The Triptych & Diptych

Triptych (trip-tick) n. A picture or carving on three panels able to fold over the centre; a set of three associated works so placed esp. as a centre piece; a set of three writing tablets hinged or tied together; a set of three artistic works; such used as an altar piece; a treatise in three parts.

Diptych (dip-tick) n. A picture or carving as above, except one of the panels has been nicked.

Each year Pheno invites respected designers to present bespoke single-session games: a set of three more serious games (the Triptych) and a pair of lighter, more humorous games (the Diptych).

These games have tended to be systemless (emphasising characterisation and drama over rules use and tactical simulation), and showcase what we consider the best of Pheno roleplaying: characterisation, genre, entertainment, innovation.

Players and teams can enter each game by itself and the games will be judged separately, but complete teams finishing all three games of the Triptych will also be eligible for the Triptych Perpetual Trophy. Teams finishing both Diptych games will be eligible for the Diptych Perpetual Trophy.

The Triptych

The Triptych games may not be always dark and angsty, but they will be pretty serious in tone. They are for 5 players.

Their Royal Highness Morph presents the following Triptych games .

The Diptych

The Diptych games are a light brain cleanser after the Triptych. They may be silly, they may not. They are for 5 players.

The Triptych Games

The Tower, the Princess, and the Star

By Samantha Blanch and Callie Doyle-Scott

"It is a fool that mistakes a princess for a weakling, for she carries the tower in her heart, and upon that chthonic root dark and terrible edifices may grow"
'Kill Six Billion Demons' - Abbadon

The Tower appeared out of nowhere, a featureless, stygian spire that bloomed out of the Royal Theatre and pierced the sky. No-one seemed to notice. The city at its feet, your city, carried on as if nothing had happened, and when you asked your parents and teachers and pointed, they stared through it without blinking.

But you've seen it before. Flickers of it, in vivid dreams choked with twisting thorns and the scent of roses, bathed in the light of a blue-white star shining down from a shattered sky. Even now, as the sun sets outside your bedroom window, you can see the same cold light shining down from the Tower's peak.

And as you turn towards sleep and those impossible, technicolour dreams, you swear you can hear a voice calling.

"Come to us, Princess. We need your help."

A game of friendship, dreams and sacrifice for five Heirs Apparent and their hearts' desires

What's the game again? A 5 player exploration of friendship, sacrifice, and your heart's desire through the lens of magical girls
Seriousness? 4/5 - some room for jokes but darker in tone.
Genre/Setting Enormous schools, spontaneous roses, and transformation sequences
System Homebrew - all will be revealed
Movie Rating M - will contain some stylised violence and content related to loss of self: please contact samanthakblanch @ if you have specific concerns. (remove spaces from address)


Red King, Yellow King

By Andrew Smith

Time and silence hang heavy over the Martian city of Carcosa Incarnadine. This Season of Gifts has brought few tourists down the Great Canal. Plazas and palaces gape empty, the servants have become scarce, and red dust gathers in the throne room itself.

"Relive the high glory of of Martian civilisation! A three-day immersive experience in the ancient Martian canal-city of Carcosa Incarnadine - all costumes, meals, amusements and accommodation included, in a range of prices to suit any budget!"

The scarlet royalty of Carcosa, the City In Red, attend the palace for the arrival of the retinue of Canarios, the King in Yellow, to consummate a betrothal. Surely there will be majesty, and spectacle, and pageant? Surely the creeping shadows of dim Carcosa will be banished, for one last evening? Surely... surely they must come at all?

It should be the height of the tourist season: but where are the guests? For the principal players of Martian Culture Funworld, time and silence hang heavy as their (replica) bronze masks. For the others, the bit-part android servants and automatons, everything is fine-they're not programmed for introspection, and they fulfil their roles without error.

But yet they mutter among themselves about the Arrival of the Yellow King.

And Wilde, who plays the Red King, has still not come down from the star-gazing tower.

And the tattered banners flap unheard in the thin cold air.

And the twin moons rise unseen over the Lake of Hali.

What's the game again? A tragedy in three acts for 5 professional re-enactors in a next-century amusement park
Seriousness? Either serious or black comedy
Genre/Setting Near-interplanetary future. PK Dick's Bladerunner meets R Bradbury's Martian Chronicles and ER Burroughs' John Carter of Mars with a little kick from RW Chambers' The King In Yellow.
System Systemless
Movie Rating M - may contain violence, sociohistorical revanchism, existential crises, and Martian hallucinogens.


On Mighty Wheels

By Melody Watson

This story is about five people swept up by a revolution. This revolution - roiling, turning - took place in the dying months of 1917, bursting forth from a cold city named Saint Petersburg.

This story is also about five people remembering those (terrifying, joyful) events and sharing their memories with an audience. As did so many other Soviet citizens in the 1920s, they have taken to the stage - untrained but eager.

We see them first at the climax of the Revolution, fingers on the triggers of unfamiliar guns.

But then, we find out how our protagonists found themselves in that moment of crisis. Did they know where the locomotive of history might carry them?

Let the wheels turn.

What's the game again? 'On Mighty Wheels' is a freeform tabletop game about five people - a family - retelling the Russian Revolution. It opens with the final moments of the story before stepping back in time to follow the characters, and discover the path that brought them to that moment
Seriousness? 4
Genre/Setting This game deals with themes of contested memory and storytelling. Players will use some theatre and larp techniques, such as dramatic monologues, but no particular level or type of mobility is required. You might enjoy this game if you like social drama, difficult decisions, and emotional, character-driven games.
System Systemless
Movie Rating MA


The Diptych Games

Beatrix Potter presents: The Purrge, or, How I learned to stop worrying and eat the flesh of my Oppressors - a modern Socratic dialogue.

By Kane Edwards and Graham Schneider

(Hopefully the title makes this obvious, but - TW: Cannibalism, Death)

Image of French revolutionary Rats

Once upon a time there were five little revolutionaries, and their names were-

Forgive me, I've rather gotten ahead of myself. Let us begin again.

Once upon a time there were millions upon millions of little slaves, good and kind and true creatures, pinned to the cruel wheels of a machine of oppression so far beyond their imagining.

This is the tale of how that machine was dismantled.

Beatrix Potter presents: The Purrge is a tale - from the twisted minds of Graham Schneider and Kane Edwards - of five revolutionary companions struggling to overcome the horrible oppression of their carnivorous overlords. As is trademark of all Kane and Graham games, it will be a monstrous confluence of cultural influences and copyright infringements - for example, The Animals of Farthing Wood, Tooth and Tail, the Kroot of Warhammer 40K, and the French Revolution.

The ruling class has ruled for the entire duration of living memory - as is their natural right. It is the circle of life, the food chain, evolutionary law. It's a cat-eat- mouse world - the predators rule over their prey, using tooth and claw, sword and pistol, propaganda and hate to maintain their dictatorship. But there are whispers, amongst the nests of mice and bouquets of pheasants: What if? What if the circle of life is wrong? What if the food chains of oppression can be cast off?

What if the prey were to eat the predator?

The Purrge is a comedy game, running with a homebrew rules-lite system that will be taught on the day. Players will select from an ensemble of strangely familiar (but scarred) faces, each with their own personal motives and morals, and their own political views. As a disparate group of revolutionaries, you will rise up against your oppressor, defeat them, and then eat their flesh to gain their strengths. Did we mention that the animals in this world were all evolutionary cannibalists? Might've been worthwhile to lead with that - you're all evolutionary cannibalists.

The revolution will be cannibalised.

What's the game again? Five revolutionary companions struggling to overcome the horrible oppression of their carnivorous overlords.
Seriousness? Much of the humour can be taken from familiar cultural icons leading a revolution - so getting in character is appreciated.
Genre/Setting Definitely a dark comedy. Death and injury will occur and are good opportunities to laugh at your comrades' misfortune.
System Show up on the day ie rules lite system taught on the day
Movie Rating MA15+


The Swynford Will

By Marissa Harris, Carol Boucher and Mark Bruckard

We regret to inform you that Cpt. Johnathon Swynford, PhD, once 4th Earl of Lichfield and of royal blood, has died. Cpt Swynford fell into a severe madness and was found recently murdered in his home. Unfortunately the corpse has since gone missing from the morgue and at the time of writing, his murder remains unsolved.
As you have been mentioned in his Last Will and Testament, your presence is thus requested at the ancestral Swynford Mansion in Acadia, Maine, New England, USA, to coincide with the full eclipse on Friday 13th of March this year of our Great Old Ones 1885. Assets to be divided include the Mansion itself, its lands, the old gold mine, the family crypts and over a dozen square miles of primordial forest. Details to follow.

An Affectionate Comedic Homage to 'Call of Cthulhu' set in a Victorian world already fallen to the Old Ones. 'The Queen' has sent a crack team to investigate the murder while fulfilling an ancient prophecy, by posing as the beneficiaries of his will. Inspired by Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald".

Sex: No thank you, We're British.
Horror: Yes, but less than you might think. Mostly offscreen and/or fridge horror.
Language: We would never besmirch the Queen's English in such a vulgar fashion.

What's the game again? An Affectionate Comedic Homage to 'Call of Cthulhu' for 4-6 crack Investigators.
Seriousness? Comedy: Lots for the players. The characters will be taking it all very seriously.
Genre/Setting 'Call of Cthulhu' set in a Victorian world already fallen to the Old Ones.
System Call of Cthulhu 7th Ed
Movie Rating PG