18 January 2006

Kazekami Kyoko Kills Kublai Khan

This is all Shreyas' fault.

Kyoko is a wind spirit, a kazekami. She is also a ninja. She is not a princess, as Kublai Khan thought before Kyoko stabbed him in the gut. He was trying to be amorous with his newest concubine. She was trying to prevent the Mongol invasion of Japan. As Kublai dies, the kazekami torments her husband by recounting how she has managed to seduce scores of his rare and beautiful wives.

There are two players. One player plays Kyoko. The other player plays Kublai.

During the game, players take turns making statements or asking questions according to the format prescribed for their character. These are known as "contributions." The forms are:

Kublai: “[Confirmation]! But [declaration]! How [open-ended question]?”

Kyoko: “Indeed, [confirmation]! Nevertheless, [declaration]! [Rhetorical question]?”

Following these instructions creates a chain-shaped narrative. Each player must respond to the contributions of their counterpart, confirming, declaring, and requesting confirmation. It is recommended that Kyoko not attempt to answer the Khan's questions in full detail, but allow the stories of seduction to be slowly drawn out of her, one step at a time. It's also critical that both players try to avoid holding preconceptions of how the seductions were accomplished, since one of the main goals of the game is listening to and confirming the contributions of your fellow player, even above your own ideas.

Each seduction narrative begins with a boast by Kyoko or a protest by Kublai. The players can take turns beginning new narratives or simply begin a new one whenever a player is satisfied with the information uncovered about the previously mentioned seduction.

For example, Kyoko might boast:

I spent many hours writhing in ecstasy with the renowned concubine Jade Petal Rose, whose lips left a lingering scent of sandalwood upon my skin.

Or Kublai might protest:

Surely you were unable to enter into the bedchamber of Jade Petal Rose, most beloved of my wives, who smells of sandalwood and cool streams.

Then, assuming this particular narrative began with Kyoko's boasting (as described above), the narrative might continue as follows:

Kublai might respond:

Surely you are the greatest enchantress since Yang Guifei! But my wife Jade Petal Rose always treated even the smallest children with such scorn! How did you manage to soften her heart?

And Kyoko might respond:

Indeed, her affections remained carefully guarded! Nevertheless, once I had engendered the good graces of her chief eunuch, everything began falling into place! Have you considered that tactic, O Great Conquerer of the World?

And Kublai might, in turn, respond:

I, with all my military genius, managed to overlook it! But her chief eunuch would not be swayed by your feminine wiles! How, then, could you earn his favor?

And Kyoko might, in turn, respond:

Indeed, his manly parts were no longer of any use! Nevertheless, his other appetites, especially for exotic culinary delicacies, remained as rampant as ever! How could he stand impervious to my offering of malted shrimp clusters?

Etc.

Bear in mind that Kyoko is both a wind spirit and a ninja. There is little that is beyond her formidable abilities.

However, the Great Khan begins to suspect that Kyoko's stories are not nearly as impressive and magnificent as they should be, given her obvious skill. Kyoko, in return, decides that some of her adventures and conquests should not be shared with the dying Khan, being none of his business. Either player, then, can also choose to respond to their companion's contributions in the following forms:

Kublai: “My dear! Surely [compliment]! Why then [question Kyoko's original contribution]?

Kyoko: “Great Khan! [Compliment], but [refusal to divulge details]!”

For example, Kublai might respond:

My dear! Surely your speed surpasses that of crickets and swallows! Why then were you intimidated by a squad of imperial soldiers?

Or Kyoko might respond:

Great Khan! Your all-seeing eye does not miss the slightest insect, but surely the contents of a woman's heart should remain impenetrable to your gaze!

These replace a player's contribution, but do not interrupt the chain, since their companion replies as usual or can select to use their own alternate response (as described above).

The game ends when Kublai can bear no more, uttering his final words:

Kublai:“Thus cuckold by the greatest of women, I depart this world of suffering.”

To which Kyoko responds:

Kyoko:“A noble soul is lifted up; the greatest of men journeys onward.”

Notice that while the players have corresponding roles, duties, and powers, these differ quite a bit in content. Playing Kyoko is very different than playing Kublai. For this reason, players are encouraged to switch roles next time they play or play two short games in different roles, to practice their skill in handling different kinds of play requirements.

This game is designed to strongly support online chat-based play. Games can be as short or long as participants desire, since Kublai's life hangs by a slender thread. His passing, at any point in the game, is not unexpected.

Kazekami Kyoko Kills Kublai Khan is strongly influenced by the games and ideas of Ben Lehman, Emily Care Boss, Mo (of Sin Aesthetics), and Shreyas Sampat, as well as by my previous Iron Chef entry, Heavenly Kingdoms, the game of drunken Taiping exegesis. The bulk of it was written in the 30 minutes before I went to bed last night.

12 Comments:

Blogger Fred said...

When I first read this, I thought, "Hah, hah, very funny. I knew noone was going to write a real game for this silly LSN thing."

But...

This is a real game.

...or at least the seed of one. It's certainly worth trying out.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Walton said...

Thanks, Fred. I hope people can get some IRC or chat play in soon, so we can see how it works in practice.

It could concievably be more complex than this, offering many more possible contribution structures (ala Polaris), but I like the simplicity and open-endedness of the current version.

Well have to find out.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Mo said...

Neato! I like it!

I also like that it could conceivably be played anywhere, without prep or props... say, on a long train ride (if you were willing to risk eavesdroppers) or on the beach at the cottage.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Walton said...

The long train ride version would probably have to avoid descriptions of hot girl-on-girl action, but, yeah, it's meant to be a pretty universal game. I suppose, even on your train ride, you could pass a notebook back and forth and write your hawt decriptions on it, if you wanted to be descrete in your fun.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Mark Causey said...

Really neat! I'd like to make one comment that came to mind:

Kublai Khan should only have so much fight in him. Kazekami Kyoko should also want him to hear all she wants to see before he passes on. Maybe, Khan only has so many of the 'overrides' where he deflects her assertions, and the more he uses the closer he gets to that final exchange of lines. Kyoko can choose to bolster him with some ego boosting statements or somesuch. It would basically be an Hit Points concept, where > 0 is alive and = 0 is endgame; refusals decreasing the HP and ego flattering raising the HP.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Walton said...

Hmm, not a bad idea. I worry a little about delving too much into My Life with Master territory, with traits that get raised and lowered based on player actions, but I could see having a limited number of unique contributions that players could "expend" to create certain effects.

So you might have a chain that goes:

1. Statement A
2. Statement B
3. "I feel my life ebbing away."
4. "Thus cuckold, I depart."

And you can work through that chain at varying speeds or whatever.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Nir Shiffer said...

I like it. I think I'll go playtest it now.

Now, if only all these 'ritual phrases' games were more easily translatable to Hebrew...

6:04 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Walton said...

Dude, if you want to play it in Hebrew, just translate the phrases and structures yourself, into something appropriate. KkKkKKK is sorta based on the conversations between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan in Italian author Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, which I'm sure has been translated into Hebrew. Pick up a copy if you need some literary inspiration.

If you play it in English, keep a log for me and post it somewhere so I can read it!

8:11 AM  
Blogger Victor Gijsbers said...

Shame on me for only seeing this now!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Walton said...

Yeah, dude, this is from January and is critical to what I did later in Waiting/Tea.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Victor Gijsbers said...

They are now both officially high on my ToGame-list. I'll let you know how it went when I've actually played them. (Hm - by the way, if KKKKK is meant for chat-based play, maybe you are interested in playing it with me?)

5:37 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Walton said...

I'd be totally up for playing. Just let me know when and where.

9:57 AM  

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