26 January 2017
Co-created by inventor Rory O’Connor and The Nine Cubes author John Fiore
A roleplaying game based on Rory’s Story Cubes is in the works and scheduled for launch this October, Tabletop Gaming can exclusively reveal.
Speaking to TTG at this year’s Toy Fair, the inventor of the creative title, Rory O'Connor, said that he had teamed up with RPG designer John Fiore to create a currently untitled roleplaying game that uses the existing story generation mechanic to form a narrative-driven campaign.
“There's a guy, John Fiore, he developed a set of rules called The Nine Cubes,” O’Connor said. “It was a set of rules for solo roleplaying with Rory's Story Cubes. So the way there's the kind of mythic generator which is used by gamers, The Nine Cubes gave you a way to combine Story Cubes with your favourite RPG manual so that you could have a GM and you could be the character in the story.
“Myself and John got in contact and we started talking, and I loved what he was doing but I was like: 'It's still kind of clunky and I love DMing, but I'm always put off at the notion of running games because I think, 'Ah, there's so much I need to know and so much I need to remember.''”
O’Connor described the Story Cubes RPG as a “gateway for people to get involved” with more traditional RPG titles such as Dungeons & Dragons, with a single scenario taking approximately one hour to play and adopting the structure of a TV serial.
“It'll be a limited run as we kind of iron out the kinks, but I wanted to create this game where a family – I always think of a mum and her kids – could sit down and have the experience that loads of other people are having with roleplaying games without the heavy lifting of the book and the manual and the character creation and all that stuff,” he explained. “That puts people off.
“So we've kind of taken the heart of what it's like to put yourself into a story, but gotten rid of a lot of the paperwork of the rules. I needed Story Cubes to do it. I did have a name for it but I realised it's trademarked.
“I'm really excited because I want to open that door of what it felt like to be in a story and recreate the notion of what were for me '80s action TV shows, where it's like Quantum Leap and Star Trek and other things where it's like you're dropped into an adventure, you know it's going to end in 45 minutes, but how do you get to the end?
“That's essentially what we're trying to create: this game that takes you on this– drops you into an adventure, drags you through the story and you're done within kind of 45 to 60 minutes. Hopefully it will inspire people to go, 'I want to find out more about this.' So then they go and look at D&D and Pathfinder or – as a nod to Cubicle 7 – the Doctor Who roleplaying game, as well.”
O’Connor was also demonstrating the upcoming Adventure Time set of Story Cubes at Toy Fair, which joins a line of spin-offs already including Batman, Doctor Who and Scooby-Doo. He confirmed that all of the licensed variations and expansions would be compatible with the RPG.
“What we discovered is it actually works brilliantly with the themed sets,” he said. “So now you can be a character in a Batman story, you can be a character in a Doctor Who episode, or even weirder, you can have Finn and Jake team up with Scooby-Doo to battle The Joker by mixing all of the sets together.
“Ultimately what I wanted to create is the sense of an adventure game where you can go anywhere and do anything. We kind of nailed that bit and we're still working on finding the mechanics to make it as user-centric as possible. Because with collaborative storytelling, a lot of it is left for you to say, 'Well, you decide what happens.' I wanted kids to be able to play this, and they don't have that capacity to say, 'You go first' or 'You go with your idea,' because they're like: 'No, my idea's awesome! Why didn't you pick my idea?' We have to figure out the means to facilitate that. That's actually the tough bit at the moment.”
O’Connor said that the Story Cubes RPG is planned to appear in “sneak previews” at the UK Games Expo in early June, followed by a release at Essen Spiel in mid-October.