Chefs: Jennifer Hardy and Matthew Mazurek
Title: All’s Well That Ends as You Like It
Pitch: Dueling, wooing, vows kept or forsworn, drunkenness, thievery, costumes, identical twins, rightful rulers, virtuous innocents, ghosts, and much more.
Word Count: 2971
Game and Text is Copyright 2011 Matthew Mazurek and Jennifer Hardy
How to Play
Each player picks one of the six player characters. Place your piece anywhere in the starting location. Collect two Luck tokens, and tokens for your equipment. You may begin the game wearing your costume, if you have one. The first player rolls 2d6. You can move up, down, left, or right, but not diagonally. If you want to pass through a space where another character is stopped, s/he may choose to challenge you to a duel, if you both have an epee.
After completing your movement, you may interact with any character in the same location, or attempt to Woo, Duel, or Acquire equipment from anyone to whom you are adjacent (including diagonally adjacent.). You can interact with PCs, NPCs, or some locations. The GM might give bonuses or penalties to rolls based on how you play your part.
After all the PCs have taken a turn, the GM takes turns for the NPCs. When everyone has gone, the GM awards one Luck token to the best roleplayer for the round. The GM has the right to withhold Luck tokens after a boring round or distribute more than one if several players excelled, but the average handout should be about one per round.
Winning the Game: Each character has a comic goal and a tragic goal. The first character to achieve either goal wins, unless s/he has entered into (and chosen to honor) a vow of mutual aid. The game ends when at least one character has fulfilled his/her goal, and no outstanding vows are being honored by any character who has already won.
Rightful Ruler: Ten years ago, his younger brother led an uprising against him. He has now returned to find his beloved daughter and regain his throne, but alas, his ship was sunk by pirates, and his army all drowned, except for one Identical Twin, the only other survivor of the shipwreck.
Comic Goal: Regain the throne. (Sit on the throne while the Usurper is away.)
Tragic Goal: Kill his daughter’s true love.
Equipment: Costume of a foreigner, epee
- Woo 1
- Duel 4
- Acquire 3
Luck Talents: Command the Fool (move the fool 2d6 spaces). Temper the Fool (add +1 to die roll when encountering the Fool)
Starting Location: Beach
Virtuous Innocent: Beloved daughter of the Rightful Ruler, she has been engaged against her will to the False Lover. She has fled to the Green Wood in the guise of a shepherdess in order to avoid the union.
Comic Goal: Marry her true love with her father in attendance.
Tragic Goal: Die in the arms of her true love (or on his grave).
Equipment: Costume of a virtuous innocent shepherdess, engagement ring
- Woo 4
- Duel 1
- Acquire 3
Luck Talents: Turn a Luck token into a Woo token. Give your father or true love +1 to his next duel.
Starting Location: Green Wood
Identical Twins: Separated as children, he has become a soldier of fortune, she an itinerant minstrel, both wandering the world in search of each other and their long-lost father. She has recently been eeking out a living busking in the town square, he has just landed on the island after his ship was sunk by pirates. (These characters are played by the same player.)
Comic Goal: Meet for the first time when all living PCs are in the same location.
Tragic Goal: Murder/suicide due to a misunderstanding.
Equipment: Costumes of each other, epee for him, flute for her
- Woo 2/3
- Duel 4/1
- Acquire 2/4
Luck Talents: Switch places with your twin.
Starting Location: Beach/Town Square
Faithful Counselor: The only trusted advisor of the Virtuous Innocent, this honest clergyman has done his best to raise the girl since her father’s exile. Her loving presence has been a salve to the aching loss of his own identical twins whom his sacred vows forbade him to acknowledge.
Comic Goal: Marry both Identical Twins to their true loves.
Tragic Goal: Marry the Identical Twins to each other.
Equipment: Book of scripture, book of homilies
- Woo 2
- Duel 3
- Acquire 3
Luck Talents: Officiate at the marriage of any two eligible characters. Become immune to being Wooed for one round.
Starting Location: Chapel
Brash Hero: A young man of breeding who has refused to swear allegiance to the Usurper, he is seen about town as a reckless troublemaker of uncertain alliance. He has recently taken a fancy to the Virtuous Innocent shepherdess who has lately been seen in the Green Wood, but has been unable to convince the apothecary to surrender another love potion to help him win his latest passion.
Comic Goal: Marry someone from whom you have collected no Woo tokens.
Tragic Goal: Kill your true love based on false information.
Equipment: 2 epees
- Woo 4
- Duel 4
- Acquire 0
Luck Talents: Move directly adjacent to someone you want to duel or woo. Roll three dice for movement the turn after you win a duel.
Starting Location: Apothecary’s Lab
Amiable Wastrel: The favorite drinking companion of the Brash Hero, he has refused to become embroiled in politics since the exile of his beloved Rightful Ruler.
Comic Goal: Collect at least one woo token from every character in the game, without getting married. (If you lose any Woo tokens, you must re-woo the most recent wooee(s).)
Tragic Goal: Be killed by a jealous husband.
Equipment: Tankard, costume of a respectable woman.
- Woo 3
- Duel 1
- Acquire 4
Luck Talents: Convince an adjacent character to join you in a drink (you must have a drink available for each of you before offering). When challenged to a duel, fall unconscious from drink, missing the duel and your next turn.
Starting Location: Tavern
The Usurper: The Rightful Ruler‘s younger brother never leaves the throne if he can help it. He dreams every night that his wronged brother will return for revenge.
Equipment: Royal epee
- Woo 1
- Duel 4
- Acquire 3
Talents: Command Guards
Starting Location: Throne Room
The False Lover: Technically it’s not his fault that his father is the Usurper, or that he smells strongly of cabbage left too long in the sun, but it’s hard not to judge him for both.
Equipment: epee, purse
- Woo 0
- Duel 4
- Acquire 4
Talents: Nobody willingly chooses to stand next to him twice. Can marry without Woo tokens.
Starting Location: Throne Room
The Guards: The Usurper keeps his throne room heavily guarded. If you challenge the Usurper to a duel, the guards will come one at a time to defend him first (assuming they haven’t mislaid their epees). Defeated guards are exiled, not killed.
- Woo 2
- Duel 4
- Acquire 2
Talents: Can escort another character by force when they move.
Starting Location: Throne Room
The Fool: The GM moves the fool around the board just like the players move the PCs. The fool can neither be killed nor exiled. Anyone who ends up adjacent to the fool must roll a die, with the following results:
- Unheeded advice: lose a Luck token.
- Public humiliation: lose a Woo token.
- Rabblerousing: initiate combat with a PC chosen by the GM. If you do not have an epee, first set out to Acquire one, or two if your opponent doesn’t have one.
- Misdirection: move to a location on the board chosen by the GM.
- Exit, pursued by bear: go directly to the nearest unoccupied location. Until they see you again, all other characters will assume you have been mauled to death by a bear.
- Valued advice: gain a Luck token.
The Witches: The witches never leave the Blasted Heath. If you stop adjacent to a witch, she will ask you to name an action that you intend to take (any action that involves a skill). If you perform that action the next time you use a skill, you will get a +2 on the roll. If the named action is not your next action, you will get a -2 both for your next action and for the action you named.
Apothecary’s lab: You may attempt to use the Acquire skill at the apothecary in order to acquire philtres. A philtre can be drunk, applied to an epee, or laced in food or drink. With an (Acquire + roll) result of at least 6, you can acquire one philtre at random. With a result of 10, you may choose which philtre you acquire. The following philtres are available:
- Makes someone appear to be dead for five turns.
- Poison: +2 to fencing rolls when applied to the epee tip, but doesn’t take effect for three turns. If the roll would have failed without the bonus, the poisoner is also struck, and is either exiled or killed. If the poison is ingested, the character either dies or falls into a swoon and wakes up in the Green Wood (see Dying, below).
- Makes someone fall in love. +5 to the next Woo roll with that character.
Arras: You may duck behind an arras to change in or out of your costume, consummate your marriage, or spy on events in the throne room. The space behind an arras counts as a separate location for rules purposes, except that you can see and hear events in the adjoining room.
Beach: A romantic spot for lovers and suicides.
Blasted Heath: Watch out for the witches!
Churchyard: A grave is reserved for each player character. When someone walks over your grave, lose a Luck token. When a player character dies, his/her ghost materializes on the appropriate grave.
Chapel: Characters attempting to marry must both be in the chapel, with the Faithful Counselor to officiate.
Green Wood: Far from civilization, the green woods are a common trysting site for lovers, as well as a place of exile. Due to the thick foliage, characters in the Green Wood do not count as being in the same location unless they are adjacent to each other.
Tavern: A fine spot for food and drink, or for slipping philtres into somebody else’s food and drink. See Drinking, below.
Throne Room: The usurper is found here, as are four guards holding epees that could be “borrowed” with an Acquire roll.
Town Square: A classic site for a duel. If a duel is fought here, the duelists can gain a Luck token with a roll of 5 or 6, rather than just the usual 6.
Book of Homilies: Read a passage to an adjacent character. Name an action about which the passage offers advice. Next time the character attempts that action, s/he gets a +1 to the roll. This advice can be as general (dueling) or specific (dueling a shepherdess in a churchyard while holding a tankard of ale) as you like.
Book of Scripture: Read aloud in a location. Next time anyone in earshot rolls for movement, if s/he roll doubles, s/he moves in the most direct route possible toward the chapel.
Costumes: see Dressing up
Engagement ring: This expensive ring can be traded to anyone for one item or token in his/her possession, with no Acquire roll necessary. Attempts to Acquire the ring take a -4 penalty. If anyone dies or is exiled with the ring in his possession, the ring is dropped until the Virtuous Innocent (and only the Virtuous Innocent) finds it.
Epee: see Dueling
Flute: +2 to Woo rolls
Purse: +2 to Acquire rolls
Royal epee: +2 to Duel rolls
Tankard: Allows you to carry one ale from the tavern, even if your Acquire roll result is under 10.
Things you can do
Gaining Luck tokens:
- Each character starts off with two Luck tokens.
- Anytime you roll a 6 (not for movement), gain a Luck token, even if the roll doesn’t succeed.
- At the end of every round, the GM chooses (approximately) one player to bestow a Luck token upon, based on roleplaying.
Losing Luck tokens:
- Anytime you roll a 1 (not for movement), you lose a Luck token.
- When someone walks over your grave, you lose a Luck token.
Spending Luck tokens: Luck tokens are used to perform a character’s individual talents. You may only spend one Luck token per round, but it needn’t occur on your turn, and it doesn’t count as your action.
Acquiring Stuff: Allows you to take one item from anyone you are adjacent to. If the result of (Acquire + roll) is at least 6, you succeed, but the character you took it from can attempt to acquire it back before his/her next move. With a 10, the other character must wait three turns. This acquisition could take the form of pickpocketing, gambling, bullying, wheeling-and-dealing, or whatever seems appropriate.
Dueling: Both combatants must have an epee to Duel. If one character has two epees, s/he may lend the second to the other character, whether that character wants it or not. Whoever gets the highest (Duel + roll) wins. The loser either loses a Woo token and is exiled to the Green Wood or, if s/he has no Luck tokens, is killed (see Dying).
Wooing: Practice on any character in the same location who is wearing clothes of the opposite sex of the clothes you are wearing (in other words, it doesn’t matter what anyone’s actual sex is, just so long as the wooing appears to be male-female). Before you roll, the character being wooed (wooee?) may declare whether or not s/he is receptive to the wooing, thereby giving a +2 bonus or -2 penalty to the roll. If the result of (Woo + roll) is at least 6, the wooer gains a Wooing token. With a 10, you both gain a Wooing token, and become one another’s True Love. (Your True Love will change if you woo or are wooed with another 10.)
Wooing NPCs will possibly make them more receptive to requests, at the GMs discretion. For example, wooing the apothecary or the tavern wench in true Shakespearian fashion might merit you a bonus to your Acquire rolls in those locations, or perhaps information on who else has been shopping for their wares.
Dressing up: Many characters begin the game with a disguise, and others are welcome to Acquire these disguises whenever they are not being worn. When they are being worn, everybody living is completely fooled by them. A character must be alone in a location to change in or out of a costume.
Drinking: You may acquire ale anywhere in the tavern. With an (Acquire + roll) result of at least 6, you get one mug of ale, to be drunk in the tavern (by you or another willing character). With a result of 10, you may take the ale with you. Anyone who drinks a mug of ale gains a +1 receptivity to being wooed. Ale bonuses stack. Ale wears off when the character changes location.
Making Vows of Mutual Aid: Fathers, daughters, lovers, sovereigns, and friends all have reasons for wanting to help each other. Two or more player characters can make a vow to aid each other in their goals, either tragic or comic. When a player committed to such a vow wins, rather than ending the game and being declared the winner, s/he then continues on to help his/her partner(s) to the same end. The game then ends after all mutual aid vows have been fulfilled or forsworn.
A character who makes a vow of mutual aid has no obligation to fulfill that vow, at least from a game mechanics perspective. If s/he decides at the last minute that she wants to be the only winner, s/he can forswear him/herself and end the game.
Getting Married: In order to get married, the happy couple must each have 5 Woo tokens, must be in the chapel, must be wearing the clothing of one sex each, must not be married to anyone living, and must be in the presence of the Faithful Counselor to officiate. Only one of the three characters involved need agree to the blessed union. If a costume change later reveals that the real sexes were not male-female, the marriage is annulled. When you are married, you and your spouse can both use items in one another’s possession.
Dying: You cannot die unless you are out of Luck tokens. If you are defeated in combat while you have Luck tokens, you are exiled to the Green Wood. If you are defeated in combat without any Luck tokens, you are incapacitated, but have plenty of time for a moving speech before you finally breathe your last.
In order to commit suicide, you must either have an epee, or drown yourself at the beach. If another character is in the same location, s/he has the option of stopping you. You cannot successfully commit suicide while you have any Luck tokens remaining.
Becoming a Ghost: If you die, you can choose to continue playing as a ghost. The downside is, all your skills become 0 and you can no longer win the game
(assuming you haven’t already won). On the bright side, you gain the power to walk through walls and see through costumes (that is, see the characters’ true identities, not see them naked). You also get the power to mess with your friends with relative impunity. Ghosts can neither die nor be exiled. Ghosts begin play in the churchyard, regardless of where they died.
Playing Again: If some or all of the same characters choose to play again, there is a slight alteration to the number of Luck tokens they start with. If only one character won the last game, s/he starts with two additional Luck tokens. If more that one person won, all winners start with one additional Luck token.
A .gif of the gameboard is below: you’ll want to print it out pretty large to get enough room.