Monday, December 19, 2016

The BLIND RPG described:

Blind is a role-playing experience and not commercially available. I create it's content and run it privately or at cons. Each experience is backed up by 200 hours+ of preparation. It is a labor of love. 

Players start each experience utterly blindOnly once players choose a character will their world be revealed. Keep in mind that setting does not equal genre. During play I will not explicitly announce, speculate or otherwise comment on what the genre of what this particular experience may be. You only know what your character would know and the story will be completely in your hands

Blind is an RPG game with mechanics, but I will keep these secret from you. Character information is descriptive, not statistical. There are no classes, experience points or leveling up. Each game experience will have a beginning and end. When it's done, it's done. Each experience is unrelated to the last and completely new.

Surrender to the unknown.

July/2019: A few of the latest player characters for Blind experiences:

Bill (player character from "Bill & Grace")

Transformation process for "Bill"
Lady Grace (player character from "Diablerie)

Transformation process for "Lady Grace"

Charlee (player character from "Burj Khalipha")

Transformation process for "Charlee"

Gloria Steele (player character from "Diablerie")

Transformation process for "Gloria Steele"

Rufus Kumayama (player character from "Diablerie")

Blind is a Role Playing Experience
This game will feel familiar. Participants describe their actions and roll dice to determine what the outcomes may be. Likewise a referee manages the behind the scenes mechanisms of the game.  However, unlike most RPG's there are also many important differences.

Going in blind: As a player you will not receive any knowledge of the setting or genre beforehand. Only after you have chosen a character is the setting introduced. Notice that I did not say genre. I will not explicitly announce, speculate or otherwise comment on what the genre may be. Doing so spoils the essence of this role-play experience. You begin knowing only what your character would know.

Agency: Once you have been turned loose in the setting, the actions you take are the actions you take. "Winning" as a concept is replaced by "narrative closure". The manner of how this transpires is not pre-designed into the experience. No one (including myself) knows how things will turn out. I am not a tour guide running you through a series of canned events. Like you, I will also share the thrill of not knowing how it turn out.

It will end: This experience is not an endless cycle of episodic adventures. It will begin, have a middle and end. Knowing the story has a terminus means that players will seek out more interesting narratives. There is no idol to steal, no football to advance or phantom XP to collect.

Role-play trumps mechanics: Game mechanics are kept secret from the players. Character information is descriptive, not statistical. The game has no character classes, experience points or stratified progression. These mechanisms are a distraction in an experience that features role-playing and discovery over combat. The emphasis of Blind is on "role" and "playing", much less on "game".

More work for me
The biggest flaw of Blind is that I am responsible for significantly more than in other games. As referee, my preparation will be truly off the map, thus greater effort will be required. These rules provide game mechanics to govern character actions, but it will be up to me to provide everything else. No small task! I am responsible for coming up with the game setting and principle conflicts. I must create every character, what they look like, who they are, their background and skills. There's more: researching setting details, procure or create maps, generate events, timelines, equipment, motives, new technology, weather...the list goes on. Anything needed must be provided by me. Thus far I have not figured out a magical shortcut for this.

How Blind differs from other RPGs
All role-playing games are a blend of these three core functionalities: a description of the world, defining how characters increase in power and a means to determine the outcomes of actions

Description of the world
RPG’s are genre driven and this defines the experiences to be had in that world. Call of Cthulhu is a place of gothic horror. Top Secret pits you against super spies. These settings define (and limit) the stories found in those worlds. Genre specific settings come pre-loaded with built in expectations for the kinds of narratives that will occur. Walking up to the front door of an abandoned house in Call of Cthulhu has a defined provenance. Attending a lavish dinner party in Top Secret brings certain expectations. Every genre has a standardized toolbox of game mechanics to solve conflicts within it. Blind subverts this standardized approach simply by not allowing the genre to be defined. This allows participants to discover new ways to solve problems.

How characters increase in power
The bulkiest part of an RPG is the rules required to govern the player characters journey of stratified progression. In these systems participants are rewarded ingame by successfully completing narrow tasks that are designed to drive the overall theme of the game. "Experience Points" are cashed in for increased chance to succeed using the various problem solving tools within the game (usually this is greater prowess in combat). None of that will have any value here. There are no character classes, experience points or leveling up. For me this makes the job of world creation much easier because all I need is what's relevant to the story. Characters are simply designed as I see fit.

A means to determine the outcomes of actions
Like RPGs, Blind provides a system to govern character actions. The guiding purpose of these rules is to be as non-invasive as possible. Role-play is the focus of the game, the mechanics should only be needed to quickly resolve actions that have meaningful and variable outcomes. The objective was to create the simplest, most flexible system that is able to simulate the real world while still allowing participants to engage fully in roleplaying. Physical combat is not recognized as the primary means to solve the issues of this system.

In this role-playing experience the idea of "winning" is set aside in favor of creating unique narrative experiences.