A story-focussed roleplaying game for three players and a sentient time machine.
It was the day the music died. It was the morning of February 3rd, 1959. The bodies of four young women were found mangled and bloody on the side of the road just outside Moosejaw, Saskatchewan. Their cars were smashed up, but you know that that's not the whole story. It wasn't just a car crash.
You were her sweetheart, or her father, or her brother.
You've all fallen asleep in front of the television. The hockey game is long over. It's 2:02 AM. The TV has long since switched over to static. You are all woken up by the call...
If you don't have a time machine capable of travelling to early 1959 in observer mode, have one player stand in for the time machine. This player will describe the scene. This player will describe the people that the characters meet. This player will describe glitches in space-time. This player will describe moments of crisis and ask a player to roll a six-sided die.
The other three players will make characters as follows.
Before all of this, you had a name. What was it? Wayne, Arthur, Bruce, Gerald, Roger, Howard, Patrick, Dale, Stanley, Norman, or Ernest.
You loved her. And God-damn-it, she had a name. What was it? Martha, Anne, Jeannie, Ruth, Marie, Bev, Peggy, Dolores, Lorraine, Margie, Ruby, Constance, or Gloria
Who was she to you?
Who is your patron saint? Buddy, Ritchie, or The Big Bopper.
Behind your back, people called you The Big Feller, The Charmer, or The Oddball. Which one?
Actions are divided into three types: physical, mental, and social. What people call you behind your back (i.e., The Big Feller, The Charmer, or The Oddball) influences how well you do when rolling actions.
snatch something, you get +1 if you describe your plan of stealth
pummel someone, you get +1 if you detail a weapon and how you plan to use it
overcome a physical obstacle, you get +1 if you tell a story of how strong you used to be
The Big Feller always gets an additional +1 on physical actions.
plumb the depths of your memory, you get +1 if you describe a memento in detail
face a fear, you get +1 if you describe your greater fear of complacency
overcome complacency or sadness, you get +1 if you describe the worse lifestyle of a friend or relative, and how that turned out for them
The Oddball always gets an additional +1 on mental actions.
intimidate someone, you get +1 if you describe the leverage you have on this person
get what you're owed, you get +1 if you detail what you did for them and why they should pay up now
get intimate, you get +1 if you detail something that you profoundly hate about yourself
The Charmer always gets an additional +1 on social actions.
When you get to the Crisis Moment, you'll use one of the above actions.
At some point when role-playing at one of the locations, you'll get to the Crisis Moment (there'll be only one at each location). When you get there, you use an action, roll a die, and note down the natural result (there's a spot to write it for each location). You're trying to beat the Intensity Rating of the location with your total die result (the natural result, plus any bonuses).
If you beat the Intensity Rating (IR) at the location, you get what you want.
If you match the IR, you get rebuffed: you don't get what you want, but you learn something.
If you get a result that's lower than the IR at the location, you don't get what you want.
After the roll, you always write down the natural result of the roll (i.e., the number on the upturned face of the die). Record the natural result for that location. After the roll, role-play what happens next. After that, you've made a scene and exhausted the usefulness of the location, so move along.
Once you've visited three locations, the sun rises. When the sun rises, the time machine on the roof of the house moves you all back in time to 2:02 AM. You wake up in front of the TV. The phone is ringing. It is again the early hours of February 3rd.
You can go back to locations; however, if you ever roll the same natural number on the die, you cause a space-time glitch. In this case, roll on the glitch table.
1 - Someone is gone who used to be here. It has to mean something.
2 - Someone is here who used to be gone. It has to mean something.
3 - Time skips forward an hour. It has to mean something.
4 - You're all instantly transported somewhere else. It has to mean something.
5 - You hear something that's happening somewhere (somewhen) else. It has to mean something.
6 - You don't see the sunrise, but you can feel its warmth from the East. It has to mean something.
The time machine (or time machine player) will show how these glitches manifest. Each time the scene will be eerie, broken, or uncanny. Strange occurrences are associated with space-time glitches.
The Curling Club (are they playing or drinking?) Natural die result(s) ___ IR: 4 Notes: The Wheat Pool (is it secure or deserted?) Natural die result(s) ___ IR: 3 Notes: The Rink (is the ice frozen or melted?) Natural die result(s) ___ IR: 5 Notes: The Bar (is it seedy or classy?) Natural die result(s) ___ IR: 6 Notes: Charlie's Place (is it social or aggressive?) Natural die result(s) ___ IR: 6 Notes: The Clubhouse (is it crowded or empty?) Natural die result(s) ___ IR: 6 Notes: The Hospital (is it calm or chaotic?) Natural die result(s) ___ IR: 5 Notes: The Wreck (is it gory or eerie?) Natural die result(s) ___ IR: 6 Notes: The Time Machine on the Roof (is it technological or alien?) Natural die result(s) ___ IR: 4 Notes:
After visiting three locations (and having three Crisis Moments), the sun begins to rise. When this happens, you're transported back in time to 2:02 AM. Dawn can occur three times (giving four opportunities to find out what happened). After the fourth iteration of the early hours of February 3rd, a glitch removes the time machine from the space-time stream. Thereafter, time progresses normally.
Ron's Sorcerer (getting +1 for more interesting descriptions)
Paul's wisdom (game skills tell you what the designer thinks is hard)
Rob's Misspent Youth, particularly, character creation.