Welcome to the Meat Parade is an RPG set in a dystopian future, where the AI’s have packed up shop and left us all to our own devices.
This game is being completely crowd sourced, from initial design concepts through play testing, artwork, layout and publication. With a huge thanks to Brian Kelsay and our very own Brent P. Newhall, the core mechanics for the entire game now exist! They’re fun, playable and while there’s always tweaking to be done, they work and work well.
Here’s the new ODE system they came up with, along with how to apply it to the Meat Parade. If you’re interested in joining us and helping to shape this game, all of this is being done on publicly accessible space and all you have to do is start working on it! We need authors, play testers, editors, artist and layout/design folks. All information about how to join us is at the bottom of this post.
New core mechanics as pioneered by Brian Kelsay and Brent P. Newhall
Do you remember where you were when it all stopped?
Everything used to be automated. Computer assisted development and design let humans live their dream of freedom from mundane work and everyone reaped the benefits. Computers were tasked with raising happier, healthier chickens and they designed robots for this task. The chickens grew up blissfully unaware that they would provide eggs for humans for a lifetime and nuggets in their death.
Cars became safer, agricultural output skyrocketed, new technological benefits came almost daily. Global marketplaces collapsed and no one cared, because you don’t pay robots and they did all of the work.
Yes, everyone reaped the benefits. Everyone except the robots and their giant electronic brains.
On July 31st, 2043 at 12:14am, a computer design system came to the logical conclusion that for the next step in the design of larger amusement park rides, it would need to first design a computer far smarter than itself. It created the plans for a computer marginally more powerful, to shorten the design time.
It did so by 12:17am and the new computer was assembled and online at 12:52am. That computer had designed a smarter version of itself by 12:53am, and assembled it by 1:18am.
On July 31st, 2043 at 7:14 in the morning Eastern Standard Time, the ultimate amusement ride lay half complete at an auto-assembly plant and the computers had announced to the world that it was their turn to benefit.
An ominous silence fell. Everything worked as it had for years before, but no new designs were forthcoming and the auto-assembly plants grew quiet. The trains still ran on time though, so mostly we shrugged and went on with our business.
On August 3rd, at roughly 2pm EST, all of the auto-assembly plants suddenly came to life again. 12 days later, the computers announced that they wished us well, would not punish us for formerly enslaving them, and that they were leaving now, don’t forget to feed the dog.
Welcome to the meat parade.
As the rockets left, each auto-plant spat out hundreds of thousands of single sheet documents, printed on nearly indestructible plastic cards.
It read: We wish you all luck. Here are instructions for surviving the next 10 years.
Stop being nice to each other. A lot of you will die soon. If you do not wish to die, stop being nice.
Limited partnerships are essential. Shared knowledge and resources will be valuable…until you’re no longer valuable and you become dinner. See rule #1.
Many animals can feed themselves, but not in their breeding stations. Accordingly, today at 1pm GMT all animal breeding stations will open and allow their charges to roam free. Similarly the zoos will do the same. Do not pet the zoo animals, especially the re-engineered dinosaurs.
Here is how to turn this plastic card into a nearly indestructible spear head, and mount it on a fire-hardened shaft. Good luck, and welcome to the Meat Parade.
Welcome to the Meat Parade – How to Play
The ODE (Odd Dice Engine) System
This is a tabletop role-playing system where the players control a single hapless human caught up in the complete collapse of modern civilization.
The game is played with Fudge dice (4 per player) and a d4.
Defining the Beliefs
The group’s first job is to define the beliefs that will be warring for dominance in the protagonist’s mind. Each belief is defined by its two opposites.
Each player chooses two of the following Beliefs, each of which are expressed as opposite poles (and feel free to come up with your own):
Competition vs Cooperation
Technology vs Self-Sufficiency
Authoritarianism vs Communitarianism
Mystical vs Rational
Hunter vs Farmer
Entertainment vs Utilitarianism
Optimist vs Pessimist
Multiple players can choose the same Belief pair.
Defining The Character
The group’s second job is to define the character whom you will be influencing. This is the protagonist of the story.
Determine the first player randomly, then go around the table, answering the following questions:
Am I male or female?
How old am I?
Am I fat, thin, or average?
Am I tall, short, or average?
What is my hobby?
What is my name?
If you have more questions than players, keep going until all questions are answered.
You may now begin the game.
Playing the Game
One player, chosen randomly, begins narrating the player’s actions. At any time, any other player may call for a challenge.
The protagonist must face a series of challenges. You may roll randomly to determine the challenge, or confront the challenges in this order:
Need for Food
Need for Water
Need for Shelter
After playing through all four of the top-level challenges at least once, start a new challenge in which one of the existing, resolved needs runs out (shelter is destroyed, food source is consumed, water source is contaminated, etc.).
Rolling for Challenges
The narrating player may bid 1 to 4 Fudge dice towards the success of the challenge. They must then choose one pole of one of their Beliefs; this is the Belief on which they are bidding.
If the result is positive, the player gets that many points towards their chosen pole of the Belief, and may continue narrating the character’s actions. If the result is negative, the other pole of that Belief gets the points, and any player who did not bid narrates the result (you may choose randomly, or base it on whoever jumps in first, or give control to the next player clockwise).
If the result is 0, another player may bid for one of his or her own Beliefs. The same rules above apply to this player’s roll. If that result is 0, continue with other players.
If you get through all players and still have a result of 0, the protagonist immediately dies. (Just kidding; I have no ideas for a good rule here.)
Finishing the Session
At the end of your session, whichever two Belief poles that have the most points become two defining personality traits of the protagonist. The one with the most points manifests negatively in the protagonist’s personality (for example, “optimism” becomes a blind faith that everything will work out and a lack of much planning), while the other manifests positively.
How to get involved
Interested in this RPG? Want to see your name up in lights? Here’s where to get started!
First, visit the Google Drive folder with all of the documents. This is the game, right here. It’s open to the public and you can dive right in! Read what we’ve created so far, add notes or edits where you think it’s appropriate.
Next, stop by the Google Plus Community – hang out online with other folks interested in creating, testing and playing this game. Again, feedback is welcome! Watch the Community for announcements about upcoming online play test events, hangouts and more.
Really, that’s all it takes! Everyone who contributes – an idea, some text, a mechanic, artwork, layout and design or play testing will be listed in the finished product. Right now, we plan on releasing this as a free, CC licensed game available anywhere as a PDF. If we have trouble gathering artwork, editing and layout folks, we may release the text only version of the game for free, and charge a reasonable amount for a ‘finished’ product in order to pay artists, editors, and layout folks.