Suliman’s Court

A roleplaying game of prophetic nonsense.

This was originally written for Game Chef 2002 at The Forge. I self disqualified by saying it might not be considered an RPG. Funny that, these days it might be seen well within that ballpark.

Players take the role of the visier priests in the court of the King Suliman, in a mythic age before the dawn of history. The priests argue for control of the King in a game of power. Manipulating powerful forces through the numerical values of the stars in the sky, they attempt to gain control of the Kingdom by finding solutions to the kings dilemnas.

You’ll need 6 cards per player (plain card, about the size of business cards), and some beads.

Each player labels their cards 0- 5 on one side, on the other put a description of a weird astrological sign, with aname and a descriptive aspect (“Marthrad – Hunter of Forever”, “Akash – The deceiver”, etc). Players then put them facing number down on the table in any order left to right. Place a bead on top of one card, this is theActive card, and reflects your characters current insight.

Play starts with the first player (decided randomly, or by whoever’s house the game is beign played in) player addressing the others, telling of a conflict or problem that is about to befall the Kingdom, and gives his activeastrology sign as the cause. He then reveals the value of the card to the other players, and adds a number of beads to his pool equal to it.

For example:

“My lord, the Nigerians are about to invade, Marthad the hunter predicts it.”

The other players then take turns clockwise to do one of the following, always talking in character:

1) Note an astrological anomaly – Swap any two cards on the table (including between players), bar active cards, cards must be named and an appropriate reason given.

For example: “We must tread carefully Marduk and Akasha cause an imbalance in the country’s fate”

2) Add a complication – Reduce the number of beads in any players pool by your current active card and descibe how this sign is responsible.

For example:”But the Nigerians have an ally in the kings traitorous nephew! Odbud bringer of strife predicts it!”

3) Suggest a possible resolution – Add a number of beads to your pool equal to your current active card, describe how the current sign may be the cause of the resolution.

For example:”We can avert this by praying to Mordash! He will send his servitors to aid us!”

4) Spot a contradiction from the previous player – Add 3 beads to your pool from the player who was inconsistent, and play continues with you.

“But did you not say that Mordash favours them!”

After each of these the player moves the bead indicating their active card to the left (or back to the start if they reach the end of their row of cards)

The winner is the player to take their pool of beads to a total 20.