Archive for the ‘Wolf in the Playground’ Category

Von Rutskarn’s Magical Murder Tour: Incident Eight

22 Nov

God DAMN is this late. This isn’t a matter of being too busy or anything, or not having it done on time, this is just a matter of me completely forgetting to put it up. Sorry for the delay, everyone.

There’s  a theory that every so often–when injustice is perpetuated on a broad enough, cruel enough scale–a Stranger is called. Sometimes, the individuals inside a community find themselves paralyzed and unable to act, even when the alternative is to watch their friends and family cut down in a crossfire. Sometimes it takes an outsider, someone with no face or name, to step in and make everything right.

And perhaps that’s what would have happened here, if the anonymous passenger hadn’t had to go to the bathroom, and if an assassin hadn’t been waiting in the adjacent stall.

It wasn’t much of a fight. The assassin slipped in just after the passenger and planted a blade somewhere soft, then–when the victim found themselves unable to move or defend themselves–quickly sliced the throat. After that, it was a matter of carefully picking up the body and carefully seating it on top of the commode, then locking the stall door. Simple, foolproof, cunning. And that, the assassin reflected, was how one did it. None of this gunfire nonsense, none of this hacking apart targets in the dark–you just picked them off, one by one, quietly and personally. It wasn’t the most efficient way, perhaps, but it demonstrated craftsmanship. A true craftsman would outlast all of their pragmatic, journeyman, hack-artist peers.

This was the last thought that went through his brain before a bullet tore through the stall divider and knocked a hole in his skull.

Anonymous Passenger (Flammarion) and Anonymous Assassin ( were both assassinated. They were an Aristocrat and Assassin, respectively.

Day begins now and ends when a.) at least five days have passed, and b.) a majority vote is reached.


Von Rutskarn’s Magical Murder Tour: Intro & Roles

06 Sep

According to an old saw, rich men are not crazy, they are eccentric. This isn’t a function of their wealth as much as their power: the difference is that if the subject is ignored, they are crazy, and if they are indulged, they are eccentric. If so, reflected Captain Josiah Burges, mysterious millionaire Eichorn von Rutskarn was the most eccentric man in all of Europa. His stunts and wagers defied reason, but as long as you played by his rules—and played them to the hilt—you could find yourself very seriously rich and only partially disfigured.

Case in point: von Rutskarn had decided that he bored of his modest oilfields in the south. An ordinary man would have sold the land, or distributed it to an heir, or handed its administration to an associate; von Rutskarn’s plans were more grandiose.

One week ago, he declared that he would carve up the land and distribute it, freely, to anyone that attended a masquerade ball in his Island Manor out in the middle of the Atlantic. The only conditions were that applicants had to be of good breeding, had to arrive via his airship The Queen Courier, and—most importantly–were not allowed to remove their half-face mask at any time during the two-week voyage or one-day party.

Of course, no respectable blueblood would be caught dead subjecting themselves von Rutskarn’s mad charity. Consequentially, all of the respondees–Captain Burges’ current passengers–were a who’s-who peerage of disgraced, distressed, and disenfranchised gentry from all over Europe. Put together, they had enough money, land, and influence to open a takeout stand, but they were all nobles nonetheless. Burges planned to avoid them, which he didn’t anticipate would be difficult as long as he kept away from the open bar and hung around in areas where actual work took place.

They were six hours into the voyage when the first mate approached him, nervously, and told him the onboard radio was ringing off the hook. Burges didn’t hurry to answer it; when he finally did, the voice on the other end sounded hoarse from shouting.

“Is this the captain of The Queen Courier?”

“Yessir,” said Captain Burges. “What can I do you for?”

“This is the Chief Inspector.  Listen to me, because I have reason to suspect that the passengers on your ship are in grave danger!”


“Agents of the Shadow Throne assassin’s organization were apprehended in Kingston. As best as we can extrapolate from documents on their person, and what little our interrogators have gleaned, it sounds as if they were planning to infiltrate an airship of some kind. Captain, your vessel is a very likely target!”

“Really, now?”

“We’re going to have to choose a landing site somewhere in Wales or Ireland. We’ll have investigators on the scene immediately to…”

Captain Burges switched off the radio. The he leaned back in his chair and took a quiet puff at his pipe.

“Are you going to land, Captain?” asked the first mate.

“In fifteen days, yes. On von Rutskarn’s manor.”

“But the Inspector said…”

“Yes, but the Inspector isn’t paying our wages, is he? And von Rutskarn said we wasn’t to let anything interrupt our flight. I believe he meant it.”


“Besides, this don’t seem like that much of an emergency to me. Everyone knows it’s easy to spot a member of the Shadow Throne.

“It is?”

“Sure thing. They’ve got tattoos all around their eyes, don’t they? Black and purple ones. So tell you what: go out there and tell the passengers that as long as they agree to all take their masks off and forfeit their shot at the land, we can deal with the whole thing right now.”


“Don’t you worry,” said Captain Burges, lowering his cap over his eyes. “Them nobles have good breeding. I’m sure they can figure out this assassin business in a nice, civilized fashion.”


(Your role will be assigned during the week.)

You are a passenger aboard The Queen Courier, an opulent luxury airship owned by the eccentric Eichorn von Rutskarn.

Most probably, your goals are to survive, get land, and die fat and wealthy surrounded by porcine grandchildren. If this is the case, then you are an Aristocrat.

Aristocrats are broken down into the following roles:

The University Chums (Masons): The three of you attended the same university. It was a co-ed knockoff of a more popular university, and made up for its uninspiring curriculum with a shot of half-cocked school spirit and raging elitism. Point is, having witnessed firsthand how thick the other two are, you are quite positive that they’re not the assassins.

University Chums start out knowing each others’ identities.

The Busybody (Seer): You’re an incurable gossip, a shameless meddler, and—unbeknownst to your fellow crew members—a reporter for an underground tabloid newsletter that chronicles the worst excesses of the upper crust. With these credentials, you’ve taken it upon yourself to sniff out the assassins personally. And if you uncover evidence of some embarrassing drug habit or esoteric perversion in your investigations, well, that can’t be helped.

Every Night Cycle, the Busybody can scry another player to determine their role. Scries are 75% accurate; the Busybody can scry a target multiple times over multiple nights.

The Vigilante (Baner): Throughout history there are tales of nobles sweeping out into the night to defend their people, protect their lands, and incidentally wear very stylish and flattering black clothing that attracts the ladies/lads like nobody’s business. For whatever reason, you venture out every other night with a black cloak and a pair of fighting sticks to beat the piss out of common crooks and look good doing it. Unfortunately, your lands are beginning to suffer for it; hence your decision to embark on this trip in the first place. Once you learned that there were assassins aboard, you knew it was your moment to shine.

Every night, the Vigilante can pick one person to protect. No matter how many Assassins try to kill that target, they will be unsuccessful. The Vigilante may instead attempt to Scry players, but this requires two consecutive nights and is only 75% accurate.

Of course, if you’re not one of the Aristocrats, you’re an Assassin, and your objective is to kill as many nobles as possible. Ideally, to kill all of them—each and every one of them have prices on their heads, and if you actually manage to wipe out the whole ship, it’ll be like getting a year’s worth of paydays all at once.

Assassins start out in contact with one another. They only possess one special role:

The Trapper: A master of poisons, tripwires, beartraps, and other nastiness, the Trapper is skilled at laying snares for the unawares.

Every night, he can pick a certain player to “trap.” If someone attempts to scry or bane the trapped player, they are killed. This supersedes the standard nightkill, so if the Assassins vote to murder Player A and then snare-kill Player B, Player A survives the night and Player B is eliminated instead.

However, if the player that falls into the trap is currently being baned, the trap fails. For example: Aristocrat A, the baner, protects Aristocrat B, the seer. Aristocrat B attempts to scry Aristocrat C, who has been trapped. The trap fails, Aristocrat B is given their scry results normally, and whoever the Assassins voted to kill is eliminated as per usual.


Feel free, in the space below, to create a “character” for you to roleplay during the day phases. This will add a touch of personality to the game and give you something besides, “random point lulz,” to justify your first-day lynches. Additionally: when I write up the Day and Night reports, your characters will be represented within–especially if they die.

When creating your character, consider including the following details.



One or two lines about appearance.

Recent family history–why do they need to take handouts? Are they poor, or merely shameless?*

Why would an assassin want to kill them?*

*Obviously, if you are assigned the role of assassin, these will turn out to be fabrications.


Wolf in the Playground: Epilogue

02 Sep

Well, my Werewolves series has concluded, so I can now link to the thread. If you want to see the thing in living color–not a bad idea, if you’ve signed up for my or Thufir’s game–there’s your opportunity. Remember: look, but don’t post. The thread’s eight months old, and mods don’t take kindly to thread necromancy in those parts.

The game was run by Zar Peter, Andre Fairchilde, and CurlyKitGirl. It was themed after Discworld (circa the events of Night Watch, minus the time-travel shenanigans), which meant that the roles were actually named things like “Vetinari”, “Nobby”, and “Dr. Lawn”. My role was referred to as “Carcer”. Players were also encouraged to roleplay when voting, which I indulged in–my initial “Day” character was a lunatic old man. Roleplaying tapered off as the game continued, although a couple players stuck with it to the end.

There was a minor fracas which I didn’t mention–one of the narrators accidentally tipped a player’s role to another. The player in question left, his role was reassigned, and the game continued somewhat normally.

I also didn’t mention that there was a neutral role, CMOT Dibbler–he was eliminated pretty quickly, though, so he wasn’t terribly relevant to the account. I really have no idea if he affected the game or not–his ability was the power to randomly “void” the vote of one player per day–but I’d have to guess that he didn’t. He wasn’t partisan, so it’s not like he’d even be acting for one faction or the other.

You’ll see an update on our home-grown Werewolves game Sunday–the game will properly begin Monday. If you are one of the 37 individuals below (two who reserved spots beforehand, and the first 35 who signed up on the Were my Wolves post), post a comment below with the e-mail address you’d like to use for the game in its proper slot. You’ll be assigned your role soon.

Read the rest of this entry »


Wolf in the Playground: The Last Day

01 Sep

Dramatis Personae

Myself: Bastard Supreme.

Dr. Bath: My advisor, currently the subject of Billtodamax’s crusade.

Billtodamax: One of the few remaining villager power roles.

Xykon_Fan: My trusty ally, convinced—falsely—of my innocence.

Helgraf: After Bill falls, this is my target.

When I last left off, Bill’s hand had been forced. He had to act on his crucial anti-wolf information, and he had to do it fast, or else he wouldn’t have a team to defend. And so he cast the first stone, posting as cryptically as he could: not stating how he became suspicious of Bath, only that he was.

I realized that it would be tremendously helpful if I could get him to admit he was a power role—that way, his status would be a matter of public knowledge, and there would be no way to finger me as suspicious afterwards.

But how to get him to out himself? I admit that this part was not my doing. It was a function of  Dr. Bath’s last-ditch strategy to turn the tide of the bandwagons and get Bill lynched in his stead:

Jerks! Killin’ a buncha old men. Since this is (once again) a pointless, baseless wagon that’s come to kill me, I’m gonna out and say it.

I am [one of the baners], please don’t lynch me. I’m pretty sure the wolves aren’t back together again completely, although they may well be after tonight, if [the other baner] (on top of my own protection) could protect me that would be great.

The wolves are kind of running away with the show at the moment, but I think we can pull this off. I’ve got two people I’m pretty sure are safe that [the scrier] scried, but haven’t approached them for fear of [The Beast].

Now don’t lynch me please.

This outrageous bluff was enough to actually convince a few people to side with him, notably Helgraf—something that made me instantly excited, for reasons that will become clear before too long. It wasn’t anything like enough to save his life, unless—perhaps—I sacrificed everything I’d worked for and switched all my wolves to the bandwagon, which I wasn’t at all willing to do. Whoever won that round, it’d be like stamping traitor on our collective foreheads.

That’s okay, though, because the bluff had another effect: it goaded Bill right out into the open.

No, actually. I’m [the baner]. You’re the Devil, and Elder Tsofu only had time to 100% scry one person before he was killed (i.e, you, as [the Devil].)

Don’t believe Dr. Bath. Lynch him.

There it was. I had him.

At this point, Billtodamax was dead as fried chicken. The wolves knew it, the players knew it, and he almost certainly knew it. It was inevitable as the tides that he was going to die that night. On the surface, I’d won this round…but I wasn’t convinced I’d wrung all the opportunity out of this situation.

Just before the day ended, I sent Bill a message:

Well, the good news is, Bath is dead. If they lynch you, Bath will be the next target. Then again, you’re also dead–the wolves are probably going to go after you next, should you survive. Either you’re going to get lynched, or you’re going to get assassinated. And if you’re as important as you claim, that’s really going to screw us over.

How many wolves are there in this game? We’ve got 17 players left, and we’ve managed to kill, like, 1 wolf. If we don’t get our act together soon, we’re all going to be dead. We can afford maybe two or three more bad lynches before we’re toast.

If you’ve got a network, let Xykon_Fan and I in it before you die. We’re pretty much flying blind here, and if we’re not careful, we’ll probably jump on some ass-backwards bandwagon because we don’t have anything concrete to operate on.

You’re dead, but we’ve still got a very slim chance. If we don’t work together, this game is not going to go well for us.

He’d responded saying that he didn’t really know any other villagers. The wolves, he guessed, were “very well networked”, with “either one large group or a large group and maybe one or two smaller ones.” Who did he most suspect was a wolf? That was the delicious part: Helgraf.

Apparently, Helgraf had rebuked Bill’s solicitation for aid, which placed him in the somewhat-suspicious camp. Bill admitted that this justification was “sketchy,” and it was, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t exploit the crap out of it.

The Day ended, and Bill was proven right—Bath was lynched, Bath was evil, and thus, Bill had credibility. In fact, at that moment, he had more credibility than anyone else on the board. He had one Night phase left to have an effect on the game (through posting in the thread), and I planned to twist that night to my own advantage.

Now that I knew what the answer would be, I publicly asked Bill, “Got any recommendations on who to lynch next?”—thus solidifying my trustworthiness by presenting myself as Bill’s ally. For his part, he said what I already knew he was going to say:

The only real lead I have is a suspicion of Helgraf.

Helgraf contested this, of course, stating that his reluctance to help Bill had stemmed from a simple lack of information. Bill responded that Helgraf’s siding with Bath last round compounded his suspicion, and that the bottom line was that he “couldn’t see anyone else at the moment.”

Of course, then he had to ruin it by mentioning—incidentally—that another player was also kinda suspicious. That player just happened to be one of my wolves.

I rushed in to do damage control:

Honestly, I could kind of see both, but Helgraf’s been suspicious throughout. I’d lean more towards lynching him.

What did “suspicious throughout” mean? Hell if I know, but it didn’t have to be perfect. The mob was getting desperate—even the illusion of an agenda would do wonders.

Day came, Bill discovered that he’d been lynched—a surprise to nobody. I was the first player to post that day:

Yeah, I’m thinking Helgraf. Something hasn’t seemed right about him from the beginning, and his actions during the last lynch attempt confirm it for me.

Helgraf posted accusing me of revenge-pointing, alleging that I was trying to kill him because he’d been going after me for the past few rounds. I fired back:

Don’t get me wrong, the recurrent persecution didn’t exactly thrizzle me, but that’s hardly relevant here. No, the fact of the matter is, you switched from a point against Bath when it seemed sure he was going down to a point against bill once Bath pulled a wild, vote-for-me-now gambit. It looks a hell of a lot like he was trying to reverse the tide and you wanted to get the ball rolling.

Now, I get that it was confusing. That’s why I withdrew my vote. But the way you switched sides completely, trying to lynch a guy you had no real reason to suspect, is troublesome to me.

A few more votes trickled toward Helgraf, but one or two were leveled towards me. I risked the support of a few wolves—at that point, so much confusion had been sown that many players were reluctant to vote at all, so I didn’t need the whole pack behind me.

Xykon_Fan posted that he was hesitant to lynch Helgraf. He put in my name as a “placeholder” vote—basically, a point against someone that’s unlikely to get lynched to make sure you don’t get kicked out for not voting. That wouldn’t do; I put on my best silver tongue and dropped a PM in his ear:

The most recent thing that makes Helgraf suspicious is that he switched votes to indicate Billtodamax as soon as Dr. Bath pulled a bizarre gambit. It looks like Bath wanted to reverse the lynch (understandable, since he’s their seer), and Helgraf was tasked with getting the ball rolling. Also, he’s exhibited belligerence towards people we now know are villagers, and to be honest, he’s just been kinda shady.

I’m sending this via PM because I don’t want my visibility any higher than it already is. As of right now, I suspect that I’m going to get nightkilled either tonight or tomorrow night, depending on how much seerwork they got done. I’ve tipped my hand too much that I’ve been working behind the scenes with you guys, which (to a suspicious kinda mind, which they’d have at the endgame) implies that I’m [a baner] or something. I’m not, but I think it looks that way.

Anyway, I’d like to get at least one more wolf before I get assassinated. Helgraf is head and shoulders more suspicious than anyone else. If you need more persuading, re-read the thread. Upon second reading, isn’t there something kinda…shifty about him?

And just to exonerate myself in the eyes of the thread, I struck back against Helgraf’s accusations of wolfishness:

I’m not trying to push a bandwagon on an innocent, I’m trying to go after one of the only damned targets we’ve got. I’m pretty sure at this point that Helgraf’s an agent–and believe me, I’m well aware that my being wrong will probably lead to a lynch against me next round.

I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it was our best bet.

It was some solid BS, but I wish that bit about getting lynched wasn’t so true.

We triumphed: at the end of the day, the last great enemy of the Wolves had perished.

That Night cycle, I was the only one to post in the thread:

Ohhhhhhh fudge.

That’s not good.

Okay, I know how this looks, but he was dead suspicious, alright? Even Billtodamax was against him.

What’s more important, this means we’re running dangerously low on dudes, here. If it’s any consolation, I’m literally physically hitting myself over here for running off one of our only survivors. I guess I should be thankful I didn’t hit the last baner, or something.

There’s a decent chance I’m going to get nightkilled tonight. If I do…geez. I don’t even know. Maybe lynch [the other guy that Bill mentioned earlier]? He’s done some suspicious stuff, although I was sure about Helgraf and he turned out to be innocent.

Dammit, I don’t even know. Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut before I start another bad bandwagon.

Of course, starting another bandwagon was exactly what I planned to do.

You see, it was at that point that one of my wolves—Fleeing_Coward—let me in on some interesting figures. There were currently 6 wolves (all of whom I was in contact with by now) and 8 villagers remaining. If we killed another villager that night—which, as long as I voted, would be impossible not to do—there would be six wolves and seven villagers tomorrw.

I didn’t get around to mentioning it, but a few rounds ago, one or two regular voters were given a raffled-off “item”—a powerup that could strip another player of their voting ability for one day. That would mean there’d be six wolves and six (voting-capable) villagers.

Now, if the bandwagons against two players are of equal size, the villager whose critical mass was reached first is killed. Thus, as long as we all struck together against the same target and got our votes in before the villagers could respond—a big if, mind—we would lynch our way to a 6-6 tie. Then we’d kill another villager that night, and by gaining a numerical majority, we would achieve victory.

It was risky, but on the other hand…ending the game as soon as possible was tempting. I was beginning to get the sense that I was wearing out my welcome in the thread. It wasn’t just me, either—the aforementioned wolf was beginning to draw suspicion, and I’m sure diligent players could track at least a couple other wolves if the two of us were outed. No, Plan Scramble was our best bet.

Of course, I’d run out of vaguely-suspicious villagers by now. If I was going to pop in that morning and start a bandwagon, it’d be against somebody totally random—which would be about the most suspicious thing I could do. I would basically guarantee that every sane, objective villager would leap directly for my throat, en masse. That would mean victory would come down to a race–who could get their votes in quicker, wolves or villagers?


I pulled up my remaining wolf-cronies–Paul, Geesi, Fleeing_Coward, Thufir, and Aemoh–and sent them all a message. It was entitled:

This WILL Be the Last Turn, and Here’s How:

Tonight, Fleeing Coward will use his [item] on Uncle Festy. This will, as he pointed out, leave the numbers of wolves and villagers at play even.

I’ve got Xykon Fan in my grasp, I can tell. Tonight, I’m going to tell him Paul’s actually part of a villager network including Thufir and Geesi. We’ll say that you’ve only got one wolf target that you know of, and it’s banthesun.

Come day, we’ll dogpile on banthesun as quickly as we can. We’ll have a numerical advantage if I can get Xykon Fan onboard, but let’s not trust that. Let’s mobilize quickly, get critical mass before they do, and take them down. With banthesun’s death, we have the lead in numbers, and it’s game over, Wolves win.

To recap, your orders are:

  1. Kill EmeraldRose tonight.
  2. Fleeing Coward: Take out Festy with your [item].
  3. If Xykon Fan contacts you, Thufir, Geesi, Paul, you’re just bog-standard villagers who know banthesun’s evil because of an old scry result that you haven’t been desperate enough to act on. Now that it’s down to the wire, you’ve “just got to trust Xykon Fan and I”.
  4. Come daybreak, take down banthesun.
  5. Party like it’s your birthday, because a winner is us.

Beast out. Increase the peace.

That was my ace-in-the-hole. Without Xykon’s support, the plan would require too much in the way of luck and timing. I needed him on my side—or, at least, I needed him to abstain and deny the villagers the full brunt of their voting bloc. Of course, I’d have to get him to swallow that whole story about the new villager network first.

I set about constructing the most ostentatious bluff of the game, then sent it to Xykon, Fleeing_Coward, Thufir, and Geesi. Of course, their wolves were just on the mailing list to make it look authentic. The contents of the message were:

Xykon Fan, welcome to the villager mini-network. It’s not much, but we’re trying to mobilize suspected villagers in getting a bandwagon going against banthesun.

Apparently, Banthesun was detected to be an agent of the tyrant back when the seers were operational. There’s a chance the seer was wrong, since the scry was only accurate to a certain percentage, but he’s our only lead at this point.

We’ve contacted all of the least suspicious people we can find. I guess at this point, we just have to pray we can take down this wolf, and that taking him down will give us the time we need to root out the rest of them.

We voted to kill Emerald Rose—randomly—and hit Uncle Festy with the item. Then there was nothing to do but wait for Daybreak.

Before long, it arrived, and our nightkill was announced. By a stroke of random chance, Emerald Rose turned out to be the last villager baner. Not that this mattered at all, naturally—not only was one baner completely useless with the wolf supermajority, if we had our way, there wasn’t really going to be another night. Naturally, if we didn’t, taking out one little baner wasn’t gonna be enough to save us.

I was the first to post.

Banthesun. Those of you in the mini-network will know why. As for the rest of you, there’s probably no explanation I can give that won’t make me more suspicious than I already appear to be.

There was no point in frills any longer, no need to dress up my words and measure my syllables. For a while now, I’d been pushing the farthest limits of what I could get away with without seeming suspicious, and it was almost liberating to drop the pretense—to discard it as something no longer strictly needed. As long as I didn’t trip Xykon’s red flags, there was no point in talking pretty. I didn’t care what villagers thought of me next round, because one way or another, there wasn’t going to be one.

The next one to vote was a wolf—banthesun again.

Uncle Festy came in. He was unable to vote, but he was quite able to reveal that he was unable to vote, and to explain exactly why. He was also able to quite unambiguously call me a liar and a wolf. I slipped in to engender a little confusion about how the items worked, because most people had forgotten about them by now.

The next player, a villager, pointed at me.

The next was a wolf. He pointed at banthesun.

The next player was a villager. He pointed at…banthesun. To be fair, he was a little confused about the nature of the items…just as I’d intended.

A wolf came in and voted for banthesun.

Xykon_Fan entered. Banthesun. I breathed a sigh of relief.

A villager voted for me.

Banthesun, unsurprisingly, voted for me. He also said, “to team evil; Ha! Don’t think you’re hitting a power role, I’m just a villager!” He inserted an angry smiley sticking out its tongue. I kinda facepalmed—yeah, we know you’re a villager. That’s all that’s left, actually.

Xykon_Fan did come to my defense one last time:

Look, if this doesn’t work, you guys can kill Rutskarn. If that’s the way you want it, I’ll even throw in my vote, but I don’t see the wolf-vibe from him. That being said, I have a history of being too trusting in these games. I think, if anything, Ruts will just end up being a misguided villager if he’s not a savior.

He added:

He’s handled himself nobly up until now.

Note the “you guys can kill Rutskarn if this doesn’t work” bit. From this, and other tidbits thrown around by the village people, I got the sense they didn’t realize the gravity of the situation. Namely, that—since all the wolves had voted by now, and we had reached critical bandwagon mass—there wouldn’t be another round.

The day ended. A villager was lynched.

As the referee posted, along with the lynch results:

The number of the wolves are now equal to the number of the villagers therefore the game ends.

Or, as I’d put it:

Holy crap, we actually won.

All my wheedling, scheming, double-dealings, and close calls had paid off but good. Not only had the wolves won, but I’d somehow managed to survive to the end in a game where surviving to the next round was, for me, rarely guaranteed. How many times had I been convinced that I was screwed, only to slip out of the noose by a hairsbreadth? How many desperate, shouldn’t-have-worked bluffs had not only totally worked, but worked better than I could have hoped? And how many villagers on the field still don’t know that I’m evil? The number might have been higher than I thought: there were a few villagers on my bandwagon, and some of the points against me looked less than certain.

That’s why, before all the roles—and my role—were announced, I made a little video. Then I showed it to three different non-players, asking each one, “Does this seem a bit…unsportsmanlike?” None of them thought it was, so before the roles were elucidated and the game was formally concluded I posted the following:

I made this in case we lost, which seems to be the case.

FYI: The theme of the WW game was that the wolves represented the tyrant’s law officers. Hence, the musical choice.

The remainder of the thread was glorious. At least a few people were miffed to find out that I was, in fact, exactly what they kinda suspected I was–only more so. One person, despite my precautions, did indeed find the video obnoxious. Then the thread more or less seamlessly shifted into the postmortem phase, in which strategies were discussed, roles were revealed, moments were shared openly, and—naturally—blame and excuses were thrown around.

Of the final posts, I’ll treasure three in particular.

The first was Bill’s, which read:


Well played, Rutskarn, well played.

*So annoyed at myself*

The first time I actually suspected you? When you pushed for Banthesun instead of Paul. Two days after my death.

Gah! So annoying! *fumes*

The next belonged to one of the narrators, who I will give their due in tomorrow’s wrap-up post. He commented on a few things that had unbalanced the game, such as baner vulnerability and narrator slip-ups. Also:

…the biggest mistake in favour of the wolves was to make Rutskarn [The Beast]. He played it awesome

The final post belonged to Xykon_Fan. He wasn’t bitter or angry, of course, and while his post did not mention me directly, he did say:

…I’m never trusting anyone ever again. Which is even true this time, but I’m now apparently going to have to increase the amount of suspicion from passive to actively hostile.

He did offer one observation, which I will reproduce without comment.

Besides that, I’d say the holidays also kind of worked the villagers over. It’s easier to be a wolf and provide little amounts of effort than to be a villager during the holidays.

Maybe I’ll indulge in a little emphasis:

Besides that, I’d say the holidays also kind of worked the villagers over. It’s easier to be a wolf and provide little amounts of effort than to be a villager during the holidays.

On that note, I will conclude this account.


Were my Wolves At?

30 Aug

For those of you who’ve been following my Wolf in the Playground series, and are interested in trying Werewolves for yourselves:

1.) Thufir is creating a classic game over on Giant in the Playground. Registration is open until September 13th. Inquire within–you will need to create a free forums account to play.

2.) Once WitP is concluded, I will be starting a game here on this site. Day will begin on Monday and end on Friday, with Night cycles taking up the weekend. There will be a special post for your Day votes, and Night actions between players will be handled via e-mail.

If you’re interested, go ahead and apply below. Registration will close once 35 players are reached.

EDIT: Whoa nelly, that’s the limit and about twenty more besides. Keep in mind that Thufir’s game is still available–if you singed up after, like, comment 45, that’s probably your best bet.


Wolf in the Playground: Post no Bills

23 Aug

Dramatis Personae

Myself: The King Quisling.

Dr. Bath: My loyal advisor.

Helgraf: A player who j’accused my ass just about every dang round. I would have been more offended by his baseless, ceaseless persecution if it weren’t entirely justified.

Xykon_Fan: Once one of my greatest threats, now my greatest weapon. A public figure, generally held to be an innocent, who after recent events had come to identify me as an ally.

billtodamax: A semi-public player who was about to become crucial to the success or failure of the Wolves.

When I last left off, I’d just thrown one of my oldest lieutenants to the wolves—er, the villagers—to preserve my credibility in the eyes of the villager corps. I felt guilty about it at the time; was it really worth trading the lives of one of my boys just to avoid garnering suspicion myself? I didn’t know it at the time, but I was barely a cycle away from having that question definitively answered.

Night fell, and we set about assassinating a villager of no consequence. It was just before Daybreak that I received the following message. It was written by the player billtodamax, and it was addressed to both Xykon_Fan and myself:

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Wolf in the Playground: A Sacrificial Wolf in Lamb’s Clothing in Wolf’s Clothing

10 Aug


Myself: The Beast, leader of the werewolves, starting the game blind and nearly friendless.

Dr. Bath: My scrier and right-hand rogue, the only werewolf I start in contact with.

Kopaka: An innocent (?) player who I was about to order the assassination of.

Helgraf: A villager who pointed at me almost every round of the game. Like children and dogs, he could smell evil.

Xykon_Fan: Too suspicious for his own good…or was he?

When we last left our conniving blackguard, we had just reached Night 2. It seemed like Team Wolf (starring Michael J. Fox) was finally hitting its stride, and after a close call Day 1, it looked like I was now totally in the clear and would never be the subject of an unshakeable lynching frenzy ever again. Ever. Again.

And, hey, our nightkill turned out to be crazy auspicious. Kopaka and I pointed our murderin’ fingers at Aemoh, a completely random player who was divorced from any controversy or politics of any kind, and not only did he turn out to be on our team, he brought friends. See, I may or may not have mentioned this earlier, but if two wolves attempt to assassinate the same person, they learn each other’s identities even if their attempts are not successful. This was the case Night 2, in which Aemoh and two other wolves all jumped Murska at the same time. They jumped Murska, we jumped Aemoh—at the end of the night, all of us were put into contact with one another. The Wolf Bloc had swelled to six.

This might sound overwhelming, but let me just reiterate that most Werewolves games start out with the wolves knowing each other from the word go, and veterans will tell you those games are anything but foregone conclusions. Even though I had five voters to use as leverage, my power was a very conditional one—if all of them rallied to my (or one another’s) defense for no reason, it’d look mighty suspicious and, more likely that not, be totally ineffectual. Six voters is still a pronounced minority in a game of 32 players. Don’t get me wrong, this gave me more to work with—and on any given day, even if I don’t mention giving direct orders, rest assured that I’m mailing out guidelines and requests to the other wolves—but I would still have to work damn hard to spin this into a victory.

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Wolf in the Playground: An Interlude in Which Little Clever Occurs

06 Aug

Sorry, guys, my site was down last night for some reason and I couldn’t post this. Here you go now:

A brief note: during the day phase, one indicates who they wish to lynch by typing the name of that person in red. For reasons of clarity, when reproducing lynch votes, I’ll just use bold text.

Example: I agree that Bumfellow is pretty suspicious, but I still think Turd Bucket is more likely to be a werewolf, so he gets my vote.


Referees: The people running the game. They control the night and day phases, and they’re the ones you send your scry/assassination attempts to.

Myself: The Beast, leader of the werewoles, starting the game blind and nearly friendless.

Dr. Bath: My scrier and right-hand rogue, the only werewolf I start in contact with.

Kopaka: An innocent (?) player who I was about to order the assassination of.

When we last left our bastard:

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Wolf in the Playground: Instant Jeopardy, Just Add Bull Puckey

30 Jul

I’ll be doing this series as an out-of-character, first-person commentary on my thought processes, decisions, panic situations, schemes, plots, lies, slanders, and backstabbings. Since this whole affair was nothing if not a learning experience, I’ll be pausing occasionally to share my hard-won knowledge, compiled as the Rules of the Enlightened Bastard. I take no responsibility for the consequences that will occur should you ever apply these rules, for any reason at all, in game or out of it. You’ve been warned.

The first Day Cycle began on November 30th, 2009, at 19:14 PST. Day One of a Werewolves game is an infamously brutal affair; Day, as you may recall, is the period in which the players vote to lynch one another, villagers trying to find and neutralize werewolves while werewolves attempt to hide and sow confusion. When the game begins, players have no knowledge of anybody else’s role and absolutely nothing to speculate on, so they just have to lynch some random person and hope for the best. The Bandwagon Effect, in which one person casts a lynch vote and others follow, is especially pronounced on Day One, and if somebody points at you early on—well, you could be in serious trouble.

I came into the thread after about a half-dozen people had cast their votes, all for different people. There was a definite air of screwing around present; a few players pointed at each other as in-jokes referencing a previous Werewolves game, a few people seemed to pick random people off the list, and one player pointed at a newbie—Kopaka, who had apparently never played a game of Werewolves on the forums before—as a sort of welcoming gesture.

At the time, it seemed wise to cast my vote right there. That way I’d be sort of lodged in the middle of the pack—I wouldn’t be as visible as the first handful of people, but I wouldn’t look like I was trying to be too sneaky, like I was slipping in my judgments n at the last minute. In short, I’d be in the Sweet Spot. I hit the Add Reply button, then set about typing a suitably innocuous opening point.

For my point, I selected Dr. Bath. The odds he’d get bandwagoned were low, and it’d help to have a little wedge of separation between us in case one of us came under suspicion. That tactic was by no means bulletproof—generating this sort of fake animosity is a common tactic–, but it was a touch of misdirection, one that provided a decent return for not a lot of risk. Bath and I were both important, and if one of us fell, the other needed to be able to carry on autonomously.

I reviewed my post carefully, then clicked Send. Now to sit back and wait for the people to choose their first target.

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Wolf in the Playground: Introduction and Rules

22 Jul

In late November, 2009, I received a notification that I had been hand-picked to lie, mislead, bear false witness, distribute fake information, cast blame on innocents, and befriend complete strangers before using them and stabbing them in the back. My purpose would be to impersonate a good and virtuous individual, claiming to seek order and justice, while busily working to undermine these very things from within. My goal would be anarchy; my watchword, treachery.

You see, I had just been assigned my role in one of the Giant in the Playground forums’ many Werewolves games.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Werewolves, the rules we used are fairly simple, which is why I’m going to spend like 800 words explaining them. Don’t let this block of text discourage you; you don’t have to understand the rules 100% going into this series to appreciate it, and besides, it’s an interesting game that you might want to know how to play in the future.

(If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.)

There are two main groups, the Villagers and the Werewolves. Each of the players is given assigned a role within one of these groups—in our case, there were 24 villagers and 8 wolves. The goal of the Villagers is to find and lynch the Werewolves; the goal of the Werewolves is to systematically annihilate the Villagers. Importantly, only a few players start out knowing what anybody else’s role is.

Every turn in this game consists of two cycles, Day and Night (these are abstract titles, and in fact many “days” would be 72 hours long to give all of the players enough time to weigh in). During the Day, players discuss the situation in the forum thread and debate amongst themselves which players might be Werewolves. They then cast a vote as to which player should be “lynched” at the end of that Day cycle. A player is lynched every Day, and one must cast a lynch vote every couple of Days or else they will be automatically ejected from the game (this means you can’t just abstain and keep a low profile). Whichever player receives the most lynch votes is cast out of the game, and his or her role is revealed for posterity. The goal of Villagers during the Day is typically to find and weed out the Werewolves, taking them out one by one until none remain.The goals of the Werewolves during the Day are generally as follows:

  • Appear to be innocent to avoid getting lynched (just another villager, I’m not suspicious or nothing, move along, HEY LOOK OVER THERE IT’S A WOLF oh sorry you just missed it)
  • Verbally come to the defense of any Werewolves who are in danger of being lynched. You can’t be too blatant about this, or else you yourself might end up looking suspicious (Hey, guys, MikeyLikesIt isn’t a wolf, he’s a model citizen! A veritable saint! He donates money to all of the trendy charities, and even a few obscure ones for indie cred! You shouldn’t lynch hi—oh, you did? Oh, it turns out he’s a wolf? Whoopsie! Say, why are you all looking at me like that?)
  • Create chaos (accuse villagers of being wolves, distort the truth, throw blame around, etc)
  • If you’re feeling daring, try to eliminate a Villager by way of vote. Start making accusations against a Villager, rouse some rabble, maybe get a bandwagon started with a few other wolves—if they get enough votes, Villagers die just as easily as Wolves. For the same general reasons as number 2, this can look suspicious if you overdo it—say, how come it’s always the same five guys who start slinging accusations at the model citizens?

Once the Day is complete, and a player has been removed from the game, Night begins. During the Night, the Werewolves all send private messages to the person running the game identifying the player they would like to assassinate. Whichever player receives the most votes is removed from the game as if they had been lynched, and their role is revealed as the next Day cycle begins. However, if the person the Werewolf votes to assassinate turns out to be another Wolf, there is no kill; instead, the Wolves merely become aware of each other, and may conspire together in the future.

This is the basic shape of the game: Villagers try to find the Werewolves during the day and cower in fear during the night, Werewolves try to distort the truth during the day and murder priority targets/find one another during the night.

Adding complexity to the game are Special Roles. Most of the Villagers (of which there are 24) are just generic dudes with no special powers beyond lynching people during the Day and getting picked off one by one during the Night. By the same token, most of the Werewolves (of which there are 8) have no extra abilities besides voting on which people to assassinate at Night. However, there are a handful of Special Roles—seven for the Villagers, two for the Wolves—which have extra abilities. In the game we played, the Special Roles were as follows:

Special Villager Roles

Masons: These three villagers know each others identities. Thus, they can safely defend one another from lynch votes and trust one another in tumultuous situations.

Baners: These two villagers have the ability to shield people from harm. At Night, when the Wolves are mailing in their assassination votes, Baners can pick one player to protect from Wolf attacks. Basically, if they decide that buggybumpers87 is in danger of being assassinated for some reason, they can send in a private message saying, “I’m baning buggybumpers87.” Then, if the wolves do vote to assassinate buggybumpers87, they’ll be informed that their attempt was blocked. Now, this only works if a relatively slim majority of wolves vote for buggybumpers87—once the wolves have found one another, and are voting as a bloc, they can often bypass the best attempts of baners. Each of the baners starts out in contact with one of the…

Scriers: Every night, these two villagers can request to learn the role of another player. There is a certain chance (50% for one, 25% for another) that these scries will yield incorrect information; the chance of failure can be reduced by spending multiple days scrying the same individual.

Special Werewolf Roles

Devil: The Devil is the evil version of the Scrier. He can determine, with 100% accuracy, what role any other player during the Night cycle. As a tradeoff, he may not cast an assassination vote like the other Wolves, not unless he’s the last one standing. The Devil role is unique in that unlike the other roles, it is not cast by the person running the game—it is instead cast by the…

Beast: The main villain. Starts out in contact with the Devil, who he handpicks from the players roster before the rest of the roles are assigned. His vote is worth three other votes when it comes to assassinations, and if the Villagers scry him, his role is always erroneously reported as “Villager”. Most importantly, because of his commanding votes, he’s in charge of the wolves. He decides who to assassinate and who to spare, who’s protected and who’s exposed, who’s a safe kill and who’s too risky to touch. He can even direct Day actions, requesting that the wolves he’s in contact with rally around certain targets or disseminate certain sentiments. Basically, his job is to do this. In short, if you’re running a Werewolves game that you want to make interesting, you pick the most treacherous, foul-minded, snake-tongued, duplicitous bastard you can find to fill your Beast role.

Needless to say, when the invitation arrived, I was flattered.

I was also more than a little nervous. I’d only ever played on Werewolves game before, and I was saddled with a Neutral role then—neither Villager nor Wolf, I won as long as the other Neutral player was eliminated. It was a fairly anticlimactic game for me, a lot of bad leads and apathetic finger-pointing, which was then compounded when the other Neutral went on walkabout halfway through and was automatically booted from the game, granting me victory by default. It wasn’t exactly a trial by fire, and it gave me no insight into how the Good and Evil sides played their roles—in fact, when I (casually) asked what the situation was a few times, I was given the brush-off and told that it was none of my business. Bottom line is, I was by no means prepared to lead the evil side this time around, unless you count 18-odd years of being a bastard as “preparation”.

Not that I ever considered turning the role down, mind. It’s just that this little caper had the potential to be real interesting. And by “interesting,” I mean, “painfully short-lived.” And by, “had the potential,” I mean, “almost certainly would.”

You’ll see what I mean next post.