12:48 AM

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RIPPER in Second Life

Virtual Party Games

I had opportunity to run a game of RIPPER, my conversion of WEREWOLF for play in Virtual worlds, in Second Life on Saturday.

That's me in the 95th Rifles rig. I wear it running these things so I can stand out a bit. Hard to do in a virtual world when anybody can be anything they like!

The game is played at a table in RL, so I figured what the hell, why not, let's recreate the experience. With the help of "Eva Bellambi" from SL, I set up a game area in a low-bandwidth part of SL. Eva, you will note, is one of our BPD maniacs, and doing rather well for a beginner.

I planned for a maximum of 15, I think we got ten to a dozen players. I facilitated the game reasonably well, I thought. I have run WEREWOLF in real time many times, and I love the game. The RIPPER variant is almost identically themed (thematically swapping out Jack the Ripper for a Werewolf, and the Great Detective for A Mystic) and it takes advantage of Second Life's utilities to exchange information back and forth and keep the voting in order.

Basically RIPPER plays identically to WEREWOLF but utiilizes chat technology to recreate some vital features of WERWOLF:

1) The Roles are randomly assigned via dice roll (in RL, by me). This will change now that I have found a SL die roller script.
2) The players get their Roles via a SL Notecard. They are pre-written by me. I have also given them the RULES in advance.
3) I narrate the evening turn. I declare:

++ RIPPER, SEND ME A VICTIM! (the two pluses are for people to see me in the din of conversation generated by chats)

The Ripper player then Sends me an IM (instant msg) with the Victims' name upon it.

I then say:

++ GREAT DETECTIVE, SEND ME A DEDUCTION! (The Great Detective/Seer character sends me his or her guess at who is the culprit. I IM back "Yes" or "No").

Then it is the Morning Turn... "Day breaks, a beautiful day for everyone except for... (VICTIM'S NAME!). At this point I send the person a little object I scripted that maintains a floating text, red for a murder victim, Gold for someone who has been dispatched by votes. They attach it to the avatar's chest. In this fashion it becomes VERY easy to follow who is dead and who is not.

I handled VOTING by IM as well, but it was a bit clumsy even with only 10 or so players. I had to count carefully. I believe there are some utilities that assist with voting in SL, I will seek them out.

The game proceeds normally until we hit a victory condition. In our games on Saturday, we had a villager victory and a Ripper victory. Not bad at all! The game was enthusiastically received by the players and many requests were made to run it again. I likely will in about a month or so.

I spoke with a "Zenmodo" character who is interested in scripting an animated spurting neck wound we could affix tot he players who have been murdered. Gory, but fascinating! Truly, Second Life has vast potential for moving some forms of parlor games to virtual space. This is merely a beginning.