Malus: Allegorical Storytelling
« previous entry | next entry »
May. 27th, 2008 | 05:19 pm
The Big Idea - Malus is a lot like that writer's exercise where you take a hero out of danger and then put the hero right back in. It's meant to have, I think, 3 to 7 players, no GM, because that's how we roll in hippy town.
Characters: Born human, making their way in a mythical landscape, fighting against an evil Magician. Some may have been transformed into other things, but, for the most part, they are human. Humans, transformed or otherwise, have no natural access to magic powers, though access is available. Magic, sorcery, whatever, is inherently evil and warps the user in Very Short Order.
Characters have 3 Attributes - Innocence, Experience and Courage.
Innocence: Goodness of the heart and lack of evil knowledge. Innocence is keyed to friends you have or friendships you make, and how much those friends are willing to do for you. Innocence is vulnerable to Temptation, which takes it away whether you succumb or not, but, in return, it becomes Experience as you learn about yourself and the world.
Experience: Understanding, knowledge, learning. Experience is keyed to things you know or know how to do, and how good you are at doing those things. Experience is vulnerable to Peril, which forces the clever and the rational to act quickly or suffer, but, in return, it becomes Courage as you gain confidence to face adversity.
Courage: Daring, bravery, the ability to face dangers and battle foes with weapons, wits, or wills. Courage is keyed to enemies you can defeat or ways in which you succeed in conflict. Courage is vulnerable to Want, which is an enemy that cannot be defeated with strength, but with cooperation, but, in return, it becomes Innocence as you put aside old angers in the spirit of friendship.
Malus: The apples represent the power of evil, influencing the Magician and making the heroes' lives difficult. There are five different kinds of danger represented by the apples and each one has a different color.
Red Apples of Temptation: These lower the hero's Innocence and raise hir Experience. The magician is alluring, and has snares and hooks set for the heroes that oppose hir designs. The hero who gets a Poisoned Red Apple ends in a state where they must be rescued from their desires and the wiles of the Adversary.
Green Apples of Peril: These lower the hero's Experience and raise hir Courage. The magician will have fearsome minions and set up deadly traps to defeat the heroes. The hero who gets a Bitter Green Apple ends in a state where danger surrounds them and they must be rescued from the force of the Adversary.
Gold Apples of Want: These lower the hero's Courage and raise hir Innocence. The magician has control over the land, that, while limited, can be made to block, stymie or endanger the heroes. The hero who gets a Rotten Gold Apple ends in a state where their efforts are in vain, and the only way past is through accepting help from others.
Silver Apple of False Life: This apple ends the Chapter; it does not affect the Attributes of the Receiver and it negates the affects of the last turn on the Attributes of the Giver . The Receiver of the Silver Apple must tell of a hitherto unknown power that the Magician has just shown, something to stifle the progress of the heroes and makes the Magician that much more difficult to defeat.
Black Apple of Sorcery: This apple also ends the Chapter; it does not affect the Attributes of the Receiver and it negates the affects of the last turn on the Attributes of the Giver. That said, the Giver must record a point of Darkness on their character sheet and state how they succumbed to the temptation to use Sorcery to move ahead.
The Basic Mechanic: Tell the people about how your hero saves another from danger but gets into danger of your own based on the apple you've been given. Hand an apple to the next person in line who does the same. When each Hero has gone, the Chapter ends. Complete Chapters = number of Heroes + 2 to defeat the Sorcerer and win the game.
There's more to it than that, but I have to hit the road for now, so this is the basic gist.