Ben Lehman

Homage to Ninshubar

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

You are all women; you are all slaves. Your goddess — called by many names but here Ninshu or the Lady in Chains — is a slave goddess, captured by alien gods and forced to serve them. She answers the prayers of ants, bees, slaves and prisoners: those whose will is not their own.

Untitled Jeepform

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

An entry for the 2011 Ronnies

Players are divided into four groups. You will want at least four players.
One player is the Witness, also known as the Game Master. They keep an eye on the time, signal for players to wrap up or continue scenes, and pass judgement over the proceedings. They do not portray a character, although in some parts they may play extra parts.
One player is the solider. They are the focal player of the game. The character that they play is a veteran of one or more wars, who is now senile and dying. Solider player: figure out your name, your rank, and what wars you fought in. The soldier wants peace and absolution before death, whatever that means to him.
The other players are divided between ghosts and family. Err on the side of more ghosts.

On the Ecology of the Mud Dragon

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

You all play Mud Dragons, the generally inferior but more survivable cousins of the big guys, up to some sort of hijinks such as: stealing candy from children, fighting over shiny glass beads, having a farting contest, trying to capture a princess, or building a flying machine.

Except for the GM, of course, who pretty much just exists to make your life miserable.
Dragons are great creatures, majestic, wise, and magical, possessed of great treasures, fiery breath, jeweled scales, ferocious appetites, and knowledge beyond the ken of mortal man. Once, they soared through the airs over the land, leaving shadows miles long, devouring whole herds of sheep and cows, kidnapping princesses, demanding tribute from even the greatest of kings and the mightiest of sorcerers.

Unfortunately, not even regarding such trivialities as the square-cube law, the local ecology could scarcely support such gargantuan megafauna, let alone one that reproduced in clutches! Food pressure has driven such the great beasts to near or total extinction, leaving only a few hibernating on the highest mountaintops, deep beneath the earth, and at the bottom of the sea.

In truth, what with the industrialization and rationalization and possibly other -alizations, there is little place for the dragons of old within the modern world.

The Drifter’s Escape

Saturday, October 8th, 2005

The Drifter’s Escape is a game of men wandering America’s highways and byways, looking for their dreams, pursued by their pain, and hounded by both the Devil and the Man.

My traveling companions are an old yellow dog with the devil?s own farts and about a dozen loose and lonesome men we picked up somewhere. There are a few old soldiers less some of their body parts, a skin and bones mountaineer with a beard down to his rotting buckskin belt, a merchant marine with a terrible cough, a dready white girl with eyes like punched-out aces of spades, and some old hoboes who just won?t die.


Sunday, September 11th, 2005

A game of suburban desperation

I wrote Want as part of my participation in the first round of the Ronnies, a 24-hour RPG contest sponsored by Ron Edwards and his Adept Press. The challenge is to make a complete role-playing game in 24 hours, using as core elements exactly two of the following four terms: Suburban, Girlfriend, Hatred, and Rat. Want is, quite clearly, making use of Suburban and Hatred. Whether or not it is a role-playing game I leave as an exercise to the reader.

Quite honestly, the game creeps me out more than a little. I think it may be the most depressing thing I?ve written, and I?m the guy who wrote the game about fighting the totally unavoidable end of the world.

I?d like to play it, if I could find a group that knows the genre.

Baihua (One Hundred Flowers)

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

Philosophical Masters travel the tumultuous roads of Warring States period China, seeking a ruler who will accept their philsophy and make them Minister. A strategic board-game overlay belies a subtle role-playing game of moral conundrums and the price of power.