Rules of the Game
Lexicon: The RPG (MUGS Edition)
adapted from various internet sources, particularly the Twisted Lexicon
You are a scholar. A learned individual. Eminent in your field. Known, or determined to be so. You are cranky, opinionated, prejudiced and eccentric, and you are collaborating with a number of equally cranky, opinionated, prejudiced and eccentric peers – the other players – on the construction of an encyclopedia.
The encylopedia is an historic one describing some bounded topic – a world, a nation, an historic event, an empire, the dwindling resources of a snow-bound post-apocalyptic settlement, the return of magic to the world in the year 1857 or the Great War between the worlds of humanity and the monstrous Zlotnix.
Each player creates an entry for their scholar as well, and plays the part of that scholar for the length of the game, both in writing their entries and in commenting on the entries of their peers.
Before the game starts, the player starting this particular lexicon should set the general subject – preferably vague but giving enough guidance to start the players off.
"You are all scholars writing the definitive history of House Trawleon, it's role in the great schism and in the founding of the Later Fourth Republic" – Who comprises House Trawleon, what the great schism was, what the later fourth republic was made up of, details around it, and what happened to the first three, are all left unknown – but in naming them hooks are placed for further creation and a mood is evoked.
The starting player should also decide the parameters of the game itself. Things to be decided:
- Length of rounds: How many days each turn should last. Two is default, keeping the game moving but allowing players to miss a day should circumstances require.
- Index Format: The structure of the game is determined by the index, providing the base rules for creating entries during each round. The default is alphabetical, with each round containing entries beginning with a letter from the alphabet sequentially (A – Z). This standard index produces a game with 26 rounds, one for each letter.
Many variants are possible, some ideas are listed here: Lexicon Index Variants
The starting player then creates a front page for his game and lists all the relevent information, as well as areas to be the main links to scholar pages and the main index for entries.
Sequence of play
Rounds – Each game is divided into rounds. A new round begins either as soon as every player has completed the previous round, or after a specific time limit is reached (Two days by default).
The game starts with a Scholar Round. Each player has the round to create a page for their scholar and write a short (100-200 words) biography of their character. Players are free to make up any facts they want to tie the characters in to the world being described, however the rules set for facts in entries (below) apply here as well.
First Entry Round
On the first entry round, each player writes their first entry in the first index. They make up the name of the entry and 100 to 200 words about the subject; this can be anything at all related to the topic of the encyclopedia, no restrictions apply in the first round save the index itself.
At the end of the article, the player signs the name of their scholar and makes two citations to other entries in the encyclopedia. These entries will be phantoms, entries that do not yet exist, and must fit within future index rounds (IE, in a standard alphabetical index, they must start with any letter except A).
Second and Subsequent Rounds
Each round continues in the same vein, with an entry written in the next index. Phantom entries, those cited but not yet written, should be claimed first and "free" entries written only when there are not enough phantom entries for every player.
Each entry from round 2 onwards must cite three other entries. Two of these must be to phantom (unwritten) entries in a future index. One must be to an already written entry. As per academic writing, these citations must be relevant – so entries must relate to each other in at least tangential fashion.
On your second last turn, you need only cite 1 phantom entry as their is only one index remaining. On the last turn, no phantom citation is required.
Each entry must also conform to two additional rules:
The Rule of Fact
Despite the fact that your peers are self-important, narrow-minded and often wrongheadedly opinionated, they are good and honest scholars. No matter how strained their interpretations are, their facts are as accurate as historical research can possibly be. Any fact (as opposed to interpretation or opinion) presented in an entry is therefore considered completely true, and future entries much treat them as such. This is particularly true of any entry cited in your entry – though arguments against interpretation can be made and new facts introduced that show the existing facts in a new light, the accepted facts themselves should be undisputed.
The Rule of Self Citation
It is an academic sin to cite yourself, so your scholar may never cite an entry they have written themselves and may never write a phantom entry that he has originally cited.
The game continues in this fashion until all indexes are filled.