The Protocol game series is a collection of roleplaying games that strip away all pretense and get to the heart of storytelling. Each game uses the same basic mechanics — vignettes, interrogations, interludes, and ensembles — to tell non-derivative stories. Every player has all the tools he or she needs to create interesting characters and environments for their favorite stories. These games use a simple method of shared storytelling with charts, motivations, character interaction, and plot.
Every game stands alone. Every game shares a commonality.
This new series re-organizes the rules, adds 15 new games, and presents the information in a clearer way — with advice, examples, and nice new graphics. There's even an individualized walk-through for each game, so you can get started playing quickly.
Each game is 32 pages long, including charts, and rules.
A single game is only $4. But all 15 are only $30!
"The Protocol series is a dream come true. No more worrying about roll modifiers, kits, feat, flourishes. Each player creates a character with a role, motivation, and relationships with the other characters. After characters are created, the players build the basic world concept together. One person starts by narrating the introduction before other players add to the story. The game uses loose guidelines and a deck of normal playing cards to get the action going each turn. It's less as a game and more of a collaborative storytelling system."
– James Flanagan
All of the Protocol Games use the same basic mechanic, but with very different results. Players only need paper, pencil, and a deck of cards. No dice are necessary. Some kind of token for drama points can help, but isn't necessary.
Make sure you read to the end of the page about cards, tokens, and custom games. That's right. I'll design a custom game for you.
An example of Protocol game play can be found here.
What do backers get for buying in early?
- Backers get the PDFs before anyone else.
- Backers (at certain levels) get their name in the pdfs and books.
- Backers get first access to the poker chips, which are a limited run.
- Backers get the games at a very reduced price when they buy just three or more games.
- Backers ($30 or more) receive a backer-only game and an additional backer-only game at $12,500.
BONUS GAMES FOR BACKERS
These games are only available to backers and will never be reproduced. It is free to everyone backing at $30 or more.
Game #1 is The Dragon's Cross, a story roleplaying game about a band of adventurers waiting to be paid for their services, until they realize they're never being paid. Do they seek out revenge? Or deal with things another way?
Game #2 is will be voted on by the backers, presuming we get that far.
There are 15 games in the Protocol series, but backers can choose any number of games to support. Merely pick a level and when the project is over, you'll be sent a survey asking you which games you want and if you want to add anything else to your order. If you're doing add-ons, it's easier if you do that before the Kickstarter ends.
The Doom King is a story roleplaying game about a tired leader who has brought his nation to the edge of ruin. The characters are advisors, confidantes, glad-handers, loyalists, and sycophants insulating their leader from his failed kingdom. All the while, the king makes worse and worse decisions for the realm. Is it madness or sheer ignorance that drives the king? Can the characters save the kingdom from perdition? Or will the king drag them all down with him?
Perhaps my favorite Protocol.
Cloister is a story-based roleplaying game about untrustworthy memories, shattered hallucinations, and psychonormal vistas. Characters are test subjects in an experiment of psychological and biological abnormalities devoid of moral restraints. As the story unfolds the subjects will question their own sanity and the reality around them. As the experiment inches closer and closer to its inevitable and tragic conclusion, the characters may not survive the horror-filled event intact. Or at all.
This one pushes the bounds of sanity. Expect weird.
Colonial Lies is a story roleplaying game about secrecy and distrust set in the years before the American revolution. Wealthy “traders” of Jamestown cannot trust the Tidewater elite and the homogenous Puritans of New England see New Amsterdam as a threat to their way of life. As such, the colonies have placed agents everywhere. Players take on the roles of spies, in service to the developing nation, in an attempt to undermine the clashing virtues of the colonies. Will the burgeoning America survive?
In Colonial Lies, the enemy is not the British, or even Mad King George III, but the other ‘nations’ of pre-America, who are trying to maintain their wealth and independence at any cost. Everyone is a potential traitor against the might of the burgeoning nation — now faced with new threats at every corner. Can the colonies survive in spite of themselves?
This is the most complicated Protocol to date and is six pages longer than most.
Splinter City is a story roleplaying game about the citizens of a famous metropolis, known for its iconic superheroes and titanic battles. But what happens on the days when skyscrapers aren’t being turned to cinder by the mighty fist of the Super Squadron? The characters of Splinter City are just normal Joes, trying to get by in a world that is sometimes too chaotic.
Splinter City is a twist on the Protocol mechanic, offering players an opportunity to explore shorter stories within a larger framework. An homage to Astro City.
Minister 8 is a story roleplaying game of a fascist, futuristic society ruled by the ministers — true executors of the law and defenders of the faith. Tasked with defending society from itself, the ministers are elite guardians of society, routing out every offense imaginable — from contraband to drug use; from larceny to murder; from organized crime to human trafficking. Characters take on the role of these elite members — Janus Squad, a team of secret ministers who investigate other ministers suspected of malfeasance.
Internal affairs meets hyper-paranoid dystopian cops.
Clockwork Girl is a story roleplaying game about the slow winding-down of the land of toys after the watchmaker disappears. Gathering together a group of random toys, the Clockwork Girl sets out to find the watchmaker, only to stop working shortly after. The characters are the remaining toys trying to find the watchmaker, before their energy runs out. Will they make it?
The most Gaiman-inspired game I've ever made.
British Steel is a story roleplaying game about the industrial age of 1800s England. The characters are all members of a working class family, taking jobs in factories that place England several decades ahead of Europe. But while the economy booms for those who invent, the working class still toils in subhuman working conditions until their humanity is slowly chipped away to nothing. Inspired heavily by Mark Valiantos’ game of industrial-era England.
Dark and morose.
Frozen Climb of Icarus is a story roleplaying game about a Spartan rite of passage. Characters are Spartan youths on a journey to the summit of a frozen peak. Their journey requires they travel with only a spear and a pair of sandals and return alive. One among them will prove his or her worth to Sparta above all others.
The Scarecrow is a story roleplaying game about isolation and superstition. Characters are children living in rural America all dealing with a local superstition about the Scarecrow. Based on the Cropsey myth in foster homes, this game plays upon misguided fears and preconceptions, creating an environment that is both unstable and comforting.
About the 10th roleplaying game I've written about children confronting their fears.
South Sarasota County is a story roleplaying game about a failing wrestling organization. As the years pass, South Sarasota County has fallen behind its rivals, failing to adapt to the changing wrestling market. Characters are wrestlers either moving up through the ranks or in the twilight of their careers, now circling the drain in a dying league; they can even be promotors, bookers, and support members of the organization. Play involves behind the scenes action as much as the wrestling ring.
It’s Always a Dame is a story roleplaying game about the hard-boiled streets of Concrete City. Characters work to find a prominent citizen who has gone missing, but the situation is obviously too sticky for the cops. A burned-out war veteran, a disgraced police officer, a has-been boxer, a washed-up private dick, a temptress with too much bravado, and a damsel in distress. Everyone plays their part in Concrete City. Everyone knows their worth.
Volcano God is a story roleplaying game about the final days of a forgotten tribe. Unaware of their impending doom, the tribe continues to sacrifice its people to the Volcano God in an attempt to appease the spirit within… until the tribe is no more. Characters are members of the tribe living under the shadow of the Volcano God.
Torpeo Inanem is a story roleplaying game about existentialism and the surreal realities of the human mind. Players take on the roles of characters inside the subconscious of a comatose woman. These characters spend their existence trying to wake her from unending dreams, while simultaneously warring with Hekate for her soul.
One Mile of Deception is a story roleplaying game about quiet desperation and its final realization. Characters are 20-something people living in a small town in rural America, on the downturn economically and culturally. As the characters piece together their confused and unguided lives, they will face their own fates together… or alone. In the end, they must all walk one mile…
Dead Things in the Walls is a roleplaying game about modern horror and the price we pay for greed. Based on films like Dark Water, The Fog, The Grudge, Hellraiser, and Ringu this game explores the lives of people trapped in a vicious cycle of terror. Players take on the roles of characters replaying the horrible events that once took place in an aged, and obviously haunted, house. And while they can leave and go on with their lives any time they wish, the cycle cannot end until the dead things in the walls are fed.
$1500 State of Jefferson
State of Jefferson is a story roleplaying game about the people of Northern California and Southern Oregon living off the grid. It is based on a very real ideology, extrapolated into the '51st American state. Characters are farmers and loners, removed from the digital world and doing everything they can to live their final years free from cumbersome state laws and taxation. State of Jefferson explores the cost of modern living and the sometimes overly-romanticized notions of true freedom.
Svázaný Rukojemníkov is a roleplaying game about life in a shell-shocked city of historical merit, caught in the middle of a stalemate engagement between two warring armies. The front line of the battle has shifted back and forth through the city numerous times, leaving the townspeople to be rescued by one army, only to be invaded and occupied by the opposing force in a recapitulation months later. With no end to the bloody war in sight, the city has become a refuge for those who traffick goods, while its citizens trudge through their shattered lives weighing the final cost.
1985 is a story roleplaying game about a society of people enslaved by an authoritarian government. But unlike 1984 by George Orwell, the people of 1985 deserve everything they get. Asleep at the wheel for years and generally an 'unkempt' population of selfish miscreants, the people of 1985 need someone to control their lives. Characters are surveillance-people and supervisors, watching the sleeping populace and keeping tabs on their movements. No one is free. Nothing is coincidence. Everything must be controlled.
$3000 Macbeth 20/20
Macbeth 20/20 is a story roleplaying game about Shakespeare’s Macbeth set in a dark near-future. The Scotland Corporation has a rising star in its ranks — an ambitious team leader named Macbeth — who will stop at nothing to be the CEO of the company. Despite a rival, named Macduff, Macbeth pushes the corporation’s boundaries and limits with unscrupulous acts. The characters are members of Macbeth’s team, advising, executing, and working to make his vision come to fruition.
$4000 Mark Nau will write a Protocol Game
Rocket Squad is a story roleplaying game about the 7th Empires War to gain control of the skies. Characters are elite members of the Rocket Squad, tasked with defending the Earth from an endless series of raids from Lord Belafor’s marauding airships. Do the rocketeers have what it takes for one last assault on Belafor’s flagship?
$5000 Chris Hussey will write a Protocol Game
Damascus is a story roleplaying game about aging heroes — heroes who've been given one final shot at glory. But as they take up blades and banners for king and country, a question arises who is the glory for? As the the reality behind the legends blurs into the fading light of an age gone by, will the heroes find their own sense of morality changed in a world of dead heroes?
In addition, everyone backing at $30 or higher will receive a free, never before seen mini-game (pdf) from Post World Games — Fortune.
$6000 Matt Forbeck will write a Protocol Game
Swansong is a story roleplaying game about a rock band's final tour. Not just any band. But a record-shattering supergroup. For decades the band changed its look, members, and stage show, but their hypnotic music gave meaning and voice to generations and their worldwide rallying fans never waivered. Now, age and tedium have reduced the band to a shell of their former self. Bickering, politics, and music industry woes threaten to stop the tour before it even starts.
$7000 $7000 Dollar Movie
$7000 Dollar Movie is a story roleplaying game about the sequel to a dreadful B-Movie that languished for years before finally being released to a limited number of screens. Portions of the original film were damaged from years of neglect and other parts were just unwatchable. Crippled with production problems, delays, illness, and actor changes, the final piece played out like a glitter-stained collage of leftover jigsaw pieces, while the characters were random bits of nonsense drawn from the imagination of a confused screenwriter. However, the film did well enough to recoup the costs and put enough money in the director’s pocket for a sequel. The only question remains, will the audience pay to watch it a second time? Or will the producers bury this one, too?
In addition, everyone backing at $30 or higher will receive a second, free, never before seen mini-game (pdf) from Post World Games — Cycles.
$8000 Ben Woerner will write a Protocol Game
One Night in Bangkok is a story roleplaying game about getting the gang back together for one last hurrah. The characters are fixers, con-men, wheelmen, red pole lieutenants, and muscle attempting a hail mary to revive their failing Tong. Their old Dragon, Johnny Boonliang, leader of their Kong Ah Tong, was gunned down and their assets snapped up by rival gangs. Now the police have busted the Siam Kai Tong Dragon and left a vacuum and a chance for Kong Ah to return from the dead. Can the characters get the gang back together? Or will their longshot crash and burn destroying everything and everyone as they try to figure out who killed Johnny?
$9000 Sara Quinn will write a Protocol Game
Out from the Cold is a story roleplaying game about a group of disparate Russians who find a cabin in the woods to escape the winter chill. But kindness turns to hostility as each learns a dark secret about the others. Will the storm pass before generosity turns to murder? Or will strangers find commonality in an unlikely place?
All previous protocol games will be edited and updated to reflect the new format. In addition, all the old pdfs will be updated for previous owners as well.
In addition, everyone backing at $30 or higher will receive a third, free, never before seen mini-game (pdf) from Post World Game — The Clone.
Darren Miller will write a Protocol. Setting to be announced soon.
$12,500 A Backer Only Protocol
Should the game get this far — and wow how cool would that be — I will write a Protocol Game that only Backers will receive. Ever. There will be a vote about the topic, theme, and genre before I ever write it. But only people at $50 or higher will get this game.
The Omnibus will compile all 60+ games in one giant edition, though I suspect it'll be over 600 pages long and require two volumes to do. This omnibus hardback version of Protocol will not be cheap. I'll be sourcing out costs IF we get that close.
I will design a custom game for you, for $100. You tell me what you want and I write it. I reserve the rights to the game and you reserve the right to give it away to your friends. Contact me directly for more information.
Custom Games are not stretch goals. People do not get your game for free just because.
I will not be doing the scenario decks I did last time. They are too much work and do not sell. I don't think most people use them. I will be doing a custom poker deck with special art on each card, drawn from all the games. This will be $10, plus shipping.
This is just a sample of what a face card might look like. I don't have the rights to this art as of yet, though I do have permission to use it in advertising.
Other cards will have art from other Post World Games products. These cards samples use art from the original 25 games. The final deck will sample from all 50 games.
Limited Print Run of only 100 ever.
These would be 12 gram weight poker chips for Protocol. They will not be cheap. I am thinking a set of nine tokens (in nine different colors — yes that's what the printer I deal with does) for $20 with the protocol symbol on one side and a piece of art on the other.
Artwork by Rick Hershey, Alberto Tavira Espinar, Felipe Gaona, Mark Quire
Risks and challenges
This will not go live until the first 10 games are finished. I have 30+ games finished in this series. You're helping me make time to create 30 more.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)