The Fourteenth Dynasty of Kevan
May 11 - June 8, 2015
Early morning after the solstice, and the castle’s servants cut down the decorations and sweep the broad flagstones of the courtyard, skirting or awakening the few ivy-crowned revellers who remain slumped and asleep. The sun is bright as it breaks over the walls, but the light it casts seems somehow altered and unnatural.
A guard on the parapet squints against the sun and suddenly stands to attention, surprised to see the lord of the castle striding in through the forest gate, sword bloodied and glinting. But as the figure steps through and out of a shadow, the guard realises the sword is only a broom, carried by one of the taller servants.
Leaning forward on the stonework, he hears familiar footsteps rising from the nearby stairwell, and greets the other guard without looking up.
(Change “Cook” to “Shifter” and “Restaurant Manager” to “Forest” throughout the ruleset. Do not repeal the rule which becomes known as “The Forest”.)
The following players were active at the end of the Dynasty:
Brendan*, Darknight*, Josh, Kevan*, mideg, Sylphrena
Posts of Interest
- Form Follows Function established the system of New Days and the set of forms into which players could shift.
- Factions and Alignment created a series of silently tracked factions to which players could belong, which ended up coming into play exactly once.
- The Nightmare Cooperative differentiated between individual humans and classes of humans; established a running Cover score; and gave players a penalty for shifting into the same individual.
- Popular established minimum-Cover requirements for shifting into each form.
- Meddling Knids created a mechanism to influence the gamestate by spending Cover.
- Bronze Meddle added several more ways to meddle based on a shifter's current form, including Eject, which would see a great deal of use in the endgame.
- Modest Proposals used a Cover bonus to agitate for more rules changes from someone besides Kevan.
- Canny Worms introduced a second score, Awareness, which rewarded players for indicating whether they would maintain or shift forms soon.
- Tattletales, intended as a way to change Awareness, ended up becoming more important for an alternate victory condition. It rewarded players for guessing correctly which forms would appear in the next New Day (and writing a tiny story about them).
- Boring Victory Condition established a high-Cover mark to reach for victory, and passed despite being proposed by Brendan, who had a clear lead in Cover.
- Faction Action allowed for a form of meddling that rewarded the most popular faction (from "Factions and Alignment") and penalized all others, making it mechanically important for the first time.
- Pognomic established the victory condition that would eventually end the dynasty--a set of "figurines" related to the individual forms, which one could only get by trading or correctly predicting who would show up.
- A Whittle Knowledge clarified and made concrete how the victory figurines would work, allowing the prediction-based ones to be changed retroactively.
- A New Day Dawns: "In the bustle of the courtyard, a Servant helps the Porter to carry the heavy wooden tables away, while the Cook collects leftover cutlery. Standing in opposite doorways across the open space, two Chaplains briefly make eye contact."
- Day Two Dawns: "The morning is one of amused whispers among the serving staff, full of stories of disorientation in the castle’s corridors, of its inhabitants emerging from inappropriate rooms in strange modes of dress, and struggling with locked doors. They put it down to a slow recovery from the midsummer celebrations. Two Strangers take an apologetic route through the Cook’s kitchen and out of the bailey, the Porter holding the heavy wooden door open. They pass a dishevelled Guest walking the other way."
- Day Three Dawns: "A cloudy and uneventful morning. Two identical Cooks stare each other down across an empty kitchen, while the Chaplain shuffles prayer books in the chapel and a Guest lingers in the corridors. For the first time since the revels, the Lord emerges from his chambers, looking down across the castle from his balcony."
- Day Four Dawns: "As the Porter storms into the kitchen looking to eject the Cook, two Servants leave simultaneously through different doors, adjusting their caps. The lost Guest wanders on through the corridors and the Lord continues to gaze down distractedly from his balcony."
- Day Five Dawns: "The Lord nonchalantly explores his private library, looking up with a slightly glassy stare as his wife enters. In the otherwise empty dining hall, a Guest tucks into a recently served selection of local meats."
- Day Six Dawns: "Two heavy books slap onto the library floor, and the Porter and a Guard walk out through different doorways. In the empty dining hall, a Servant clears the table."
- Day Seven Dawns: "Two figures exchange a sharp glance as they pass one another in the upper corridors of the castle, and the Lord and Lady descend separate stairwells. By the castle gate, the Porter squints out at the sound of drumming hooves, gripping a dull and uncarved wooden locket in his hand."
- Day Eight Dawns: "As the Cook frowns at some unpalatable spice in the soup, another Cook, having made their separate way to the kitchen, gives them a gentle tap on the shoulder. An unfamiliar figure detaches itself from the gatehouse shadows and reveals itself to be a visiting Guest. The Porter looks up from a comfortable spot by the guardroom fireplace and waves the figure past."
- Day Nine Dawns: "The Lord strides across the courtyard from the gatehouse, into the north tower and up a winding staircase to the solar. Somehow the Porter is in place at both the foot and head of the stairwell to hold the wooden doors open." This was the only time the factions were revealed when Darknight called for a struggle. It also featured the Porter ejecting himself (in order to prevent the continuing use of the Porter to keep the Chaplain, the last unclaimed figurine, out of play).
- Day Ten Dawns: "Two Chaplains cross paths in the empty library, avoiding the Guest making a rapid exit from the north tower. Despite having made a loud announcement that he was leaving for town for the day and the gatehouse guards having seen him leave, the Porter is spotted carrying something across the courtyard. As the figure draws closer to a suspicious pair of guards, they realise they are mistaken and the figure is a Stranger."
Thanks in part to having made one of the few successful predictions, and in part to having established that victory figurines would not be publicly tracked, Brendan had been able to trade with Darknight once and mideg three times over course of a week to claim a full set of victory figurines, before declaring victory.