Wednesday, February 4, 2015

That Night Out: A Survive the Night Challenge

That Night Out: A Survive the Night Challenge entry

This is my entry to Matthew Bannock's challenge on Google Plus. He invited people to try writing up a game using the theme, "Survive the Night"

Here's hoping this is well received.
See the original post here:

That Night Out
Number of players: 2-5, GM less game
Requirements: 1 standard deck of playing cards, jokers included

You and your friends are on a night out, enjoying some beers and laughs.  Out of nowhere, a siren blares.  You look at each other and realize that though you've never heard this siren before... you are aware that your lives are in danger.  Somehow, deep in the bottom of your souls, you all realize something is out there to kill you.

And no one else seems to feel that way but your group.

What do you do?

Survive the Night has you and your friends consider options on how to survive til the coming of dawn.  Each hour, something happens and your group must try to survive it, despite the strangeness and impossibility of it.  Frighteningly, no one else seems to perceive the threats you are facing.  Can you survive the night?

The game is played in Rounds.  
There are 9 Rounds in the game, representing the nine hours that remain before the sun rises.  
The game begins in your group's favorite hangout.  You were all there at 9p.m. when the Siren sounded.  Suddenly, you all innately sense the danger you are in.

And worse, realize no one else in the bar save your group is in that situation.

Each Round can be as long or short as needed to overcome the threat.  If need be, if thirty minutes of real time actually pass and the threat is not defeated, trigger the next Round.

Each Round, a Threat manifests, arrives, or stalks the victims.  They must find a way to defeat it and survive the night.  Be aware that eventually, the group may have to leave the location to continue their fight for survival.  Or worse, barricade themselves from others somehow.  As they battle against these Threats, they might incite the anger or fear of those around them which may lead to complications with the police and others.

The devastation and destruction these things leave in their wake, however, are real and can kill those in the way.  Everyone else just fails to perceive the cause... and frighteningly most might pin-point the players are the possible source.

Each player then draws five playing cards from the deck, but is careful not to reveal them to the other players.  These cards are used to resolve any challenges during that Round.  Once a player runs out of cards, he cannot win the next challenge.  Unless the narrative properly means the character dies, the character is grievously injured and has one less card in his hand for the rest of the game.  This means, the more injuries the characters take, the less cards they will have for the rest of the game.   Eventually, they might be too injured that they automatically fail challenges and die (unless someone who cares for them helps them, that is, by playing a card for them in exchange for nothing.)  The game, of course prematurely ends if all the player characters die.

Each card allows the player to succeed in an action that matches its suit.
Clubs - Physical actions (e.g. Climbing a ladder, shoving someone back, breaking open a lock)
Diamonds - Financial or resource based actions (e.g. Paying for something, calling for help from someone they know, remembering a specific store that might be useful)
Spades - Mental actions (e.g. Noticing a threat coming towards them, picking a lock)
Hearts - Emotional actions (e.g. convincing others to run away, seducing someone)

Players choose a name for their character and a brief phrase describing who they are in the game.
Each player chooses one other character as "the person they care for the most" and writes that name down.  If that character is about to fail a challenge, the player can trade one card with him to help him succeed.  This can only be done once.

Each player chooses another character as "the person they care about the least" and writes that name down as well.  If that character is about to win a challenge, the player can demand to trade the played card with any one of his cards.  This may cause the other to lose (or still succeed but with a lower card).  This can also only be done only once.
Each Round, five other cards are also drawn and left face down on the table.
Then, a sixth card is drawn and compared to this chart, to determine the kind of Threat that is coming.  The player who last had gone drinking is the first Narrator and starts the narration on how the Threat approaches the group.  Then, going clockwise, each player handles any narrative requirements for scenes as the Narrator every time a decision is needed.  If that person is the one doing an action, skip that person.

However, when actions relate to the Threats, the five drawn cards are then used for resolution.   The player declares the action and the Narrator determines the needed suit (without seeing the cards of the player).  The player then selects one card to play.  The Narrator randomly chooses one of the five face down cards on the table.  These are compared to see who wins. If both have the correct suit, the higher number wins (Aces are low).  If only one has a matching suit, that character wins.  If neither have a matching suit, the success goes to the higher number.  If still tied, then the Narrator decides.

Story wise, as each hour begins, the players all have a sense of a threat present.  If you want, you can hint on what is to come.  Or leave it completely by surprise.

 The Ogre
Seven foot tall monstrosity with green warty skin and three eyes, all but one blind. 
 Immense strength, barbed club
The Ogre is extremely allergic to salt. 
 The Wolf
Large wolf with luminous eyes. 
Sneaky. Fanged maw. 
 Cannot step into direct light.
 The Hook
Old man with hooked right hand.  Smells of sea water and salt. 
 Hook tears through anything.
Cannot stand the presence of music. 
 Creeping Doom
Sentient vines of purple and green. 
Entangles. Barbed thorns. 
Dissolves when watered with alcohol. 
 The Meme
A word keeps getting repeated.  The more times it is repeated, the stronger it gets.   The word is, "No."
Eventually the speaker dies from hemorrhaging from speaking the word. 
 If no one speaks it for half an hour, it dies.
 A webpage that reveals secrets of its target, even stuff never uploaded.
Emails, video, photographs that embarrass or even cause suicidal thoughts. 
 Press the escape key.
 Poison Mist
A green poisonous mist crawls out of the sewers.  It seems sentient. 
 Those who contact it feel their blood coagulate into a paste then die.
The mist surprisingly abhors light from naked flame/fire. 
A horse-headed centaur emerges from the streets, armed with a javelin. 
Deadly aim. Fast running speed. Javelin flies back to thrower. 
 Can be killed.  Cannot cross running water.
 Splinter Sam
A young boy appears, crying and asking for help.  He seems to have been roughed up outside. 
 His skin can reveal wooden barbs that snag and tear skin.
 Won't stop approaching until killed.
 The White Witch
 Appears in reflections as the player's mother but with white eyes. Whispers obscenities.
 Can trick the character into believing the others know his secrets.
 Dispelled if all mirrors are broken (not necessarily reflectively all surfaces).
A man stumbles into the room with metal teeth. He desires to eat one of the players.
Can chew through anything. Takes immense damage.He still does need to breathe.
 A wax candle is lit. The players learn then it dies, one of them will too.
The candle is a lie. 
 Ignore it.
The moon goes blood red. 
In the red light, everyone appears as their darkest secret. 
The red fades come the next Round. 

 A false sun rises.  The group thinks it is daytime.
 Grants peaceful sense of false hope.
 Time reveals the truth. As does others not reacting to it.
 A specific fork is possessed by a demonic force. The holder will try to kill one target. If dropped, next to touch it is possessed.
 The bearer will have no memory of the possession.
 The fork can be thrown away, locked up, etc.
 A couple walks in with pale skin and goth clothes. They are found dead minutes later with a bloody message: We don't do goth, simpletons!
 Lost in the crowd, angry at youth, can mesmerize on eye contact.
 traditional banes
 The Deal
 Wealthy man in suit with suitcase offers a deal. Just do not ever open the suitcase.  Urgent things start to go missing: allergy meds, cellphone ringing inside suitcase, muffled voices.
 Suitcase can hold more than its size suggests.  (All an illusion to tempt holder to open it)
 Just ride the temptation out.
 Kisses can kill. Fatal and instantaneously.  Or maybe viciously with a morbid messy display.
 No "carrier". The act itself is now a fatal attack.
 No kisses.. until when?
 One character's mother appears outside the location, calling for the character to come over.
 If the character leaves the group, she attacks, turning into a crone with vicious talons.
 Resist, even as you see her get injured or placed in danger.
 Nothing seems to happen.  Nothing at all.  But everyone in the area seems to somehow unconsciously suggest, "Get out.." "Leave" or "Move"
 The waiting dread kills one each Round they do not move or change location.
 Once they all move to a new location, the timer resets.
 Land sharks
 Great White Sharks of concrete and steel stalk the streets, rising and chomping and leaving only bodies in their wake.
 Unhindered by anything of stone or metal.  Wood they cannot harm.
 The old school game of "lava on the floor".  Stay above and away to be safe.
 Fortune Teller
 An attractive person comes to say hello, then offers to tell the fortune of one character.
 The fortunes occur, almost instantly.  And get more and more gruesome.
 Someone has to break a mirror in the Threat's presence to dismiss it.
 Deja Vu
Repeat an earlier Threat.  But this time the players are aware. 
 Second chance to save those who died.
 They have to go through it.
 An old man emerges, whistling as he walks.  He orders a whiskey and eyes the group from across the bar.
Nothing. He's just old and drunk and likes one of the characters, but won't do anything. 
Ignore him and he will leave. 
 A hammer is swung from out of the blue, striking the character (or nearly so)
 No one seems to have been behind it.
 This ends the round immediately. Draw a new one, and that one lasts the remainder of this plus the next Round.
 Everyone starts getting lustful and inhibitions fall away.  Eventually a horned goat man emerges dancing around those who have been enthralled.
 The Pan's power is in the drink, and had affected all who drank. Can be resisted by an act of willpower.
 Those who have not gotten drunk are immune.  But not blind to this moment.

 The Spiral
 Spiral patterns can be noticed in the wall paper, the tissue, the bill, the coasters.  Obsess over it.
 The spiral allows the players to reshuffle the deck and draw new cards, if they cut a spiral onto their skin.
 The pain means the player has one less card in the later Round.
 Everything turns gray.  The colors fade away.  Even sensations seem.. weaker.  Faded.
 This becomes permanent, making some things trickier to see well.
 Goes back to normal for the character who sleeps.
 Whispers begin to leak into characters' ears from unseen sources.  This threatens to drive them mad.
 Confusion and terror abound.  Remains til end of game reducing player cards by one for rest of game.
 Abruptly stops once one character deafens himself permanently.
 The players are lost.  Suddenly, even a familiar path becomes wrong and they cannot find a way out. No cabs or cars (missing or stolen). Only way is the subway, even if there wasn't one before.
 Subway travels through strange routes with corpses and cruelty.
 They are allowed only to disembark if one of them agrees to sacrifice something living to it.
 The Prince
 A young man enters, seemingly wealthy and of influence. He knows nothing of the world though, and people begin to make fun of him.
 If not consoled, he calls for servants to help him.  Draw 2 more cards and apply them immediately.  The others do not see the servants, only the characters.
 He has to be convinced to forgive the ignorant others.
 Dancing Sisters
 A pair of women in suits and white masks can be seen dancing in the street. Both wear ballerina shoes.  One however, is bloody and bruised. The other beautiful.
 Having seen them, freak accidents occur and those who fail the challenges get grievously hurt if not killed.
 You must dance with them.  Two of you must.  And it must be to their satisfaction.
 Letters arrive, addressed to the players.  These letters share hints on later threats. Sender is just someone called Y.
 Each letter can give info on one Threat alone. Then it vanishes into smoke.
 If they ask Y, you can answer if you want. But better if you don't.
 A man arrives and offers the characters 30 pieces of silver to say a lie.
 No threats. The silver is real. Its weight suggests a lot of money.
 They have to deny the offer three times.
 The Hourglass
 They see an old skeletal figure with an hourglass. He sets it on the table and it runs. When it runs empty, someone dies. Then he flips it over.
 Immaterial and cannot be harmed. All deaths seem to be freak accidents or health related.
 Only way to stop him is to challenge him.  He will agree to a chess match. And if beaten, leaves.
 Rush Hour
 A car begins to stalk them. No driver. Revving engine.  Remains in play til end of game, unless defeated.
Whenever the characters are outside, will try to run them over. At final scene, will crash into where they are if possible. 
 Flash anything red at it. It stops and vanishes.
 A human severed thumb is found at their feet. It looks freshly sliced off, bu no sign of the owner.  It keeps wanting to be seen at the weirdest moments.
 Can move, but only when no one is looking at it.
 Never moves when observed.
 Light house
 A light house is visible in the distance. It was not there before.  If the players visit it, they find weapons to help them against threats.  Hard to tell which for which though.
 Only they can see it.  Only they can go to it.  They have one extra card each Round now.
 If not visited within Round it appears, it is gone.
 They can hear the sound of dragging chains. The sound is stronger when alone. If alone, entangles them to kill them.
 Animated. Inert when others present. 
 Be in the presence of others.

 The Centipede
 Tick tick tack sound of legs hitting wood as it moves.  Stalks from ceiling or pipes. Poisonous bite.
 Dangerous stalker. Around six feet long.
 Vulnerable to attacks to fight it. Vulnerable to its own poison.
 People start saying the truth, no control. This leads to fights and arguments.
 No lies can be said. But the others don't realize that.
Once others realize its happening, it stops.

Or once someone breaks a piece of wood. 
 Swarms of wasps emerge, swarming outside the venue. They harm no one by the characters.
 Stings can kill in large numbers. Surround venue, but can hide to lure them out.
 Force back by intense fire.
 A headless figure waits outside for the players.  First it is a man. Then a woman. Then later, a dog.  They all wait for the players to step out. If they do, they leave, but take the first player character to approach them.
If not, at the end of the Round, they have a member of the character's family with them and leave, leaving the family member's heads.

 Any calls to family members do reveal they see the same thing.  
 The Promise
 A man stumbles into the location.  Everyone can see him. He gasps about keeping his promise, and upon seeing the characters, rushes to attempt to attack them.
 Armed with a makeshift knife made with a large shard of broken glass and duct tape.
 He's human and can be killed. The cops won't take too kindly to the characters killing a man, even in self-defense.
 Don't Speak
 A black figure with talons and a fanged maw that stretches from ear to ear stands by the door. Each time a player speaks, the figure takes a step towards the character.  
 If it gets close enough, it slashes the character's throat open and tells the others, "Shhh."
 If they all stay silent for the whole Round, including gasps and mumbles it smiles and leaves.
 One player character is replaced by a doppelganger. Hand him a note. If he can isolate another character, his character is allowed to live. If not, his character dies.
 The doppelganger knows what the character knows, tapping into the other's thoughts.
 The doppelganger will smell of wax.  And if fire is waves close to it, panics. Can be killed. Captive emerges from inside it.
 The Lover
 An ex-lover of one character arrives. Tries to rekindle things.
 Is actually the ex-lover. Doesn't know what's going on.
 Still in love with the character.
 Nothing happens
 A chance to rest
 They don't know that
 Strong winds blow, hurricane strong.  All can sense this.  Traps them in location.
 Possible threats from flying debris or from broken electric wires and the like.
 Lasts til the next Threat is defeated. Or remains til end of game.
 There are tomatoes.  Everywhere. On the street. In the bathroom. On the shelf. Not in large numbers. Just hints.
 Unnerving, but no real reason. Just chance.
 Safe. Just disturbing.
 A figure stands across the road, surrounded by followers. The followers increase in numbers each Round.  They do not look friendly.
 None else can see them. They plan to savage the group in time.
 The followers are mortal and can be killed. The goddess can call more but stops if one offers to be a follower. Or dawn comes.
 An ancient fair folk lord watches them from afar. Speaks only in rhyme and riddles.  Offers to save them if they serve him.
 Immortal. Beautiful. Wish giver. 
 Cannot lie.  Keeps promises.  Vulnerable to cold iron.

At the end of each Round, players can keep one card each to carry over to the next Round.
All other cards are collected, shuffled, and each player is once again given cards to have a hand of five (more or less depending on what Threats were faced).  And a new Round begins.

If the players reach the end, they hear the Siren one last time.  The Threats are over.
Why this happened... and how... is a story for another day.

Will you Survive the Night?

Good luck.
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