A tale consists of a single game session and the story told in it.

#Starting a tale

To play in a physical space together, you’ll need a sheet for your looming questions, a character sheet and a pencil for each player, tokens to use for awareness, and a single, six-sided die, of the type you might swipe from any typical board game.

Our tale centers on a community. Each player must select a place within the community’s territory (or to which the community at least has free access), and a character who belongs to the community and has a bond with that place. You can reprise places and characters that you’ve played before, or create new ones. Your character starts with five moments of awareness. Your place starts with one.

If the community does not have a looming question, come up with one. Each player’s character must also have a looming question when the tale begins.

You should know something about each of the other players’ characters. If you don’t know something about each one yet, suggest something that you might know. Someone might use the ritual phrase, “I don’t see it” to negate it, but if not, write it down on your knowledge sheet. Whether writing it down for the first time or not, take turns focusing on each player’s character, and go around, so that each other player can tell us what she knows about that person.

Each character tells us where we find hen at the start of the tale. The community’s current camp or village usually makes sense as a default, but maybe you have some reason to find yourself somewhere else in the community’s territory.

#Narrative flow

The level of depth and detail will vary throughout the story, sometimes skimming over hours or even days, and other times zooming in to focus on fine details. You can use immediate questions to adjust this dial, asking bigger questions to pull our focus out, and more detailed questions to bring our attention down to a more detailed level. You can also use questions to move our attention from one place to another, or from one character to another.

The game begins in the introduction stage. The “So the story goes” moves the game from one stage to the next.

#Ending a tale

When you move on from the resolution stage, your tale comes to an end. As an epilogue, each player should pose a question, asking something that hen wonders about some other player’s character. If this strikes you as a good looming question, add it to the sheet.

Right after the game’s formal conclusion, you should consider doing a quick debrief. If everything went well, maybe this just means everyone sharing how much fun they had and revisiting their favorite moments. If things went less well, you might have some things to discuss as a group. Planning for a short period after the game to talk, debrief, decompress, and come back to the real world can mean a lot.

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