MacGuffin is now available for purchase at the Game Crafter website!
MacGuffin is a cooperative storytelling game. It provides a framework to guide you in creating a gripping story with intertwined plots and character development. It is hysterical at times, tragic at others. Unlike most games, there are no winners or losers, only cool stories.
The game takes advantage of the fact that there are only a relatively small number of plots used in all stories, from ancient myths to modern-day movies. MacGuffin provides 10 main plots and 18 sub-plots from which players can choose to mix into their story. Each of these provides very general guidance and questions about each step in each plot. Players improvise what happens at each step, inspired by the various personality traits of the characters involved in the story.
You can download the game rules for free (either from the Downloads page or from the Game Crafter site)! So you can see if you think you'd like the game before you buy it.
After years of work, I am very pleased to announce that I have developed the storytelling game MacGuffin: The Quidnunc and the Hounds to a point that I am ready to show it to the world! MacGuffin is undoubtedly the most original game design I have ever created. It's a storytelling game that works. It really, really does. But, you don't have to take my word for it. You can download the game rules from the Downloads page of this site. However, the game also requires a game board, cards, and tokens. The artwork for MacGuffin is on the Downloads page as well (100 Mbytes worth). So, you could print the game elements yourself. But, I would recommend you wait a few weeks until I can get a professionally printed copy available from the Game Crafter website. If you just can't wait though, feel free to print them out yourself for your own use.
Incidentally, MacGuffin is the name of the game system. The Quidnunc and the Hounds is the name of this particular incarnation of it, in the same way that D&D is an incarnation of the d20 system.
I am also pleased to present the first version of the Viral Sanity License (VSL), the license under which MacGuffin is made available. The VSL is intended as a grass-roots effort to address the problem of neverending copyright durations. Any work licensed under the VSL is accompanied by a "Liberation Date". This is the date at which the work is stripped of all licenses (other than the VSL itself) and becomes available to the general public to make derivative works from. The Liberation Date can be no later than 20 years after the copyright date of the work, but may be earlier if the work's creator desires. You can view the license in all its glory at the end of the MacGuffin Game Rules document (available from the Downloads page).
Felix Pleşoianu has created The RPG Design Patterns Wiki, which is based on the latest release of Design Patterns of Successful Role-Playing Games. Now, anyone that is interested in game design can contribute their own ideas to the work. Please drop in and create an account. Thanks Felix, you did an awesome job!
A new version of Design Patterns of Successful Role-Playing Games is available for download, for those interested in RPG design. The work is not quite where I would like it to be. I was wanting to write up some more patterns, some of which I feel are important for game design, and others that various readers asked me to cover. Further, there are a number of games that people have suggested that I evaluate and write-up because of their significance in the evolution of RPGs over the years. However, I have to say that I have spent so much time on this project that I am sick of it. I haven't made any significant additions for over a year, and since I have my hands full with other projects, I don't see myself getting back to this anytime soon. Even so, the book as it currently stands is in far better shape than my earlier release. So, I felt it was high-time I got it out there for others to read and, hopefully, benefit from.
It has also been quite a while since I updated the site, and some folks have queried as to the status of my various
other projects. Most notably, I have been asked about where Legendary Quest stands. Indeed, it has been so long since
my previous posting to the site that some people have asked whether LQ is completely dead at this point. I am happy to say
that LQ is not dead. I have actually been diligently working on 8th edition as my free time permits. There have been a
number of reasons that 8th edition has taken me so long to get out. First, it took me the span of several years to design
and play-test various new systems to find a set of rules that I thought was worthy of forming the basis of LQ. I cannot
recount the number of systems that my play-testers and I tried out only to have me reject them in the end. I am happy to say that
I did, eventually, find some rules that I believe provide a significant enhancement to the play experience of 7th edition
LQ. However, once the rules were identified, it has been a grueling experience in the re-write of the Grimoire. I had
thought it would be only a few months of effort. But, it has proven to be quite a bit larger task than I originally
anticipated. Let me just say that, if the initial play-tests of the full-blown 8th edition rules turn out all right,
I believe that the LQ'ers out there will be in for a pleasant surprise.
Some people have also queried me about Gnostigmata. I have to say that I have been disappointed in the play-tests
of that game as it stood several years ago, even though I was quite excited after the early play-tests. I went through
several incarnations of the game since the previous release, but I can't say that the game has improved significantly.
However, I did spin off another game from Gnostigamata based on some of the same story-game ideas. This new game is
called MacGuffin, and I hope to have a download available for that soon. Briefly, MacGuffin takes the plot and sub-plot
concepts from Gnostigmata and strips away everything not directly related to that. In play-tests of this very minimal
rule set, MacGuffin has worked well in having a group of players ad-lib full-blown stories from beginning to end
with plots and intertwined sub-plots within the span of a single session. As with all games, though, it suits the palates
of some players while others don't find it appealing as it is quite demanding of all the players sitting at the table.
Most recently, I have been working on a board game called Gods of Olympus. This whole game came about as a final
project to a free on-line game design course I just completed. For anyone interested in game design, I highly recommend
taking this course. Ian Schreiber provides course lectures as a series of blogs which you can access from
here. I'm not sure yet how I am going to provide access to
Gods of Olympus, since the game requires quite a lot of fiddly-bits such as boards and tokens and cards. One possible
idea is to make it available for purchase from The Game Crafter website,
which is a new upstart website devoted to applying Print on Demand principles to board games.
A new version of Gnostigmata(Beta
available for download. I think this version is very close to
final. There aren't many rule changes from the
previous beta, in fact. Mostly, the current changes consist of
additional explanatory text. The previous version is no longer available.
A new version of Gnostigmata(Beta
available for download. This version allows players to specify
sub-plots for their characters and provides more guidance in
structuring the overall storyline. Also, some new
rules concerning Healing are incorporated, to better enable teams of
differing numbers to compete fairly against one another. Overall,
these rule changes doubled the speed of play! The previous
version is no longer
A new version of Gnostigmata(Beta
available for download. This version incorporates some
improvements made as a consequence of our recents
play-tests. The Trauma system was greatly simplified, which
allows us to keep track of attribute values using poker chips.
Also, the trauma categories were renamed and the Virtue and Vice traits
must now be stated as verbs. The previous version is no longer
A new game, Gnostigmata,
available for download. It is sort of a blend of "The Matrix",
"Stigmata", and "The Da Vinci Code". Currently, the game is in a beta
state and I'm looking for playtesters. So, if you're interested
in providing feedback, please contact me. Beware, it is a trifle
different than what you're probably be used to. It doesn't even
have a Game Master. I started writing the game as an appendix for
Patterns of Successful Role-Playing Games. The
intent was simply to provide an example of how RPG Design Patterns can
be used in game design. However, as I got more and more involved
in its creation, the game took on a life of its own. I hope you
Over the past year or so, I've been preparing to write 8th edition LQ. A large portion of this work has been an extensive study of other role-playing games, both traditional and cutting-edge. As TS Eliot once said, "Minor poets imitate, great poets steal". It would not be unreasonable to say that I've been casing the competition to see what's worthy of pilfering. In so doing, I wrote a book, Design Patterns of Successful Role-Playing Games, which is currently in draft form. I have made it available on the downloads page in hopes of getting feedback. I've got a feeling that the book has a long way to go before I'll call it finished. But, if you're designing your own game, I hope what's there already might help you in your current projects.
I am very pleased to announce the release of the final book in the 7th edition of Legendary Quest: The Handbook of Hazards and House Rules. This book presents the best of the House Rules that have been proposed over the years as well as a whole host of traps and natural hazards. Due to all the feedback I have received since first releasing the game, this book also includes rules for piecemeal armor, spiritualists (who wield psychic powers), and a new heroic idiom system that I feel will have a huge influence on the game now and in the future. It was the latter three sections that caused the delays in release. I hope that, once you read these sections, you find them worth the wait.
An updated version of The Grimoire of Game Rules is available for download. This version is much smaller (11 Mb vs. the previous 22 Mb). It also displays much more quickly in Adobe Acrobat, for those of you that prefer using the books via computer rather than printout. In addition, a number of spelling and grammar errors have been corrected, due to some excellent proofing work done by Mike Patrick. Thanks a bunch, Mike!
Happy Halloween! I have a special holiday treat for you all. I am re-releasing The Tome of Terrors. The new release does not have any rule changes, but the entire book has been absorbed into a single document that is dramatically smaller than the previous version. It is now only 10 Mb total (9 Mb zipped) as opposed to the 50 Mb of the former file collection. Those of you that have felt frustration with the speed of the Tome displaying in Adobe Acrobat will suffer that fate no more! I plan on doing the same for The Grimoire of Game Rules and will let you know as soon as that work is done.
Also, as you may have noticed, I've decided to move to a journal format for the home page so that those that haven't visited us in a while won't miss out on any major events.
We are pleased to announce the release of The Monsters of the Mediterranean, an LQ supplement that describes a whole new zoo of monsters taken from Greek, Babylonian, and Egyptian mythologies. Take a look!
Whew! With the release of The Monsters of the Mediterranean, there's only one book left for me to finish. That's The Handbook of Hazards and House Rules, which contains some popular house rules, new classes and skills, traps, and other hazards. Yes, we are planning on making it available electronically for download as well. But, this last book has got quite a ways to go before I'll be able to call it complete. Don't expect it before January or February of 2004 at the earliest, and possibly later. I do plan on releasing the Handbook in beta form in the near future to anyone willing to playtest its contents. There will likely be a couple of beta releases before the final release, so please understand that these early version will be far more crude than the finished works you've already seen. If you want to obtain a beta copy when they're available, send me an e-mail with your request. I will require you to obtain an account on the LQ Discussion Forums so that you will be able to participate in the discussions about the Handbook. After all, the point of a beta release is to obtain feedback, so I hope you can understand this restriction.
At long last, Celtic Creatures and Nordic Nightmares is now available for download. I hope this new book will delight you with the wide range of beasts found in Celtic, Nordic, and Slavonic folklore and mythology.
Legendary Questers now have a common meeting place. Check out the new LQ Discussion Forums. They are being generously provided to us through the efforts of Mike Cantrell.
Legendary Quest, Gnostigmata, The Grimoire of Game Rules, The Tome of Terrors, The Lexicon of Lore, The Manual of Mythology, Celtic Creatures and Nordic Nightmares, The Monsters of the Mediterranean, and The Handbook of Hazards and House Rules are trademarks of LoreWeaver, a (notsomuchofa) business based in Albuquerque, NM.
MacGuffin and The Quidnunc and the Hounds are trademarks of Whitson John Kirk III.
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