Monday, November 27, 2017

A game combining tattoos and bad choices

There are time when I read and study role playing game systems borderline manically. And then there are times when I might go for weeks or months without picking one up. I’ve been going through a dry spell lately so I’m trying to jumpstart myself a bit.

So I reread a tiny little RPG called Tramp Stamp. It was from a 24-Hour design contest from 2009. I had honestly don’t remember where I originally downloaded it and googling Tramp Stamp RPG gets a lot of weird results.

It’s a one-session, GM-free game built around under the idea that everyone is a tattoo artist at a shop that is gong to close down. You are all trying to make that one great tattoo that will help you stay in the business. Otherwise, you might have to get a haircut and a real job or completely self-destruct. You run through three rounds of personal scenes and tattoo scenes to determine how everyone turns out.

Characters have three stats: Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. You use these traits to be able to create awesome tattoos but they also fuel your self-destruction. 

While the ostensible goal of the game is to be the one who makes the most awesome tattoo, it is really about exploring self-destructive behaviors and habits. That’s the real point of the game.

I have read a lot of micro RPGs over the last few years. And, there’s only a couple I really see myself having much chance of playing. Tramp Stamp isn’t one of them. But it is one that has stayed in my head. The theme is unusual and it has sex, drugs and rock and roll for stats. Still, if I want a one-shot about self destruction, I’d go with Fiasco.

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