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Lexicon

—As adapted from The Original Lexicon: The RPG by Neel Krishnaswami. 

In Lexicon, each player takes on the role of a writer—perhaps a scholar, a journalist, a research assistant, or just an amateur cataloguer. Together, the players collaborate on a body of work relating to a certain subject. Sometimes the subject is discussed in great detail beforehand. Sometimes it is created entirely through game play.

Each character has their own profile somewhere in the body of work. Here, on Obsidian Portal, we use the character pages.

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Game and Character Creation

The host (not exactly a game-master) will decide the subject, and how much should be declared about the subject before play begins. They will also determine number of turns (if turns will be limited), how long each turn should be, and what the index should be. Commonly, indeces correspond to a letter of the English alphabet, but the variation are endless.

Each entry is one turn, so in the standard Lexicon game with one entry for every letter of the English alphabet, there would be 26 turns—if every turn is one day long, such a game would be complete within a month. 

After this, players determine which characters they will play, and craft their character page. Characters are not determined through stats and powers, per se—we are simply creating personas and voices.

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Turns

For the current game, The Foundland, we are using a non-standard index, the Elder Futhark runic alphabet. Turns will be taken on Tuesday and Friday.

We are using the Follow the Phantoms variation, which allows for "out-of-order" entry writing. Additionally, we are using both Codependence and Credence. Each player has two characters—a Writer, and an Annotator.

On their first turns, each player writes their entry from the point-of-view of their Writer. This entry 

  1. Can be anywhere in the index that they choose,
  2. Must reference, or cite, the titles of 2 "phantom" entries that do not exist yet, effectively creating prompts for new entries.

On the second and every turn after (until sunset is evoked), each player writes one of the unfinished "phantom" prompts with their Writer, and their entry must

  1. Cite one already-written entry,
  2. Cite two additional "phantoms," one for which a title already exists and one which does not.

Additionally, the player may use their Annotator to add an opinion or fact to another player's entry. The annotation

  1. Cannot appear on an entry the player themselves wrote,
  2. Cannot be more than half the length of the original entry,
  3. May cite another phantom—this citation doesn't "belong" to the player who added it, which can work as a loophole for a player who wants to fill in their own phantom prompt.

When sunset is evoked, the game is in its final stages. The only citations that can be made in entries from here out are to entries with titles that already exist—no new phantoms will be created. When every phantom is completed, the game ends.

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Format and Etiquette

It is extremely gauche to cite yourself. A character may not cite an entry they themselves wrote, nor may they fill in a phantom they themselves created.

There can be no more entries in an index than there are players in the game.

When writing entries, players should use the entry template, and tag their entries appropriately—with the character who wrote it, and the index this entry is under (say, "Index C" for games that use the English alphabet as their index). Ideally, a player will also add links to the entries their character wrote on their character's page.

When creating phantoms, players have no obligation to do anything to the phantom entry except to tag it "phantom."

Even though your character may hold your unreliable, ill-informed peers in low esteem, the truth of what they write must not be undermined. Interpretations and opinions can be doubted and questioned (and there should be plenty of opinions to dismantle), but an observed fact written in entry is always true.

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The Foundland: Index

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  • Fehu: Wealthy Possessions
  • √úruz: Aurochs
  • Thurisaz: Thorn, or giant
  • Ansuz: The Divine Word
  • Raitho: Chariot
  • Kaunaz: Openings, or Beacon
  • Gebo: Gift
  • Wunjo: Joy
  • Hagalaz: Hail
  • Nauthiz: Need, or Hardship
  • Isa: Ice
  • Jera: A Year, or a Good Harvest
  • Eihwaz: Yew Tree
  • Perth: Luck
  • Algiz: Elk, or Protection
  • Sowulo: Sun
  • Teiwaz: Tyr, or Creation
  • Berkana: Birch Tree
  • Ehwaz: Horses
  • Mannaz: Humanity
  • Laguz: Water
  • Inguz: Ing, or Fertility
  • Dagaz: Daylight
  • Othila: Ancestral Home, Wealth that Cannot be Sold

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The Foundland: Characters

  • Vidon Methescular, a Writer, opinionated and infuriatingly good at what he does
  • Sere Fen, an Annotator, young and eager and in over her head

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Tools and Links

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