200 Word RPG 2019 - Out of Time

The 200 Word RPG has opened again for 2019, and though I had less time than usual, I threw my hat in the ring. I have a few more hours to polish it to hopefully publish it for the 24 hour RPG contest on RPG Geek also! At 199 words, I tried to use each word as efficiently as possible, and also maintain a theme.

I wanted to do a solo game this year, and thought about time travel as a theme- the character is told by his future self that he's being wiped out of existence by an enemy than he doesn't even know! He's given minimal clues in a diary, but parts of it are missing. He has to intervene at critical moments in time to keep the enemy from succeeding.

On the mechanics side, I wish I'd been able to come up with something more original. I'm using a deck of cards and a d6, with the deck of cards as the timer and the method to inform what the scene will be about, and the d6 for resolution. Temporal stability is governed by a 12 block track (it's 10 in the version on the site because I made some last minute edits and that change was lost), and the damage is mitigated by the character's own traits- at a cost of a penalty to the next roll.

I'm still not totally satisfied, and wish that I had more time to playtest. In my playthroughs, it was hard; use the trait to add to your roll? Or save it? Spend a trait to mitigate damage, even though it's not used? A good number of decisions, and it definitely has narrative teeth.

As usual, I've enclosed the formatted version below, but it's on the site in it's original format under the entry Out of Time.


"Only you can save us," an older version of yourself said. "I didn't, but you can." He handed you a book and a die as he faded away. Passages were missing from the book, but you could infer your nemesis was erasing your existence; the die would allow you to move through time to stop him from interfering with your temporal selves as they faced critical challenges.


Pencil, Paper, d6, cards.



Clubs = Physical
Hearts = Social
Diamonds = Spirit
Spades = Mind


2 - Faith
3 - Pride
4 - Gain
5 - Elements
6 - Mystery
7 - Bravery
8 - Loss
9 - Health
10 - Persistence
J - Poison
Q - Horror
K - Power
A - Control


6+ = Yes, and gain a Trait with no bonus
4-5 = Yes
3- = No, and -d6 Stability

Traits: +3 bonus once/game.
Traits mitigate harm; -1 from next roll/damage and Trait is lost.


Describe character; choose 2 Traits/Aspect

12 (Temporal) Stability


Deal 13 cards/hand, face down. Flip card, describe challenge using Aspect/Subject. Describe action, resolving with a d6.


After four hands narrate your win, or if stability drops to zero/lose all traits in an aspect, your erasure from history.