up the most common inhabitants of Skcos, there are all manner of other creatures that can be found. The list of inhabitants is constantly growing and changing and is limited only by imagination.

The Land of Skcos can be a game of simple storytelling as players gather around a table, or it can be a rollicking romp as players scamper around in a scavenger hunt, race to be the first to discover an artifact, and act out their parts in a greater story.

All you need to enjoy Land of Skcos are a few socks, some magic markers and various items you’ll find around the house or classroom.

Land of Skcos is an extremely open ended game by its very nature. The more structure that is applied to it, the less open it becomes.  To that end, I’ve included several variants on the basic rule set.  Keep in mind that this is your game – you can choose to keep or discard rules as you see fit.  Adding new rules (or “house rules”) is also perfectly fine!  Do what you will to make this experience as enjoyable as possible for you and your group.


I’ve been bouncing these concepts, ideas and play off of my two kids, who are 8 and 5. Here’s my oldest in her reading glory, giving you the “audio book” version of this story.

Soppets and the Land of Skcos – a tale for children of any age

In the long night of the past, the land of Skcos was empty, quiet, and still. Not a sound was made, and if it was there would have been no creature to hear it.

Then, quite without warning and with nobody being asked, something changed. It was the first change in the land of Skcos and the second most important. It happened when the first clothes washer washed the first pair of socks.

Where there were two socks in your world and none in Skcos, there was suddenly one in Skcos and one less in your world! A sock had magically vanished from inside the Washer and had come to the land of Skcos.

It was still a very quiet place. If you haven’t noticed a pair of socks does not make much noise. One sock makes even less.

Over time, many single socks found their way to the land of Skcos through magical means known only to the clothes washers, who aren’t telling anyone a thing.

It took almost all of the magic that socks and washers could come up with to make this happen. Thankfully it was only almost all of the magic, and there were a few bits and pieces of magic left over. Without that extra magic, there would be no Soppets, and Skcos without Soppets is a boring place indeed.

What?  Do you mean to tell me that you have never heard of a Soppet? You are a child, correct?  And even if you are not, I am sure you were one once. Most people were.

I’ll bet you know exactly what one is. I would bet all of the cushions on all of the couches ever made that you’ve had a Soppet in your hand before!

Let me tell you what a Soppet is and we shall see if I am wrong.

Every time a person, whose imagination is one of the biggest things they own, puts a sock on their hand, a Soppet awakens from the long sleep in the land of Skcos. This was the second change in the land of Skcos, but the most important one of all.

Now, those people with particularly largish imaginations will do more than just put a sock on their hands. Unless you are a hand walker, in which case you can be forgiven for not imagining much. People with imaginations at least as large as their own heads will make their sock talk.

If these people are especially special and their imagination can see things that aren’t yet made, they will add eyes, perhaps a bit of yarn for hair, or a nice mustache made out of pipe cleaner.

That is the best sort of Soppet, one that can really get things done in the land of Skcos; things that are in need of doing.

You see, in the land of Skcos, a Soppet isn’t alive in any real way until they awaken from their deep, deep sleep. And they only awaken when a wonderful thing known as an Outside Arm comes to them and gives them a bit of that left over magic.

Where do these Outside Arms come from?  Why, from you! For every single sock is something of a sock-shaped door in to the land of Skcos. You can’t travel through it, but a bit of that old magic can.

Soppets who have been touched by an Outside Arm can speak, see, laugh, run about, and think. Most importantly, they are filled with imagination, which gives them something to think about.

A Soppet who can think about things can quite naturally do them, no matter what they are. The land of Skcos is a magical place after all, and what good would magic be if it were only used for making potions or amusing dragons?

This is why it’s so very important for you to think big thoughts and imagine amazing things when a Soppet is nearby, in your world or in any other.

That is what a Soppet is, and I believe you owe me a few couch cushions, which you can get at any couch cushion store. I prefer purple with yellow stripes on mine.

I’ve been showing what I’ve done so far to a group of people both inside and outside the industry and getting more positive feedback than I honestly expected.  I’m very excited about this little game and hope that it will give lots of people the framework they need to explore their imaginations. For the more educational oriented of us, this can be used very easily as a tool to explore emotions, societal mores, and tough situations (dealing with a bully, divorce – just about everything under the sun that could concern kids) in a structured, fun and creative manner.

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll have more on this project as it develops, so stay tuned!

 

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

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