Friday, July 17, 2020

Bickering on the job as an RPG

It’s been a bit since I looked at a quirky little RPG. Dungeon Janitor’s Apprentice is definitely quirky and little but I don’t know if even my very lax definition of RPG can be stretched enough to cover it. Even calling it a story-telling game is a stretch. It’s a discussion game for two people.

The concept of the game is bigger than the game itself. One player is the Dungeon Janitor, a grumpy old bastard who knows exactly how the dungeon’s supposed to be. The other player is the Dungeon Janitor’s Apprentice, a slacker who wants to just get drunk and laid. The janitor wants to get the job done and retire. The apprentice wants to get fired.

Here’s all the game mechanics and all: the janitor tells the apprentice to go do something. The apprentice gives some kind of excuse. The janitor tries to come up with a solution for the excuse. The apprentice comes up with a new excuse. You keep going until someone chokes and the other person wins that argument. Whoever wins five arguments first wins the game.

It’s ‘There’s a hole in the bucket’ as an improv routine/RPG.

Was this game designed for long car rides? While the real appeal of the Dungeon Janitor’s Assistant is the theme and the humor potential you can get out of that theme , it is seriously minimalist in what you physically need to actually play it. The rules have you use tokens to track who wins the arguments but even that is superfluous.

What the Dungeon Janitor’s Apprentice really reminds me of is Kazekami Kyoko Kills Kublai Khan, a story-telling game that was designed to be played via instant messaging. Both games very much built around call-and-response dialogue. In fact, I suspect the most likely way I will ever play The Dungeon Janitor’s Apprentice would be via forum or some form of instant messaging. I can even see having more than two players and just going around, alternating janitor and apprentice and not worrying who wins.

The Dungeon Janitor’s Apprentice is a silly, slight game. But it’s a fun idea and it’s ridiculously assessable. It has the potential to be a lot of fun.

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