Learning a new game can be a difficult process when you don’t own the core rulebook or simply want to try out a game at a convention. Maybe you’re someone who wants to know what they’re getting themselves into before hitting the download button, even on a free product. That’s why this page exists: to provide a basic introduction into the core rules of ScreenPlay.
For starters, this page will give you the absolute basics of gameplay as a kind of elevator pitch for how the mechanics work. This will give you enough of an understanding to sit down at a table and become a Writer. Is it everything you need to play? Nope, but it’s enough to demonstrate what awaits before the game’s full release. (cough, cough, Spring 2016)
Ready? Let’s begin. Here is a list of bullet points featuring the key lessons you need to know about what makes ScreenPlay work. Any game terms are highlighted in bold red text.
- ScreenPlay is a visual, action-packed system relying on physical movements and surface details. Working together, you’ll create a script for the next big budget auctioneer or an independent breakout.
- The players are the main storytellers. As an improvisational storytelling RPG, all the players (called the Writers) take turns creating the story with the gamemaster (known as the Director). Rather than become reactive participants in the story, Writers create descriptions for their characters’ actions, observations, setting, and much more. The Director then reacts to those descriptions and provides outcomes as rewards or consequences through supporting characters, extras, or anything else. The goal is for everyone to move the story forward to its exciting conclusion.
- Whoever introduces an aspect (character, location, object) into the story controls its fate. This means when a Writer or Director brings something into the story through a description, they have the final say on its appearance, objectives, motivations, and more. This is known as the Rule of Initiatives.
- Using tools such as outcomes, triggers, opening shots, and more, the Director helps bring all of the descriptions together and visualizes the story, reacts through the supporting characters, and rewards Writers for staying on course and creating engaging characters with individual motivations and ambitions.
- There are no random dice rolls to determine the success or failure of an action. Instead, dice are used as conflict rolls to complicate a character’s actions. If there is no one trying to keep you from trying something, the description goes off without a hitch.
- All dice are measured in steps based on their value (i.e. d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12). All characters are presented with potentials, each one assigned a dice step, a Difficulty for other characters to roll against, and a maximum number of details (actions) they can provide in a description. Certain bonuses in the game can increase a potential’s step or knock it down by one to weaken their possible impact in the story.
- Dice are rolled against a character’s Difficulty, but what truly matters is whether you roll an even or odd number. Success with an even number can allow for maximum complications, while an odd number will create something much easier to shake off. The same goes with failing to meet or exceed the Difficulty and you could end up falling victim to a complication yourself if you’re not careful.
- Stamina measures how long a character will last in the story. As characters engage in death defying stunts, fight scenes, and chases, their Stamina will dwindle and can also be used to “cheat” on dice rolls, ignore complications, and more.
YouTube To The Rescue!
ScreenPlay’s lead designer, Todd Crapper (yep, that’s his name) presents the six things you need to now about the game in this how to play video.
What follows below is a series of additional posts delving deeper into the ScreenPlay rules. Click away and learn some more or go straight to the source and join the ScreenPlay playtest today!
Complications are the definitive mechanic of this game and became the hardest part to nail down. Not only did they have to function mechanically, they had to work seamlessly for every possible conflict roll and devious idea players could come up with…
Keeping your Writers from going wild with creative freedom is one of many tasks placed on the Director’s lap. Luckily, ScreenPlay gives you two weapons to keep them in line: damage and challenges…
Surviving all the obstacles of an engaging story can be a challenge and for that you need to keep track of a character’s health and continued longevity in the story. But what if you could also use those points to cheat every now and then…?
When it comes down to it, it’s all about the story. The better the story, the more your characters benefit. To reward great storytelling, ScreenPlay uses milestones to reward Writers and help make their characters stronger, faster and more engaging…
Read More About ScreenPlay Here!
Learn more about this upcoming storytelling RPG by clicking on the individual posts below or simply check out everything we have in our ScreenPlay category.