Saturday, November 3, 2012

Noah Webster is My Dungeon Master

Here's a goofy idea to try out - Dictionary, the RPG:

Character Creation

Open the dictionary to a random page. Find a noun - that's what you are and, by extension, what you should be skilled at. Find an adjective - it describes you. If the first page you open to doesn't provide enough in the way of nouns and adjectives, try again.

Task Resolution

State what you wish to accomplish. Open the dictionary to a random page. If you can find a verb on that page that can be used to accomplish the task, you succeed.

If you cannot find such a verb, you can try another page IF what you are (the noun + adjective) would suggest you should be good at what you're trying to do. Otherwise, the task does not go as you would like, introducing a new problem to be solved. Perhaps this new problem is suggested by a word on the page you've flipped to.


Each successful adventure gives you a free flip you can use to get through a later adventure.


Let's say you're ridiculously lucky, and you flip to a page that allows you to be a Nimble Ninja. Your nimble ninja decides it need to clunk a guard over the head to sneak into a castle. You open to a random page of the dictionary and find no words that can help. But you're a nimble freakin' ninja, so you should be good at sneaking up on the guard and clunking him on the head, so you open to a new page. Dang - still nothing. What a crappy dictionary. So, you've failed. How? Perhaps you step on a stick and are forced to hit the ground. The guard knows somebody is there and he calls for help. They're now searching the area. Your new task is to creep away unnoticed by the guards, so you open to a random page of the dictionary ...

Conceivably, you could play this game alone, or with a game master (the Word Master? the Grammarian?) who controls the actions (and success thereof) of the NPC's.


  1. The Grammarian :D that's just genius! This just goes to show that smart people (aka nerds) know how to have fun with nothing more than their brain and a book - maybe pen and paper too. Who says you need contact with other people. Grab a book and some dice and go play with yourself ;)

  2. I've always enjoyed playing with myself, though I must admit it's more fun to play with others.

  3. This was fun. I also created a couple of house rules. Well, "for me" rules, I guess. Here:

    1. Loved your game re-cap. Good to know this silly thing can actually work.

    2. Another vote for Grammarian. I think this should be submitted for an Enny.

  4. I should take an entire public domain dictionary, add this as the first page, and then sell it on Lulu! With a cover by Wayne Reynolds or Erol Otus!

    Or maybe not.

  5. I love this idea. Best of all: it works with all genres!


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