All’s Well That Ends as You Like It
copyright (c) 2011 Matt 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 three Luck tokens, and tokens for your equipment. You may begin the game wearing your costume, if you have one.
Every turn consists of a movement and an interaction. One can either move or interact first, player’s choice. The player may also choose to skip either the movement or interaction phase. Choose who goes first in whatever manner seems agreeable. The first player sets the Diva token in front of him. Play proceeds clockwise.
Movement: Roll 2d6. You can move up, down, left, or right, or 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.)
Interaction: 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 role of an NPC can be played by any other player whose character is not in the same location [unless all characters are in the same location]. If more than one player wishes to play a given NPC, the one whose character is farthest from the NPC in question wins the right.)
After all the PCs have taken a turn, the NPC phase begins, in which each player may choose to spend a Luck token to take a turn for one of the NPCs. Your character must not be in the same location as the NPC you choose to play, nor can you move the NPC to your location. (NPCs are assumed to have an endless supply of Luck tokens, and can use their talents freely. They cannot, however, willingly give away any items in their possession.)
At the end of the NPC round, if the Witches or Usurper are away from their starting locations, they automatically move 2d6 toward their home. Anyone who appears to be dead is moved to the churchyard.
Following every full round, the players vote for the best roleplayer of that round. The winner gains a Luck token. You may not vote for yourself. (If two players are tied, both gain a Luck token, but are ineligible in the next round. You are on your honor to vote for the best player, not the one who seems like the least competition at the moment, or the one you you made a deal with.)
At the very end of every round, the player with the Diva token passes it to the left. Now the player who just received the Diva token goes first for the next 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 the character who has most recently won. (You cannot unwin the game if your victory conditions cease to be met; i.e. if the Usurper regains the throne, your marriage is annulled, etc.)
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
Luck Talents: Command the Fool (at the end of your turn, you may take a turn for the Fool). Temper the Fool (add +1 to die roll when encountering the Fool)
Starting Location: Beach
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 her dead True Love’s grave).
Equipment: Costume of a virtuous innocent shepherdess, engagement ring
Luck Talents: Turn a Luck token into a Woo token (one per turn). Give your father or True Love +1 to his next duel.
Starting Location: Green Wood
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 eking 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. For movement, roll 2d6; each character chooses one die for movement. Each round one twin interacts.)
Comic Goal: Meet for the first time when all living PCs are in the same location (both must be out of costume for the meeting).
Tragic Goal: One twin kills the other’s True Love.
Equipment: Costumes of each other, epee for him, flute for her
Luck Talents: Switch places with your twin. Give your twin a Woo token.
Starting Location: Beach/Town Square
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: Preside over three marriages.
Tragic Goal: Preside over an incestuous marriage.
Equipment: Book of scripture, book of homilies
Luck Talents: Officiate at the marriage of any two eligible characters; at least one member of the happy couple must be willing, unless the marriage takes place in the chapel, in which case neither bride nor groom need agree. Roll 3d6 for movement when you are moving by the shortest route to the chapel.
Starting Location: Chapel
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 you have never successfully wooed.
Tragic Goal: Kill your True Love when you cannot recognize her.
Equipment: 2 epees
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
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 player character in the game, without getting married.
Tragic Goal: Be killed by the husband or True Love of the last person you wooed.
Equipment: Tankard (begins full), costume of a respectable woman.
Luck Talents: Convince an adjacent character to join you in a drink (you must have a drink available before offering). Move directly to the Tavern, the Tavern Wench, or anybody you are about to offer ale to.
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. (The Usurper will only arise from his throne for the following reasons: 1) his True Love awaits him in the chapel to marry; 2) he is pursued by a bear (see the Fool); or 3) he loses a duel and is exiled to the Green Wood. If a player chooses to control the Usurper when he is off the throne, he will only move toward the throne. At the end of every round, he moves 2d6 toward the throne.)
Equipment: Royal epee
Talents: Command Guards (Command one Guard per turn. Guards will automatically defend him from danger).
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
Talents: Nobody willingly chooses to move next to him twice, even to pass him. Can acquire Woo tokens from any character dressed as a man.
Starting Location: Throne Room
The Fool: The fool cannot be killed, exiled, wooed, etc. Anyone who ends up adjacent to the fool must roll a die, with the following results:
1) Public humiliation: lose a Woo token.
2) Rabblerousing: initiate combat with a PC chosen by the player directing the Fool. If you do not have an epee, first set out to Acquire one, or two if your opponent doesn’t have one.
3) Pickpocket: the Fool takes one item from you at random, unless he already has an item he took from someone else, in which case he plants it on you.
4) Amorous Rumors: Spend the next two turns doing your best to Woo a character chosen by the player directing the Fool.
5) 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. (Death is grounds for an annulment.)
6) Valued advice: gain a Luck token.
(If the Fool persuades an NPC to woo or duel another character, a player may choose to control that NPC without spending a Luck token during the NPC phase.)
The Witches: When a witch chooses to interact with you (i.e. a player spends a Luck token to take a turn as a witch), first thing, you lose a Luck token (if you have one). She then makes a prophecy that you will either duel or woo a particular character, or acquire a particular item. Once you have fulfilled her prophecy, you gain two Luck tokens. At the end of every round, any witch away from her starting location automatically moves 2d6 toward her home.
Tavern Wench: The tavern wench has an endless supply of ale with which she will be happy to supply you (with a successful Acquire roll). If you successfully Woo the tavern wench, you get a +1 to attempt to Acquire ale. (The tavern wench starts the game with five Woo tokens, and will attempt to get married any time the opportunity presents itself.)
Apothecary: The apothecary will supply you with a philtre with a successful Acquire roll. If you successfully Woo the apothecary, you get a +1 to attempt to Acquire a philtre. A philtre can be drunk, applied to an epee, or laced in ale.
With an (Acquire + roll) result of at least 6, you can acquire one philtre chosen by the player directing the apothecary. With a result of 8, you may choose for yourself which philtre you acquire. The following philtres are available:
1) Makes someone appear to be dead for five turns. (Death is grounds for an annulment.)
2) 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).
3) Makes someone fall in love. +5 to the next Woo roll with that character.
The Guards: The Usurper keeps his throne room heavily guarded. The Usurper will not fight a duel until the guards have all come one at a time to defend him (assuming they haven’t mislaid their epees). Defeated guards are exiled, not killed.
Talents: Can escort another character by force when they move.
Starting Location: Throne Room
Apothecary’s lab: Your one-stop shopping for poisons and love philtres. If the apothecary is not present, you may take a philtre with an (Acquire + roll) of 4, but you won’t know which philtre you have until you use it. See Apothecary character for types of philtres.
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. Each arras contains one of the following costumes: the Exotic Queen, the Elderly Nurse, the Wealthy Merchant, or the Dark Lady. When a character walks behind an arras, s/he learns which of the four costumes is located there, and may take it or change into it if s/he wishes. (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, you must **shudder** or lose a Luck token. When a player character dies, his/her ghost materializes on the appropriate grave.
Chapel: Characters can marry in the chapel. Your bride or groom of choice must be present, but not necessarily willing. You may also sober up (lose all your drunk tokens), or pray for the misfortune of your enemies here. See Praying and Getting Married, below.
Green Wood: Far from civilization, the Green Wood is 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 drinking, Wooing the Tavern Wench, or slipping philtres into somebody else’s ale. If the Tavern Wench isn’t present, you can help yourself with a +2 to acquire ale. 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 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 rolls doubles, s/he moves directly to 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 -2 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: Every time the bearer rolls a 6 for any reason, the tankard magically refills with ale.
Things you can do
Spending Luck tokens: Luck tokens are used to perform a character’s individual talents, or to play an NPC at the end of the round. You needn’t spend Luck on your turn, and it doesn’t count as your character’s 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 on his/her next turn as a free action. With a 10, the other character must use his/her action to reAqcuire it. (For roleplaying purposes, 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 s/he is killed (you can only die if you have no Luck tokens).
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. If your True Love was in costume at the time s/he was won, you are in love with the costume rather than the character.)
Dressing up: Many characters begin the game with a disguise, and others are welcome to Acquire these disguises whether or not they are being worn. When they are being worn, everybody living is completely fooled by them. A character must be alone in a location to change your own costume.
Drinking: You may acquire ale from the Tavern Wench. With an (Acquire + roll) result of 6, you get one mug of ale, plus another mug for each number above 6. (If your Acquire + roll = 8, you get 3 ales). Anyone who drinks a mug of ale gains a +1 receptivity to being wooed. Ale bonuses stack.
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. Characters must be in the same location to make their vows. 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.
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.
Vows of mutual aid are made between characters, not players. That means that if you have promised to aid another character, you are well within your rights to make that character’s life as difficult as you like when you are playing an NPC.
Getting Married: In order to get married, the happy couple must each have 5 Woo tokens, must be wearing the clothing of one sex each, and must either be in the chapel or attended by the Faithful Counselor to officiate. When you are married, you and your spouse can both use items in one another’s possession. (If a costume change later reveals that the real sexes were not male-female, or that the marriage is incestuous, the marriage is annulled.)
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.
(When you die, any items you are carrying are left in the spot you died. You keep your belongings with you when you are exiled.)
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.