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Tell Me – Tracy Barnett

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I love the idea of an RPG decided for two people and backed this kickstarter as soon as I heard about it. I think it is worth the money. Also, I really like the song that inspired the RPG.

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One Shot was inspired by a song. It's not the world's best song, but it caught me at the right time. "Bullet in My Hand," by Redlight King. I got this image of someone leaving a dark alley after having been given a single bullet. There's some kind of score to settle, and that bullet is the only thing that will settle it.

Who gave them the bullet? What interest does that person or group have in seeing vengeance exacted?

There was juice there, so I started writing. It turned out that the system I wrote for my first game, School Daze, was able to be adapted. Before I knew it, I had a game. I wanted this game to be different, though. There are games about violence, and games about revenge, and even games about hit men. I wanted this to be personal.

One Shot is a game for only two players, which is a rarity in the tabletop RPG industry. Games for two exist, but there are far fewer of them than games for 3-5 players. With two players, the game becomes intimate. One player takes the role of the Shooter, having accepted a deal for a bullet, and out for vengeance. The other player plays the Forces, using everything else in the world to help or hinder the Shooter.

The hinge this game swings on is a personal one. The Forces see to it that the Shooter has material access; money, systems, devices, you name it. Material goods are no issue; no door is locked. What the Forces put in the Shooter's way is personal; people. From strangers to loved ones, people try to hinder or outright stop the Shooter. The Forces make the Shooter's material world smooth, and their personal world jagged.

All of this happens in a single four-hour session, from the inception of the deal to the aftershocks of the shot. It's focused, intense, and, to me, thrilling. I've never designed, nor played a game like this, aside from brushes with these feelings while playing Fiasco. I'm happy I took the challenge that I gave myself when I got the concept.