C Koppang (9.13.01) fleetingGlow@yahoo.com
Visit: From the desk & mind
--- The Premise & Back Story
--- Game Setup
of players: 4 or more.
need a large bank of songs and a method for playing them in random order. MP3s work great for this purpose, but CD
changers, or even radio can get the job done.
will need 5 six-sided dice for each player, unless you want to pass the dice
around as the need arises. The later
method can slow down play however.
will need a pool of poker chips or other such counters: 5 for each player plus
a number of additional chips equal to the number of players. For example, if there are four players than you
will need 24 chips. Place all of the
chips in a central location where everyone can reach them.
one player to begin the game as the Maestro.
Unlike most other rpgs, Theme Music does not require a Game Master. The Maestro is not the Game Master.
--- Character Creation
Example Character (RandyAl.htm) for now...
do not need to play an instrument, or have any musical talent whatsoever.
--- How To Play
player shares the responsibility for creating a detailed setting and story
within the context of the game. At any
given time one player dons the name of Maestro and has slight power beyond that
of his fellow players, but his title only lasts the length of a song.
of Theme Music consists of a series of interlocking scenes, connected
(sometimes artificially) by the players.
To begin a game put your MP3 player on random mode and hit the play
button. With each new song begins a new
scene; the mood and action of that scene is dictated by the background
music. If a thoughtful piece of
classical music leads into "Kung Fu Fighting," then the characters
may forget their thought provoking conversations and break out into combat and
mayhem. Encourage cut scenes; don't
feel locked into only one location or time.
Let the music be your guide as you create a story. Pay attention to style, lyrics, tempo, and
all other aspects of the song. By the
end of the game, your success depends on whether or not you, as a group, were
able to tell a coherent tale in the face of ever changing tunes.
--- Task Resolution
majority of actions a character will perform automatically succeed. Task Resolution only plays a part in the
game when a player desires his character to rise above the norm. Then, a player spends chips in proportion to
the "cool" level he hopes to achieve and rolls some dice. A character either succeeds or fails in his
action; there is very little middle ground.
resolution, to use a bit of rpg-theory lingo, plays out as "fortune at the
start." You roll the dice before
deciding the character's actions or even declaring what the character's
intentions are. In order to roll dice,
you must first buy them with chips from your pool. You can trade one chip for one die, and afterwards place the
spent chips in the center pot. The
amount of dice you roll determines the maximum level of success a character can
achieve in any action.
die....... mostly mundane actions
dice...... above average actions
dice...... memorable actions
dice...... a notch above most actions
dice...... truly heroic/unbelievable actions
player may only purchase 5 dice at any one time. After purchasing his dice a player than must achieve a number of
successes equal to his dice total. For
example, a character attempting an unbelievable action must earn 5 successes to
accomplish the feat. Any 4, 5, or 6
scores a single success on a single die.
Unmodified attempts can prove very difficult.
your character to modify task resolution: coming soon...
player succeeds he may then narrate any action of the appropriate success level
or lower. Keep in mind that actions are
of an indeterminate length of time and, depending on the situation and scene,
can last hours or seconds.
other hand, when a character fails he must also narrate an action. The failure should be of a level equal to
the attempt; what would have been a truly heroic success, translates into a
truly heroic failure. Failure has a
place in any story, and should not be viewed as losing. Instead players are encouraged to narrate
with the same amount of zeal they would have if their character had
succeeded. Normally when a roll fails,
the player gains his spent chips back.
If he attempted a mundane action and failed, he gains one chip
back. However, if a player is willing
to forfeit his spent chips permanently, then he can in turn narrate a partial
success. This choice should be
discouraged, but is included for those situations that may lead to dire
results. The partial success can be of
a level equal to the number of successes the player did roll, meaning that
partial success requires at least one success.
are used exclusively for Task Resolution, but earning chips is another matter
altogether. To earn chips a player must
participate in the action and make use of his player's traits. By completing certain actions either in-game
or out of game a player may take chips from the center pot. If there are no chips in the pot, then that
player is out of luck. He must wait
until other players spend chips in order to earn more. A player with no chips may only direct his
character to perform unspectacular actions.
Prop in one of the two specified ways....... 1 Chip
a specified Motivational goal............ 5 Chips
half of a Weakness....................... 1 Chip
the previous scene to the current one....... 1 Chip
a proper failure.......................... Chips equal to the number spent
Motivational goals: Cross off Motivations that no longer apply to the
character, and immediately create a new goal for the character. Add the new Motivation to the character
sheet. The new Motivation may be
derived from the completed one, or run along a different line altogether.
Weaknesses: A beginning character has only 50% of his sheet filled out. By taking on a new Weakness, the character
earns a chip. The first time a new
Weakness is written on the character sheet, complete it's name and one of the
two situations required. A player earns
another chip when the second situation is completed. A new Weakness may only be taken in a situation when that Weakness
would affect the character directly.
Scenes: The Maestro is responsible for declaring what type of scene will take
place during the new song, but the remaining players must come up with a bridge
connecting the previous scene to the current one. The Maestro dictates what happens, but the other players must
create a reason why it happens. Only
one player may earn a chip for linking scenes.
The chance to link scenes proceed clockwise, beginning with the player
to the left of the Maestro. A player
may pass or narrate his link, but only receives a few seconds to begin his
narration. The Maestro decides when
"time is up," and then passes the chance onto the next player in
line. The Maestro may not link scenes
and play proceeds without a link if no one creates one in the first pass around
--- The Maestro
role of the Maestro passes clockwise around the table, so that each player will
have a chance much more than once to call the scene type. When a song ends the roll of the Maestro
changes hands to the next player in line.
The Maestro is responsible for choosing a scene type when a new song
begins, and then directing the others during scene linking. Scene types are meant to act as loose
guides, allowing plenty of room for creativity. Examples may include fight, heartfelt conversation, high action,
slow motion, drama, film noir, love, revenge, and many others. A Maestro can only choose one scene type per
addition, the Maestro has veto power.
At anytime during the course of his scene he feels that a player has
compromised the integrity of the game with an action, the Maestro can veto that
action. Unless the veto faces a
unanimous objection from the other players, the player in violation must
retract his action or tone it down to within the range of believability.
veto power extends to all players at all times. When, in the course of the game, all players decide to alter any
aspect of the story or game, that alteration is automatically accomplished.